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It’s that time of year again – cheerful lights are twinkling, Christmas cookies are baking, and our favorite holiday movies are playing on repeat. At Ruffly Speaking, we wanted to dig a little deeper into classic holiday movies and get to know the dogs that steal every scene they’re in! 

This week, we’re getting to know Zero, The Nightmare Before Christmas dog!

The Nightmare Before Christmas Dog That Doesn’t Exist

Disney’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is a delightfully dark stop-motion animated film by Tim Burton. It opened to reasonable critical and commercial success in 1993, but more than that, it developed a devoted cult following.

The story follows Jack Skellington, the mayor of Halloween Town, on his quest to take over the neighboring Christmas Town along with the Christmas holiday. Since he is a celebrated “pumpkin king,” he believes he should expand his reign and sets out first to understand Christmas and all of its merriment then take it over by force if necessary.

Along the way, we meet his love interest Sally, his nemesis Oogie Boogie, and his beloved ghost-dog Zero.

Meet The Nightmare Before Christmas Dog

In this fantasy film, Zero is an actual ghost, although he looks like he’s wearing a dog costume made from a white sheet. He sports a tiny pumpkin nose that glows red (a nod to Christmas’s Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer). 

We never find out what breed Zero is meant to be, but we do see his haunted doghouse in the Halloween Town cemetery as Jack Skellington takes him for a walk before he discovers Christmas Town.

After the discovery and subsequent plan to take over the holiday, Zero’s light-up nose guides Jack through the fog on his way to deliver Halloween-inspired presents on Christmas eve. 

Why We Love Zero the Ghost Dog

It’s easy to love this adorable, floating Nightmare Before Christmas dog and his glowing pumpkin nose. His affection and loyalty to his best friend, Jack Skellington, are everything you imagine a dog should be. And while he technically can’t receive head scratches, his floppy ears and tail that blow in the wind as he floats along almost make up for it. 

He’s so beloved, in fact, pet owners take the internet by storm every Halloween with photos of their dogs in Zero pet costumes, with Zero plush toys, and on The Nightmare Before Christmas-inspired leashes. 

Get to Know Zero this Holiday Season

You can catch Zero, The Nightmare Before Christmas dog, this holiday season by streaming the movie on Disney+.

So what do you think of the ghost dog named Zero?! You can share your thoughts and opinions in our online pet parent community, Ruffly Speaking. Doors are open for the holidays, and we love seeing new faces (and learning about your favorite dogs!). Learn more about Ruffly Speaking here.


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Robin Bennett, CPDT-KA

Robin Bennett is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, author, speaker, and expert on dogs. She founded one of the largest dog training companies in Virginia and for the last 30 years has been using her expertise in "reading dogs" to teach families how to train their pets as well as helping others in the pet care industry keep dogs safe.

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Susan Briggs is a Certified Professional Animal Care Operator, author, speaker, and pet care business expert. As co-founder of The Dog Gurus, she brings over 18 years of experience in the pet industry with 12 years as co-owner and operator of a successful dog daycare, lodging, grooming, and training business in Houston, Texas.

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