Clifford the Big Red Dog, the Scholastic standby from author Norman Bridwell that took Marmaduke’s simple “that dog’s simply too large” comedy format and made it heartwarmingly kid-focused, is getting the live-action movie treatment. The long-coming film, from Wild Hogs and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip director Walt Becker, looks to introduce the towering pooch to a new generation, but one question remains: How big is live-action Clifford, really?
The storybooks’ dog is inconsistent in size, but with his move into the more literal medium of film, perhaps some solid metrics can be nailed down. Thankfully, Paramount released a first look at Clifford the Big Red Dog (which stars Darby Camp as the little girl that gets Clifford from “a magical animal rescuer” played by John Cleese) and it’s one that offers up at least some point of reference for the classic character:
Ok, that’s an animated Labrador Retriever that looks like it’s just gone full Cujo on somebody, but at least it’s next to a handful of real dogs. We can use them to get a handle on what the official synopsis measures as a “giant ten-foot hound.”
Inspired by the below Tweet, I started looking into those calculations.
By my metric, Clifford is more like the size of 2 2/3 boxers:
If we multiply that figure by the American Kennel Club’s average height for an adult boxer (24”) we see that puppy Clifford is about 64” tall. That’s about 5’3”, or one standing Joe Pesci’s worth of “Big” Red Dog. Not that impressive. But wait—dogs are measured from the ground to their withers, which is a fancy way of saying the ridge between their shoulder blades. We’ve got to add head height into the mix.
That boxer’s head is about 1/3 of its sitting height. So those two full Boxers get an extra 8” of height, with the final boxer getting its full 24”. That brings the height total to 88” or 7’3”.
Clifford isn’t a peer of Home Alone star Pesci, but as tall as Kevin Peter Hall, the man behind the mask in Predator! Much more impressive, even if it’s not quite what was promised. That said, it might not be the cap Clifford hits in the film, seeing as he’s just a pup in this first look. If he actually grows up over the course of the movie, Clifford could really hit that 10’ promise from the synopsis. Our scientists look forward to more data being made available as we continue to look into the matter.
Clifford the Big Red Dog hits theaters on November 5, 2021.
Jacob Oller is Movies Editor at Paste Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter here: @jacoboller.
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