Spike is first mentioned on August 4, 1975, when he sends Snoopy a letter saying that he is coming to visit. He is first shown on August 13, and everybody is shocked to see how skinny he is, due to the fact that the coyotes he lives with, don't share any food with him.
Originally, he lived with coyotes, but they mistreated Spike, so he moved out, and moved somewhere close to the city of Needles, California, where he lives by himself, with a cactus for company. However, he sometimes leaves Needles to visit Snoopy.
At first, Spike was a minor character, but as time past, Spike started appearing more frequently. By the 1990s, Spike had arguably become a major character.
In a series of strips from 1996, desperate for a dog of his own, Rerun van Pelt invites Spike to become his pet. After a lengthy trek, Spike arrives at Rerun's home. He does not stay, as Rerun is surprised by how skinny Spike is.
Spike is the main character in the 1988 television special It's the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown and features prominently in the specials Snoopy's Getting Married, Charlie Brown (1985), Snoopy's Reunion (1991) and I Want A Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown (2003). Spike makes a cameo in the credits of The Peanuts Movie, sitting at a table in France with Snoopy, Fifi, and his other siblings.
- The annual meeting of the Cactus Club will now come to order... (Said multiple times)
- Well, I learned something. Never carry a cactus in a rubber raft. (October 28, 1983)
- Living in the desert isn't all bad. There's beautiful scenery. And good conversation. Hi rock. (October 12, 1985),
- When you live on a desert there's nothing more exciting than watching the sun go down. Then what? (January 13, 1992)
- Sometimes I lie here at night, and it's so lonely so I look up at the stars, and I give them names like they're all friends of mine, and I talk to them. Hi Michelle. (April 11, 1992)
- Sure life in the desert can be lonely at times. But at least you know you're not going to get hit in the face with a pie. (Gets hit in the face with a pie) Probably. (February 12, 1993)
- It's hard to explain why balloons are so much fun. (September 3, 1993)
- Life in the desert is exciting. Last night the sun went down and this morning the sun came up. There's always something happening. (October 12, 1993)