All Of The Dog Balloons In The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – Ever

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

November 26, 2014

This Thanksgiving we all must take time to reflect on what we are thankful for in this wacky life. What are you thankful for, BarkPost reader? I’ll tell you what I’m thankful for – GIANT BALLOONS THAT ARE SHAPED LIKE THINGS! Maybe my priorities are a little messed up since I said that before family, friendship, and  health, but eh, that stuff’s there all year, you know? However, it is only once a year on that November 27th (or 28th or 23rd or whatever, Thanksgiving’s weird) that we are treated to that extravaganza of flying cartoons and lip-synced Disney radio stars – the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Though there’s an actual dog show that typically airs directly after it, the Parade itself can be quite the showcase for fine canine specimens. Granted, they are in balloon form, and not real dogs, but still, they bring joy and are huge. Over the years, many an inflatable pup has flown through the streets of NYC, and today, we honor and give thanks to those air buddes. NOTE: Air Bud, nor any of the Air Buddies, have ever been given a Macy’s balloon. With good reason.

Here is EVERY SINGLE dog balloon (I could find) and the years they first appeared!

Frieda the Dachshund, 1950

Frieda is everyone’s favorite puppy character! If there was one  balloon I would say sums up the Macy’s Parade, nay, all of Thanksgiving on the whole, it would be Frieda the Dachshund! Everyone remembers Frieda for um…and then there was uh…Look folks, my research didn’t turn up a ton on this one. Best I can figure is that Frieda was a sort of Macy’s mascot or something. Yeah, sure, let’s go with that.

Lucky Pup, 1951

Of course! Good ol’ Lucky Pup! A true childhood source of wonder and entertainment for all…well crap, I’ve never heard of this one either. Again though, it appears Lucky Pup was a Macy’s creation. The parade began as a way for the Macy’s employees to thank New York citizens, so really, it makes sense that their first few balloons would not be characters from Disney Jr. Also, there was no Disney Jr. back then. (Well, unless one of Disney’s kids went by that nickname…I’m gonna stop.)

Underdog, 1965

THANK YOU! One we’ve all heard of! Well, I assume anyway. Either way, Underdog is at LEAST a recognizable brand, and there’s nothing I, as an American, enjoy more than recognizable brands. Yes, by the 60’s the parade began featuring pop culture figures and characters, and Underdog was the first pup to take to the skies. Of course, Underdog may be an obvious choice because of his natural gift of flight and, I believe, the fact that he is full of helium.

The flying Underdog balloon was, more recently, replaced with the way-less-sense-making “standing up” Underdog balloon.

Aviator Snoopy, 1968

Hope you like Snoopy, because for basically the next two decades, he corners the market on dog balloons. Here, we have Aviator Snoopy, wearing his iconic pilot’s goggles and oh-so-chic scarf. Like Underdog, Aviator Snoopy went through a couple different iterations, mainly because this ORIGINAL version…
…doesn’t really look like Snoopy.

Astronaut Snoopy, 1972


Guess who’s back? In honor of Apollo 11, Astronaut Snoopy made his parade debut in 1972 in a space suit, cape, and most disturbingly, NO HELMET. That hardly sets the right example for young, aspiring astronauts on Thanksgiving morn. Then again, it was the 70’s…

Again, 1972 Snoopy hadn’t truly been perfected in balloon form. It’s not like they had an early character model to go off of – all the classic Peanuts holiday specials were like eight years old by that point!

Skating Snoopy, 1987

Guess who’s back? That’s right, Snoopy got another re-balloon in 1987 as a casual winter skater, sporting a sweater right out of a Macy’s catalog – oh, I see why they did that. By this point, you’re probably thinking “that should be good for Snoopy balloons for awhile, right? I mean, it’s not like winter goes out of style.”

Snoopy with Woodstock, 1988

WRONG! The balloon-making committee was either really out of ideas or just had a surplus of white and yellow material in 1988, but it took exactly a year for Snoopy to get his next balloon. The goal may have just been to simplify Snoopy, because here he’s in his natural “naked” state, giving a ride to his buddy Woodstock. Kinda sucks for Woodstock though, just a year ago he had his own balloon and now? Back to riding Snoopy’s coattails.

Clifford the Big Red Dog, 1990
Finally, someone ended Snoopy’s reign of inflatable terror in 1990, but unfortunately, that someone was the relatively lame Clifford, the Big Red Dog. Sorry if anyone is a particularly huge Clifford fan out there, but I guess I just never got it. Either way, here’s Clifford, floatin’ it up, Thanksgiving style.

Santa Goofy, 1992
Is Goofy truly a dog? He exists in the same universe as Pluto, who is most definitely a dog. However, Goofy wears clothes and goes skiing. Also, what’s with Pluto belonging to Mickey, a mouse, who is somehow larger than his dog? The implications are all pretty messed up. This is all an an argument for the Stand By Me characters, but I figured it was only right to include Santa Goofy among those who have made the Macy’s cut.

Beethoven, 1993
When considering which Beethoven character to add a balloon of, the Macy’s staff had a tough decision – Beethoven or Charles Grodin? Ultimately, they went with the titular dog, though I’m still holding out for a Charles Grodin balloon. Come on, at least a Bonnie Hunt one!

Rugrats (including Spike), 1997
I figured Spike deserved to make the cut here. After all, he’s the dominant portion of this whole Rugrats balloon, right? As far as Nicktoon dogs go, Spike does have the distinction of beating a whole slew of fine choies: Porkchop, Ren Hoek, the dog part of CatDog, etc. Man, can’t wait to see what unique, interesting dog balloon choice we have next! Surely, it’s…

Millennium Snoopy, 1999
Oh, COME ON GUYS! I get that ten years had passed since the last Snoop-over, and it’s in Charles Shultz’s will or something to create an unstoppable army of Snoopy balloons, but it seems like we were in good shape with our last Snoopy! Then again, for you 14-year-olds who read this and weren’t there, it was tough to avoid Y2K fever in 1999. You’d never know it from Buzzfeed, but people couldn’t WAIT to get out of the nineties – this festive Snoopy embodies that. Look how excited he is!

Blue’s Clues, 1999
#Realtalk #nofilter The puzzles on Blue’s Clues were always very easy. Steve really should have been able to figure it out after one thing. I mean, he’s an adult human. I guess when your best companions are your paper dog and your talking mailbox, you do what you can to take your mind off reality, but jeez. At the very least, it would’ve been awesome to see Blue just start messing with him. “Okay Blue, the clues are a sandwich, last month’s copy of Wired, and this bag of toenail clippings! WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!” Oh yeah, also Blue got her own balloon in ’99.

Scooby Doo, 2005

If I’m Scooby Doo, I’m pretty cheesed-off about this. Here’s a guy, been around since the 60’s, and here it is, 2005, and you’re just NOW getting your first Macy’s Parade representation? Meanwhile, you’ve been lapped five times by Snoopy! That’s a Scooby Don’t right there, gang. But who’s to blame? Why, it was old man Macy, from the not-abandoned department store! He would’ve gotten away with it to if it weren’t for us meddlin’ kids!

Finn and Jake, 2013
Finally, the latest dog to enter the parade is Jake from Adventure Time, complete with matching Finn! Hopefully, Jake and Finn last longer in the parade than, say, Lucky Pup. Ugh, go home Lucky Pup.

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

November 26, 2014

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