PAW Patrol pups
(TVOntario)

Here’s the Lowdown on Zuma’s Gender in ‘Paw Patrol’

So. Your kid is watching Paw Patrol, and they’re spouting off character names at you. You want to be able to follow along! You want to be able to nod politely and give just enough of a response to make your kid feel good and loved! That’s probably how you found yourself on an article answering the question of whether Zuma is a boy or a girl.

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Paw Patrol, for the uninitiated, is one of the most popular kids’ shows on TV. The show, along with its multiple straight-to-TV movies, follows the adventures of six young talking dogs in the city of Adventure Bay. These six pups lead the city’s search and rescue services, executing missions like saving lost kittens and thwarting the ridiculous plots of the city’s incompetent leader, Mayor Humdinger. (Good thing children’s media is preparing the next generation for the fact that the people in charge don’t know what they’re doing!) The Paw Patrol, led by a human kid named Ryder, issues a giant vehicle to each member of the team, so that they can accomplish missions in their specialty.

Zuma, a chocolate lab, is in charge of aquatic rescues. Is someone drowning? Zuma’s on the scene, with a hovercraft and a SCUBA set. Like far too many heroic teams, the Paw Patrol consists of all male characters, plus one girl to stave off complaints of sexism. So is Zuma that girl?

Ordinarily, we tend to assume that names ending in -a are girls’ names. It’s not a safe assumption—there are boys’ names like Mischa, or Sasha—but I’m not going to judge you if you assumed Zuma was a girl. However, Zuma is not the female member of the Paw Patrol team. That honor goes to the airborne dog, Skye. Skye wears pink, just so there’s no more confusion than there already is.

So there you have it! Next time your kid is talking your ear off about Paw Patrol, you can smile and nod with confidence.


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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>