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The Main Seinfeld Character You Likely Forgot Owned A Dog On The Show

Dogs get a fair amount of play on "Seinfeld." In Season 3, Episode 4, "The Dog," Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) meets a man on a plane and winds up housing his unruly dog, Farfel. In Season 7, Episode 1, "The Engagement," a barking dog keeps Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) up at night, so she kidnaps and relocates it with Kramer (Michael Richards) and Newman (Wayne Knight). And in Season 8, Episode 10, "The Andria Doria," Kramer borrows a dog named Smuckers so he can get his own cough diagnosed by a veterinarian rather than a doctor. (Yeah, he's quirky like that.) But do fans remember when one of the show's main characters actually owned a dog?

Frankly, none of these people seem up to the task, but our pool of potential owners includes Jerry, Elaine, Kramer, and George (Jason Alexander). So which one took on the responsibility of caring full-time for a canine?

Is that Kramer's Golden Retriever?

The pilot episode of "Seinfeld" established more than a few specifics that didn't carry through even the show's first season. When "The Seinfeld Chronicles" aired on July 5, 1989, George worked in real estate. Kramer was called Kessler and he hadn't left his apartment building in a decade. Claire (Lee Garlington), a waitress at the gang's favorite diner Pete's Luncheonette, was poised to round out the cast as the fourth main character, while Elaine didn't even exist. There was also much more time given to Jerry's standup routines, which were interspersed throughout the show (via PrimeTimer).

It was in this earliest iteration of the fictional world of Jerry Seinfeld that a dog felt needed and necessary to drive the plot — but only because the script wasn't working. When Castle Rock Entertainment Executive Rob Reiner saw the first run-through, he felt Seinfeld's standup routine about dogs was unrelated to the rest of the story. So Seinfeld and co-writer Larry David got to work tying the two together — which meant giving Kessler a pet simply so they could get their way and keep the bit. "We wrote the dog into the show because of your routine," David said.

In the pilot, Kessler's Golden Retriever escapes his apartment, dashes through Jerry's door, and launches into George, sending him backward onto the couch. "He really likes you, George," Kessler says, as the dog licks and steps over George excitedly. "Well, that's flattering," George responds drily. It's the first and last time the dog is seen on "Seinfeld."

Maybe a rooster was more Kramer's speed

As "Seinfeld" eases into its second episode, some changes are apparent immediately. Now it's Claire who doesn't exist, and her character is replaced by Elaine in an entirely different role as Jerry's ex-girlfriend. The gang no longer hangs out at Pete's, favoring Monk's Café instead. Kessler is Kramer by now, and that dog? It's nowhere in sight and never even mentioned.

If Kramer's eccentricities are a fair barometer, it may be that the writers judged him too erratic for the responsibility of pet ownership. After all, this is a guy who drops candy into a man during surgery (Season 4, Episode 20, "The Junior Mint"); he offers visiting Japanese businessmen dresser drawers to sleep in (Season 8, Episode 7, "The Checks"); and he accidentally fries himself (Season 9, Episode 1, "The Butter Shave"). It's a bit scary to think about what might happen to a dog in his care. On the other hand, it could be that Seinfeld just didn't have any great standup routines about dogs beyond that first one. Without that incentive, there was no need for writers to keep Kramer's canine in the show.

In any event, the dog is out and by Season 8, Episode 11, "The Little Jerry," Kramer has another kind of pet entirely: a rooster he enters into cock fights. Yikes! To his credit, he jumps in to protect the bird at his own peril, so who knows? Maybe he could have handled a dog of his own after all.