Pongo is the main protagonist in the 1961 Disney animated feature film One Hundred and One Dalmatians, its sequel, its 1996 live-action adaptation and its television series. He is the husband of Perdita and father of 15 puppies and adopted father of 84 more puppies.
Initially, Pongo is the loyal pet of Roger Radcliffe. He cares deeply for Roger, going so far as to find Roger a wife so that they may leave their boring bachelor life behind. Afterwards, he becomes a loving husband to Perdita and a carefree father to their puppies. He was mischievous because Pongo really hate rules. In comparison to Perdita, Pongo is the more laid-back parent, but remains to protect their children. Pongo is extremely clever, and is usually the one to make the plans that help his family, such as disguising the entire group as Labradors to avoid detection. Pongo was happy and sweet to his puppies, because he doesn't want his children to get upset, he wants them to be happy.
In the original film, Pongo is the narrator. Having grown bored with the bachelor life, Pongo is first seen trying his best to find his master (dogs call them pets) Roger, a suitable wife. So far, there's no luck until Pongo sees mates that will suit both him and Roger. A woman named Anita, and her pet dalmatian Perdita. Pongo gets Roger to follow them into the park. Once there, Pongo tries to get their attention but it ends in an apparent failure. Although it seemed terrible, Roger and Anita fall in love as does Pongo and Perdita. A few months later, the happy couples reside right down the block from the park, also living with Nanny. At this time, Perdita is having puppies, and Pongo would be proud. Just then, Anita's school friend, Cruella De Vil, makes a visit.
She quickly demands the whereabouts for the puppies, but does not reveal the reason for her interest in them. Perdita, knowing the woman is a monster, now worries over the very idea of having children. In October, the puppies arrived, much to the relief of a worried Pongo. Pongo licks Roger happily when Roger is able to revive one of the puppies after it was born. Cruella makes another visit. She is initially repulsed by the puppies spotless appearance, but calms once she learns that the Dalmatian puppies will get their spots three weeks after birth. She begins to write a check for the puppies' purchase, but Roger angrily refuses her offer. Cruella was furiously departs after ending her friendship with Anita and claiming she'll get even. With Cruella gone, Pongo quickly tells the resting Perdita the good news. A few months later, Pongo and Perdita are happier than ever with fifteen wonderful puppies. During their walk in the park, two hoodlums by the name of Jasper and Horace, break into Roger and Anita's home, and, after trapping Nanny in the attic, kidnap the puppies. After realizing that there is little hope of the humans finding their puppies, Pongo uses the Twilight Bark, normally a gossip chain, to spread the news of their kidnapped puppies to the dogs of London.
The news eventually reaches the Colonel far away in the countryside. According to his associate, Sergeant Tibbs, puppy barking was heard over in an old mansion that has recently been occupied. Colonel and Tibbs head over to investigate, learning that Jasper and Horace are working for Cruella, and that she plans to use the fur from Pongo and Perdita's puppies, as well as another eighty-four, to make dog-skin coats. The news is relayed back to Pongo and Perdita, who immediately head to the area to rescue their puppies. Pongo and Perdita arrive just in time to rescue their puppies from Jasper and Horace. Upon learning that there are now ninety-nine puppies, Pongo decides to adopt the extras, knowing Roger and Anita would never turn them out.
The dalmatians begin to make their way home through the help of several dogs. While Perdita leads the puppies, Pongo brings up the rear, and keeps count of all the puppies. Cruella learns about their escape, and goes on a hunt for the dogs, forcing the Dalmatians to avoid them.
In the small town of Dinsford, a Labrador reveals to the group that a truck is heading to London, and there is enough room for the entire group. Perdita worries about how to get on, as Jasper, Horace, and Cruella are roaming the town. After some inspiration from Lucky and Patch, who had been fighting in a nearby pile of soot, Pongo is inspired to disguise everyone as Labradors by rolling in the soot. The dalmatians are barely able to get on the truck before it leaves, but they are discovered when Pongo is seen carrying Lucky, whose disguise had been washed off by the snow. Cruella chases them down but crashes into the van of Jasper and Horace, ultimately foiling her plans. Back in London, Roger, Anita, and Nanny mourn for the lost dogs, but are greeted by a wonderful Christmas Day gift when Pongo and the others arrive. Roger and Anita decide to keep the other eighty-four pups and move to a bigger property in the country, giving the dalmatians enough room to roam freely.
Pongo appears once again in the film's television series, but has a very minor role. Pongo has moved to a farm plantation with his family and takes the role to be a good father and best friend of pet Roger.
His demotion to a side character is mentioned in "The Making of...", where he mentions that "The producers decided to go for a "younger" look".
Episodes where Pongo has a speaking role
- "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"
- "Hail to the Chief"
- "Food for Thought"
- "Film Fatale"
- "Snow Bounders"
- "Splishing and Splashing"
- "The Making Of..."
- "Animal House Party"
- "Dalmatian Vacation, Part 2: Cross-Country Chaos"
Pongo reappears in the film's sequel. Although he provides the opening narration as he had done in the first film, his role is reduced to that of a minor one much like in the TV series, as his son Patch likes to be Thunderbolt's sidekick. When Patch falls down the stairs, Pongo comes down and comfort him to enjoy the life on a farm. Pongo is accidentally the true reason Patch felt as if he was nothing more than a dalmatian puppy (Pongo was talking in his sleep while Patch was asking him questions), prompting the puppy to leave on a soul-searching journey. Pongo is initially unaware of his son's disappearance until later in the film, when he and Roger read the newspaper and see a photo of Thunderbolt with Patch in it. Pongo, shocked at the fact that one of his own has once again disappeared, blames himself for Patch being missing, because he lost count. He, along with Perdita, Roger, and Anita head back to London to look for him. When they do, he happily tells his son how much they've missed him.
Pongo makes several cameo appearances in the series as a guest at the club. Pongo's most notable appearance is at the beginning of "Dennis the Duck", where the House of Mouse had a black and white day, a tribute to the classic black and white cartoons. When Mickey Mouse informs the club of the tribute, Pongo comments, "It's about time". In "House of Crime", Pongo growls when Perdita tells Mickey that someone stole their puppies, thinking Cruella De Vil stole them.
Pongo 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, his owners, Roger and Anita, disappeared during the destruction and the 99 puppies were separated and scattered across other worlds. Sora must locate the puppies throughout Kingdom Hearts and send them back to Perdita in Traverse Town. To return Sora's helpfulness, Pongo and Perdita give gifts to Sora. When Sora sealed Kingdom Hearts, Pongo, Perdita, and all of her children, returned home.
Other animated productions
In The Wonderful World of Disney episode Adventures in Color, Pongo makes a brief cameo chasing after Ludwig Von Drake after the professor pulled out a large piece of steak.
Pongo has a cameo in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, along with Perdita, as a scale wise toy up top the Marvin Acme factory during the climax of the film.
In the live-action remake of the original animated film, Pongo is featured as a non-speaking dog, but still retains his role as main protagonist. Like the original, Pongo resides with Roger in London. Pongo appears to be quite intelligent, being able to work a computer. When he first catches glimpse of Perdita, he quickly rushes to Roger to arrange their meeting. Like the original, Cruella desires the dalmatians' fur, and hires goons to kidnap them. Pongo then sends the Twilight Bark signal across London. After awhile, Pongo and Perdita are approached by a dog and taken to their puppies' location. 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.
In the ABC television series Once Upon a Time, Jiminy Cricket's Storybrooke counterpart, Archie Hopper, has a dalmatian named Pongo.
Pongo makes no live appearances at the parks, but holds a few tributes. At Walt Disney World Resort's Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, an oversized statue of Pongo can be seen at the 101 Dalmatians section of the hotel.
Pongo has a prominent role in the Walt Disney World interactive game Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. Here, Pongo serves as the guide for the mission to defeat Cruella on Main Street USA and teams up with the park guests and Merlin the Wizard in a quest to stop Cruella from retrieving part of the crystal of the Magic Kingdom. In this attraction, Pongo communicates with the park guests through barks translated by Merlin. Pongo also has his own spell card called "Pongo's Soot Bucket".
Pongo is also featured in the Disney Cruise Line interactive game Midship Detective Agency. Here, Pongo's puppies are once again stolen. To save them, he teams up with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy to search the ship to find them and discover which villain committed the crime.
- If you listen closely, when Pongo and Perdita attack Jasper and Horace, their growls and snarls sound like Tramp's.
- Also, some of their growls and snarls are recycled sound effects from Old Yeller when he was fighting the wolf.
- Pongo's bark is later given to Toby from "The Great Mouse Detective".