They are based on the Seven Dwarfs from the story of Snow White, but the known dwarfs share the same names as their Disney counterparts.
They reappear in Shrek 2 where they forge a wedding ring with the words "I Love You" in flaming letters engraved on it, giving it to Shrek, who gives it to Fiona. The ring is a allusion of the One Ring from Lord of the Rings.
One of the dwarfs appears in Shrek the Third as a present to Fiona on her baby shower given to her by Snow White. That same dwarf appears at the end of the film asking to babysit The Ogre Triplets, but ends up getting stuffed with a baby bottle and the door slammed on him by Shrek. This dwarf probably is Grumpy. The name of Dopey (one of the seven dwarfs) is also referenced in this film as a tattoo on Snow White's arm.
The dwarfs appear in Scared Shrekless at the end through silhouettes walking down a path. As Shrek and his family prepare to throw eggs at them, one of them responds in rage. It can be assumed that the one yelling is Happy, as mentioned below.
They also appear in Shrek 2: The Video Game where Human Shrek and Stallion Donkey have to rescue them. Along the way they also have to save Snow White, who's still in her death bed.
- It is unknown if they bear the same names as the dwarfs in the Disney film based on the fairy tale, but it is assumed they do; one of them is named Dopey (because Snow White has a tattoo on her arm with Dopey's name written inside a heart) and it can be assumed that one is named Happy (since one of them said "I am NOT happy!" in Scared Shrekless).
- Grumpy marries Princess Pea and had Farquaad as their son. However this was only in the musical, which is considered its own separate canon.
- The dwarfs, much like their Disney counterparts, love to sing while they work. This is seen in the ending of Scared Shrekless before they get egged.