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Villain Overview

No more Spitz, no more trouble, eh?
~ Francois on Spitz's death.

Spitz is one of the secondary antagonists of Jack London's 1903 short adventure novel The Call of the Wild, and the secondary antagonist of the 1972 and 2020 film adaptations of the same name. He is Buck's arch-rival and the oppressive leader of Francois and Perrault's dog team.

He was portrayed by Kino in Call of the Wild: Dog of the Yukon.

Biography

Going to the Yukon

He accompanied a geological survey to the Canadian Barrens after being brought by a whaling captain from Spitsburgen and had a long history of leadership. When Buck and Curly were bought by Francois and Perrault, they were taken to the Narwhal ship to the Yukon, where they are introduced to Spitz and Dave. Spitz acted friendly towards Buck, but in a wicked way. He sneered at Buck and stole his meal. As Buck chased after him to punish him, he received a whip from Francois and Buck recovered his meal.

Enemy with Buck

When the ship finally arrived at the Yea beach, Curly tried to make friends with a wild husky. This was a fatal mistake however, as she was unaware of the law of the fang, when the husky tore off her face. Several other huskies came and viciously attacked her. Francois came to her aid as Spitz sadistically laughs at her. After her death, Spitz laughed again and Buck became his archnemesis, because he hated the fact that he laughed at his friend's fate. When two brothers named Billie and Joe were joined, Spitz began to attack the good-natured Billie as he tries to make friends with him and the sour Joe intervenes. An older and more aggressive dog named Sol-leks was also bought and surprisingly hated being approached by his blind side that even Spitz left him alone. Spitz treated his team cruelly and Buck was the only dog who could defeat him. Buck, as a dog from the Southland, was viewed by Spitz as a threat to his leadership.

One day, Spitz steals Buck's nest and they begin to fight to the death until Francois and Perrault break them up. Soon, another wild husky attack occurred and the team fought for their lives. Buck tries to help them, but Spitz attacks him in an attempt to prevent him from intefering until the attack ended. Shortly after the attack, one of the dogs named Dolly contracted rabies and began chasing Buck until Francois put her out of her misery. As Buck heavilly gasps for air, Spitz took the opportunity to ambush him in an attempt to tear him to shreds until he received a painful whip from Francois. The two mailers were aware that the fight to the death was inevitable and Francois began betting on Buck to be the new leader, while Perrault betted on Spitz.

Final Battle

While many of the other Southland dogs did not have the strength to stand up to Spitz, Buck had the courage to take him down. Buck and Spitz were aware that the fight for leadership would come and the other dogs began to challenge his authority. When Pike was missing, Spitz viciously searched the camp, while Pike hid in fear. When Spitz found him, he attempted to punish him, but Buck intervened and knocked him to the ground. Francois attempted to break up the fight, to no avail. Francois whipped Buck, while Spitz attacked Pike. When the team headed for Dawson, the dogs' rebellion against Spitz began to increase. Upon arrival, Buck met a large number of police dogs and they followed him. The entire team began to rebel against Spitz, only for him to punish them.

When Spitz causes the chase of the rabbit to come to a halt, and the rabbit is ripped apart and eaten, Buck knows that it is time for the final battle for mastery with Spitz. At first, Buck is severely wounded and bleeding from many cuts all over his body, while Spitz is untouched. The fight gets desperate and a few minutes later, Buck eventually fake charges Spitz to the shoulder and manages to break his fore legs, leaving Spitz helpless and trying to drive away impending death by snarling and bristling. However, Buck injures him even more, leaving the remainder of poor Spitz to be torn apart by the other dogs who watched and waited all around them. That is the last Buck saw of Spitz as he vanishes from sight under the mass of the sled dogs. Buck rejoices over his victory and claims leadership the following day.

Personality

He was friendly, in a treacherous sort of way, smiling into one's face the while he meditated some underhand trick.
~ The Narrator about Spitz.

Spitz is shown to be a very manipulative, jealous, heartless, ruthless, greedy, quarrelsome, scheming, sadistic, sociopathic and callous dog who enjoys terrorizing Buck and oppressing his team. After watching Curly getting mauled to death by a pack of huskies, he took pleasure in watching her die and laughed at her fate, which made Buck to be his archnemesis. He is shown to be very cruel and pugilistic (meaning that he will start a fight with anyone if they so much as accidentally breathe on him). It is stated that he rules his pack like a tyrant and Buck is the only dog who could stand up to him. Due to Buck being a dog from the Southland, he believes that him adapting in the Northland would become a threat to his leadership. He despises other dogs with soft personalities and attempted to prevent Buck from interfering with the last jusky attack in order to show his dominance, showing that he is willing to let his team get killed. Despite his aggressive nature, he does have at least some sense of respect as he is willing to leave Sol-leks alone and not approach his blind side.

Trivia

  • In many versions, it was Spitz who killed Curly, even though she was killed by a pack of wild huskies and Spitz laughed at her death in the original novel.
  • As his name suggests, he is from Spitsburgen, an island situated in the Svalbard archipelago north of Norway.
  • Although he only appeared in the first three chapters, he is still the main antagonist because he had bigger plans than anyone else and was Buck's arch-rival.
  • While Buck is correctly depicted as his actual breed in the 2020 adaptation, Spitz is portrayed as a Siberian husky.
  • Spitz is not always portrayed as a white dog like in the novel.
  • Spitz never appeared in the 1935 film adaptation by 20th Century Fox.
  • In the anime film, the dog he went to punish after disappearing was Dave. In the book, it was Pike.
  • His only credited role so far is the 1997 TV movie Call of the Wild: Dog of the Yukon, where he was played by Kino.
  • The 1997 version of Spitz is very faithful to the literary classic, but there are some minor differences:
    • Spitz does not meet Buck and Curly on the Narwhal with Dave.
    • Spitz does not laugh at Curly being killed and sat there unmoved.
    • Spitz's fur is black instead of white.
    • The other dogs did not rebel against him.
    • Spitz killed the rabbit when he leaped into the air in front of Buck.
    • Spitz had the upper hand when he fought with Buck until he defeated him.
  • In the 1972 film, the animal that Spitz and Buck were trying to kill was an arctic fox instead of a snowshoe hare. Buck was also trying to save the animal from Spitz instead of kill it for food.
  • In the 1972 film and 2000 series, he and the team are owned by John Thornton, while Francois and Perrault served as minor antagonists in the 1972 film.
  • His role of the big bad is replaced by Black Burton in the 1972 film and the 2002 animated film, who served as a minor antagonist in the novel.
  • When Hal, Mercedes and Charles buy Buck and his team in the 1997 film, Spitz and Curly can be seen in the team, despite their deaths.
  • In the uncut version of the 1997 movie, Buck's battle with Spitz was slightly longer and Buck is shown walking past Spitz's lifeless body after the fight.
  • In the 1976 film, the two mushers allowed Buck and Spitz to fight to the death and buried Spitz's corpse after the fight.
  • In the 2000 series and 2020 film, he flees from Buck out into the wilderness, never to be seen again.
  • Like many versions of Buck, Spitz is portrayed as a German Shepherd in the 2000 series.
  • In the 1972 film, the dog he killed was an unnamed dog instead of Curly, as she never existed in the adaptation.
  • In the 1991 Disney live action film White Fang, one of the dogs owned by Alex Larson and Skunker is named Fritz, which is a reference to Spitz's name.
  • He is unrelated to the rabid beagle from the 2009 stop-motion film Fantastic Mr. Fox.
  • In the 1981 anime film Call of the Wild: Howl Buck, when Buck and Spitz battle to the death, they are battling in the water, but in the next shot, they're back on land.
  • In the 1976 and anime adaptations, he has pointy ears instead of floppy ears like in the book.
  • He has influenced the sled dogs in the 1978 Charlie Brown special, What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown!.

See also

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Books
The Cruise of the Dazzler: French Pete | Red Nelson
The Call of the Wild: Spitz † | Hal, Mercedes & Charles † | Manuel | Yeehats † | Black Burton † | Dolly † | The Man in the Red Sweater | Wild Huskies | The Baggage Man
The Sea-Wolf: Wolf Larsen
White Fang: Beauty Smith | Lip-Lip † | Jim Hall † | The Lynx † | Tim Keenan | Cherokee

Short Stories
Bâtard: Bâtard † | Black Leclère
The Leopard Man's Story: De Ville
Moon-Face: The Protagonist

Movies
White Fang (1925): Beauty Smith
The Sea-Wolf (1926): Wolf Larsen
The Sea-Wolf (1930): Wolf Larsen
The Call of the Wild (1935): Mr. Smith † | Smith's henchmen
White Fang (1936): Beauty Smith
The Sea-Wolf (1941): Wolf Larsen
White Fang (1946): Handsome Smith
Wolf Larsen: Wolf Larsen
The Call of the Wild (1972): Black Burton | Spitz † | Dutch Harry | Francois and Perrault † | Hal, Mercedes & Charles † | Manuel | Yeehats † | The Baggage Man
White Wolf (1973): Beauty Smith † | Jim Hall | Chester | Corrupt Mountie
The Call of the Wild (1976): Spitz † | Francois | Manuel | The Man in the Red Sweater | The Baggage Man
Klonkdike Fever (1980): Soapy Smith † | Will Ryan † | Soap Gang
The Call of the Wild: Howl Buck (1981): Spitz † | Hal, Mercedes & Charles† | Manuel | Wild Huskies | Murderers
Shiroi Kiba Monogatari (1982): Beauty Smith | Kuuti | The Lynx | Kooch | Lip-Lip | Tim Keenan | Cherokee
White Fang (1991): Beauty Smith | Luke & Tinker | Sykes | Cherokee
The Call of the Wild (1993): Spitz † | Hal, Mercedes & Charles † | Yeehats
White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf (1994): Reverend Leland Drury † | Mr. Heath | Miners | Lloyd Halverson | Lip-Lip
Call of the Wild: Dog of the Yukon (1996): Spitz† | Hal, Mercedes & Charles† | Manuel | Yeehats | Wild Huskies | The Man in the Red Sweater | The Baggage Man
White Fang (1997): Beauty Smith | Lip-Lip
White Fang (2018): Beauty Smith | Curtis | Jim Hall | Ned | The Lynx
Into the Void: Wolf Larsen
The Call of the Wild (2020): Hal † | Spitz

Television
Spitz | Hal, Mercedes & Charles | Wolf Larsen | Beauty Smith | David | Jake | Sam Calman | Uncle Jay

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