The Call of the Wild Characters 📖

Published in 1903, ‘The Call of the Wild’ has defined Jack London’s literature for readers worldwide for decades. The novel features one of the most memorable main characters in literary history—Buck. 

The Call of the Wild

Jack London

The book features both human and animal characters. Together, Jack London uses this diverse cast of characters to depict the dangers of over-civilization, friendliness, and how strong one has to be to survive in the wild. Buck falls under the ownership of good and poor masters and learns much from each of them. 

The Call of the Wild Characters


Buck is the main character and protagonist of Jack London’s novel. He’s a dog from California who starts the novel as a well-loved and loyal pet. He’s half St. Bernard and half sheepdog. At the novel’s beginning, he’s kidnapped from his home in California and sold as a sled dog in the Alaskan Yukon.

The novel focuses on Bucks’s transformation from a pet in California to a wild, determined animal capable of surviving the terrible conditions in the North. His character is used to demonstrate how all living things, from dogs to humans, can revert to their basic instinct to survive.

John Thronton 

One of the primary human characters of Jack London’s novel. He’s a gold hunter who understands the Klondike very well. He is Buck’s last master and is remembered primarily for saving him from Hal. Buck is fiercely loyal to John Thornton during this period, and the two form a productive and lawyer relationship. 

Thornton represents the last remaining bits of civilization in Buck’s life as he tries to resist the pull to fully immerse himself in the wilds of Alaska. Their bond is only broken when Thornton dies. 


Another dog that plays a primary role in The Call of the Wild. He’s hated by some and regarded for his strength and ferocity. Before meeting Buck, Spitz was the strongest animal around. He does not regard right or wrong, but Buck wins with his greater intelligence and cunning. 

Spitz eventually kills Curly and proves himself to be Buck’s true enemy in the novel. He’s later killed by Buck in a fight that is one of the climactic scenes of the novel. Buck takes over his command and proves the California dog’s strength and newfound resilience. 


A female dog who Buck befriends on his trip into the North. She’s a Newfoundland who is killed by Spitz. She serves as a powerful lesson for Buck, who learns how dangerous it is to show friendship. 


A powerful and determined sled dog who, rather than succumb to his illness easily, continues to pull the sweat until he dies. His stubbornness shows book an example of the kind of determination needed to survive in the wild.


An older dog on Buck’s sled team from whom Buck learns a great deal. 


Francois plays an important role at the beginning of the novel. He’s a French Canadian mail driver who purchases Buck after he’s kidnapped and brought to the Alaskan Yukon. Rather than treating the sled dog with cruelty are some readers might expect, Francois shows consideration and fairness to attributes that impress Buck. He works alongside Perrault to transform Buck into a sled dog for the Canadian government. 


A secondary character who, like Francois, is also French-Canadian. He works alongside the former to prepare Buck for life as a sled dog for the Canadian government.


An unlikable American gold seeker, along with her sister and her husband, buys Buck and his fellow team dogs and attempts to drive them. But, they are inexperienced and soon struggle with the realities of life in the Yukon. They run out of food, fight amongst themselves, and prove themselves to be terrible masters to the team of dogs. 

Hal represents the negative parts of civilization. Or, what happens when one becomes distant from their natural instincts and survival skills.


Hal’s sister and wife to Charles. She, along with her brother, represents wealth, over-civilization, and ignorance. Throughout her part in the novel, she shows herself to be spoiled and unreasonable. Her demands slow the journey down and help bring about the final disaster that befalls the team. 


The third member of the American team that buys Buck and his companions. He, like Mercedes and Hal, is unsuited to life in the Yukon and soon shows himself to be a terrible master. He’s inexperienced and unlikeable in the novel. 

Judge Miller 

Buck’s original owner in Santa Clara Valley in California. 


The man who steals Buck and sells him to pay off his gambling debts. 

Dub, Pike, Joe, Billee

Other dogs on Buck’s sled team. 


What are the three main characters from The Call of the Wild?

The three main characters from The Call of the Wild are Buck, a half St Bernard half sheepdog who is kidnapped at the beginning of the novel; John Thornton, Buck’s final owner and a man to whom the sled dog shows a great deal of loyalty, and Spitz a dangerous and violent dog who becomes Buck’s enemy after he kills Curly.

What dogs are in The Call of the Wild?

There are several dogs in The Call of the Wild. They include Buck, Curly, Spitz, Sol-Leks, Dave, Dub, Pike, Joe, and Billee. The dogs in the book are mostly large breeds, like St. Bernard and Newfoundland. 

Is Francois a dog in The Call of the Wild?

No, Francois is a mail driver who buys Buck and adds him to his sled team. He’s experienced in the North and shows fairness towards his dogs. 

Who is Buck’s enemy?

Buck’s enemy is Spitz, another sled dog who is introduced at the beginning of the novel. He’s the team’s leader and shows himself to be incredibly violent. He’s willing to do anything to maintain his place, regardless of right and wrong. 

What breed is Buck?

Buck is a mix of a St. Bernard and sheepdog. He’s the main character of the novel and provides readers with insight into how animals view human beings, particularly highlighting the difference between good and poor masters.

Emma Baldwin
About Emma Baldwin
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues on Book Analysis.
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