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Toto (Oz)

Oz character
Toto--illustration by W. W. Denslow
First appearance The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
Created by L. Frank Baum and W. W. Denslow
Portrayed by Terry
Species Dog
Gender male
Occupation Dorothy Gale's loyal pet dog/royal dog of Oz

Toto is a fictional pet dog in American author L. Frank Baum's Oz series of children's books. The name is pronounced with a long "O", a homophone of "toe-toe". Toto was originally illustrated by artist W. W. Denslow as being a small, dark-haired and shaggy terrier in the first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900). He reappears in numerous adaptations based on the novel and its sequels, most notably the 1939 MGM musical movie version of the first Oz book, starring actress Judy Garland as the film's main character and Toto's owner, Dorothy Gale.


  • The Classic Oz Books 1
  • Later books 2
  • Terry and the MGM film 3
  • Later film versions 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

The Classic Oz Books

Toto wears the green tinted spectacles of Emerald City--illustration by W. W. Denslow (1900).

Toto is the loyal and beloved pet dog of a little orphan girl named Land of Oz by a cyclone, it is stated that Toto didn't care whether he lived in Oz or not, but since Dorothy was ultimately unhappy there, it made him unhappy too.

In the first book, Toto never spoke actual words upon entering the universe of Oz although other animals native to Oz, did. Throughout the series, it is revealed other non-native animals immediately gained the ability to magically speak when reaching Oz and the several enchanted lands neighboring it, due to the fact Oz is a country that lies within a realm containing fairy-regions. However, Toto still remained speechless, only barking to communicate, even after Dorothy befriends Oz's rightful ruler, the child Queen Princess Ozma, and her aunt and uncle move to Oz permanently in The Emerald City of Oz (1910). In Baum's Tik-Tok of Oz (1914), continuity is restored: Toto finally reveals that he is able to talk, just like other animals in Oz. He says he could've spoken all along but simply chose not to so he didn't lead on. In the novel's after that Toto still barks a lot but does speak from time to time.

Baum did not specifically state Toto's breed, but describes him as "a little black dog (male although he was played by a female dog in the 1939 MGM movie) with long silky hair and small black eyes that twinkled merrily on either side of his funny, wee nose". However, from the illustrations in the first book many have concluded that he is a Cairn Terrier while others believe he is a Yorkshire Terrier as this breed was very popular at the time and it fits the illustration quite well. In subsequent books he becomes a Boston Terrier for reasons that are never explained, but then resumes the earlier look in later books.

Later books

Toto is the title character in two apocryphal Oz books, Toto in Oz (1986) by Chris Dulabone and Toto of Oz (2006) by Gina Wickwar.

In Toto in Oz, after receiving taunts from his friends when falling into a flower basket during a celebration of Midsummer Day 1986, Toto decides to see Glinda about getting a title so that he can command respect. On the way, he wanders into the town of Arfrica (a human population, in spite of its name), digs up an ivory scepter that he mistakes for a bone, and is proclaimed First Magistrate for a term of nine years. He requires everyone to learn the language of dogs in a series of lessons. When he is about to be forced into a marriage with a human princess, he escapes on a magic carpet, and becomes smitten with a Hawaiian Scottish Terrier named Labyz. Ultimately, he names a Second Magistrate to serve in his place and returns to the Emerald City.

In Gregory Maguire's novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Toto is a minor character who is only described as being vile and annoying. In the musical adaption Wicked, he is only mentioned briefly when Glinda mistakenly calls him "Dodo".

Terry and the MGM film

Terry with Judy Garland in the 1939 feature film, The Wizard of Oz

In the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, Toto was played by a female brindle Cairn Terrier whose real name was Terry. She was paid a $125 salary each week, which was far more than many of the human actors (the Singer Midgets who played the Munchkins reportedly received $50 to $100 a week).

During production, Terry's foot was broken when one of the Winkie guards accidentally stepped on it. A second dog had to be used while she healed. Due to the popularity of the movie, and because that role was the one she was most remembered for, her owner and trainer changed her official name to Toto in 1942. She actually appeared in 13 different films.[1] She died at age 11. Willard Carroll wrote her "autobiography," I, Toto (2001).

When she died in 1945 Carl Spitz buried her on his ranch in Studio City, CA. However, the construction of the Ventura Freeway in 1958 destroyed her grave. On June 18, 2011 a permanent memorial for Terry was dedicated at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.[2]

Later film versions

  • In Disney's 1985 movie Return to Oz, Toto was played by a female Border Terrier named Tansy.
  • The 1978 movie version of The Wiz featured a dark gray Schnauzer as Toto.
  • Toto appears in The Wizard of Oz cartoon with his vocal effects provided by Frank Welker.
  • In ABC's telefilm The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, he is played by Pepe the Prawn.
  • In 1996 an animated series The Oz Kids, Dot and Neddie have a puppy named Toto 2 who is named after Dorothy's dog Toto. One of the episodes says Dorothy's dog Toto is a female.
  • In the VeggieTales episode "The Wonderful Wizard of Has", he is replaced by a pig named "Tutu".
  • In the Sci-Fi Channel miniseries Tin Man, Toto is portrayed as a shape-shifting human. He was originally the tutor of DG and her sister, and his name of "Toto" came from DG's childhood inability to say "Tutor". He was played by Blu Mankuma.
  • Toto also appears in the film Inkheart. In that film, Silvertongues have the ability to bring a character from book to life by saying the words loud and clear. Meggy accidentally brings him out of the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and he becomes her companion (until he's sent back into it at the end). Toto helps defeat the evil shadow monster as well.
  • In the Disney Channel original movie The Cheetah Girls the main character has a dog named Toto. This name is given to him most likely because one of the characters is named Dorothea (Dorothy). However, this dog is a Bichon Frise instead of a black Cairn Terrier.
  • Toto appeared in Dorothy and the Witches of Oz. Toto lived with Dorothy even when she was invited to New York City to get her books published.

See also


  1. ^ [3]
  2. ^ [4]

External links

  • The essay "Symbolism of Toto"
  • Terry at the Internet Movie Database
  • A site listing plots and films of Terry, aka Toto, and Cairn movies
  • The Hollywood Forever Memorial online home
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