The head of children's programming at CBS, Fred Silverman, came up with the character's name from the syllables "doo-be-doo-be-doo" in Frank Sinatra's hit song Strangers in the Night.
Different iterations of the character have been developed and expanded in the various series featuring the characters, many of them contradicting, such as the original series and recent live-action movies where Shaggy and Scooby-Doo first meet as older teenagers for the first time, contradicting the "Pup Named Scooby-Doo" animated series where they know each other from almost infancy.
In all versions of the character, Scooby-Doo and Shaggy share several personality traits, mostly being cowardly and perpetually hungry. But their friends (Velma, Daphne and Fred) encourage them to go after the costumed villains, usually with "Scooby Snacks", a biscuit-like dog treat or cookie snack (usually shaped like a bone or, in later versions of the cartoons, Scooby's dog tag), though Scooby's inherent loyalty and courage does often force him to take a more heroic stance.
Scooby has a speech impediment and tends to pronounce most words as if they begin with an "R", though most characters are able to understand him perfectly. In most iterations, he keeps his sentences relatively short, usually using charades for anything longer than three or four words. His catch phrase, usually howled at the end of every episode, is "Scooby-Dooby-Doo!" or "Rooby-Rooby-Roo". He also usually says, at least once per episode, "Ruh-roh, Raggy" ("Uh-oh, Shaggy"). His quirky chuckle is often also in an episode, but it changed slightly when Frank Welker took over the voice of Scooby. Scooby's voice is similar to that of the earlier character Astro from The Jetsons.
Appearance and anatomy
Scooby is brown from head to toe with several distinctive black spots on his upper body and doesn't seem to have a melanistic mask. He is generally a quadruped, but displays bipedal 'human' characteristics occasionally. Scooby also has opposible thumbs and can use his front paws like hands. He has a black nose and wears an off-yellow, diamond shaped-tagged blue collar with an "SD" (his initials) and has four toes on each foot and unlike other dogs, Scooby only has one pad on the sole of each of his feet (so that it was easier to draw in the Scooby-Doo Annuals).
Scooby has a fully prehensile tail he can use to swing from or press buttons. Both his head and tail are malleable and useful as a communication aid or creating a distraction.
Creator Iwao Takamoto later explained that before he designed the character, he first spoke to a Great Dane breeder, who described to him the desirable characteristics of a pedigree dog. Takamoto then drew Scooby as the opposite of this. He said "I decided to go the opposite [way] and gave him a hump back, bowed legs, small chin and such. Even his colour is wrong."
According to the official magazine that accompanied the 2002 movie, Scooby is seven years old (forty-nine in stereotypical dog years).
Shaggy and Scooby Doo as heroes to the Gang
In the following films listed below, it showed that Shaggy and Scooby both had the ability to come to the rescue and act as "superheroes" when the rest of the gang are in trouble (Such as being captured) or needed some help:
- Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island
- Scooby-Doo And The Alien Invaders
- Aloha, Scooby-Doo!
- Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy!
- Scooby-Doo! And The Goblin King
- Scooby-Doo! And The Samurai Sword
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Don Messick originated the character's voice patterns, and provided Scooby-Doo's voice in every Scooby-Doo production from 1969 until 1996, when Messick retired. Scott Innes (also the then-voice of Shaggy) voiced Scooby-Doo in four late 1990s/early 2000s direct-to-video films, and Frank Welker (also the voice of Fred) took over beginning with What's New, Scooby-Doo? in 2002 and other spin-offs including the live-action prequel Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins. Neil Fanning provided the voice of the computer-generated Scooby-Doo in the first two Warner Bros. live-action feature films. Luke Youngblood is the stand in for the computer-generated Scooby-Doo in the live-action Scooby-Doo! Curse Of The Lake Monster while Frank Welker voices him.
- Don Messick (1969–1996)
- Hadley Kay (Johnny Bravo)
- Scott Innes (1998–2001)
- Frank Welker (2002–present plus Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins & Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster)
- Neil Fanning (2002 and 2004 live-action films)
- In Brazil, the actor Orlando Drummond has been the voice of Scooby Doo for 30 years.
- In Denmark, Scooby-Doo is voiced by Lars Thiesgaard.
- In Japan, Scooby-Doo's previous voices were Kazuo Kumakura and Naomi Kusumi. Scooby-Doo is possibly voiced by Masaya Onosaka in most recent dubs.
Over the course of Scooby-Doo's various spin-offs, various relatives of Scooby were introduced:
- Scrappy-Doo: Scooby's young nephew (and son of Scooby's sister Ruby-Doo), Scrappy is the bravest of Scooby's relatives. Scrappy became a recurring character in the Scooby-Doo series beginning in 1979, and was noted for being quite headstrong and always wanting to face off in a fight against the various villains (unlike his uncle). Scooby and Shaggy were present at Scrappy's birth.
- Yabba-Doo: According to Scrappy and Yabba-Doo Yabba is Scooby's brother, a white dog owned by Deputy Dusty in the American southwest. Unlike Scooby, Yabba is brave. Unlike Scooby's and Scrappy's, his typical custom catch-phrase at the end is "Yippity-Yabbity-Doooo!!!" (and not "Yabba-Dabba-Doo!", presumably due to another Hanna-Barbera character's usage of that phrase).
- Scooby-Dum: Scooby's cousin (according to Shaggy in "Headless Horeseman of Halloween), a blue-grey dog. A Mortimer Snerd-esque dog who longed to be a detective. Was rather dimwitted (he'd keep looking for clues even after the mystery was solved).
- Scooby-Dee: Scooby's distant cousin, a white dog. Spoke with a Southern accent, and was an actress.
- Dooby-Doo: Scooby's cousin, a singer. He is one of Scooby's few relatives to have hair on his head. Only appeared in "The 'Dooby Dooby Doo' Ado".
- Momsy and Dada Doo: Scooby's parents.
- Whoopsy-Doo: Scooby's cousin, a clown. Owned by Shaggy (Norville)'s uncle, Gaggy Rogers.
- Ruby-Doo: Scooby's sister, and mother of Scrappy-Doo.
- Skippy-Doo: Scooby's brother. Highly intelligent; he wears glasses.
- Howdy-Doo: Scooby's brother. Enjoyed reading Supermarket tabloid newspapers. He appears to become a redhead.
- Horton-Doo: Scooby's uncle. Was interested in monsters and science.
- Dixie-Doo: Scooby's cousin and the pet of Betty Lou, Shaggy's Southern cousin.
- Grandpa Scooby: Scooby's grandfather.
- Great-Grandpa Scooby: Scooby's great-grandfather.
- Yankee-Doodle-Doo: Scooby's ancestor. Not much is known about him. He appears to be a pilgrim.
- Amber: In Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders, Shaggy and Scooby are abducted by the "aliens" and abandoned in the desert. There they meet a wild life photographer, Crystal and her dog Amber. Scooby was heart broken when it is revealed that Amber and Crystal are actually aliens from another planet and must go home, though he and Shaggy quickly forget about them when they found out there was one more Scooby Snack box left. Amber and Crystal did seem to have actual feelings for Shaggy and Scooby but don't pursue them due to 'long distance relationships never working out'. Amber's disguised form is that of a Golden Retriever wearing a red bandanna while her true form is a large, blue reptilian creature with a beak-like mouth. Like Scooby, she is capable of speech but only shows so at the end of the movie and unlike Scooby, she speaks like a normal human.
- Dusk: In the episode "The Vampire Strikes Back", Scooby was caught in a costume and Dusk kisses him. Scooby then giggles.
- Chiquita: In Scooby-Doo and the Monster of Mexico, Scooby meets up with Chiquita, Alejo's son's pet Chihuahua, when the gang arrives at Alejo's family hotel.
- Googy: In Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf, he received a kiss from her, then later at the monster race, he tried to get another kiss, but was pulled off by Shaggy.
- Sandy Duncan: In The New Scooby-Doo Movies episode: Sandy Duncan's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Scooby fell for Sandy Duncan at a studio.
- Sled dog: In the Scooby Doo Show episode, A Scary Night With a Snow Beast Fright, Scooby falls in love with a sled dog. At the end, she kisses him.
- Miyumi: In Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword, the gang meets up with Daphne's foreign friend, Miyumi, in Japan. Miyumi's affection for Scooby was evident in a few scenes in the movie, such as petting him at the beginning, offering him ten Scooby Snacks inside of a cave while trying to lure him out of a jet, and even kissing him on the nose at the end of the movie. On another side note, Scooby enjoyed watching a battle between Daphne and Miyumi, which Shaggy referred to as a "kung-fu catfight" and Scooby agreeing. Also, Scooby hinted an interest for Miyumi at the end of the movie by asking her to sit next to him in the Mystery Machine during the gang's future mysteries before she declined.
- Chrissie: Mr. B's prize dog, and mother of the Secret Six (Maize, Flax, Jingle, Knox, 14-Carat, and Bling-Bling) appeared in the What's New series, where Scooby said he'll find the Six that were dog-napped. In episodes where she appears, Chrissie and Scooby might adventure with Shaggy.
- Roxannne: An old girlfriend that Scooby meets again in the What's New episode, A Scooby-Doo Valentine.
- Nova: In Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorperated series 2, Scooby and the gang meet Fred's long lost parents Brad and Judy, along with their dog, Nova. Scooby and Nova fall in love, until Nova dies and begins to aid Scooby through the hard times.
One of Scooby's big weaknesses is that he's ticklish which can be seen in both the series and some movies too.
- Scooby-Doo And The Alien Invaders: When one of the aliens attaches a wire to Scooby's side it tickles and he laughs until the alien says,"Co-operate and you wiill not be harmed."
- Scooby Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf: Gingas Kong grabs Scooby from Shaggy's car and tickles his tummy saying, "Cootchi coo."
- Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins: During the song You and I Shaggy tickles Scooby's tummy.
- Shags to Riches: In the first episode of Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue! Shaggy tickles Scooby's tummy after it rumbles with hunger.
- San Franpsycho: In this episode Scooby is tickled by a security guard while entering the skate park.
- Gold Paw: In this episode Scooby is tickled by 2 security guards during entry into Fort Knox.
- Scooby Doo and the Ghoul School: In the movie Scooby is tickled from behind by a monster impersonator of Shaggy.
Casey Kasem, the previous voice actor for Shaggy Rogers, said that Scooby is "the star of the show--the Shaquille O'Neal of the show." Kasem explained "People love animals more than they love people. Am I right or wrong? They give more love to their pets than they give to people. Scooby is vulnerable and lovable and not brave, and very much like the kids who watch. But like kids, he likes to think that he's brave."
- The "dog-treat/Scooby Snacks" gag had been used before in several Hanna-Barbera cartoons, including Quick Draw McGraw and Dastardly and Muttley.
- In Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!, Scooby, as well as Shaggy, are not as cowardly as they were in previous series, although in the episode Lightning Strikes Twice, Scooby is shown with a severe case of astraphobia, something he rarely had in the other shows. Scooby-Doo also has the ability to gain awesome powers by eating certain Scooby Snacks (bone shaped dog treats).
- The name Scooby-Doo comes from the last line of the Frank Sinatra song Strangers In The Night, although other singers have used the phrase before Sinatra's song was released.
- Scooby Doo is ticklish which is proven in 4 movies and 3 episodes from 2 different series.
- Scooby-Doo was once impersonated by former N'Sync star J.C. Chasez in A Scooby-Doo Valentine and by David Beckham in an animated Scooby-Doo promo from the United Kingdom. Scooby was also imitated by a few other people as well (most notably the Ape Man).
- French names of the characters are different; Velma became Vera and Shaggy Sammy. As for Scooby-Doo, his name was first written "Scoubidou" but lately, the original spelling has been used for the series and direct-to-video movies.
- In an episode of Robotboy when Robotboy and his 'mother' escape from police with a big speaker, a dog which looks like Scooby hangs on to the speaker and follows them home.
- Scooby-Doo also appears in an episode of Drawn Together.
- In an episode of Yin Yang Yo! called Slumber Party of Doom, Scooby and Shaggy make two cameos. The first being Shaggy complaining about Yin and Yang stealing their montages and Scooby saying, "It sucks!"
- Scooby-Doo and Shaggy made a cameo appearance in Looney Tunes: Back in Action complaining to Matthew Lillard (who played Shaggy) about his performance in the live-action Scooby-Doo movies.
- Scooby-Doo appears as a guest in a 1996 video called Kids for Character.
- Starting with the Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated series, Scooby would start talking in full sentences. Instead of just saying a couple of lines like the older Scooby Doo series' did.
- In the Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy episode, Keeper of the Reaper, Scooby-Doo appears as a witness that testifies against Mandy.
- In the Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated episode "Mystery Solvers Club State Finals" the episode is almost entirely animated in the same visual style as Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!. All the "sidekicks" featured are from Hanna-Barbera productions that copied the basic mystery-solving/sidekick formula that Scooby-Doo pioneered. And the episode also uses most of the same sound effects as well.