The Needles Regional Museum along Route 66 in Needles, California, on Aug. 13 will mark the 47th birthday of Spike, the hat-wearing, mustachioed dog who lives in the desert near Needles in the “Peanuts” comic strip.
Spike, who is Snoopy’s brother, first appeared in the comic on Aug. 13, 1975. According to the museum, “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz briefly lived in Needles as a child and had a dog named Spike.
When Schulz created Spike, he placed him “in the desert outside of Needles,” often talking to the cacti or coyotes.
A Peanuts Wiki page has more on Spike’s background:
Spike is first mentioned on August 4, 1975, when he sends Snoopy a letter saying that he is coming to visit. He is first shown on August 13, and everybody is shocked to see how skinny he is, due to the fact that the coyotes he lives with, don’t share any food with him.
Originally, he lived with coyotes, but they mistreated Spike, so he moved out, and moved somewhere close to the city of Needles, California, where he lives by himself, with a cactus for company. However, he sometimes leaves Needles to visit Snoopy.
At first, Spike was a minor character, but as time passed, Spike started appearing more frequently. By the 1990s, Spike had arguably become a major character.
In a series of strips from 1996, desperate for a dog of his own, Rerun van Pelt invites Spike to become his pet. After a lengthy trek, Spike arrives at Rerun’s home. He does not stay, as Rerun is surprised by how skinny Spike is.
Spike also made his way into a number of “Peanuts” television specials, including “Snoopy’s Getting Married, Charlie Brown”:
The museum claims Spike is “Needles’ most famous resident.”
The museum at 929 Front St. (aka Route 66) will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug 13, where visitors can get a picture of themselves with a big figurine of Spike.
(An image of Spike from “Peanuts” by Michael Li via Flickr)