‘Wheel of Fortune’: Did You Know the Story Behind the Dalmatian Mascot?

Wheel of Fortune's Dalmatian Sheldon
Wheel of Fortune
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Wheel of Fortune

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After 41 seasons on the air, Wheel of Fortune has a ton of history to unpack…and that’s not even counting the daytime years, early iterations or spinoff like Celebrity Wheel of Fortune and more. We’ve actually already sorted through most of Fortune‘s big historical moments for you already, but there’s one particular howl-arious bit of behind-the-scenes game show lore that we wanted to highlight as the series goes on summer break: Sheldon, the ceramic Dalmatian.

Back when Fortune had a shopping element to its gameplay (which recently retired host Pat Sajak has gone on record to say he disliked for slowing down the overall game), contestants could put the money they earned towards showpieces like, washer-drier sets, kitchen appliances, new mattresses, and even, this pretty goofy dog statue. As one of the cheaper prizes available, ringing in at $146, and later $154, the dog statue wound up going home with many contestants in the 1980s. And though the shopping element was eventually axed in 1987 to speed up the gameplay and to help contestants with their taxes post-show, this pup stayed put. (What a good boy!)

Vanna White and Pat Sajak on Wheel of Fortune showing off one of the prices

Now, Sheldon the Dalmatian is a fixture on the Wheel of Fortune set. Wheel Watchers have spotted the fake fido with its chain collar — known as Fortune‘s unofficial mascot — onscreen for a number of episodes throughout the run, including a week in 2023 where the dog was hidden in a different spot every night. Sajak and his letter-turning cohost Vanna White even had their own Sheldon statues, standing guard in their respective offices.

And children of the ’80s were obsessed with the ceramic canine — really, they still are!

That only leaves us with only one question: Will someone be gifting new host Ryan Seacrest his own Sheldon before he takes the reins from Sajak in September? Seems only fair.

Wheel of Fortune, syndicated, CBS