- “The most beautiful creature on four legs!”
- ―Pongo on Perdita
Perdita is the female protagonist of the 1961 Disney animated feature film One Hundred and One Dalmatians. She is the pet of Anita, mate of Pongo, and the mother of 15 Dalmatian puppies and adoptive mother of 84 more puppies.
Perdita is very well-mannered, elegant, and radiant; a complete foil to Pongo's goofy nature. She is also rather stern and appears to be a tad more prominent when it comes to disciplining her children, as well as the rascally Pongo.
Despite her well-coordinated nature, Perdita tends to be incredibly worrisome in hectic situations and prefers to avoid oncoming conflict by leaving the scene, as shown when Cruella visits. She is also rather observant and appears able to sense nearby danger, being the only one to expect Cruella's villainy even before the kidnapping of her children. A complete contrast to the optimistic Pongo, Perdita's worries can often escalate to pessimism, only to be put to rest by the always headstrong and relentless Pongo.
Even so, Perdita is a fierce warrior and will jump into battle in the situation calls for it. Like Pongo, her primary concerns are her puppies. As such, she has shown to willingly abandon her usual guidelines of self-composure for the sake of her family.
In the original film, Pongo is searching for mates for himself and his pet Roger Radcliffe. Pongo is close to giving up when he spots Perdita and her pet, Anita. Pongo rushes to the park to follow them. Perdita spots Pongo and is seemingly attracted to him, but tries to look as if she doesn't notice him. Perdita and Anita soon leave and Pongo tries a trick to attract their attention. At first, it seems as if it failed, Perdita was mad at Pongo for making her owner, Anita wet. But as Roger and Anita talk more they fall in love. Perdita falls in love with Pongo as well.
Perdita soon becomes pregnant with puppies, but when the family gets a visit from Cruella De Vil she becomes frightened, referring to Cruella as "that devil woman." Perdita hides but is able to hear Cruella's desire for the puppies. Perdita regrets having puppies due to the fact that Cruella wants them. Unfortunately for Perdita, the puppies arrived three weeks later, where it is revealed that she has had fifteen puppies. She is tired afterward but is relieved to hear from Pongo that the puppies are safe thanks to Roger. The puppies grow and are shown watching their favorite show with their parents. Perdita is seen interacting with her various puppies: telling Lucky to get down from the TV, reminding Rolly that they just had dinner, and scolding Patch for his coarse language.
After the puppies are put to bed, Pongo and Perdita go on a walk with their respective owners. During their absence, the puppies were kidnapped by Cruella's henchmen, Jasper and Horace. Pongo and Perdita realize that neither the humans nor Scotland Yard will find their puppies, and take it upon themselves to rescue their children. They use the twilight bark, a canine gossip chain, to spread the news of their stolen puppies. Later, they receive an answer and learn that their puppies are at Hell Hall, Cruella's former home.
Perdita immediately goes off on a dangerous journey to rescue the puppies alongside Pongo. The winter conditions make the journey tough, but they eventually meet with a sheepdog called the Colonel, who takes them to the puppies. Upon seeing the other puppies alongside their own fifteen, they decide to take them all to London, knowing that Roger and Anita would never turn them out.
Perdita appears as a supporting character being that her pups take over as the stars. Here she and Pongo serve minor roles and act as regular parents, and are often seen with Roger and Anita. Some have speculated that she is a much stricter parent than Pongo but this is arguable as both she and Pongo have penalized the pups for being disrespectful or noncompliant in the series. In the episode "The Making Of..." Perdita talks about how since she and Pongo were the stars of the movie, that they would be the stars of the series, too.
In "Lucky To Be Alone", Perdita is the one who comes up with the idea for Lucky to visit the Vandercreams, seemingly assured that Lucky will begin missing his family within just a few days if she knew the Vandercreams right. This has speculated that Perdita is in some form related to either Coco or Beamer.
The episodes Perdita has appeared in are "Home is Where the Bark is", "The Dogs of DeVil", "Lucky to be Alone", "Four Stories Up", "You Say It's Your Birthday", "Lord of the Termites", "Cruella World", "Food for Thought", "Film Fatale", "Splishing and Splashing", "The Making Of...", "Animal House Party", and "Dalmatian Vacation, Part 2: Cross-Country Chaos".
In the sequel, Perdita and the rest of the family move to the farmlands where she and her puppies can roam freely and, to her biggest relief, be far away from Cruella De Vil. However, unbeknown to Perdita, her son Patch is feeling insignificant. She tries to help Patch during this time but is too busy taking care of the other 98 puppies. After speaking with the half-asleep Pongo, Patch ran away from home in a self-finding search.
When Perdita learns of Patch's missing, later on, she is devastated, and quickly rallies Pongo, Roger, and Anita to travel back to London to find him. During their absence, Cruella, Jasper, and Horace kidnap the puppies yet again. Meanwhile, Patch meets and befriends his hero Thunderbolt, who gladly helps the pup rescue his siblings. In the end, Cruella is arrested, and Perdita and Pongo reunite with her children, as well as befriend Thunderbolt.
Perdita makes several appearances in the series House of Mouse.
In the episode "House of Crime", Perdita's puppies briefly went missing, resulting in Perdita framing Cruella for once again stealing their puppies.
In the episode "The Stolen Cartoons", Perdita was seen with her family as Daisy Duck ordered for a table for one hundred and one.
In "The Mouse Who Came to Dinner", Goofy demanded that the magic brooms ensure that the club was "spotless" in time for a critic's arrival, resulting in the brooms wiping away the spots of Perdita and the other Dalmatians.
Perdita can be seen at the end of Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse during the finale song.
In the live-action remake of the original animated film, Perdita is featured as a non-speaking dog, but still retains her role as the main deuteragonist. Like the original, Perdita resides with Anita in London. When Pongo first catches a glimpse of her, both dogs fall in love and get their masters together. Like in the original film, Perdita gives birth to fifteen puppies and Cruella sends her goons to kidnap them. While Pongo and Perdita are gone for a walk by Roger and Anita, the goons break in and lock Nanny in the closet and steal the puppies, they return home hearing the pensioner's bulldog barking angrily at Jasper and Horace and is the witness making Roger and Anita realize what they just have done; They leave the puppies unprotected and why do they have to go out for a walk. When there is a word that her puppies have been found, Perdita and Pongo go out to rescue them. Meanwhile, the puppies are able to outwit Cruella, Jasper, and Horace with the help of several animals. They reunite with their parents and are escorted home by the police.
Perdita makes an appearance in which she and Pongo are part of the council of sidekicks, where Prince Ben (son to Belle and the Beast) is able to communicate with them via a translation device on Ben's ear. She expresses that, while having ninety-nine pups can cause her a lack of sleep, she and Pongo are concerned about the pups' college education. This concern has Ben decide to set up and pass the "Puppy Grant" benefit, allowing financial aid for the Dalmatians.
Perdita makes a minor appearance in Kingdom Hearts, having been transported to Traverse Town with Pongo due to the destruction of their world. During the escape, her owners, Roger and Anita, disappeared during the destruction and the 99 puppies were separated and scattered across other worlds. After meeting Perdita and Pongo, Sora is tasked with locating the puppies throughout his travels in Kingdom Hearts, and sending them back to Pongo and Perdita in Traverse Town upon doing so. To return Sora's helpfulness, Perdita and Pongo bestows various gifts upon Sora. When Sora sealed Kingdom Hearts, Perdita, along with Pongo and all of her children, returned home.
In the 101 Dalmatians: Animated Storybook, Perdita acts as a narrator for three pages; the second one being where Anita is designing fancy clothes for Cruella, the fourth being when she and Pongo become proud parents of 15 Dalmatian puppies, and the sixth being when she and Pongo send out the Twilight Bark after their puppies were dog-napped. Here, she is voiced by Mary Kay Bergman.
Perdita is also featured in the attraction Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. When Cruella De Vil returns to find the legendary Crystal of the Magic Kingdom and kidnap the pups, Perdita and the puppies go into hiding while Pongo teams up with Merlin to save the city. Later on, Cruella breaks into Merlin's secret vault to find the crystal but she instead finds a chew toy. Perdita and the puppies were able to switch the crystal with the toys just before Cruella's arrival.
- According to Disney animators, Perdita has 68 spots.
- According to Disneystrology, her birthday is July 6th.
- According to the DisneyLife app, her pet peeve is bad manners and coarse language.
- By size and behavior, in human years, she is 40 years old.
- In the animated movie, Perdita was originally played by Lisa Davis (who had also voiced Anita). She had recorded about a third of the film as Perdita, but got married and moved to New York City, so she was voiced by Cate Bauer for the rest of the film. It is, however, unknown which actress recorded which lines.
- Perdita is actually based on two characters from the original book: "Missis" Pongo, who was the wife to Pongo and birth mother of the fifteen puppies, and Perdita, a sickly liver-spotted Dalmatian adopted by the Dearlys to be a secondary mother to the puppies.
- In some promotional pictures, Perdita is seen with deep brown eyes.
- All but two of Disney's Nine Old Men did the animation for Perdita in the animated 101 Dalmatians, with Wolfgang Reitherman as the director and Marc Davis as the sole animator of Cruella.
- Perdita's name means "loss" in Italian. It also means the feminine form of "perditus," meaning "lost" or "destroyed" in Latin. This is a point brought up in the novel which 101 Dalmatians is based on but not in the movie.
- In some book adaptations of the film and 101 Dalmatians: Escape from DeVil Manor, Perdita is seen wearing a red collar.