Biography and physical apperanceMuttley is an anthromorphic dog of unknown breed (possibly cross breed). He is the faithful/unfaithful sidekick of Dick Dastardly.
Muttley does not really talk; his main examples of speech are his trademark snicker - an asthmatic-sounding, "wheezing" laugh (usually made at Dick's expense) - and a mushy, sotto voce grumble against an unsympathetic or harsh Dick (usually along the lines of "Sassafrassarassum Rick Rastardly!"). Don Messick had previously used Muttley's distinctive laugh for the character of Griswold in an episode of Top Cat, then an embryonic version of Muttley (called 'Mugger') appearing in the 1964 movie Hey There, It's Yogi Bear, as well as for another Hanna-Barbera canine, Precious Pupp, in 1966. He also repurposed it for Alexandra Cabot's cat Sebastian on Josie and the Pussycats in 1970.
Muttley wore only a collar in Wacky Races, but in Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines he donned a World War I style aviator's cap and scarf, and served as a flying ace along with Dastardly and two other pilots as members of the "Vulture Squadron". In this spinoff, he also sported many medals of which he was particularly fond, and constantly demanded new ones from Dastardly for following his commands. Similarly, Dastardly frequently ripped medals off Muttley's chest as punishment for his incompetence. When he received a new medal, Muttley would hug himself happily, jump into the air and float back down like a feather. This gag is almost identical to the behavior of Snuffles - a dog who appeared on the series Quick Draw McGraw in the late 1950s - and Scooby Doo, in the show A Pup Named Scooby Doo, when he received a Scooby Snack.
Also in Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines, Muttley gained the ability to fly for a brief period by spinning his tail like a propeller. This trait often proved useful when he was about to crash. Muttley also enjoyed his own short segment in this series The Magnificent Muttley, where he would engage in Walter Mitty-style fantasies.
Often, when Muttley grumbled on Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines, Dick Dastardly would say "What was THAT?" accompanied by Muttley kissing his hand, to which Dastardly would usually reply "That's better".
Muttley vs. Mumbly
Muttley is sometimes confused with Mumbly, a crime-fighting dog who tracked down criminals using his dog senses and drove around in an old beat-up car. Mumbly looked similar to Muttley and had a similar laugh, but Mumbly had blue fur and wore a trenchcoat. Ironically, Mumbly later showed up as the captain of the villainous Really Rottens in Laff-a-Lympics along with his accomplice, "The Dread Baron" (a reference to The Red Baron) who happens to resemble Dick Dastardly. Both characters (The Dread Baron and Mumbly) later appeared in the TV movie Yogi Bear and the Magical Flight of the Spruce Goose. It is not certain why Mumbly was retconned as a villain, neither is it certain why he and Dread Baron were apparently used as substitutes for Dastardly and Muttley, especially in the Yogi Bear movie where Paul Winchell voiced the Baron instead of Dastardly (and in the scene where the Baron's crashed plane is shown, it's Dick's plane from Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines, complete with the "D" on the side). Not to mention that in that story Mumbly had once utilized his tail to fly just like Muttley does in Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines. The reason most suggested is that the Wacky Races characters (including Dastardly and Muttley) were not fully owned by Hanna-Barbera as the show was a co-production with Heatter-Quigley Productions.
An early version of the Muttley/Mumbly character appears in the 1964 Hanna-Barbera feature film Hey There, It's Yogi Bear!. This prototype Muttley ("Mugger") is a mean-spirited dog with a travelling circus who has a penchant for biting his owners on the leg. The character may also have been inspired by the Atom Ant show's "Precious Pupp" who was known for laughing the same way. Muttley and his master returned in the Wacky Races video game with Billy West voicing the dog.
Muttely's character reflects that of 'Arry and Bert from Thomas and Friends, Zebedee from TUGS, Coconuts from Sonic the Hedgehog, and Nero from Danger Mouse.
- Muttley and Dick Dastardly also starred as the villains in Yogi's Treasure Hunt in their submarine the SS. Dirty Tricks.
- In the "Fender Bender 500" segment of Wake, Rattle, and Roll, he and Dick Dastardly are paired up as they were in the "Wacky Races."
- Muttley (alongside Dick Dastardly) appeared as a teenager in Yo Yogi!
- In Hey There, It's Yogi Bear, Mugger bore a huge resemblance to Muttley.
- In the Duck Dodgers episode "MMORPD," one of the forms that Duck Dodgers turns himself into is Muttley. In this brief appearance, Muttley's vocal effects are done by Joe Alaskey.
- Muttley has made at least one brief appearance in Dynomutt.
- Muttley makes an appearance at the end of almost every video in the LiveVideo series "Godawful Games"
- Brian Griffin imitates Muttley in Family Guy Season 8 Episode 16 April in Quahog.
- In a popular 2013 commercial for Peurgeut that featured many of the Wacky Racers played by live actors, Muttley was the one character that was still animated (albeit in CGI), except in at least one shot showing him sitting next to Dastardly, where he was portrayed by a stuffed doll.
- Muttley is sometimes miscoloured green in comics and merchandise.