The series is a sequel of the Ace Ventura movies. The titular character, voiced by Canadian actor Michael Daingerfield (credited as Michael Hall), is a goofy private investigator with a predilection for animals of all species.
The show ran on CBS for two seasons, with a third season airing on Nickelodeon when that channel acquired the show to broadcast reruns. Many of the characters from the movie were retained, though not voiced by their original actors. While the original movies already had a strongly cartoonish comedic aesthetic, they were eclipsed by the slapstick and garish humor of the cartoon. Seth MacFarlane was among the writers over the course of the show's run, displaying similar humor to his later series.
The show was rife with toilet humor and anachronisms (one episode centered around the Egyptian Mau, claiming it to be an extinct breed of cat, when, in fact, they are not). Despite running in a time slot after The Mask (another popular Jim Carrey-based cartoon) and a crossover with that show (in that series' finale, "The Aceman Cometh"), the series failed to gain a large audience. Ultimately, both The Mask and Ace Ventura were cancelled. A new and completely different season of the series ran on Nickelodeon.
A computer game, Ace Ventura, was based on the show.
A two-part crossover between Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Mask, another animated series based on a Jim Carrey film, aired on August 30, 1997. The crossover begins with The Mask episode "The Aceman Cometh", and concludes with the Ace Ventura episode "Have Mask, Will Travel". At the time of the original airing, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was running in the adjoining time slot immediately following The Mask in CBS's Saturday morning lineup. During the crossover, Stanley/Mask and Ace retain their respective animation styles while appearing within the other's show. The crossover also serves as the second season finale of Ace Ventura and the series finale of The Mask.
In "The Aceman Cometh", Stanley Ipkiss's dog Milo has his brain switched with that of a scientist and is then dog-napped. Stanley in turn hires Ace to help get him back. At the end of the episode, Spike steals the mask, and Stanley follows them to Miami to retrieve it. In "Have Mask, Will Travel", Stanley catches up to Ace just as he is recruited to solve a case on a space station, leading Stanley to become the Mask and join the investigation.
A three-episode DVD of the show was bundled with the two Ace Ventura movies. The back of the package has a mistake in the description of the pilot episode "The Reindeer Hunter," stating that Santa's main reindeer, Rudolph, has been abducted when in truth, Rudolph is not in the episode at all, rather it was the rest of his reindeer that had been abducted. This was also the only DVD release of this show. It's currently unknown if the whole series will be released.