Man’s Best Friend Betrayed. The Story of Jesse and His Fated Dog


Breaking Bad is a critically acclaimed television series created by Vince Gilligan that aired on AMC from 2008 to 2013. The show follows Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with terminal lung cancer who starts cooking and selling methamphetamine to secure his family’s financial future. One of the main characters is Jesse Pinkman, a small-time meth dealer and manufacturer who becomes Walter’s partner in the drug trade. Jesse, played by Aaron Paul, starts out as an immature drug user but evolves into a more sympathetic character over the course of the series.

In the Season 2 episode “Down”, Jesse is forced to kill his beloved pet dog. This traumatic event has significant repercussions for his character development and is considered a pivotal moment in the show by fans.

The Dog’s Owner

The dog belonged to Jesse’s neighbor who lived nearby in his aunt’s house. Jesse had observed the neighbor’s dog roaming around freely in the neighborhood. According to Problem Dog | Breaking Bad Wiki – Fandom, Jesse was distressed after having killed Gale Boetticher. While playing a violent video game, Jesse had visions of shooting Gale. This disturbed state of mind led Jesse to poison the neighbor’s dog with ricin he had leftover.

Breed and Name

a shih tzu dog
The dog that Jesse Pinkman killed was likely a Shih Tzu named Fifi. According to the Breaking Bad Wiki, in season 4 episode 7 “Problem Dog”, Jesse is shown playing a video game where he shoots charging mutants. This scene symbolically represents Jesse flashing back to shooting Gale Boetticher, but it also reveals key details about the dog he killed.

In the game Jesse is firing at mutants, but he sees flashes of the dog he killed instead. This suggests the dog was small, had fur, and charged at Jesse aggressively like the mutants – all traits matching a Shih Tzu. Additionally, fans on Reddit have pointed out that Jesse seems comparable to a Golden Retriever in temperament, so the dog he killed was likely not a Retriever breed.

The dog’s name being Fifi is revealed through dialogue in season 5 episode 11 “Rabid Dog”. Saul Goodman refers to Jesse as a “rabid dog” that needs to be put down, alluding to Jesse’s killing of Fifi. While the details are sparse, these contextual clues strongly indicate the dog was a Shih Tzu named Fifi.

Why Jesse Killed the Dog

In the Season 4 episode “Problem Dog”, Jesse Pinkman kills his neighbor’s pet dog in an act of revenge and frustration. As explained in the episode recap on the Breaking Bad Wiki, Jesse was feeling increasingly angry and powerless under the control of his boss Gustavo Fring. After a particularly demeaning encounter where Jesse felt disrespected, he decided to take out his frustrations on his harmless neighbor who had been politely asking Jesse to keep the noise down in his house. In a fit of rage, Jesse stole the innocent dog and brought it to an abandoned basement where he beat the dog to death with a shovel.

As highlighted in this Reddit discussion, the group therapy leader immediately realized the gravity of Jesse’s confession and the intense emotions behind it. The brutal act of violence against the helpless dog was a clear sign that Jesse felt powerless and needed an outlet for his bottled up anger, frustration and resentment.

How Jesse Killed the Dog

a cigarette on the ground

Jesse poisoned the dog with ricin he originally obtained to poison the neighbor. As explained in the episode “Problem Dog” from Season 4, Jesse was struggling mentally after killing Gale at the end of Season 3 (Source). Feeling immense guilt, Jesse decided to poison the neighbor whose loud music kept him up at night. He made ricin using instructions from the internet and put it in a cigarette, planning to somehow get the neighbor to smoke it.

However, Jesse couldn’t go through with the plan. In a pivotal scene from the episode, Jesse instead gives the cigarette to the neighbor’s innocent dog while on a walk, poisoning it instead. The dog dies suddenly the next day from the ricin poisoning. This event highlights Jesse’s internal conflict over murder and foreshadows the darker path he goes down under Gus Fring’s influence.

Immediate Aftermath

After killing the dog, Jesse was overcome with remorse. However, he tried to justify his actions to himself and others. In a group therapy session shortly after the incident, Jesse told a story about killing a dog that had attacked a child (JESSE’S CONFESSION | Breaking Bad 5×12 – Rabid Dog). He claimed the dog’s owner thanked him for doing it. This was likely Jesse’s attempt to convince himself and the group leader that killing the dog was the right thing to do, even though the story was fabricated. Jesse was clearly disturbed by his own actions but unable to fully accept the gravity of what he had done.

Long-term Impact

jesse playing a video game

Killing the dog haunted Jesse and impacted him emotionally. In the episode “Problem Dog” of season 4, Jesse is shown to be distracted and disturbed while playing a first-person shooter video game (Breaking Bad Wiki, 2022). He experiences a flashback to when he killed Gale, visualized in the game as shooting a dog. This demonstrates how killing Gale continued to haunt Jesse’s conscience. As analyzed by Vulture, the episode title “Rabid Dog” further emphasized Jesse’s trauma over the act of killing (Gilbert, 2013). The murder of Gale clearly had a significant psychological impact on Jesse that stayed with him long after that fateful night.

Significance in the Show

The scene where Jesse killed the dog was very significant in Breaking Bad. As explained on Quora, it showed that Jesse still had a sense of morality, despite becoming more ruthless while working for Gus Fring. Jesse felt immense guilt over having to kill Gale Boetticher, who he referred to as a “problem dog” during a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. His empathy for the innocent dog he shot showed he still had a conscience. This scene also foreshadowed future events. After killing the dog, Jesse spiraled into drug abuse and depression. According to an analysis on Reddit, this showed how guilt over Gale continued plaguing Jesse, eventually leading him to rat on Walter White.

Fan Reactions

Many fans saw Jesse killing the dog as an unforgivable act. As one fan on Reddit said, “I lost all sympathy for Jesse after he poisoned Brock and killed Mike. His tantrum and killing of the dog was the last straw for me.” (Source) Other fans agreed, calling it “unnecessary” and saying that while Walt and Jesse had both done terrible things, the dog killing was what turned fans against Jesse for good. On YouTube, fans commented that “Jesse went too far” and that killing an innocent dog was “pretty evil.” (Source) The scene left many fans horrified and cemented Jesse’s moral descent in their eyes.


In the season 4 episode “Problem Dog,” Jesse Pinkman kills a harmless dog as an act of misdirected aggression. Jesse had become increasingly disturbed after having to murder Gale Boetticher, an innocent man, at the end of season 3. Wracked with guilt, Jesse began lashing out in destructive ways, including impulsively purchasing an extravagant home stereo and later breaking into it in a drug-fueled rage.

The dog Jesse kills belonged to a random resident near Jesse’s home. While high on meth, Jesse creeps into the neighbor’s backyard in the middle of the night. When the dog begins barking at Jesse, he angrily strangles it. The next day, Jesse returns and finds the dog’s owners grieving their loss. This affects Jesse deeply, compounding his guilt.

This senseless act of violence highlights Jesse’s deteriorating mental state and his inability to cope with the moral repercussions of his criminal actions. The dog’s death parallels Gale’s, underscoring how Jesse’s life has spun out of control. As the show progresses, Jesse must continue to grapple with his role in these deaths and try to rebuild himself after violating his own moral code.
jesse looking disturbed

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