From the Taco Bell Chihuahua to "Blue's Clues," female animals are dominating the big and small screen

Mulan would be so proud. Consider:

—In As Good as It Gets, the character of Verdell, a boy dog, was played by Jill, a female Brussels griffon.

Dr. Dolittle‘s inebriated, French-accented monkey, voiced by actor Phil Proctor, was portrayed by Crystal, a girl monkey.

—Taco Bell’s macho Chihuahua? Her real name is Gidget.

—In There’s Something About Mary, tortured male pup Puffy is actually female Border terrier Slammer.

—And Blue, of Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues, may be tinted a traditionally male color, but truth be told, the show should be called Pink’s Clues (he’s a she).

What’s with all the girl power? As Good as It Gets trainer Roger Schumacher thinks it’s just the reverse of an old trend: “Lassie was a girl dog that was played by a male,” he points out. But Crystal’s trainer Tom Gunderson, of Birds & Animals Unlimited, says that female animals do have an edge over their male counterparts. “Typically, you don’t have as much of an aggression problem, so you can work them longer.” That is, of course, until they show their diva side. “When Slammer saw everyone having a trailer,” says Mary producer Charles Wessler, “she said, ‘I’d like to get myself a trailer.’ So we got her a half-banger, which is a trailer for two actors. She shared with Chris Elliott.” —With additional reporting by Tricia Laine