The exact details of how Dino became the Flintstones' pet are unclear, as at least three different official backstories were provided. An episode from the original series' first season, "The Snorkasaurus Hunter", showed that Fred and Barney found him in the jungle during a camping trip; however, the "Dino" in that episode was shown to be capable of speaking like a human, unlike the more familiar Dino seen afterward (who had technically already appeared in at least one earlier episode, "No Help Wanted"). Two other backstories for Dino were given in the 1980s spin-off The Flintstone Kids (where he was shown to be Fred's pet during childhood) and the 2000 live-action movie The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (in which he was hatched out of an egg that Fred accidentally won at a carnival during his courtship with Wilma).
Appearances in Christmas specials
Dino is no less enthusiastic about his love for his master Fred at Christmastime, often bowling him over even with two armfuls of presents. But as much of a pain as Fred seems to find Dino at times, Fred celebrated him in song to a bunch of kids while playing the role of Santa Claus at the Macyrock's department store in the original series' Christmas episode, "Christmas Flintstone". Fred's song, "Dino the Dinosaur", tells the story of Dino helping some kids find a Christmas tree. Later in the episode, when Fred comes home still wearing his Santa suit, Dino comes out to greet him, but rushes back inside when he does not recognize Fred in the costume.
Chronologically, Dino's next appearance in a Christmas special is the franchise's fourth Christmas production, A Flintstones' Christmas Carol. When Fred wins the role of Ebonezer Scrooge in the Bedrock Players' production of A Christmas Carol and starts acting like Scrooge in real life, Dino is naturally upset by how badly Fred is now treating him, as shown when he accidentally gets pawprints on Fred's costume and Fred berates him for it. Dino is later shown taking part in the play itself as a pet of the
Cratchit Cragit family. He also ends up playing the part of The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come when Philo Quartz, who was originally cast in that role, catches the Bedrock Bug offstage. (Dino would notably reprise the role of the Ghost of Christmas Future in a Cocoa Pebbles commercial aired around Christmastime in the late 1990s.)
In A Flintstone Christmas, Dino rushes to greet the Rubbles when they pay a visit while Fred is decorating the Christmas tree, accidentally knocking his master off the stepladder in the process. Later, when Fred comes home after accepting the offer to play Santa Claus at the Ladies' Auxiliary's party, Dino gives him his usual enthusiastic greeting.
Dino apparently has a long lifespan, as he makes a brief cameo at the end of A Flintstone Family Christmas (which is set after the events of Hollyrock-a-Bye Baby) to sing Christmas carols with the Flintstones and the Rubbles.
Dino is the only other character from The Flintstones who also appeared in Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm's short-lived spin-off, Cave Kids, which comes between A Flintstones' Christmas Carol and A Flintstone Christmas in chronological order. As such, he appears alongside the pair in the show's Christmas episode, "Cave Kid Christmas".