Role in the film
Brutus is first seen at the vet as a puppy trying to get some milk from his mother, Duchess like his other siblings but due to a case of "too much litter and too little milk", his own mother picked him up and pushed him away as some dogs do to their own pups sometimes; making him the runt of the litter. So, Duchess' master, Dr. Pruitt is forced to feed him and take care of him himself almost everyday.
When Dr. Pruitt tells his client and friend, Mark Garrison about the puppy's situation, Mark is shocked. However, realizing how much milk Mark and his wife, Fran's pet Dachshund, Danke has after giving birth to three female puppies only yesterday, Dr. Pruitt quickly has an idea to give Brutus to Mark and allow Danke to feed him enough milk until he is properly weaned and wet nursed. As much as Mark would love to have a Great Dane for a pet and to help him stay alive, he regretfully refuses since he has enough dogs in his own house now and being the Dachsie lover his wife really is, she would never agree to it either even though Dr. Pruitt is not trying to sell him or anything. So, Dr. Pruitt gives Brutus to Mark to feed him some milk while he goes in to bring him Danke and her pups. As Mark begins to feed Brutus one milk drop at a time, he changes his mind and decides to bring Brutus back home momentarily.
At home, after Mark returns with the dogs, when Fran notices Brutus with Danke and the other pups as he is drinking some milk from her with the pups, she quickly assumes that Danke gave birth to another puppy, which she finds a bit funny-looking, even though Mark tries to explain to her about the situation and the truth. When Fran tells Mark he ought to be nicer to Danke now that she "had a boy puppy" (something Mark had always wanted), Mark is too happy to tell Fran the truth and decides to keep Brutus either way.
Later, Mark thinks of a name for the male puppy: from Rover, Prince, and Butch to finally, Brutus after a Great Dane named Ch. Brutus of Cornwall as seen in a picture of the dog book he was reading through as a name that has a spark of dignity, nobility, solidity, and strength in it after discussing the names with his wife, who now finds Brutus "ugly" since his head and feet are out of proportion.
However, a few weeks later, Brutus has grown much bigger than the Dachsie puppies now named: Wilhelmina, Heidi, and Chloe, so, the jig is up, Fran's suspicions were correct, and Mark's busted even when he was caught drawing Brutus as an older Great Dane surrounded by the Dachsies (as adults too) on canvas. Mark and Fran's arguments lead to Mark finally showing Brutus to Fran and explaining to her about his past situation. Fran, now full of regret and remorse, apologizes to both Mark and Brutus but then, coldly tells Mark to take Brutus back to Dr. Pruitt since he's been properly weaned and she's still more of a Dachsie lover than Mark is.
At the vet, Mark, choiceless and regretful, returns Brutus to Dr. Pruitt, who is also disappointed about this, hopes that Dr. Pruitt will find a good home for him, and tells him his name is Brutus.
Four weeks later, on Mark's birthday, when Mark and Fran argue over the Dachsies, Brutus is brought back as gift to Mark from Fran to cheer him up since he's been miserable for four weeks without him; much to Mark's joy and happiness. So, Mark and Fran reconcile while Brutus chews on Mark's bronzed bone gift from Danke as the Dachsies eat Mark's birthday cake.
A few more weeks later, Brutus, now a full-grown Great Dane with cropped ears, is seen happily relaxing with his new foster Dachshund family while Fran prepares a shirt for Danke. When Fran notices Brutus relaxing in the Dachsies' basket, she tells him to leave and go back to where he belongs. When Mark asks Fran to pose for him with Danke as though she were burping a baby at his studio for his latest work, Brutus watches his foster sisters causing a mess around the living room with yarn until he joins in only to get his head stuck in a yarn box and then get blamed for the mess by Fran when she and Mark return after hearing him barking and after the Dachsie sisters quickly return to their baskets to make themselves look innocent. Fortunately, Mark is unconvinced since one dog as big as Brutus couldn't possibly have done all this and he and Fran begin to clean up the mess despite almost causing a few things to fall and break due to the yarn.
Later, as Mark begins drawing and coloring Brutus on canvas, Brutus, tied on a leash in the garden, continuously barks since he wishes to join his foster family and play with them, who are getting their pictures taken by Fran at the same time and place. To give him a break and make him happy, Mark unleashes Brutus and Brutus starts playing with the Dachsies, which somewhat upsets Fran since his intervention is disrupting some poses she has in mind for her dogs. After Mark talks to Sergeant Carmody, the same cop/former Officer who once escorted the Garrisons to the Animal Hospital and made Mark pay a $110 fine for some violations, about recent petty thefts going on in the neighborhood, Brutus messes up yet another pose for the Dachsies (on an old wheelbarrow) despite Fran's warning, which upsets Fran even more, causes her to hit Mark on the arm, and then, take a break with the Dachsies. Mark tries to comfort Fran when trying to tell her it's "just an old wheelbarrow." When Brutus refuses to give Mark the wheel by playing Tug of War with him, this causes Mark to fall into the pond and make him think that maybe Brutus could stand "a few improvements." While Mark goes back inside to change, the Dachsie sisters are at it again; this time with Mark's studio. Brutus again watches them and then, joins them, which causes a really big mess in the studio. With the Dachsie sisters, now all covered in paint, having managed to escape to make themselves look innocent again and Brutus, covered in paint as well, left inside, Brutus is left to be blamed by Fran again; much to Mark's annoyance.
As punishment, Brutus is left outside as the Garrisons discuss financial payment for all the messes and damages caused in the house and studio. This eventually leads to an argument between the couple about whether to keep Brutus or not anymore. To stop Brutus from continuously barking, Mark tries to take him out to the garage for the night only to accidentally allow Brutus to accidentally break Fran's bed, where the Dachsies were on. This act makes Mark give up and decide to take Brutus back to Dr. Pruitt first thing in the morning. Brutus is left to sleep in the garage for the night with a shovel to keep the door open and allow him to breathe properly. When Brutus hears someone coming, he assumes it's a thief trying to sneak in the house, so, he gets out of the garage and starts barking and chasing the stranger who turns out to be none other than Sergeant Carmody, who came in to investigate the Garrisons' home since he thought that the figure he saw trying to enter their home was the thief when it was in fact, Mark trying to get back inside since he was accidentally locked outside, up a tree. However, due to Brutus' constant barking, the Garrisons put cotton in their ears to get some peaceful sleep even when Mark tries to look into the problem, thus, leaving Sergeant Carmody at the mercy of Brutus as he constantly tries calling for Mr. Garrison.
In the morning, Brutus is seen still guarding Sergeant Carmody having slept all night on a tree. When Mark notices the police car, he finds out that Brutus had chased the officer up and kept him on that tree all night. This allows Mark to call his wife and show her how defensive, important, and valuable Brutus can be if they keep him around, which will make no thief dare try to enter their home, so, Fran decides to allow Brutus to stay and to tell Mark to let the officer down in the meantime. Despite Mark telling Brutus to go back inside, he later comes out again and barks at Sergeant Carmody, now trapped in his inoperative car, which leaves him sighing and whimpering in despair in the end.
Later, when Japanese caterers, Mr. Toyama and his assistant/nephew, Kenji enter the Garrisons' garden to set up the decorations for the upcoming bacchanal tonight, Brutus can be seen happily standing on Toyama; making them think he's a "lion" trying to devour him. The Garrisons come just in time to stop the commotion. Mr. Toyama asks them to take him away and finds it hard to believe he is actually a dog despite Fran assuring him otherwise. When Brutus starts barking, he lies on the ground again; thinking it is the only way to "fool a wild beast." So, the Garrisons decide to keep Brutus tied up somewhere during the party at night.
During the party, Brutus is offered a bone by Mark as he shows him to Dr. Pruitt, who seems impressed with how well he has grown since the last time he saw him as a puppy. However, when Chloe tricks Brutus into letting go of his bone and steals it from him, Brutus breaks free from his bond and begins chasing her around while causing a mess at the party and people to panic.
Eventually, this leads Fran to wanting to get rid of Brutus once and for all when she tells Mark that she called Dr. Pruitt to tell him that he will be taking Brutus back to him this afternoon but Mark objects on Brutus' behalf and decides to discuss this with Fran inside the house. Meanwhile, Brutus watches his foster family dig in on the garbage and other messes from last night's disastrous party until they notice Eddie the garbageman arriving to take out the Garrisons' garbage. However, when Brutus notices Chloe having been trapped in the garbage can and in the pile, he tries to stop Eddie from proceeding any further to warn him about his recent mistake and save one of his foster sisters, which makes Eddie think he's gone crazy and call the Garrisons for help. At first, no one seems to understand what's the matter with Brutus until they hear a small barking inside the garbage truck, thus, assuming that one of the Dachsies could be trapped inside that truck within the garbage pile. After Mark manages to rescue Chloe, they realize that Brutus was only trying to warn them about what happened to Chloe and probably trying to save her since he knew she was in there all along. Now, at last, this act of heroism allows Fran to change her mind about Brutus and allow him to stay forever.
Later, Brutus is made to pose with Fran in the garden for Mark's new painting. During a break, Fran is annoyed when she sees Brutus acting like as though he were a lapdog when Fran calls for the Dachsies to come on her lap; making the Garrisons finally realize that he thought he was a Dachshund after all this time of living and growing up with them since he was a puppy, so, Mark tries to show Brutus what he really is with the help of a dog book. At first, it seems to work when Brutus poses like the Great Dane seen in the picture until he finally reverts back to thinking and acting like a Dachshund; much to Mark's annoyance and Fran's amusement.
Later, after Dr. Pruitt has diagnosed Chloe with a simple rash and minor skin irritation since Fran intends to enter her in a dog show within six days as she did with her mother, Danke before her daughters' births, Dr. Pruitt tends to Brutus when he sees Brutus not obeying Mark when it comes to heeling. Seeing as to how beautiful and perfect he grew up to be as he figured he would, Dr. Pruitt thinks about making him a fine show dog to work with and teach him a few tricks but Mark refuses since one champion is enough for him but when his wife begins to doubt him about teaching Brutus obedience and training and shows him her way with Chloe's obedience, he changes his mind about Brutus despite Dr. Pruitt's former reluctance and the little time they have left to prepare him for the dog show as long as Fran remains oblivious to the plot.
During the next six days, Brutus begins to undergo some training despite all the faults. Although Brutus has shown some improvements in the end, Dr. Pruitt is not convinced since he feels that Brutus lacks consistency and a "proud, Dane look" because of the old "Dachsie influence", so, they have until tomorrow to figure out how to persuade Brutus that he isn't a Dachshund by tomorrow at the show.
The next day, at the dog show, Brutus is being groomed to be prepared for the upcoming show with Great Danes as he notices the owners strangely resembling their dogs and vice versa. At first, Brutus is almost recognized by Fran and Mark and Dr. Pruitt are almost caught when she unexpectedly appears in the room she's not supposed to be in with Chloe but Fran fails to recognize him and leaves despite Chloe knowing otherwise. When it is time for the Great Danes to perform, Brutus and Mark enter the show. Before the show, Brutus is intrigued and somewhat amazed to be around dogs of his species for the first time. During the show, Brutus performs perfectly well until he notices another lady's Dachshund and starts thinking and acting like a Dachshund again, which makes him and Mark the embarrassment and laughingstock of the show. When the judge notices Brutus acting weird, he asks them to stop. Then, he asks Mark if Brutus is sick or tired but Mark simply simply states he's just suffering "stage fright". At first, Brutus seems reluctant to stand up like a real Great Dane as Mark tells him to and probably gives up until he notices a lady with her female Harlequin Great Dane, thus, prompting him to stand up and act like a real Great Dane. When the judge notices Brutus acting normally, he suspects him to be a "different dog" and asks Mark how he managed "switching dogs" to avoid having him thrown out but Mark says he didn't. When he says he's having a hard time believing it's the same dog, Mark states he can't believe it himself. It's not until Dr. Pruitt tells Mark that it was because he saw the female Dane that made Brutus want to show off for her.
Later, the judge asks Mark, another man, and their dogs only to walk them again. Luckily, Dr. Pruitt manages to hide the lady's Dachshund when she stands next to him so as to remove the old "Dachsie influence" off of Brutus once and for all, thus, allowing him to perform perfectly well without any trouble or embarrassment this time. Finally, when it's over, Brutus and Mark are awarded the first place blue ribbon as the judge states to Mark that he "sure had him fooled the first time around", congratulates him, and compliments Brutus.
Then, Brutus is left to be judged with Dr. Pruitt for best of breed while Mark goes out to show Fran his prize after she and Chloe had won second place as they apologize and reconcile with each other. Finally, Brutus and Dr. Pruitt are awarded the best of breed ribbon as Mark, Fran, and Chloe watch them perform perfectly well at the show.
At night, after earning a matched set of ribbons and giving the first place blue ribbon to Dr. Pruitt since he deserved it for all the help he provided for Mark and Brutus, Brutus can be seen sleeping with the Dachsies as he whines in his sleep. At first, Mark tells him to be quiet until Fran assures him that he's simply "dreaming"; especially about that female Dane from the show, according to Mark's assumptions. Then, Brutus is awoken by Chloe as she affectionately licks him only to be barked at along with her family by him as he wishes to go back to sleep and finally knows that he is really a Great Dane and not a Dachshund. Then, he happily goes back to sleep as the movie comes to an end.
- Brutus, the 'Ugly Dachshund', also appears in another Walt Disney film, six years earlier as one of the Swiss Family Robinson’s two guardian Danes, Duke.
- Brutus was named after a Great Dane named Ch. Brutus of Cornwall as seen in a picture of a dog book which Mark was reading in order to find a perfect name for him which has a spark of dignity, nobility, solidity, and strength in it in the movie.
- The name The Ugly Dachshund references to the literary fairy tale, The Ugly Duckling.
- This is a stark contrast to a Dachshund's mentality of them thinking they are a larger dog, with a larger dog thinking its a small dog.
- In the movie, it is unknown which Great Dane was Brutus' mother, Duchess' husband and his father the same way it is unknown which and what kind of cat was Duchess' husband and the kittens' father before O'Malley became the new member of the family from The Aristocats. Though it is possible a stud service was used.