Little is known about this Howan Dawg. He was an uncle of Dippy Dawg, better known as "Goofy". During his lifetime, he was a rich man, at least according to Goofy, who described him as his "rich old uncle". Sometime in or shortly before 1923, he became the owner of a detective agency. He never excelled in his detective work and appears to have been something of a failure at his job. Over the course of more than ten years in the position, he had accumulated about six hundred dollars in debt and had only ever taken up one case. He even failed to solve the only case he ever took; he was shot and killed by a couple of criminals he was trailing.
In his will, he claimed that his nephew Goofy was the only relative he had. It is unknown how the two were related, but Goofy claimed that they were not very close, stating, "I didn't hardly know him a-tall!" Apparently, Howan was not keen on the idea of leaving his fortune to a nephew he barely knew. Instead, his will directed that all of his money be left to charity and that Goofy be given ownership of his detective agency.
Behind the scenes
Howan Dawg was mentioned in The Crazy Crime Wave. His death and Goofy's subsequent inheritance of his detective agency serves as a plot device to help explain how Mickey Mouse and Goofy became detectives.
Howan Dawg's existence brings more controversy to the ever-confusing matter of Goofy's legal name, with the last name "Dawg" suggesting that Goofy's true name is his early identity "Dippy Dawg" with "Goofy" being the nickname. This conflicts, of course, with the depiction of Goofy's parents as being named Amos Goofy and Maw Goofy, and of Goofy's son as being named Max Goof sans "Y".
He is not known to have made any physical appearances, but a portrait of an anthropomorphic dog in traditional detective garb can be seen in a strip of The Crazy Crime Wave released on October the 13th, 1933. It is unclear if the dog in the portrait was supposed to be him or not, but it seems to be a reasonable assumption that it is him.
Notes & References
- In The Crazy Crime Wave, Goofy says, "My uncle ran this detective agency for more'n ten years!"