- " Einstein, the large dog curled on the passenger seat, hopped up as soon as the van stopped and poked his wet nose against the window. / "No, Einstein," Doc murmured. "Not yet. We have a few minutes, so make yourself comfortable again." / Einstein yawned, curled his tongue back into his mouth and tried to scratch beneath the collar he was wearing. The battery-operated digital clock attached to it undulated in the moonlight, changed from 00:07 to 00:08, then came to rest as the dog either satisfied its itch or gave up trying to scratch where he couldn't reach. "
- —From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, page 41)
Einstein (often known as "Einie") was Doc Brown's pet sheepdog in 1985, and later pet to the Brown family. His age in 1985 was unknown, although he was fully grown and most likely "middle aged" for a dog. He was the latest of many Doc's pet dogs named after famous scientists, in this case Albert Einstein. It was, therefore, quite fitting that he became the world's first time traveler.
Einstein was Doc's constant companion, and despite being using the dog in many of his experiments, Doc did care about his pet deeply (since apart from Marty and Jennifer, Einstein appears to have been Doc's only friend), and he would not compromise his friend's safety. Doc built an automatic dog food feeder to make both his and Einstein's lives easier. Einstein was also "friends" with Marty and was usually a cheerful, friendly dog. He only liked canned dog food, as Doc pointed out in his letter to Marty, and was usually walked twice a day. He also enjoys liver treats given to him by Doc.
Einstein was present at the Twin Pines Mall parking lot, where Doc Brown conducted his first time travel experiment. With Doc controlling the DeLorean time machine via remote, Einstein sitting inside it and Marty filming, Einstein successfully blasted forward in time by one minute, leaving at 1:20 am and arriving at 1:21 am on October 26, 1985. Einstein, being a dog, was "completely unaware that anything happened" and happily went back into Doc's truck, unharmed.
Minutes later, Einstein (whom Doc had put in a specially-designed radiation suit) barked from the truck to warn Doc that Libyan terrorists (from whom he obtained plutonium to power the time machine) had arrived at the mall. After the terrorists murdered Doc, and chased Marty around the parking lot until he disappeared back to 1955, Einstein stayed in the truck, probably scared of the gunfire.
When in the past, Marty was able to warn the younger Doc in 1955 of his fate in 1985. When 1985 rolled around again, Doc wore a bulletproof vest and survived the terrorists' gunfire. After dropping Marty back home, Doc took Einstein with him into the future. What happened while they were there is partly unknown, but Einstein was left in a suspended animation kennel when Doc headed back to 1985 to pick up Marty (and Jennifer, who happened to be there) to bring them to 2015.
Doc retrieved Einstein from the kennel. Einstein stayed with Doc and Marty for the remainder of their time in 2015, and tracked down Jennifer, who had been taken to her future home by the police. Doc still had Jennifer's purse, which Einstein used to get her scent.
Mission accomplished, the four headed back to 1985, only to find out it was in fact 1985A – a nightmarish alternate reality where Biff Tannen was rich, powerful and Marty's stepfather. This was due to Biff's 2015 self stealing the time machine and giving his 1955 self a sports almanac with the race results inside it. In this reality Doc-A was sent to a mental institution in 1983A, and it is unknown what happened to the alternate Einstein. His basket was in the remains of Doc-A's lab, so it was proven that an alternative Einstein did exist at some point in this reality.
Einstein (from the unaltered timeline), like Jennifer, was left behind when Doc and Marty headed back to 1955 to correct history. When the timeline was reverted to normal, it changed around Einstein, although he would probably be unaware of this.
Doc ended being sent back to 1885 when the DeLorean was struck by lightning in 1955. In a letter to Marty, who was trapped in 1955, Doc told Marty he was perfectly happy living and working as a blacksmith in the Old West, and asked his friend to give Einstein a good home once he returned to 1985. However, having seen Doc's tombstone in the Boot Hill Cemetery, Marty headed back to 1885 to save Doc from certain death at the hands of Buford Tannen instead of going back to 1985.
After Marty left Doc behind in 1885, Doc (who had spent ten years of his life in the late 19th century) returned to 1985 with his wife Clara and sons Jules and Verne. They picked up Einstein from Doc's lab, and the dog became the family pet. Although it had been ten years since Doc saw Einstein, it had only been about 10 hours since Einstein last saw Doc. Einstein was with the family right at the end when they departed in the time machine for times unknown.
Sometime afterwards, Doc and Einstein travel to June 1931 (with a temporal duplicate of the DeLorean). One night, Doc is knocked unconscious by Edna Strickland who sets fire to Kid Tannen's speakeasy. During the incident, Einstein grabs one of her shoes and returns to the DeLorean. The car's automatic retrieval system activates and takes Einstein to May 14, 1986 outside Doc's garage, where Marty finds him.
Einstein takes Marty to Edna's apartment, and afterwards, both head to 1931. He helps Marty and the young Emmett Brown to locate Arthur McFly, and was left behind by mistake when Marty and Doc travel to 1986A.
Einstein would remain with the young Emmett Brown up until August 25, 1931 and allows the young version of his master to use him as a test subject. He ends up on the roof of the Hill Valley Courthouse, but is safely brought back down by Doc. He helps Marty to find Arthur again, by sniffing his pipe. Upon returning to a newly altered 1986, Einstein and Doc erase from existence.
In the 1986B timeline, Edna Brown had placed a ban on dogs in Hill Valley. Einstein is an unnamed stray in this timeline who found his way into the city and was captured, only to escape. After trying to get some soy dogs from SoupMo, he is discovered by a time lost Marty who gave him a soy dog. After ending the Courthouse Square, Einstein is apprehended and caged in what used to be El Kid. He's freed by Marty again, and help him take down Biff Tannen. Unfortunately afterwards, Einstein is shortly apprehended and deported out of the city.
In the final revision of 1986, Einstein is once again Doc's pet. He is regularly walked by Edna Strickland Tannen (who no longer dislikes dogs).
Behind the scenes
- In Back to the Future, Einstein was portrayed by a dog named Tiger, trained by animal trainer Richard Calkins. Twenty-eight dog years later, when Parts II and III of the trilogy were being filmed, animal trainer Matilda de Cagny provided another canine actor called Freddie, to portray Einstein (as Tiger was too old to continue the role). Freddie, alongside Christopher Lloyd, Thomas F. Wilson, and Darlene Vogel, also appeared in the film for Back to the Future: The Ride.
- His exact breed is under debate by fans; common theories suggest a mixed-breed, a Berger Picard, a Briard with uncropped ears, or a breed of sheepdog.
- Doc named his dog in 1955 Copernicus after the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (b. February 19, 1473, d. May 24, 1543), and his dog in 1985 after his hero and favorite scientist Albert Einstein.
- In the novelization (see Quote above), Einstein is described as wearing on his collar a battery-operated digital clock rather than one of the two LED stopwatches he wears on-screen. Also, Doc uses not the other stopwatch but his own digital watch when demonstrating on video that the two timepieces are in exact synchronization (page 47).
- Einstein was a major character in the animated series. He underwent a bit of a transformation, with the cartoon version not looking that much the film version. As with many cartoon show dogs, Einstein was also more intelligent and would help Doc with his inventions, due to him being slightly anthropomorphic. The opening credits to Season One show that Einstein can drive the steam train time machine by himself. There's somewhat of a scientific explanation for this; Doc has invented what appear to be thought-controlled mechanical gloves, which fit over Einie's paws and allow him to grasp or manipulate items.
- Unlike most popular cartoon dogs (Scooby Doo, Brian Griffin etc.), Einstein does not talk. One of the recurring jokes in the series is that when Einstein barks, Doc, Marty, Clara, and the boys infer a great deal of information from one "Woof!"
- Einstein usually wore a stopwatch around his neck, as he did in the first film.
- Back to the Future trilogy
- Back to the Future: The Ride
- Back to the Future: The Pinball
- Back to the Future: The Animated Series
- Back to the Future (Harvey Comics)
- The Earth Day Special (Mentioned only)(Non-canonical appearance)
- LEGO Dimensions
- Back to the Future: The Game
- Back to the Future: Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines
Notes and references
| The McFly Family|
Marty McFly | George McFly | Lorraine Baines McFly | Jennifer Parker | Seamus McFly | Maggie McFly
Dave McFly | Linda McFly | Martin McFly, Jr. | Marlene McFly | Arthur McFly
| The Brown Family|
Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown | Clara Clayton Brown | Jules Brown | Verne Brown | Einstein
| The Tannen Family|
Biff Tannen | Buford Tannen | Griff Tannen | Irving "Kid" Tannen
| The Strickland Family|
James Strickland | Roger Strickland | Irene Strickland | Edna Strickland | Gerald Strickland
Match, Skinhead & 3-D | Goldie Wilson | Douglas J. Needles | Marcus Irving