Header Ads

Saturday Morning Cartoon Club: Dogtanian And The Three Muskahounds


Grab your bowl of cereal and put on your PJs and join us for Saturday Morning Cartoon ClubAFA's feature that celebrates the cartoons we grew up with (and the modern shows that keep their spirit alive).

Ask somebody what their favourite ever version of Robin Hood is, and a not-insignificant percentage of people will say the Disney version, which retold the story with talking animals. Similarly, there's a whole generation to who the definitive version of Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers is actually Dogtanian and The Three Muskehounds.

Dogtanian was a co-production between Japanese studio Nippon Animation and Spanish Broadcaster BRB, originally aired between 1981 and 1982. As the title suggests, it took the original Dumas tales and retold them in a child-friendly way featuring talking animals- mainly dogs, with the odd cat, mouse and bear thrown in for good measure.

Set in France in the 17th century, as in every version of the story, young Dogtanian (d'Artagnan in the original) yearned to become one of the King's Musketeers.  He soon befriends the three musketeers Porthos, Athos and Aramis, falls in love with a lady-in-waiting named Juliette, and gets caught up the schemes of the evil Cardinal and his spy Milady De Winter.

The series was originally created by Claudio Biern Boyd (founder of BRB) and was just one of a wave of successful Japanese-European co-productions at the time. Japan/France and Japan/Spain co-productions also produced such beloved series as Willy Fogg, Ulysses 31 and Mysterious Cities of Gold.

The series was dubbed into English and aired on the BBC for the first time in 1985. The series proved to be particularly popular in the UK, getting a rerun on rival broadcaster ITV after its initial run on Children's BBC had finished. When sequel series The Return of Dogtanian arrived in 1988, British broadcaster Thames was one of its producers. The series is fondly remembered by kids of the 80s and 90s today, and it often ranks high in polls of favourite kids series from the past. It even came top of a list for its ridiculously catchy theme tune! 

Despite the talking animals and other changes the series actually stayed fairly faithful to the original source and provided lots of swashbuckling fun. It is also fondly remembered for its dub, which featured early roles for Cam Clarke and Richard Epcar.

Dogtanian's last appearance to was in a 1995 TV movie One For All and All For One. With almost everything made in the 1980's being revived, there has been rumours of a return for a number of years. In 2018, details and art emerged from a proposed CGI movie version, and as of June 2021, the film has now arrived in UK cinemas via Altitude Films.

The movie could introduce the characters to a whole new generation. And we know it'll be OK. How? Because... One for All and All For One, Muskehounds are always ready...

You can still pick up the original series of Region 2 DVD in the UK or you can watch it via the official Dogtanian YouTube channel!

More Saturday Morning Cartoon Club can be found on our Patreon Page.