List of Doctor Dolittle characters

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This is a list of characters from the Doctor Dolittle series of children's books by Hugh Lofting and movies based on them.


Doctor Dolittle[edit]

Doctor John Dolittle, M.D. is an English doctor who became a doctor for animals when his parrot, Polynesia taught him to speak the language of animals. He lived in the fictional town of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh (commonly referred to as Puddleby) in England's West Country, along with his many animals. He has very few human friends and spends most of his time treating animals, travelling the world with his animals and conducting research into new animals and new forms of animal languages.[1]

He is portrayed by Sir Rex Harrison in the 1967 film Doctor Dolittle, and later by Eddie Murphy in the first two entries of the remake series of the film which were released in 1998 and 2001 respectively. The Murphy films however bear little resemblance to Lofting's character or plots.

Tommy Stubbins[edit]

Tommy Stubbins is a boy from Puddleby who, after taking an injured squirrel to Doctor Dolittle, becomes the doctor's friend and assistant. His father is the doctor's favorite shoemaker. He first appears in The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle and acts as the narrator in all the books that take place after his arrival.[2]
He was played by William Dix in the 1967 film.

Matthew Mugg[edit]

Matthew Mugg is the Cat's-meat-man {fish} from Puddleby. He is a friend of Doctor Dolittle and helps to take care of the doctor's house and garden when the doctor is away travelling. He is illiterate but practical, and advised the doctor to become a veterinarian and learn animal languages. He was played by Anthony Newley in the 1967 film.

Prince Bumpo[edit]

Prince Bumpo is an African prince from the kingdom of Jolliginki, who has been sent to study at Oxford University by his father, and become a friend of the Doctor's. Bumpo is recognisable by his green umbrella and bare feet - not used to wearing shoes, he usually discards them. Bumpo has been the subject of heavy Bowdlerisation in recent years. He was originally supposed to appear in the 1967 film intact, but casting problems eventually led to his character being considerably softened and renamed as William Shakespeare the Tenth.[3]

General Bellowes[edit]

A retired military commander in Puddleby. Extremely fond of food and drink to which his ample girth and red nose can readily attest. Loathes any sort of new, off the wall or odd ideas (for Victorian England), which includes the basic idea of veterinary science, nevermind that the veterinarian can Talk to the Animals.

Owns several dogs, horses and other animals all of whom betray their owner when Dolittle queries them at his trial about their owner's excesses of food, drink and female companionship.

He never appeared in any of the books, only appearing in the 1967 film where he was played by Peter Bull in the 1967 film.

Long Arrow[edit]

An American Indian, son of Golden Arrow. He is the world's greatest naturalist, specializing in botany and traveling through the mountains of Peru and Spidermonkey Island. He has learned the language of eagles and thus is able to communicate with Dr. Dolittle. He is featured in The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle.

William Shakespeare the Tenth[edit]

The tribal leader of Sea Star Island, a floating tropical paradise. He and his tribe are well educated in literature and history, and each citizen is able to speak several languages. Parents name their children after their favorite authors, hence his name. He is nicknamed "Willy" and was played by Geoffrey Holder in the 1967 film. He never appeared in any of Lofting's original books.



Polynesia is Doctor Dolittle's parrot, a Blue and Gold Macaw. She is able to speak English and first taught Doctor Dolittle the language of animals. She always says she can never remember how old she is, but she remembers that when she came to England, she saw Charles II of England hiding in an oak tree in 1651 from the Roundheads: "he looked very frightened". Along with Chee-Chee and the crocodile, she decided to stay in Africa at the end of the original story, but returned in later stories.


Gub-Gub is Doctor Dolittle's pig. He is a great lover of food. Gub Gub's Book: An Encyclopedia of Food is written as if it were a record of conversions with Gub-Gub on its supposed contents.


Jip is Doctor Dolittle's dog. He has a very strong sense of smell. In The Story of Doctor Dolittle, he was able to rescue a man stranded on an island by following the man's scent across the ocean.[1] He appears as a Labrador Retriever in the 1967 film.


Chee-Chee is a monkey. In The Story of Doctor Dolittle, Chee-Chee was once the property of an organ-grinder but soon lived with the doctor. His name apparently means 'ginger' in monkey language. He appears as a chimpanzee in the 1967 film.


Dab-Dab is Doctor Dolittle's duck. After the doctor's sister, Sarah Dolittle, leaves the house in Puddleby due to her dislike of alligators, Dab-Dab becomes the doctor's housekeeper.


Too-Too is the doctor's owl. He acts as the Doctor's accountant, and can tell the Doctor immediately how much money he has in the money box.

The Pushmi-pullyu[edit]

The pushmi-pullyu (pronounced "push-me—pull-you") is a "gazelle-unicorn cross" which has two heads (one of each) at opposite ends of its body. When it tries to move, both heads try to go in opposite directions. Dr. Dolittle meets it on his voyage to Africa to save monkeys (See: The Story of Doctor Dolittle). The pushmi-pullyu usually only uses one of its heads to talk, reserving the other for eating (thus allowing the pushmi-pullyu to eat while speaking without being rude) and claims to be related to almost all kinds of deer - its great-grandfather was supposedly the last unicorn. In the 1967 film, the pushmi-pullyu was instead portrayed as a double-headed llama. The doctor can immediately speak to the pushmi-pullyu, knowing that llamas speak a dialect of camel language. The Eddie Murphy film has a brief scene where it is walking in the background while Dr. Dolittle talks to the tiger in the cage. This is in keeping with the fact that Murphy's movie version was only loosely based on the books.[4]


A visually-impaired horse who requires spectacles. In the film, he was owned by General Bellowes but in the book Dr Dolittle's Circus, he is simply an old farm animal the doctor previously knew, who has now retired.

Great Pink Sea Snail[edit]

An enormous undersea mollusk with an airtight shell, he ferries Matthew, Tommy and Emma back to England along with a host of small animals when Dolittle resigns himself to living abroad for the rest of his life due to the price on his head issued by General Bellowes. He appears in The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle.

Sophie the Seal[edit]

Sophie the Seal is treated by Dolittle during his time with the circus in the film and makes it apparent to the doctor that she doesn't like life at the circus and wants to return to the sea to find her husband. Dolittle disguises her as a woman and takes her to the sea, but a villager in Brighton witnesses Dolittle throwing her off a cliff and gets him arrested for murder. in Hugh lofting's book Dr Dolittle's Circus, this is the last we hear of Sophie, and it is presumed she makes it back to Alaska. The doctor is released from jail as the local magistrate, Sir William Peabody, is an old school friend, who releases him. However, in the 1967 film he is tried and found guilty of insanity by General Bellowes, who commits him to an insane asylum, the animals catch wind of it and help Doolittle high-tail it out of town before he can be incarcerated embarking upon a series of worldwide adventures on the open sea.

When Sophie catches up to him again, he is ensconced upon Sea Star Island, a mythical floating tropical paradise which had broken off from Africa centuries ago and which has just been rejoined. As the Great Pink Sea Snail leaves with his human and animal cargo, Sophie along with her husband and pups informs him that every animal in Puddleby has gone on strike in protest over the treatment handed down to Dolittle by General Bellowes. Overjoyed, he enlists the services of the Great Lunar Moth to help him return to Britain.

Giant Lunar Moth[edit]

Possessing the ability to be attracted by either earthshine or moonlight depending on direction, the moth travels regularly back and forth between the earth and the Lofting's original book, he appears only in Dr dolittle in the moon as transporting the doctor to and from the moon, however in the 1967 film he has a larger part to play Fashioning a saddle, Dolittle convinces the moth to make a slight detour back to Puddleby whereupon after the woman to whom the bonnet and shawl in which Sophie had been dressed before being thrown into the sea appears very much alive and well, his sentence is commuted by Bellowes and everyone rejoices at the Doctor's return.


  1. ^ a b The Story of Doctor Dolittle
  2. ^ The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle
  3. ^
  4. ^ BBC News