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|“||Shh, shush, shush, shush. Good evening, ladies. Sorry to call in so late in the evening, but we did have a previous engagement. (laughs maliciously as he shows them a keychain of chicken legs from his previous victims) Now, we're gonna take six of you; anyone makes a sound, we don't mind the extra company. Boys, take your pick.||„|
|~ Dag sadistically threatens the hens as he attempts to steal them for food; these are his first lines in the film.|
Dag is the main antagonist of Nickelodeon's 16th feature film Barnyard. He is a sadistic red coyote who serves as Otis' arch-nemesis, the murderer of his foster father Ben, and the coyotes' leader and boss.
Dag is the nasty leader of a band of coyotes who prey on farm animals, most notably the animals of the Barnyard. He is an outright merciless, cruel, sadistic, hedonistic, psychopathic and arrogant coyote. However, unlike many villains, whereas they are motivated by greed or power, he and his coyotes only want food. Yet, it is important to note that while they steal hens on a regular basis, Dag remains notably thin, so much that anyone can see his ribcage. This could either be a medical condition or he only kills for fun. That said, given the amount he takes, it could be a mixture of all three. His sadistic nature is also shown when he shows a group of chickens his chain which has cut chicken thighs on it.
He is also a seemingly egotistical and manipulative individual, as Dag enjoys to torment his victims, which was shown at the hen house where he revealed to them he keeps the severed legs of his meals and threatens one of them. This also passes onto at the junkyard where he came close to devouring Maddy simply because she called him a "meaner". Otis was his archenemy and in turn Dag took great delight in saying that he should have helped his deceased father, Ben; further proof that Dag is an unpleasent being on top of all the murders he carried out.
Throughout the film, Dag proves that he is not above underhanded and exploitative tactics to win a fight. This was shown when he attacked both Ben and Otis in their legs when they were distracted by his coyotes. This also shows at the junkyard when he was planning to attack Otis from above the top of a bus. Dag is also known to be very insulting and argumentative, describing both the cows as "fat".
If his back is against a wall, Dag can also be a very fearful coward. This is shown when Ben and Otis threatened to punch him and he quivered, which made both cows spare him. Dag proves he is not above killing children when he tries to eat Maddy. All in all, Dag is a heartless sadist who has no qualms about murdering others, but will backdown if his prey is stronger than him.
Dag is a scrawny red coyote with sharp fangs and claws. He has a slight scar on his left eye and two notches on his left ear. He is extremely skinny with his ribcage still visible.
Dag and his gang have had previous encounters with the Barnyard animals, most likely attempts on the hens but were stopped by the Barnyard's leader Ben, whom Dag greatly feared.
Dag and five of his gang break into the henhouse and nearly steal a few of the hens, only to be stopped by Ben. Dag was instantly scared the moment he saw Ben, but quickly changes his attitude to hide his fear. Dag points out how he and his coyotes outnumber Ben, but Ben is unfazed and challenges the coyotes. While Ben initially has the upper hand in the beginning, Dag sneaks up behind him and bites Ben's neck. As the fight continues outside, Dag sneaks behind Ben while he was distracted with the other coyotes, and bites his leg. Ben collapses and the other coyotes pounced on him. Dag attempts to sneak off with some hens, but Ben grabs his leg, uses him to beat up the other coyotes, and comes out victorious. Ben also spares Dag, who cowardly runs off. Despite saving the hens, Ben is heavily injured from his fight and collapses in front of the henhouse. When Ben's adoptive son Otis finds him he holds Ben in his arms to comfort him, but Ben succumbs from his injuries after his fight, dying in Otis' arms.
Later, Otis tries to take vengeance on Dag, but he loses his burst of courage as soon as the coyote notices him. Dag sadistically shames Otis by telling him that things would have been different if he was there for Ben. He then makes a "deal" with Otis, telling him that he will only steal a few animals each night starting with the next, but if Otis tries to do anything about it, Dag and his pack will slaughter every animal in sight. Otis decides to leave the barnyard in the morning, realizing that he has no choice.
However, the next morning, Otis is informed that the coyotes have taken a large number of hens, including the leader Etta and her chick Maddy, making Otis realize that Dag had double-crossed him, since Dag mentioned that he and his pack would only steal a few animals and he was not expecting them until nightfall. Otis then heads off to the junkyard to rescue the hens.
Otis arrives at the junkyard just in time to prevent Dag from devouring Maddy, but Dag's goons easily overpower him. Dag sneaks around Otis and bites his leg, just as he had done to Ben, and the rest of the pack pounce on him. Dag mocks Otis, and joins the rest of the pack as they prepare to eat the hens. Fortunately, Miles the mule, Pip the mouse, Freddy the ferret, Peck the rooster, Pig the pig, and the Jersey Cows arrive to help Otis and Dag's goons are easily defeated.
Eventually, Dag tries a sneak attack on Otis similarly to how he overpowered Ben, but Otis is warned by Peck, who successfully makes a loud crow. Otis catches Dag by the throat, hit his head against a bus window and threatens to punch him to death in a fit of rage, like his father did; but instead, Otis warns the evil coyote to never come back and he fearfully agrees, making Dag scared enough to believe Otis will kill him the next time he sees him. Otis then whacks Dag with a golf club, sending him flying far, far out into the distance while howling in pain, finally ending his & coyote packs' menace once and for all & avenging Ben and rest of the hens which Dag and his coyote packs had killed.
Even though it is most likely that he survived, it is unknown what has happened to Dag afterwards. It is possible that he and the other coyotes still live in the junkyard and presumably found new hunting grounds. Either way, it's possible that they never bothered Otis and the farm animals again after their defeat. Now they're too scared to face Otis and his friends again.
- At one point in the film, Dag claims his favorite part of the chicken to be the skin.
- When the coyote pack invades the chicken coop to steal hens, Dag reveals that he keeps the devoured hen's feet to use as key chains and shows this to the hens to frighten them, meaning he is by all means a serial killer.
- His alias "Lady Killer" is also a reference to the late infamous serial killer Ted Bundy.
- One of the main criticisms Barnyard received was some similarities with The Lion King, comparing Dag to Scar. This is fitting as both of them kill the protagonist's father, let aside that Dag is just as evil as Scar and appears skinny like him. The only real difference between the two is that Dag hunts for food (albeit in a sadistic manner) and Scar wants power. Additionally Dag is unrelated to Otis and Ben, unlike Scar who is the uncle of Simba and the brother of Mufasa.
- Dag does not appear in any episode of Back at the Barnyard (though the show itself deviates from the movie's events), but he was seen in several games.
- "Dag" is "day" in Danish, Swedish & Norwegian.
- It's implied that Dag will also harm humans as when he threatens Otis, he says that he and his pack will harm 'everyone', which may also include the Farmer.
- Ben says that the coyotes are desperate creatures, which could imply that they only steal from the farm because it's the nearest hunting grounds from their junkyard.
- Dag is considered to be the most popular character in Barnyard as many viewers say he's the best part of the movie, apart from perhaps Ben.
- Steve Buscemi, James Woods, Christopher Lloyd, Gary Sinise, the late Rip Torn, Ben Kingsley, Billy Bob Thornton, Kevin Bacon, Anthony Hopkins, Thomas Haden Church, Bill Nighy, the late Burt Reynolds, Hugo Weaving, John Malkovich and Jude Law were all considered for the role of Dag.
- He can be seen as a dark version to Otis as both of them are rather hedonistic in one way (Dag for letting his pack do all the fighting and Otis for preferring to have fun rather than take things seriously). The only difference is that Otis manages to grow out of his hedonism while Dag doesn't.
- This fits in to the film's message about how "a strong man stands up for himself while a stronger man stands up for others" as while Dag is strong to stand up for himself, Otis is stronger to stand up for others.