WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic
File:Pluto2 4541.gif

Are dogs supposed to stand like that?!

A prevalent animal animation technique is to draw any animal's foot as though it has the same structure as a human foot with the toes, sole and heel flat on the ground (known as plantigrade), bent at the ankle and with a knee about half way up the leg.

Why do we care? Well, you've probably noticed that a lot of prominent animation animals (e.g. bird, dogs, horses) don't fit this in Real Life. Canine and feline creatures look like they are propped up on their toes (aka digitigrade which many four legged animals do), birds keep up on their talons and horses have a very different look set of joints in their legs that don't bend like a human knee. In fact their hooves are their fingernails, what you think is an ankle is a knuckle, the joint closest to the middle is a wrist and the backwards bending knee near the top is an elbow. We're through the looking glass here, people!

Why do animators do this? Well, there are horses and cattle in the countryside, pigeons in the city and cats and dogs as pets in the suburbs so it's either

A) All animators were raised and work on a space station circling the earth where the only animal encounter is with the occasional chimpanzee astronaut and passing-by Space Whale.

or B) Animator training involves things like studying actual animal anatomy and training with realistic studies of bone structure and then knowing what to discard. Drawing all the joints of a horses legs can look like you've given them slinkies for limbs when they are drawn in the same simplified style as one which makes humans look like they are walking around on a pair of tree trunks. Plus giving an animal a Humanlike Foot Anatomy means you can give them a human-like walking motion which displays human-like personality and emotions. They can strut, they can swagger, they can creep around on their tip-toes. They might just give them plantigrade feet when they are standing still for a particular stance or conversely just when they are moving for a particular walk. (Which in some cases is justified, since many of these animals will place their whole foot down when resting.) Sometimes, the character's feet are drawn as merely toes and without any sole or heel to them.

Plus it's easier.

Note for cartoony foot stance examples; Petting Zoo People are often drawn this way by default due to their Funny Animal Anatomy, so please list only examples that are meant to be four-legged depictions that fit into their world in the way the animal fits into ours. Two-legged depictions are allowed only if their feet are actually just toes. Any ungulate (hoofed) example is allowed as long it is not a Petting Zoo Person. Any bird example is allowed as long as it is a Nearly-Normal Animal, Civilized Animal, or Funny Animal like Daffy Duck or Woody Woodpecker. Please don't list any Petting Zoo Person bird examples like Falco Lombardi or Rev Runner.

Subtrope of Funny Animal Anatomy. Contrast Running on All Fours, when humanlike characters switch from two to four limbs for running.

Examples of Humanlike Foot Anatomy include:

Cartoony Foot Stance Examples:


  • Figaro the cat from Pinocchio and later the Classic Disney Shorts was shown with a plantigrade stance, but the trope is averted in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, where he is shown with the proper digitigrade stance.
  • Lucifer from Cinderella
  • Dinah and the Cheshire Cat from the Disney animated Alice in Wonderland
  • Tigger and Piglet (he does not even have hooves) from the Winnie the Pooh films and TV series count as examples, even though they are supposed to be stuffed animals.
    • Eeyore does not have hooves and is digitigrade, unlike real donkeys, which have hooves and are unguligrade.
  • Bullseye the horse from Toy Story 2 (also a toy, like Tigger).
  • The penguins from Mary Poppins.
  • Chicken Little, Buck Cluck, Goosey Loosey, and Abby Mallard ("The Ugly Duckling") from Chicken Little.
  • The penguins, Rico, Skipper, Private, and Kowalski, from Madagascar.
  • Jose Carioca, Pancho Pistoles and the Aracuan Bird in The Three Caballeros.
  • Rare live-action example: Torgo from Manos: The Hands of Fate is supposed to be a Satyr, but his legs... well, let's just say they don't work like they're supposed to, in any sense of the word. The actor had designed prostheses to make it look like he had goat hooves, but he wore them backwards.
  • Everyone from Robin Hood except Sir Hiss due to him being a snake, which doesn't have feet, and arguably Little John, bears being one of the few plantigrade mammals outside the primate family.

Newspaper Comics

  • Strange variant with Garfield. The title character has reasonably normal, digitigrade, cat-like feet when laying down, but plantigrade, somewhat humanoid feet when he stands up.
    • It's even odder than that: while Garfield usually walks upright with plantigrade feet, on the occasion he goes on all fours, he moves with digitigrade feet. Interestingly, in Real Life, a cat that has/wants to balance on its hind feet independently (that is, not leaning on anything) for more than a few seconds will usually go into a sort of half-sitting position, giving them a plantigrade look.

Television Series and Shorts

  • Gromit from the Wallace and Gromit shorts and film.
  • Pluto and Butch from the Classic Disney Shorts and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
  • The bulldog, Spike and his son Tyke, in Tom and Jerry cartoons is often seen with a rather bear-like stance like Butch above. It helps give the bulldogs a macho swagger and Butch often has his elbows bent out so that it looks like he's in the same position a human with their fists on their waist would be.
    • Same with Tom and the other cats and dogs in the cartoon series. Tom becomes more and more anthropomorphic as time goes on though.
  • Spike and Hector, the two bulldogs and Sylvester the cat from Looney Tunes.
    • Most digitigrade animals (cats and dogs) in Looney Tunes are shown plantigrade in fact.
  • The cat (e.g., Furball, Rita, Precious, and Crump Kitty) and dog (e.g., Runt, Newt, Buttons, and Barky Marky) characters from Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, and Pinky and The Brain.
  • Jake from Adventure Time has feet that are just toes.
  • The bull in the old Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon "Chilly con Carmen"
  • The moose in the Classic Disney Short Moose Hunters.
  • Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar from the Classic Disney Shorts are an example even though more modern appearances always depict them with shoes.
    • You don't see their back hooves anymore and their front hooves are drawn as hands, but in their really early appearances, you could see that they clearly exemplify this trope.
  • The dog and cat characters from Clifford the Big Red Dog look plantigrade (but drawn with just toes on the ground) in some poses, but look digitigrade in other poses.
  • Same with the dog and cat characters from Krypto the Superdog.
  • Courage and Katz in Courage the Cowardly Dog have feet that are just toes.
  • Quick Draw McGraw and Baba Looey from the Hanna-Barbera cartoons.
    • Averted in one Boomerang short cartoon where the two characters are drawn more realistically and with the proper unguligrade stance.
  • Played straight with Pig, Dog, Duck, and Sheep from Word World, but averted with Cat from the same show.
  • The Goodfeathers, the Girlfeathers, The Godpigeon, Chicken Boo, and the other bird chracters from Animaniacs.
  • Daffy Duck, Tweety, Foghorn Leghorn, Henery Hawk, Yoyo Dodo from Looney Tunes, averted with Roadrunner however.
  • Plucky Duck, Shirley the Loon, Fowlmoth, Sweetie, Gogo Dodo, and Li'l Beeper from Tiny Toon Adventures.}
  • Donald Duck and the other duck characters in the Classic Disney Shorts and DuckTales.
  • Woody Woodpecker
  • Non-animated example: Big Bird in Sesame Street is a human in a suit, therefore he has the same joints as a human. Jim Henson's sketchbook shows a design that would have averted it (the pupeteer would have faced backwards, so his knee seemed to bend back instead of forward), but it was deemed impractical.
  • The lions and the camel in The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That.
  • Buddy and Annie the T. rexes from Dinosaur Train are examples, but most of the other dinosaurs that are supposed to be digitigrade avert this trope.
  • Inversion: Mice are supposed to be plantigrade, but the mice in the original Angelina Ballerina cartoon are digitigrade (all the better to dance en pointe, one supposes).
    • Then un-inverted in the more recent CGI cartoons, where the characters are much more human-like (including always wearing shoes), pushing them into full Petting Zoo People territory and out of this trope.
  • Similarly, the Animated Adaptation of Redwall gave even the mouse characters a digitigrade stance. Made somewhat awkward by the fact that Matthias and Cornflower wore sandals that were still designed for a plantigrade stance.
  • Bo and Karla from Mama Mirabelle's Home Movies. The former has feet that are just toes and the latter has feet that are just hooves.
  • In My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, this is averted for once. While the feet of many of the ponies don't entirely look like actual hooved feet, they do actually walk like real equines.


  • Outsider deconstructs this, with the similar foot structures (arches and all) of humans and the Loroi are yet another bit of evidence that there's some connection between the two species.
  • Horses in The Order of the Stick have L shaped feet-leg structures, much like the human stick figures.

Cartoony Foot Shape Examples:

Comic Books



  • In most animated works, rabbits and hares are drawn with catlike footpads, which they don't have in real life. This is even when their feet look otherwise appropriate for a rabbit or hare.

Newspaper Comics

  • When standing on two legs, Garfield's feet look somewhat humanoid. However, they revert to fairly realistic catlike hindlegs when he's laying down.
  • Opus from Bloom County.
  • Most of the characters in Pogo, including the title character.


Television Series and Shorts

  • In the Tom and Jerry franchise, Jerry's feet bear very little resemblance to the feet of real mice and the two toes he has look rather like the two toes on camel feet.
  • Speedy Gonzales from Looney Tunes has two toed feet as well, but his feet look more like rabbit or hare feet with two toes.
  • Piglet and Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh don't have hooves and just have feet.
  • Goofy, Max, and even Mickey and Minnie Mouse have feet that look awfully like human feet.
    • Mickey and Minnie also have hand and foot proportions that would be more appropriate for a Canada Lynx than for a mouse.
    • Nearly all Dogfaces have awfully human-like feet in fact.
  • Minerva Mink from Animaniacs has feet that look a lot like human feet.
    • Skippy Squirrel's feet look unusually huge and catlike for a squirrel.
  • Cows in the Classic Disney Shorts from the mid 1920s to the early 1930s, whether four-legged or two-legged, have feet that look somewhere between cats' feet and camels' feet.
  • Ren and Stimpy. Ren's feet usually look appropriate for a dog (aside from having three toes instead of four), but can sometimes look somewhat humanoid, while Stimpy has plantigrade toeless feet.
  • Literally everyone on Swat Kats, especially T-Bone and Razor.
  • Rare Inversion: Many human characters in The Flintstones, especially female ones, have feet that are shaped rather like cats' hindfeet, including Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble.
  • Another Inversion: Human characters in The Fairly Odd Parents have three-toed feet that are shaped rather like cat's hindfeet.
  • All the anthropomorphic characters from Arthur have awfully human-like feet.
  • Daffy Duck has feet rather like that of a cat or a rabbit in the Looney Tunes in the Sixties.