Spoiler alert: Major spoilers for Cruella ahead!
In the 1996 101 Dalmatians, Cruella de Vil wants Anita and Roger's Dalmatian puppies so she can skin them and sell their coats. Why puppies? Because their coats are softer, obviously. 2021's prequel, Cruella, serves to give the villain an origin story that explains why Cruella is so, well, cruel. But are puppies involved? Does she hate them? Cruella may have a complicated relationship with dogs, but she doesn't really hate them.
People are wondering why Cruella de Vil hates dogs.
Since we know future Cruella de Vil eventually becomes a puppy-killing monster, it would make sense to explain her dislike of dogs in Cruella. But in the prequel, she doesn't actually hate dogs — even if she is wearing a spotted coat to scare the Baroness, who is the owner of Dalmatians Pongo and Perdita. She certainly has no interest in skinning them in this film, although it's revealed that Cruella's adoptive mother was killed when the Baroness ordered her Dalmatians to push her off a cliff.
At the end of the movie, Cruella has stolen one of the Dalmatians, who's given birth to a litter of puppies. During the mid-credits scene, she ends up giving two away, one to Anita (her childhood friend), and Roger (this part is confusing, since Roger blames Cruella for making him lose his job as a lawyer, even though this was the Baroness's fault). But it's important to the story that both Anita and Roger get two puppies, Pongo and Perdita, because this sets us up 101 Dalmatians.
What's confusing is the reason why Cruella would want to eventually kill the puppies if they were actually bred from her own dogs. There doesn't seem to be a reason, since Cruella makes it really clear that Emma Stone's Cruella isn't cruel enough to skin puppies for a fur coat. The movie wants Cruella to be somewhat likable, so maybe that's why it veers off track in terms of Cruella's personality and motivations.
Maybe something happens to Cruella in a second installment of Cruella, and we discover she actually cares more about making money with Dalmatian fur coats than she cares about the puppies. It's really unclear, though! The only explanation is that Disney failed to really explain Cruella properly, because they were too scared of her becoming an actual villain nobody could root for. Nobody roots for the person who kills puppies. That's a line we don't cross.
Slate notes, "One of the big problems that Cruella runs into is that it’s an origin story for an unsympathetic character that’s desperately afraid of that same character becoming unsympathetic. The movie tries to justify the existence of Cruella (versus Estella, her given name) by positioning Cruella as the opinionated one who refuses to be meek, but that’s hardly a villainous trait."
The takeaway here? Cruella doesn't initially hate dogs, even though some of them were ordered to kill her adoptive mother. She eventually does become an evil puppy-killing villain, though — that we know.
Cruella is currently in theaters and streaming on Disney Premier Plus.