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"Donald" redirects here. For other uses, see Donald Duck (disambiguation) and Donald (disambiguation).

Donald Duck is a cartoon character created by The Walt Disney Company who debuted in the 1934 short film The Wise Little Hen. An anthropomorphic white duck wearing a sailor shirt, cap and bow tie, he is famous for his semi-intelligible speech and his mischievous, temperamental, pompous and irritable personality. Along with his friend Mickey Mouse, Donald is one of the most popular Disney characters.

Physical appearance[]

Donald is a white Pekin duck with a yellow-orange bill, legs and feet. He usually wears a blue sailor shirt with a red bow tie and a blue cap on his head.


Donald has been described as a "problem child" by Walt Disney. True to this, he is a rather—albeit humorously—controversial character in nature, with his most famous personality trait being his explosive temper. When angered, Donald will pitch a fit of quacking and bouncing in place while flaunting his fists, usually as a threat to whomever (or whatever) caused him his latest annoyance. He is also arrogant and can be quite the show-off, especially when he is skilled at something. This has a tendency to get him into trouble, however, as he often gets in over his head. Much of Donald's comedy comes from his exaggerated rudeness and the repercussions that come with said rudeness. For example, Donald finds enjoyment in bullying, pranking, and humiliating others for his own amusement. What he can not tolerate, however, is his victims fighting back against him—as such, these battles often lead to Donald's humiliation.

In contrast to these negative traits, Donald is—at his core—a warm and loving character. When not dealing with a problem, Donald can be quite jovial and friendly, and he usually tries his hardest to keep his temper under control for the sake of his own contentment, as well as those around him. Additionally, Donald shares a very loving relationship with Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and treats them as his own children, despite their rivalries. The triplets love their "Uncle Donald", with a particular scene in the first episode of DuckTales showcasing them having a heartfelt goodbye moment as Donald prepares to leave for the navy. Donald also has shown signs of humility, most notably in Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas, when Huey, Dewey, and Louie's pranks ruin Christmas for him and the whole family. When the tree falls on Donald, instead of yelling at his nephews, he stays sadly silent, humiliated, and defeated, while Daisy comforts him. When truly faced with wrongs of his actions, Donald will accept them and find the strength to bring himself to face his mistakes head-on. One of the most prominent displays of this was in Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas, where after vandalizing the Mousey Mall's Christmas display out of holiday fatigue, he was visibly horrified by his actions and spent the remainder of the short willingly paying recompense.

For all his bravado, Donald is secretly insecure about himself. He takes offense to those who cannot understand his voice and is notoriously envious of Mickey Mouse's popularity. Donald's bad luck also plays a part in his low self-esteem, as he sometimes sees himself as a failure due to his frequent mishaps. Donald tends to hide this with a boisterous veneer, though he has confided in Daisy about his inhibition on occasion. Daisy is also one of the very few Disney characters capable of pacifying Donald's psychotic temper, even though she has a temper of her own. What Donald sometimes lacks in confidence, he makes up for with perseverance. His aggressive nature can act as a double-edged sword; while at times a hindrance for him, it has also helped him in times of need. When faced with a threat of some kind, Donald may get frightened and even intimidated, but rather than getting scared, he gets mad and has taken up fights with ghosts, sharks, mountain goats and even the forces of nature and has usually won. In fact, many shorts and cartoons have shown a significant increase in his physical strength and fighting prowess when pushed far enough. He sometimes portrays qualities of a bruiser, being quick to fight his adversaries.

Donald is often portrayed as having great difficulty holding down a job, and can be described as a typical "jack of all trades, master of none". His attempts at these professions often go comically wrong, with Donald causing one calamity after another.

Donald has a few memorable phrases that he occasionally comes out within given situations. "What's the big idea?" is a common one, which Donald sarcastically squawks when burdened by another character. "Aw, phooey!" is usually exclaimed as a sign of either apathy or defeat. "So!" is Donald's usual declaration when confronting someone (or something) antagonizing him. When excited, Donald will often shout, "Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!"


The character is known for possessing an only partly intelligible voice, developed by Donald's original performer, Clarence Nash. During an interview, Tony Anselmo revealed that "Most people believe that Donald's voice is done squeezing air through the cheek, that is not true. I can't reveal how it's actually done, but it is definitely not done by squeezing air through the cheek. The Hanna Barbara character 'Yakky Doodle' is done that way. Donald Duck is not." Nash reputedly originally developed the voice as that of a "nervous baby goat" before Walt Disney interpreted it as sounding like a duck.