Whether they be long bois or CHONK, smol or Absolute Units, we can probably agree that all doggos are good bois at heart—which is why they make such excellent companions in any timeline!
A surprising number of dogs (and other canine-adjacent creatures) have shown up in time travel stories, and quite possibly in real life, too. We’ve leashed eight such tales for your enjoyment—fortunately none of these time travelers has caused a paradogs (get it??). Tell us about any puppers we overlooked!
Dog-Face Joe — The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
Tim Powers’ time travel classic features two nods to the canine: one of its villains is Amenophis Fikee, better known as Dog-Face Joe, a body-swapping magician/murderer. So far so good. But he earned his nickname because of a spell gone awry, thick fur to grow on each new body he inhabits. The more dog-like he becomes, them more urgent it is that he murder his host body and move on to the next one.
And of course the Gates themselves—portals to the past that draw on ancient Egyptian magic—are based on the dog-headed god Anubis. He’s the judge of the dead in Egyptian cosmology, and if you think that doesn’t play into the story you need to revisit Chekov’s maxim about Ancient Egyptian Deities appearing in Act One.
Seymour — “Jurassic Bark,” Futurama
Seymour is Philip J. Fry’s loyal dog, and like most of us, he only time travels in one direction. But his life is impacted by time travel, and, well, he’s just such a good boy, and such an iconic member of a time travel-based show, that I’m including him here!
OK, that’s not the real reason.
I accidentally looked him up while I was putting this list together and dammit, if I’m going to bawl at my desk, so are you.
Cyril — To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
Cyril the English bulldog gets mixed up in the extremely twisty time travel plot of Connie Willis’ To Say Nothing of the Dog. Ned Henry, a time traveler from 2057, has to go back to 1888 to fix an anomaly that was caused when a fellow traveler, Verity Kindle, brought a cat named Princess Arjumand back with her to the future. But Ned’s been hopping around in time a little too much lately, and ends up in a rowboat with Terrence St. Trewes and the aforementioned Cyril when they have to rescue a professor who’s just been pushed off a bridge, and by the time the three men are in the boat together, to say nothing of the dog, he’s quite forgotten his mission.
As you can imagine, things go increasingly pear-shaped from there, but Cyril is as stalwart and perfect a character as you would expect.
Ananda — A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle
Fortinbras, the faithful Great Dane of the Murry family, doesn’t really get in on the time travel shenanigans. But his successor, the large stray lab-mix named Ananda, has a much more integral role. She shows up at the Murry’s on Thanksgiving, the same night that a mad dictator is threatening the world with nuclear annihilation. Naturally they take the poor pupper in, and is promptly given her name, Sanskrit for “that joy in existence without which the universe will fall apart and collapse” by precocious genius Charles Wallace. CW then takes up the challenge to go leaping through time to try to change history and cancel the apocalypse while maintaining a psychic connection with his sister Meg. (As one does.) But Meg soon realizes that snuggling Ananda in her bed makes the connection much stronger, as the doggo acts as a sort of psychic conduit.
So, in the L’Engle-verse, a dog basically saved the whole world with time travel.
Tock — The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, Illustrated by Jules Feiffer
Tock is a tocking, talking dog who guides Milo through the Kingdom of Wisdom in The Phantom Tollbooth. Does Tock travel through time? Only in the sense that you and I do. However, he is a “watchdog,” has an alarm clock embedded in his torso, and is essentially TIME ITSELF. Plus at the end of the book, Milo realizes that his weeks-long journey has only taken about an hour in Manhattan time, so, I say it’s a time travel story!
And I love this book and Tock’s my favorite so I’m including him.
K9 — Doctor Who, K-9 and Company, The Sarah Jane Adventures, and K9
Sure he’s a robot, but he’s a dog robot. Or to be more specific, he’s several dog robots—there have been four versions of K9 at various points across the show, and they have all chosen to end their time-faring adventures by becoming a permanent BFF to a Companion: Mark I stayed on Gallifrey with Leela, Mark II partnered up with Romana after a severe injury, and Marks III and IV accompanied Sarah Jane Smith on for spinoff adventures.
In addition to being a time-traveling robot dog, various iterations of K9 can hover, fly, sense danger, and shoot lasers from its nose. It also has a USB port, and, being a robot, has a vast store of knowledge for its human companions to use.
Einstein — Back to the Future Trilogy, Back to the Future: The Animated Series
Einstein is the successor to Doc Brown’s previous dog, Copernicus, but he’s not just a companion animal: he is the world’s first time traveler in the Back to the Future-verse. Doc Brown strapped him into the DeLorean and sent him off, and he came back fine, though maybe a little confused. It was this historic journey that kicks off Marty McFly’s own adventure: when the terrorists show up looking for their plutonium, Marty only know he can escape in the DeLorean because Einstein survived his trip. In Back to the Future Part III Einstein leaves for times unknown with Doc, his wife Clara, and his children Jules and Verne, and in the animated series Einstein has learned to talk and has become Doc’s lab assistant. But Einstein won’t quite make it to number one on this list, because, well:
Mister Peabody — Peabody’s Improbable History, Peabody & Sherman, The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show
Mister Peabody is alone among the dogs on this list in inventing the time machine he uses. The WABAC Machine (acronym unknown) is a large cabinet-computer-style device, which Mr. Peabody and his boy, Sherman, walk into to travel backwards through time. (This is essentially, Mr. Peabody’s extremely comprehensive method of home-schooling Sherman—for those unfamiliar, Sherman is Mister Peabody’s adopted son, and it’s clear the Mister Peabody loves him very much and considers him a very good boy.) Using the WABAC Peabody and Sherman visit historical eminences including Alexander Graham Bell, Johannes Gutenberg, Calamity Jane, and P.T. Barnum, and attend such historical moments as the building of the Great Pyramid and the first-ever game of golf. The WABAC also served as the inspiration for the internet’s own Wayback Machine, which will ensure that no minutiae of human history is ever forgotten.