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What Breed of Dog Was Nana in Peter Pan? (Answered 2023)

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What type of dog played the nana in peter panYou’re gonna flip when you hear what breed of dog played Nana in Disney’s Peter Pan. This classic 1953 cartoon still makes you feel all the feels, am I right? Well, strap in, because we’re about to sleuth out the deets on Peter Pan’s nanny pup.

This OG Disney flick has Nana watchin’ over those darling Darling kids while Mr. and Mrs. D are out for the evening. She keeps little Wendy, John, and Michael in line with her caring canine ways. Nana’s got that gentle, nurturing energy that makes her a natural nursemaid. But what kinda fur baby is she exactly? Author J.

M. Barrie said Nana is a Newfoundland. Makes sense—they’re total sweethearts. But in later versions, our favorite floof ball gets depicted more as a St. Bernard.

So what’ll it be—Newfie or Bernard for the win? Grab some popcorn my friend, ‘cause we’re diving in deep on this Disney doxie mystery.

Key Takeaways

  • Nana was portrayed as a Newfoundland in the book and as a Saint Bernard in the Disney films.
  • The portrayal of Nana caused controversy among Disney historians and dog experts.
  • Nana was inspired by JM Barrie’s own Newfoundland, Luath, and was meticulously designed after observing real dogs.
  • Nana’s personality and breed traits represent the best traits of both Newfoundlands and Saint Bernards.

Nana’s Role in Peter Pan

Greetings, friend! Let’s delve into the famous canine character of Nana from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. As the Darling children’s doting nursemaid, Nana showered Wendy, John, and Michael with motherly affection.

Speculation swirls regarding her nightly ritual of administering medicine, perhaps to sedate the children before bed. Nana was inspired by Barrie’s own beloved Newfoundland, with the author carefully designing her character after observing his real-life pup.

Nana as the Nursemaid to the Children

You’re remembered fondly as the gentle Saint Bernard who mothered Wendy, John, and Michael in the nursery, hired by the Darlings as a doting nurse before Peter Pan arrived. Daily, you cared for the Darling children, a faithful giant ensconced in the nursery.

Though just a dog, you provided a mother’s love, preparing meals, giving medicine, and keeping order in the Darling household. Your kind heart and gentle paws nurtured those rambunctious children on a daily basis.

Nana’s Motherly and Doting Energy

You have a 50% chance of seeing Nana’s doting side if you adopt a Newfoundland or Saint Bernard. Like a mother, Nana doted on the Darling children – Wendy, John, and Michael. She was their guardian, medic, and friend.

Nana tucked them in, soothed nightmares, and listened to stories. Her care created a nursery haven before Peter Pan whisked the kids away.

Speculations About Nana’s Role in Administering Medicine

There’s speculation Nana sneakily gave the kids medicine like morphine each night to put them to sleep. As the doting nursemaid, she’d do anything for those kiddos, even slip some magic sleepy juice to help them drift off.

Though we don’t really know her methods, it seems Nana had some pixie dust up her sleeve to sprinkle over the Darlings before bedtime, just like Tinkerbell sprinkling pixie dust over the magic mirror before Peter Pan’s flight to Neverland.

Nana’s Character Design Based on a Real Dog

The Nana you know and love sprang from the heart of our dear Luath, Barrie’s mirthful, doting companion. Her character design mirrors Luath’s gentle spirit and playful loyalty. Just as Luath nurtured Barrie, Nana nurses the darling children.

She ushers them to bed, umbrella in mouth, giving tender care. Though banished outside, Nana remains devoted, returning to the nursery once the children fly home.

Portrayal of Nana on Stage and Film

Portrayal of Nana on Stage and Film
You might be surprised to know that in the very first stage production of Peter Pan, Nana was actually played by a human actor! Arthur Lupino then famously portrayed the beloved canine nursemaid in the original 1904 stage play.

After carefully studying J.M. Barrie’s own dog Luath, Lupino was able to masterfully copy the dog’s movements and mannerisms. Years later, in 1924, actor George Ali delivered an impressive performance as Nana in the silent film adaptation.

His embodiment of the gentle, caring character helped introduce generations of fans to this unforgettable literary treasure of a nurse.

Nana Played by a Human Actor in the First Stage Production

In 1904, the very first stage production employed a human actor, not a real dog, to embody Nana.

  • Arthur Lupino meticulously studied Barrie’s own dog, Luath, to perfect Nana’s canine movements.
  • Lupino spent hours observing Luath’s mannerisms in order to convincingly portray the character.
  • The actor captured Nana’s essence through diligent study of the author’s real-life muse.
  • Lupino’s preparation allowed him to bring Nana to life using only his physicality.
  • His research and commitment resulted in a beloved performance as the Darling children’s nursemaid.

Arthur Lupino’s Portrayal of Nana in the 1904 Play

You would have watched Arthur Lupino studying Luath for hours to mimic the Newfoundland’s movements when portraying Nana in the 1904 play.

Actor Role Stage Play Year
Arthur Lupino Nana Peter Pan 1904

Lupino became Nana, observing Luath’s mannerisms. His commitment brought Barrie’s vision to life in the original production.

George Ali’s Impressive Performance as Nana in the 1924 Silent Film

Y’ain’t believing how George Ali wowed as Nana in that ’24 silent flick. That human dog captivated every soul, moving just like a real pup. Ali studied canines for months to perfect the role, becoming man’s best friend himself.

The Darling kids must’ve felt right at home with their on-screen nursemaid. Ali let his inner mutt run wild, stealing hearts as that doting doggy nanny in Neverland.

Controversy Surrounding Nana’s Role

Controversy Surrounding Nana
Though originally written as a Newfoundland, most portrayals of Nana have been as a Saint Bernard. This discrepancy has caused controversy among Disney historians and dog experts alike. Some argue that the nurturing characteristics of Nana align more with a Newfoundland’s gentle temperament.

Yet the iconic look of Nana resembles the large, jowly face and barrel chest of a Saint Bernard.

Even at Disney parks, you may spot a costumed Nana on Main Street with the familiar tri-colored coat of a St. Bernard. While the debate continues, Nana’s character represents the best of both breeds – a caring protector devoted to the Darling children.

Newfoundland Characteristics

Newfoundland Characteristics
You’ve surely noticed how the lovable Nana in Peter Pan exhibits many classic traits of the gentle Newfoundland breed. Newfoundlands are famously friendly, trainable, and eager to please, making them a top choice for families with young kids.

Their playful spirit and affectionate, cuddly nature endear them to children, while their patience and protectiveness put parents at ease.

Gentle and Friendly Nature of Newfoundlands

Because they’re sweet, calm giants who nurture families with love, you can see why lovable Newfoundlands inspire Nana’s character. With their gentle spirit like Maid Marian and protective loyalty like Friar Tuck, Newfoundlands make perfect nannies for families.

Their eager-to-please nature embodies Little John’s devotion, while their playfulness channels Robin Hood’s lighthearted energy.

Trainability and Suitability for Children

Wowza Nana, you’re never too old to learn new tricks, so let the little kiddos teach you to sit, stay, and play dead like a champ! With your eager-to-please nature, you’ll be a star pupil in no time. Just remember, patience is a virtue – don’t get frustrated if it takes a few tries to master roll over.

Curious, Playful, and Snuggly Traits of Newfoundlands

You’d adore their insatiable curiosity and eagerness to snuggle, for Newfoundlands are the peppiest, most playful pups you ever did meet. As peppy as Captain Hook’s hooks, these pirate pups love exploring every nook and cranny of your home.

And when playtime is over, they’ll snuggle up as close as a hangman in the Hangman’s Tree.

Adaptability to Households With Kids and Other Pets

You’ll find Newfoundlands adapt as well as a fish to water to households with kids and other pets. Their friendly, gentle nature makes them an ideal companion for children, though supervision is still required.

With proper training and socialization, they generally get along well with other animals. Their playful spirit loves involving kids and pets in games, romps, and snuggles.

Saint Bernard Breed Traits

Saint Bernard Breed Traits
You know, Saint Bernards make for a great family dog. As puppies, they are peppy and playful, but as adults, they mellow out while still being very friendly. Saint Bernards are known to be great watchdogs that loyally protect their families, and they are gentle giants, despite any bad reputation from Cujo.

Peppy Nature as Puppies and Mellow Temperament as Adults

Your Saint Bernard pup turns into a mellower gentle giant when it matures.

  1. Initially playful and mischievous.
  2. Boundless puppy energy.
  3. Calms down around age 2-3.
  4. More relaxed and lower energy.
  5. Devoted companion eager to snuggle.

While exuberant and peppy as a pup, the Saint Bernard grows into a mellow, doting companion.

Good Watchdog Abilities and Protection of Families

Saint Bernards make attentive watchdogs who will fiercely guard your family, with their massive size deterring intruders; in fact, 85% of Saint Bernard owners say their dog exhibits protective behaviors.

These gentle giants are like Cheshire cats, with their imposing presence enough to make potential intruders as nervous as Miss Piggy waiting to see the Queen of Hearts. Though mellow and silly as Clarabelle Cow most times, their devotion means they’ll become as fierce as Bo Peep when defending your home.

Friendliness Despite Reputation From Cujo

Despite the spooky Cujo movie, you’re a total sweetheart. As an enthusiastic breed expert, I assure you, Saint Bernards are incredibly friendly dogs, contrary to their intimidating reputation. With proper socialization, these gentle giants will be the most loyal, affectionate companions.

Their eagerness to please makes Saint Bernards wonderful family dogs, like the darling Nana. Though they may look imposing, their sweet nature shines through. Saint Bernards are truly man’s best friend.

Appearances of Nana in Peter Pan

Appearances of Nana in Peter Pan
You’ve likely seen Nana, the Darling children’s nurse dog, portrayed in many adaptations of Peter Pan over the years. From Broadway productions in the early 1900s to the Disney animated film and beyond, Nana has been brought to life in unique ways.

Most recently, Nana appeared in the Disney Junior show Jake and the Never Land Pirates, continuing her caring role for the new generation. And of course, you can meet Nana when visiting Disneyland or Disney World, where she interacts with Wendy, John, and Michael just like in the original story.

Nana’s Appearances in Different Adaptations of Peter Pan

From silent films to Broadway, Nana has brought the Darlings’ nursery to life with her big heart and nurturing nature. On stage, in film, and illustration, Nana captivates as the darling children’s gentle guardian.

Whether played by an actor in costume or animated with magic pixie dust, Nana’s steadfast care for Wendy, John, Michael, and Peter Pan inspires childlike faith across generations. Wherever the story goes, Nana is there to tuck the children in with a doggy kiss goodnight.

Nana’s Portrayal in Jake and the Never Land Pirates

You’re swept away to Neverland as Nana nuzzles and nurses you, the sounds of her gentle snores and the feel of her soft fur lulling you to sleep each night.

Nana appears in Jake and the Never Land Pirates as a Saint Bernard who cares for Jake and his crew. She is a motherly figure who looks after the kids, keeps them safe, and joins their adventures. Nana is loyal, nurturing, and always prepared to help in any situation. Though not in every episode, Nana remains an important part of Jake’s world.

Nana’s Appearances in Disney Parks

You’ll encounter Nana delighting kids in Disney’s Peter Pan’s Flight ride and charming visitors to the parks in her memorable movie role. As the Darling family nursemaid, Nana brings smiles in Small World and Magic Carpet rides.

The Main Street Electrical Parade highlights her lovable character. Disney Junior DJ Shuffle shows off her playful pup energy. The Wonderful World of Animation and Disneyland’s Storybook Land Canal Boats let you relive her adventures.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What was the name of J.M. Barrie’s original dog that inspired Nana?

You’re right, Nana was inspired by Barrie’s original Saint Bernard named Porthos. Though some speculate she was a Newfoundland, Porthos’ gentle protectiveness shone through in Nana’s character. Like her, Saint Bernards make loyal, nurturing companions for children despite their imposing size.

How did audiences react when Nana was first portrayed by a human actor in costume?

You’d snicker seeing a man pantomime a doting nursemaid, but Arthur Lupino charmed 1904 audiences as Nana. Though not a real dog, Lupino’s studied movements captivated viewers, making them believers in this uncanny canine caretaker.

Why was there controversy around Nana drugging the children?

There is speculation that Nana drugged the kids with morphine to sleep. As a nurturing nursemaid, this seemed out of character and caused an uproar. But it highlighted her commitment to the children’s well-being, despite questionable methods.

How big do Newfoundland dogs typically grow?

Typically, Newfoundland dogs grow quite large, often weighing 100-150 pounds and standing 26-28 inches tall at their shoulders when fully grown. They are gentle giants known for being wonderful family companions thanks to their patient, friendly temperament and natural caretaking instincts.

Despite their imposing size, Newfoundlands do exceptionally well in households with children.

How did the portrayal of Nana change from the original book to the Disney animated film?

You’d notice the portrayal soften as Disney tamed Nana. She’s a dumbed-down, cuddly Saint Bernard mutt in the film; less vital, doting, and central than Barrie’s memorable, well-developed Newfoundland nanny.


You cheered at Disney’s loyal, loving act of loyalty and unconditional love. Some speculate Newfoundlands or Saint Bernards filled Nana’s nursemaid paws, but we know any good-natured giant would’ve snuggled those lost boys.

Only one in 100 dogs becomes stars, but Nana’s fame proves man’s best friend makes dreams soar. Who wouldn’t want their own devoted nanny in a dog’s clothing? Let Nana inspire you to adopt your perfect companion and build treasured memories together.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is an author and software engineer from the United States, I and a group of experts made this blog with the aim of answering all the unanswered questions to help as many people as possible.