Toto (Oz)

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Oz character
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, 013.png
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 dog

Toto is a fictional dog in L. Frank Baum's Oz series of children's books, and works derived from them. His name is pronounced with a long "O", a homophone of "toe toe". He was originally a small terrier drawn by W. W. Denslow for the first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900). He reappears in numerous adaptations, such as The Wizard of Oz (1939), The Wiz (1978) and Return to Oz (1985).


The classic books[edit]

Illustration by W. W. Denslow

Toto belongs to Dorothy Gale, the heroine of the first and many subsequent books. In the first book, he never spoke, although other animals, native to Oz, did. In subsequent books, other animals gained the ability to speak upon reaching Oz or similar lands, but he remained speechless. In Tik-Tok of Oz, continuity is restored: he reveals that he is able to talk, just like other animals in the Land of Oz, and simply chooses not to. In The Lost Princess of Oz, he often talks continuously. Other major appearances include The Road to Oz, The Emerald City of Oz, Grampa in Oz and The Magical Mimics in Oz, in which he is the first to recognize the Mimics.

In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Baum did not specifically state Toto's breed, but wrote "he was a little black dog 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 works[edit]

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[edit]

Terry as Toto with Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz (1939)

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

Terry/Toto's memorial at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

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. She actually appeared in 13 films.[1] She died at age 11. Willard Carroll wrote her "autobiography," I, Toto (2001).

When Terry 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 her was dedicated at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.[2]

Later film versions[edit]

  • 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 King Prawn.
  • In 1996 an animated series The Oz Kids, Dot and Neddie have a puppy named Toto 2 who is named after him. One of the episodes says it 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, he 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 it, Silvertongues have the ability to bring a character from book to life by saying the words loud and clear. Meggy accidentally brings Toto out of the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and he becomes her companion (until he's sent back into it at the end). He 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. He lived with Dorothy even when she was invited to New York City to get her books published.
  • Toto is a German Shepherd in NBC's television series Emerald City. Initially a police dog that was in the police car Dorothy retreated to during the initial tornado that sent her to Oz, he is subsequently "adopted" by her in her journey through Oz. His name in Kansas is unknown, but he is named by Dorothy after the Munja'kin word for "dog".
  • On July 12, 2018, it was announced that Warner Animation Group will produce an animated movie about Toto. It will be based on the children’s book Toto: The Dog-Gone Amazing Story of The Wizard of Oz. [3]


Members of the American rock band Toto have said the band was named after the dog.[4] Though it was perhaps the original source for the name appearing on their demo tapes, they chose their name based upon the meaning of the Latin word toto ("all-encompassing").[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Terry on IMDb
  3. ^ "Wizard of Oz Animated Film to Retell the Story from Toto's Perspective". Screen July 15, 2018. Retrieved August 5, 2018. 
  4. ^ Campbell, Mary (July 11, 1982). "Toto's biggest hit". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Associated Press. p. 29 (top right). Retrieved November 30, 2016. Paich says, 'Jeff remembered the name of the dog in The Wizard of Oz. We were going to put it on the demonstration records and change it later. We just never found another name.' 
  5. ^ Metzger, Greg. Rock Band Name Origins, p. 200. McFarland, 2008.

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