Dog City

Dog City

Dog City title screen
Also known as Jim Henson's Dog City
Written by Laraine Arkow, Terrie Collins, Marty Isenberg, Robert N. Skir, Robert Schechter, and Gary Sperling.[1]
Starring Muppet performers:
Fran Brill
Lisa Buckley
Kevin Clash
Joey Mazzarino
Brian Muehl
David Rudman
Voices of Ron White
Elizabeth Hanna
Stuart Stone
John Stocker
James Rankin
Stephen Ouimette
Howard Jerome
Paulina Gillis
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 31
Executive producer(s) Michael K. Frith
Brian Henson
Patrick Loubert
Michael Hirsch
Clive A. Smith
Production company(s) Nelvana Limited
Jim Henson Productions
Original network USA:
FOX (Fox Kids)[2]
Original release September 26, 1992 – November 26, 1994

Dog City is an American/Canadian television series that was produced by Nelvana Limited and Jim Henson Productions and aired on FOX from September 26, 1992 to November 26, 1994 and in Canada on Teletoon until 2000. The show contained both animation by Nelvana, and puppetry by Jim Henson Productions.

TV movie

Dog City was originally a thirty-nine-minute long TV movie, broadcast in 1989 as an episode of The Jim Henson Hour, featuring the characters as puppets. In Dog City: The Movie, Ace Yu inherits a bar-restaurant called the Dog House following the death of his Uncle Harry and is harassed for protection money by crime syndicate boss Bugsy Them (who was responsible for the death of Uncle Harry, who, as it turns out, was actually Ace's father). Refusing to pay or fight him, Bugsy kidnaps Ace's love interest Colleen. There are car chases and shoot-em-ups and rubber duckies involved in the action. In the end, Ace defeats Bugsy and gets the girl.[3]


Dog City: The Movie also features cameos by Sprocket the Dog from Fraggle Rock, Lyle the Dog and Baskerville the Hound from The Muppet Show, a dog character that resembles Tramp from Lady and the Tramp, and a background pug that later appears in Jim Henson's Animal Show, Puppet Up!, and other Henson Alternative projects.

The Muppets of Ace Yu and his associates would make cameos in The Muppets at Walt Disney World and would later go on to become Eliot Shag and the other "real world" counterparts to the animated characters.

Dog City: The Movie (sans the framing sequences) was released to regions 1 and 2.

The company's YouTube channel has 6 clips from the pilot in a playlist called "Dogs of Anarchy!".[4]


The animated portions of the show focused on a canine private investigator named Ace Hart. The Muppet portions of the show focused on the interactions between Ace Hart and his animator Eliot Shag (who, like Ace, is a German Shepherd). Eliot would illustrate the stories while Ace would go traverse through it, occasionally breaking the fourth wall to speak with Eliot about the various troubles with the story. In one episode, Eliot even enters Dog City himself to join Ace in solving a mystery.

A recurring gag was that many of the characters in the cartoon were seemingly based on the residents of Eliot's apartment building. The bulldog crime-boss Bugsy Vile was inspired by the building's grouchy bulldog superintendent Bruno. Ace's love interest Rosie was based on Eliot's unrequited feelings for his neighbor Colleen, and so on. The Muppet characters were unaware of this. In the first episode, Bruno asks Eliot how a loser like him could have created a great character like Bugsy. Eliot replies "Sometimes it's just staring you in the face".

Later series included segments from other shows Eliot worked on, including skits featuring the main Dog City characters and a superhero series starring the Batman parody Watchdog.





Season 1: 1992–93

Ep Title Air date
11"The Big Squeak"September 26, 1992 (1992-09-26)
Bugsy Vile steals all the squeaky toys in the hope of finding one that will unlock a millionaire's safe.
22"Taming of the Screw"October 3, 1992 (1992-10-03)
Ace Hart is persuaded to capture escaped lunatic Screwy Louie before Bugsy's gang can recruit him.
33"Meat the Butcher"October 10, 1992 (1992-10-10)
When Elliot's boss wants an Ace Hart adventure with violence, Elliot takes up Ace's advice and animates an episode where Ace is attacked by a psychopathic hitman named Meat the Butcher.
44"Disobedience School"October 17, 1992 (1992-10-17)
Bugsy takes over a school with the intent of corrupting young pups into robbing the bank. Unknown to him, all of his pupils (except Eddie) are cops in disguise.
55"The Dog Pound"October 31, 1992 (1992-10-31)
Ace Hart is sent to jail for stealing a priceless slipper and must prove his innocence.
66"Radio Dazed"November 14, 1992 (1992-11-14)
A series of suspicious accidents threaten to put Dog City's radio station off air.
77"The Bloodhound"November 21, 1992 (1992-11-21)
When Elliot gets suspicious of Colleen's new boyfriend, he animates an Ace Hart adventure where he tracks down a vampire called the Bloodhound.
88"Adventures in Puppysitting"November 28, 1992 (1992-11-28)
Bugsy recruits master thief Puppy-faced Felson who specialists in disguising himself as a baby so he can steal jewelery from wealthy heiresses.
99"Ya Gotta Have Hart"December 19, 1992 (1992-12-19)
When Elliot Shag and Ace object to Elliot's boss on the changes of the Ace Hart cartoons, both of them end up fired. In order to pay the rent, Elliot animates Ace into performing in different commercials, French films, and nursery rhymes. Meanwhile, Bruno, who wanted to kick out Elliot anyway, plots to kick Elliot out regardless of status.
1010"In Your Dreams"January 9, 1993 (1993-01-09)
After a long hard day of drawing a new Ace Hart adventure, Elliot Shag falls asleep at his drawing table where he appears as a cartoon in Ace Hart's world.
1111"Rocketship K-9"January 16, 1993 (1993-01-16)
When Bruno is convinced that aliens are going to invade, Elliot Shag animates an Ace Hart cartoon where Ace has to save the moon from Bugsy Vile, Baron von Rottweiler, and a Russian cat agent named Bestov Breed.
1212"Cats 'n' Dogs"January 23, 1993 (1993-01-23)
During Elliot's infestation of fleas, Bruno suspects that the cats are responsible, causing Ms. Fluffé to fire him. This gives Elliot the idea of an Ace Hart cartoon where Bugsy Vile is in a gang war with the East Side Cats led by Claude Baddeley.
1313"Is It Arf?"January 30, 1993 (1993-01-30)
Ace meets rival detective Sherlock Bones at the time when an art thief is at large.

Season 2: 1993

Ep Title Air date
141"Boss Bruiser"September 18, 1993 (1993-09-18)
When Bruno gets fired, the job of maintenance falls to Bowser. This inspires Elliot to animate an Ace Hart cartoon where Bruiser is put in charge of Bugsy Vile's gang.
152"Springer Fever"September 25, 1993 (1993-09-25)
Bugsy Vile throws Dog City into chaos by kidnapping the Mayor's secretary. Colleen dumps Elliot and he gets a new love interest: Artie's mum Terri.
163"Much Ado About Mad Dog"October 2, 1993 (1993-10-02)

Ace gains a new ally after saving Mad Dog from drowning. In this episode, it is revealed Mad Dog quotes William Shakespeare's lines when hit over the head. In the real world, Terri is approached by Colonel Claghound who wants to make a business deal with her.

Note: Colonel Claghound is a recycled version of Lyle the Dog from The Muppet Show.
174"Of Mutts and Mayors"October 9, 1993 (1993-10-09)
Bugsy cheats in the election and becomes mayor of Dog City. Ace and Rosie are fired from the police force and declared outlaws.
185"Who Watches the Watchdog?"October 16, 1993 (1993-10-16)

While Elliot repairs Artie's Bite-Man figure, it inspires him to make an Ace Hart cartoon where Ace accompanies Eddie to a comic convention where Bugsy Vile competes with the Labrador Gang to steal the 100 rarest comics.

Note: One of the guest at the comic book convention is called Stan Flea, who is a homage to Stan Lee. There is also Mongrel Comics (a parody of Marvel Comics) which published the Whippet (who vaguely resembles The Spirit, but whose costume and whip-like tail are a tribute to Indiana Jones) and Weiner Dog (a rubbery canine a la Plastic Man or Mister Fantastic).
196"The Great Dane Curse"October 23, 1993 (1993-10-23)
Ace Hart is hired to protect a wealthy heiress from assassins and her controlling father. Unknown to Ace, her boyfriend is Bruiser.
207"Out of the Mouths of Pups"October 30, 1993 (1993-10-30)
Elliot's fans (including Artie) mail him ideas for new Ace Hart episodes, which he attempts to incorporate into his latest cartoon.
218"Farewell, My Rosie"November 6, 1993 (1993-11-06)
Rosie disappears on the same day as Ace's party. Ace discovers she was Bugsy Vile's prom date and nearly married Baron Von Rottweiler.
229"Old Dogs, New Tricks"November 13, 1993 (1993-11-13)

Elliot Shag teams up with his old animation teacher Scratch McCollie in order to do an Ace Hart cartoon where Ace teams up with Sam Spayed.

Note: Scratch McCollie is a refurbished version of the Wolfhound from The Muppet Show.
2310"Sick as a Dog"November 20, 1993 (1993-11-20)
When Elliot Shag is sick and unable to make his deadline, his neighbors help to make an Ace Hart cartoon where they each take turns animating.

Season 3: 1994

Ep Title Air date
241"The New Litter"September 17, 1994 (1994-09-17)
Ace and Eddie visit Jurassic Park and Bugsy steals the secret chemical for cloning dinosaurs. Artie creates his own cartoon featuring the squeaky toy Mr. Mookie.
252"Doggy See, Doggy Do"September 24, 1994 (1994-09-24)
Ace pursues a criminal posing as a children's TV star. Artie gets bad grades in school and is grounded.
263"Comedy of Horrors"October 1, 1994 (1994-10-01)

Baron Von Rottweiler steals Eddie's brain and tries to force Rosie to marry his monster. An escaped lunatic resembling Bowser terrorizes Elliot, Artie and Bruno.

Note: This cartoon pays homage to several classic horror movies, including Frankenstein, Nosferatu, The Wolf Man, The Shining, Godzilla, Roger Corman's adaption of the Edgar Allan Poe series, and Friday the 13th.
274"Howl the Conquering Hero"October 8, 1994 (1994-10-08)
Elliot helps Artie understand that a hero doesn't always have to be a superhero. This gives Elliot the idea to animate an Ace Hart cartoon where Ace and Bugsy Vile compete for the Hero of the Year award.
285"Reduce, Re-Use, Retrieve"November 5, 1994 (1994-11-05)

Artie tries to get the other apartment residents to recycle. This gives Elliot the inspiration to animate an Ace Hart cartoon where Ace uncovers a plot by Baron von Rottweiler to take over the world by stealing the world's trees.

In the latest adventures of "The Adventures of Rosie and Dot," Rosie and Dot go camping in the same forest as Bugsy Vile's gang.

In "Yves 'n Steven," Yves' plot to steal prized possessions is comically thwarted by Steven.
296"Future Schlock"November 12, 1994 (1994-11-12)
Baron Rottweiler builds a time machine and travels back to the 1600s where he uses squeaky toys to buy America from the Native American wolves.
307"No Pain, No Brain"November 19, 1994 (1994-11-19)
Bugsy and Ace compete in the Olympic games. Artie, Bruno and Bowser help Elliot get in shape for the Marathon.
318"Dog Days of Summer Vacation"November 26, 1994 (1994-11-26)
Elliot, Artie, and Terri plan a vacation, which inspires an episode where Ace has to take on the Vandalizer, a crooked canine that wrecks vacations for others.


Muppet performers


Additional voices


Season One

Season Two

Season Three


Dog City received generally positive reviews from critics, holding a 7.6 on IMDb. Fans, meanwhile, liked the idea of a cartoon conversing with his animator and the parallels between the cartoon and the "real" world.

Video releases

Two VHS tapes with two episodes each were released by Sony Wonder. Much Ado About Mad Dog contains the episodes Much Ado About Mad Dog and Old Dogs, New Tricks. The Big Squeak contains the episodes The Big Squeak and Boss Bruiser. Another tape, Disobedience School was released in the UK through Channel 4 and contains the episodes Disobedience School, The Dog Pound, and Radio Daze.

Dog City: The Movie was released to UK exclusive region 2 DVD, and a Region 1 DVD was released on June 8, 2010, though the series has not had any DVD release. Most episodes of all three seasons are available from Amazon Video on Demand.


  1. Erickson, Hal (1993). Television Cartoon Shows An Illustrated Encyclopedia 1949-1993. McFarland and Company Inc., Publishers. ISBN 0-7864-0029-3.
  2. Stevens, Mary (February 5, 1993). "It's Not Easy Being A Henson". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
  3. "Jim Henson's Dog City: The Movie". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
  4. Dogs of Anarchy
  5. Erickson, Hal (1993). Television Cartoon Shows An Illustrated Encyclopedia 1949-1993. McFarland and Company Inc., Publishers. ISBN 0-7864-0029-3.
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