Not to be confused with the Mud Dogs.
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The Mad Dogs with April O'Neil

The Mad Dogs are the main characters of Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.



The four Mad Dogs were originally non-mutant turtles in the possession of the Yōkai alchemist Baron Draxum at laboratory in the Hidden City. Exactly thirteen years before the time period in the episode "The Evil League of Mutants", Draxum had the formidable human martial artist Lou Jitsu (real name Hamato Yoshi) freed from Big Mama's Battle Nexus. Lou Jitsu initially agreed in principle to being Draxum's laboratory subject, but when he learned that Draxum intended to use Lou Jitsu's formidable human DNA to mutate four baby turtles into part of a genetically-cultivated mutant army to fight a perceived threat from the human world, Lou Jitsu objected, not wanting the turtles to be exploited in such a way. Draxum went forward with beginning the turtles' mutation, and Lou Jitsu fought him. Their fight severely damaged the laboratory and caused a chemical spill, and Lou Jitsu managed to escape with the four turtles in his arms.

Lou Jitsu returned to the surface world, but his own exposure to the mutagenic chemical spill had started his own gradual mutation into a mutant half-rat, and it was also apparent that the four turtles had themselves started resembling human infants. Unwilling to return to the Yōkai world that had exploited him, and unable to return to his human world, Lou Jitsu took the turtle children partway underground to the sewers of New York City where he set up a lair for them to live in. The Turtles were not only to be raised as Lou Jitsu's own sons, but the mutations had in fact made the turtles become biologically related to him as well as to each other through him, where previously the five individuals had not been related to each other at all.

The man who had once been known as Hamato Yoshi and later as Lou Jitsu, put these old identities to rest, and when his four sons were not calling him "dad" or "pop(s)," they only knew him by the name "Splinter." Splinter taught his sons basic ninjutsu, and they grew up deeply immersed into the film library of the actor Lou Jitsu, but as Splinter's mutant appearance had changed dramatically from his previous human form, his sons did not know their father had actually been Lou Jitsu, nor did Splinter care to tell them much of anything about his own past. After some point, Splinter had completely stopped trying to train them in ninjutsu, either.

At some point during the brothers' childhoods, they and Splinter befriended April O'Neil, a human girl from the surface, and she would come to have complete access to their home and family life as a kind of surrogate slightly-older sister figure. April lived with her mother Carol in an apartment, but would secretly spend much of her free time with the rat and Turtles.

By about twelve years after their mutations, Splinter had grown fat, lazy and reclusive, not functioning as any kind of effective role model for his sons. In the absence of such authority, the Turtle brothers along with April lived as latchkey kids, more or less going wherever and doing whatever they wanted, using whatever ninjutsu training any of them had whenever it would prove necessary.

The moment Raph proclaimed their team name as the Mad Dogs

Then, during the events of the episode "Mystic Mayhem," April and the Turtles encountered Mayhem, an exotic-looking animal who was actually a Yōkai. Mayhem was being pursued by some guardsmen working for Draxum, whom the Council had tasked Mayhem with keeping under surveillance because of Draxum's unauthorized laboratory experiments. The guardsmen captured April along with Mayhem and took them through a mystic portal, which the Turtles successfully managed to reopen, taking them down to the Hidden City just outside Draxum's lab. The four Turtles infiltrated the lab, where they found and claimed mystic weapons to replace their human world ninja weapons which had been destroyed during their recent clash with the guardsmen. The four Turtles confronted Draxum, who silently recognized them as the same four Turtles who as infants had once been subjects in that same laboratory, and had grown beautifully into adolescence. Draxum implored the four Turtle warriors to come work for him. The Turtles refused, battled with Draxum, and rescued April and Mayhem, after which Mayhem mystically teleported April and the Turtles back to the surface world. The oldest brother and self-appointed leader, Raph, believed that they had acted as heroes, and decided the brothers needed a team name to reflect this. Raph dubbed them the "Mad Dogs," a name they would continue to use for themselves as brothers from then on.

In "Origami Tsunami", April and the Mad Dogs first encountered the Foot Clan.

In "Donnie's Gifts", the Mad Dogs first encountered Meat Sweats, a human-born mutant pig who had previously been the human celebrity chef Rupert Swaggart until he was bitten by one of Draxum's oozesquitoes.

In "War and Pizza", April and the Mad Dogs first clashed with Albearto.

In "Newsworthy", the Mad Dogs first clashed with two new oozesquito-bitten new mutants: Hypno-Potamus, a human-born mutant hippopotamus who had originally been the New Zealander magician Mezmer-Ron, and Warren Stone, a human-born mutant earthworm who had originally been a television news anchor. The Mad Dogs would remember Hypno-Potamus, but Donatello would be the only brother not to repeatedly forget everything about Warren Stone.

In "Repo Mantis", Donnie and his brother Michelangelo first encountered two oozesquito-bitten new mutants: Repo Mantis, a human-born mutant mantis who owned and operated Repo Mantis Salvage, and Todd Capybara, a human-born mutant who owned and operated Cuddle Cakes Puppy Rescue out in the woods of Long Island. Repo hired the two brothers to repossess Todd's recreational vehicle as Todd had fallen behind in the payments he owed to Repo. In exchange, Repo promised the two brothers could have a discarded Jupiter Jim Moon Buggy from a previous Jupiter Jim film production. The brothers discovered the RV was the only place Todd had to live or operate his business, and since Todd proved to be an extreme nice person, the brothers built him better home and business facilities before taking the RV back to the city with them. But Repo reneged on the deal, refusing to give the moon buggy to the brothers. The brothers fled with the buggy anyway, managing to escape Repo. Repo had become their enemy, but Todd had become their friend.

In "The Fast and the Furriest", Donnie had refurbished the moon buggy into a new armored motor vehicle which he called the Turtle Tank.

In "Shell in a Cell", the Mad Dogs first encountered Ghostbear, a human professional wrestler who Raph was a fan of. Ghostbear would become their enemy.

In "Minotaur Maze", Donnie had used mystic technology to modify his goggles to see mystic objects and energy that would otherwise be invisible in the human world. With this, the Mad Dogs discovered Run of the Mill Pizza, a secret pizzeria in New York City owned and operated by Señor Hueso, and serving Yōkai in the surface world.

In "Bug Busters", the Mad Dogs had started hunting oozesquitoes wherever they were reported to exist, and drove their tank to the Grand Nexus Hotel where a swarm had been reported in the hotel's lobby. Donnie had developed new automatically-deploying hazmat suits for himself and his brothers, but with all their new tools they only had limited success at capturing any oozesquitoes. The human desk clerk, Stanley, was bitten by one of the oozesquitoes, changing him into a mutant half-bull, and he fled the hotel, with the swarm of oozesquitoes pursuing him. The Mad Dogs were met by the hotel's owner, a woman only known as Big Mama, who recognized the four Turtles as being of the same nature as herself and many of her hotel employees. Big Mama invited the Mad Dogs to the secret Yōkai-only floors within the hotel and for the first time the brothers learned what the Yōkai were—they much like mutants such as themselves, but had existed for many more generations, having built a parallel civilization in the Hidden City, with some like Big Mama herself existing disguised as humans in the surface world. Big Mama claimed not to know what "mutants" were or about Draxum's mutagenic experiments—only the Yōkai. Big Mama agreed to give the Mad Dogs the extra resources they would need to capture all the oozesquitoes free in the surface world. But when they returned to her hotel with the oozesquitoes, she betrayed and detained the Mad Dogs and seized the oozesquitoes and the technology Donnie had designed to capture them, but Leonardo managed to get away. Leo would discover the location of the confiscated items, and went back to rescue his brothers before Big Mama could sent them to her Battle Nexus to force them to work as rodeo clowns. But it wasn't just the Mad Dogs who had returned to steal back their gear—Draxum arrived to take back his captured oozesquitoes, and it also became clear that Big Mama had lied about not knowing Draxum or about his mutant experiments. Draxum again asked the Mad Dogs to come work for him, but they refused. Donnie and Mikey fled on Donnie's hover bike, while Raph and Leo pursued Draxum to the hotel's roof, where Raph took back the jar of oozesquitoes, but Draxum captured Leo. Draxum admitted to having a role in creating the Mad Dogs as mutants, which they had not known before-hand. Draxum offered to spare Leo's life in exchange for the oozesquitoes, but when Raph tried to called Draxum's bluff, Draxum went through with his threat and dropped Leo off the edge of the hotel roof. Raph abandoned the oozesquitoes and jumped off the roof after Leo. Raph unknowingly tapped into his own latent Hamato Ninpō power, summoning a supernatural force that saved both himself and Leo from falling to their deaths. The oozesquitoes were released back into the city, and Big Mama had become the Mad Dogs' newest enemy.

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The Mad Dogs received some ninjutsu training from their father Splinter, though by the time they were young teenagers, this training had largely stopped. They initially had the weapons that Splinter had provided them:

  • A pair of sai for Raph
  • A pair of katana for Leo
  • A pair of nunchaku for Mikey
  • Donnie had been trained to use the , but being very intelligent and crafty, he built himself an even more advanced Tech-Bō.

All these weapons, save for the Tech-Bō, were destroyed during their first clash with Baron Draxum's guardsmen in the series premiere episode, "Mystic Mayhem".

Later in that episode, the Mad Dogs infiltrated Baron Draxum's laboratory in the Hidden City where they claimed some mystic weapons which granted them special powers:

  • Raph claimed a pair of tonfā that could create solid energy constructs.
  • Mikey claimed a kusari-fundo that could turn into a flaming whip.
  • Leo claimed an ōdachi that could create portals.
  • Donnie did not claim a mystic weapon, and instead kept the Tech-Bō he already had.

In the episode "Bug Busters", in a spontaneous act, Raph independently tapped into his latent Hamato Ninpō power, but he did not know what it actually was at the time. He had unleashed it in an emergency to save his brother Leo from falling to his death off the roof of the Grand Nexus Hotel.

In "Shreddy or Not" (the second episode of the series finale), all their mystic weapons along with Donnie's Tech-Bō were destroyed.In "Anatawa Hitorijanai" (the third episode of the series finale), the Mad Dogs' friend Todd Capybara forged them some gardening tools to replace their weapons. Todd reasoned that the first ninja had originally used such tools as their first weapons:

  • Raph received a pair of gardening hand cultivators.
  • Mikey received a wire saw.
  • Leo received a pair of gardening trowels.
  • Donnie received a gardening hoe.

However, Hamato Karai and April O'Neil soon taught the complete Hamato Ninpō powers to the Mad Dogs, as they had all also always been members of the Hamato Clan. With this power, they could supernaturally transform their gardening tools into even more effective ninja weapons, taking the shape of the sai, katana, nunchaku and bō they had each originally been trained with.


Deceased members are listed in italics.

Hamato Clan

The Mad Dogs are also members of the Hamato Clan.

  • Hamato Atsuko - Their paternal grandmother, who died when Yoshi was still very young.
  • Hamato Karai - Their "Gram-Gram", and the Hamato Clan matriarch.
  • Hamato Sho - Their great-grandfather, Yoshi's maternal grandfather, and Atsuko's father, who was the one most responsible for teaching ninjutsu and trying to teach the Hamato Ninpō to Yoshi.
  • Hamato Yoshi / Lou Jitsu / Splinter - Their adoptive father and source of their Human DNA, who trained them in basic ninjutsu

Other family

  • April O'Neil - Their surrogate sister, who, according to Karai, had always been part of their family.
  • Baron Draxum - Their Yōkai second father from the Hidden City who originally possessed the Mad Dogs when they were ordinary laboratory animals. Draxum, who had wanted to create mutant warriors to fight in defense of the Yōkai people, was responsible for infusing the infant lab turtles with human DNA of Lou Jitsu, a Battle Nexus contestant whom Draxum acknowledged as a superior warrior. Lou Jitsu initially agreed to cooperate, but then objected to these baby turtles being exploited in such a manner. Lou Jitsu destroyed Draxum's lab and fled with the Turtles, but not before the Turtles had already mutated into half-humans and Lou Jitsu himself had started mutating into a half-rat. Upon discovering they had survived, Draxum repeatedly tried to convince or coerce the Mad Dogs to join him, but he was repeatedly turned down, and they remained enemies for some time. However, following Draxum's disastrous alliance with the Foot Clan, and becoming a wanted fugitive in the Hidden City, Mikey reached out and helped Draxum start a new life in the human world. Through this, Draxum was also acknowledged as the person who had always been the Mad Dogs' other father. He became a closer member of the family, made peace with Splinter, and in the end even aided the combined Hamato Clan in destroying the Shredder.
  • Mayhem - April's pet Yōkai
  • Piebald - Splinter's former pet goldfish, who came back into the family's life as a sentient mutant
  • Oroku Saki - Karai's father, who was corrupted by the Kuroi Yōroi and became the Shredder. Although Karai founded the Hamato Clan in opposition to the Shredder, Oroku Saki is still a direct ancestor of the Mad Dogs.
  • S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N. - Donnie's artificial intelligence who became sentient and developed a father-son relationship with his inventor.

Friends and Allies



  • "Mad Dogs" is the team's official name in the series and the only name that they consistently use to refer themselves.
    • As a running gag throughout the series, they have never been fully addressed or referred to as the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" or even called "Ninja Turtles", due to a number of ridiculous reasons, in a manner similar to the previous series.
      • Raph suggested the name "Mad Dogs" in "Mystic Mayhem".
      • In "Newsworthy", Warren Stone dubbed them the "teenage mutant loser turtles".
      • In "Bug Busters", when the Mad Dogs learned that Baron Draxum was their creator, they briefly wondered if they were actually "teenage mutant ninja sheepmen".
      • In "The Evil League of Mutants", Baron Draxum meets up with Hypno-Potamus, Warren Stone, the Sando Brothers, Repo Mantis, and Meat Sweats, announcing his intention to destroy the "teenage mutant ninja—" before he is cut off by the mutants drinking lemonade.
      • In "End Game":
        • Raph refers to their team as "the teenage turtles who are ninjas and mutants."
        • The flashback sequence explaining how the Kuroi Yōroi became flawed, is titled "Teenage Mutant Ninja Flashback."
      • In "Donnie vs. Witch Town", when April shows Donnie a smartphone gallery of failures explaining why she no longer comes to him for science project help, Donnie says, "That must have been the work of another teenage mutant ninja Donnie."
  • The Turtles occasionally refer to what seems to be a divine being (basically god) as "Pizza Supreme in the sky".
  • Rise of the TMNT writer Russ Carney confirmed that many of the Mad Dogs share hobbies and traits with their voice actors. Ex: Brandon Mychal Smith is a hugger and a dancer, and Ben Schwartz likes basketball and is a comedian.
  • They regularly say the phrase "This whole situation" as a euphemism for their mutation, often a prompt for them to disguise themselves.
    • Mutants outside of the Mad Dogs can be occasionally heard saying this as well such as when Bullhop does in "Bullhop".