answer the question that gets asked the most; Goofy is a dog.
Or rather, a dawg. he originally made his debut in "Mickey's Revue" as
Dippy Dawg. However, in Disney's world there was always a curious mix of
the anthropomorphic characters (such as Mickey, Donald and Goofy) and the
non-anthropomorphic animals (such as Pluto, Butch or Figaro.) The latter
had to stay within the confines of their animal characteristics. That both
Pluto and Goofy remained dogs, yet each had their own drastically differing
personalities, demonstrates the dichotomy of this situation.
If anything served to define Goofy in the beginning, it was his laugh,
provided by former circus clown Pinto Colvig. Although his character evolved
nicely as he developed into the Goof, he was in danger of fading away as
the 1940's arrived and Donald Duck's star rose into ascendancy. Luckily,
the perfect role was found for him as the affable everyman in a series of
"how-to" shorts. Most of these revolved around sports themes, which was
capitalized in the 1980's as the "Sport Goofy" concept. In the fifties,
he even enjoyed a brief stint as a family man, a role that was revived for
the more current "Goof Troop" series.
Goofy's voice was provided by Pinto Colvig in the classic shorts, by
Hal Smith in "Mickey's Christmas Carol", and Tony Pope in "Sport Goofy in
Soccermania." His current voice is provided by Bill Farmer.
From Lee Suggs : As we know Goofy was born in 1932. (as Dippy Dawg, in
"Mickey's Revue") The next few years saw him used as a bit character who
livened things up with that ridiculous laugh. His use as a slapstick, bumbling
through life character really emerged in a short called "Moving Day"(1937).
Here Goofy gets into a battle with an intelligent piano that he is trying
to move. The results are amazing and quite amusing. Goofy wasn't given his
own short (or an official name) until 1939. ("Goofy and Wilbur") His next
short began the classic "How To" series that used the Goof's talents so
well. In "Goofy's Glider" the Goof messes up the glider's "easy" assembly
instructions so badly, that he ends up in orbit. (about twenty years before
that Russian guy) The "How to" shorts were successfully entertaining all
the way into the 1960's. This is probably because the narrator was so serious,
and Goofy was so good at making chaos out of his instructions. The series
ended in 1965 with "Goofy's Freeway Trouble". I believe this was the last
of the classic Disney Shorts to figure a classic character until 1983. ("Mickey's
Christmas Carol") The "How to" series figured many wonderful shorts, with
the best being the how to play sports versions. My favorite one of these
is "How to Play Football". If you have the opportunity to watch one of these
shorts, be sure to pay close attention. Many of the sight gags, and the
narrator's comments are done very quickly. So if you don't really watch
(and listen) you miss a lot of funny stuff. I think the animators of the
classic shorts expected more out of their audience. Cartoons today are often
too obvious. Goofy is probably my second favorite Disney character. His
innate goodness, and persistence in the face of failure, is inspiring. As
a "Goofy" person physically he gives me hope that I'll earn that black belt.