Clifford The Big Red Dog

Find out more about Clifford the Big Red Dog, a well-known and much loved character from dozens of books, animated TV series, and movie

Clifford The Big Red Dog

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last 50 years, chances are pretty high that you’ve heard of Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Clifford, the famous “Big Red Dog”, is the well-known and much-loved character from dozens of books, as well as a TV series. Whilst not conforming to the definition of a small dog, the dog in the books was meant to encompass an all-around canine, not a single or specific dog breed.

The book series began in 1963, written by Norman Bridwell and published by Scholastic. Since its beginning, Clifford the Big Red Dog has grown in popularity, and the dog Clifford even became the mascot for the publishing company!

Clifford the big red dog

The inspiration behind Clifford The Big Red Dog

The inspiration for Mr. Bridwell’s character of Clifford came from the many years he spent trying to get into illustrating and writing books. One company he went to wasn’t interested, but saw two of his drawings and told him there could be a story in it.

The drawings were of a horse-sized bloodhound and a small girl. Bridwell went home that night and created the main character for his series. His first idea in naming the dog was “Tiny”, but his wife thought that rather a silly name for a big dog (she failed to see the irony, perhaps?), so she suggested the name “Clifford”, after an imaginary friend she had in her youth. Bridwell liked the name and used it.

Clifford’s owner and best friend, Emily Elizabeth, is named after Bridwell’s daughter.

Details about Clifford

Clifford the Big Red Dog comes from normal-sized canine parents. He also has two brothers and two sisters. Clifford was born the runt of the litter and adopted by the family of Emily Elizabeth.

The story goes that the love from Emily Elizabeth was so great, that Clifford grew to be upwards of 25 feet tall! He is so big that Emily Elizabeth is often pictured riding on his back like a house.

Writer Norman Bridwell says that he created Clifford after his dreams of what he would have liked to have as a childhood pet. He based the personality off of his own dog, and other dogs he saw on TV, in movies, and around town.

Clifford is portrayed to do many imaginative things, but Mr. Bridwell has stated that he never planned to make any of the book story-lines to be unbelievable. He would never make Clifford be able to time travel or fly around in space, for instance

Animated TV Series of Clifford The Big Red Dog

The book series was made into an animated TV series in the year 2000. It ran from 2000 to 2003. It was on PBS and the dog was voiced by “Three’s Company” actor John Ritter. There were 68 episodes released, and a made-for-TV movie, over the years. The series was one of many educational series on PBS, and was funded by Scholastic Studios.

Clifford is such a popular dog that he has been made into many holiday decorations, clothing, stuffed animals, toys, and collectibles  In 2003, there was a Clifford mascot at the White House Easter Egg Hunt. He has been a guest at many other public appearances.

Clifford the Big Red Dog is a lovable, friendly dog, whose love for his owner (and hers for him) is without measure. The books and TV series have been loved and appreciated for a long time and surely will continue to be in the future.

Clifford The Big Red Dog – Movie Adaptation

In 2021, a movie adaptation of Clifford the Big Red Dog was released.

Rotten Tomatoes movie critics gave a pretty harsh rating of 58%, but with over 1,000 verified viewer ratings, the audience scored the movie 94%. So based on the audience score, this movie is certainly worth watching!

Watch the official Clifford the Big Red Dog trailer:

Join the Conversation

We hope you found this article useful and informative!

At, we value your feedback and encourage you to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.

We would love to hear from you if you have additional ideas, suggestions, or personal stories related to the topic.

Your feedback helps us improve our content and provides a platform for our readers to share their perspectives and engage with one another.

Leave a Comment

Me and my chocolate brown Miniature Dachshund, Pippin, biting my nose!

About Me

Hi, I'm Chris, the author, and owner of

When my three miniature dachshunds aren't running me ragged, I'm writing articles that answer the questions I've had since becoming a dog Dad.