When Bond is given the porcelain bulldog figurine at the end of Skyfall, he smiles as if he understands the meaning of this figurine.

During the movie, we can see the camera focusing on that figurine at least three times:

  1. When we first see M at her desk.
  2. After the MI6 explosion on M's desk.
  3. When Bond opens the box at the end.

What is the meaning of this figurine, and what is the purpose of giving it to Bond?

  • 2
    In various past movies, Bond has been referred as "Her Majesty's Loyal Dog". That is the purpose of the gift.
    – user4349
    Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 0:33
  • 4
    @John - Which movies carry this quote?
    – moobot
    Commented Jun 23, 2013 at 3:59

10 Answers 10


Well I would choose not to speculate on the Bond-M relation and rather point out something from the movie.

Cut to the scene where Moneypenny hands Bond the object in question:

Moneypenny: Maybe that was her way of telling you to take a desk job.

James Bond: Just the opposite!

So, IMO, that was M's way of providing an emotional nudge to Bond, to carry on, from the far and beyond.

  • But why exactly does giving the dog tell Bond that she wants him to stay in the field?
    – Geerten
    Commented Nov 21, 2012 at 11:50
  • 6
    The dog survived the blast didn't it(hell, it even outlived M!).....maybe, thats what M wanted to convey to BOND, that he too will survive it all.....
    – Sayan
    Commented Nov 21, 2012 at 13:21
  • 1
    That's an interesting take. Especially because Bond says something along the lines of "Out of everything, that thing survived the explosion?", when he returns to M's office.
    – Geerten
    Commented Nov 21, 2012 at 15:18
  • Exactly! U summed it up....
    – Sayan
    Commented Nov 22, 2012 at 7:21

The dog represents Bond and the hate/love relationship between him and M.

M feels responsible for turning Bond into the cold, detached (ugly) agent that he's become, and that, combined with the fact that he's so good at it, is why she refuses to let him go. Hence, why the dog is so ugly and why she insists on keeping it.

Bond, on the other hand, would rather be somewhere else, but, at the same time he feels that it's his responsibility to protect M (which is the reason why he returned from being "dead"). This is why he hates the dog, and why he'd rather her threw it out. This is also the likely reason why the figurine is a dog and not something else. Just like a dog, Bond will stay by M's side until the end.

The dog surviving the explosion makes this even more obvious. It, just like Bond (and his relationship with M), seems to survive pretty much anything.

Leaving the dog for Bond is M's way of not only getting the last word in their never-ending quarrel, but also to remind him that, while he might be an ugly dog, he's UK's ugly dog (the fact that the dog is an English Bulldog draped in a UK flag indicates that it's not just about M, but the entire country), and they still need him despite that she's now gone.


Bond isn't fond of the "British Bulldog" figurine, but clearly M is. He makes disdainful remarks when he sees that, of all things, the ugly figurine he dislikes so much survived the explosion.

When he receives it at the end of the movie, it's because M left it to him. She knew how much he disliked it, so what could be a better present to remind him of her!


"After World War I patriotic bulldogs draped with Union Jacks were introduced into the Royal Doulton collection, because the bulldog was a symbol for the dogged determination of British people. The statues were reintroduced during World War II." It simply urge Bond to keep doing what he does with his dogged determination & for the people of the British Empire. Also since he dislikes it most & it survived the explosion at MI6, tells him even to outlive M, to keep on going.

  • +1 Bulldogs are a traditional symbol of stubborn British patriotism so it's a clear message "Put your country and duty first, even when you don't like it". Also, IIRC a theme of the film was, almost every time M and Bond disagreed, it would turn out that M was right. I think there's an element of "Remember what I taught you, especially when you didn't like what I was saying" and "You were wrong to walk away from your duty, like you were wrong about this dog" Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 9:00

I simply thought of it as being a collegial joke by M, because Bond wondered a bit sarcasticly why solely that dog had survived the bombing. Just as in: "Oh, you don't like it? Have fun with it then!"


Bond doesn't like the dog, we know that from the scene in the film. M leaves Bond the dog because she knows he doesn't like it. Bond then says something along the lines of, it means the opposite of get a desk job. My thought on this if he got a desk job he'd have to look at the dog all day!


"In the opening sequence, when M is writing Bond’s obituary, the bulldog is facing outward as if M is watching England. Throughout the rest of the movie, the bulldog is facing M, as if England is watching M. When she wills the bulldog to Bond, she’s giving him responsibility for England." Source


Yes, the bulldog could be a reference to the world war days and the determination of the Brits, especially with the mention of Churchill's tunnels; however, the overall underline reason for the dog is because M and Bond are both old dogs in a new world. Bond doesn't like the dog because it reminds him of this. When Bond first returns after his death, M and him have the dialog, "You know the rules of the game; we've both been playing long enough." To which bond replies, "So this is it; we're both played out." Bond and M are cut from the same cloth, kindred spirits, a throw back to an earlier time.

This is echoed when Eve gives Bond a close shave and says, "Old dog, new tricks." This is also a reference to the reboot of the Bond series: an old character being presented in a new way. Which is further explored in the introduction of a new pimple faced Q. Exploding pens, "We don't really go in for that anymore." "A brave new world," Bond replies. And then when Bond goes old school with his gadget car, he return briefly to the old Bond ways (but still done in an updated way).


It represented England in the beginning of Skyfall when M was writing Bond's obituary. The Bulldog was facing outwards as if M was looking out for and over England. For the rest of the movie, the dog was facing inwards as if England was watching her. Then at the end when Eve gave the dog to him, it was M telling Bond that now she wants him to look out for and over England...

  • 1
    It represented "Great Britain", as Bond, being half Scottish, half French would have seen the Union Jack as a British symbol. If it had been the red cross on white (the St Georges Cross), it might have been England. Commented Oct 25, 2015 at 13:32

There is a common cultural crossing between the bulldog and Winston Churchill (so much so the Churchill insurance company play on it in adverts).

In 1940 early in the Second World War, Winston Churchill had had a long service, but had been exiled due to his views, including his "lone voice" on the dangers of Nazi Germany and the coming War. However once he returned to become Prime Minister in 1940,it's widely felt that his singular effort was a deciding factor in the winning of the war (and why as a commoner he received a State funeral).

The parallels are there. Bond is in exile after he "dies", he has lost faith in what he does, the politicians are trying to get rid of the human element (the double o section), but his lone wolf approach is what defeats Silva when the might and tech of MI6 fails.

The message to Bond is clear, although you may question what you are doing, and others feel you are an anachronism, your country needs you now and you are the lone protector. As Bond says when Moneypenny suggests it means take a desk job

Quite the opposite.

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