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Chewbacca is based on a dog

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I am fully on board as war of stars Fan after many years of being less involved with movies than anyone else I know. My new interest is the result of learning that the inspiration for Chewbacca was a dog. In particular, this lovable Wookiee is based on George Lucas’ Alaskan Malamute, Indiana.

According to Lucas, Indiana sat like a copilot in the front seat of his car and was regularly mistaken for a person. (As an aside, his dog is responsible for the name of one of Lucas’ other famous characters – Indiana Jones.)


When I found out the character was based on a real dog, I assumed that his name, as well as his nickname (Chewie), was indicative of the chewing behavior we all know so well in our own dogs. However, the name Chewbacca is derived from “Sobaka” – the Russian word for dog. The character has been depicted by the creators as a cross between a monkey, a dog, and a cat. His voice comes from bear voices mixed with sounds from other species, including lions, badgers, camels, rabbits, and walruses.

Still, there is no doubt that his behavior is extremely dog-like in the sense that he is Han Solo’s best and most loyal friend. It’s no surprise that he is considered one of the top 10 movie pals of all time.

While Chewbacca isn’t actually a dog, it is easy to get caught up in a guessing game of what breeds would lead to a Chewbacca-like individual. My pick is a Briard crossed with a Brussels Griffon. With apologies to George Lucas, I see no signs of an Alaskan malamute, although the resemblance to his own beloved dog may be behavioral rather than morphological.



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