He was created by Tex Avery, for theatrical cartoon shorts produced by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio, in 1943. Essentially the polar opposite of Avery's other famous MGM character, the loud and wacky Screwy Squirrel, Droopy moved slowly and lethargically, spoke in a jowly monotone, and, though hardly an imposing character, was shrewd enough to outwit his enemies and, when finally roused to anger, capable of beating adversaries twice his size with a comical thrashing.
While Droopy may seem to have generally a variety of enemies, his regular enemy is The Wolf. The Wolf is the biggest common antagonist for Droopy whose only mission is to ruin his life. Whether if he tries to win Red over, or generally antagonizes Droopy while attempting to escape him, he is constantly outsmarted by the basset hound, causing the wolf to suffer all manner of pain and humiliation such as being stopped or having Droopy's omnipresence go through him.
In the late 1940s, Droopy's main rival became Butch Dog. In many cartoons with Droopy, Butch was an outright villain, often cheating his way to Droopy's advantage and with his attempts to even murder him, while poking fun of the weak and poor he assumes the basset hound to be, despite his attempts to reason with him. Butch was depicted as a more threatening foe than The Wolf as a result.
The character first appeared, nameless, in Avery's 1943 cartoon Dumb-Hounded. Though he would not be called "Droopy" onscreen until his fifth cartoon, Señor Droopy (1949), the character was officially first labeled Happy Hound, a name used in the character's appearances in Our Gang Comics. After the demise of the Droopy series in 1958, the character has been revived several times for new productions, often television shows also featuring MGM's other famous cartoon stars, Tom and Jerry.
In the episode Northwest Hounded Police Droopy's last name was given as "McPoodle". In The Chump Champ it was given as "Poodle". Nevertheless, Droopy is generally understood to be a basset hound.
Originally, Joe Dante wanted some MGM characters in Looney Tunes: Back in Action like Tom Cat, Jerry Mouse, and Droopy, but Warner Bros. thought that would be too weird, so they told him that cameos by some Hanna-Barbera characters like Scooby-Doo and Shaggy Rogers would seem more "appropriate".
Droopy will appear along with the Looney Tunes in the upcoming HBO Max original series Tooned Out.