They first appeared in the cartoon Private Pluto where they antagonize the dog Pluto, but they didn't get their names until their second appearance where they antagonize Donald Duck. Chip is the (slightly) more intelligent one with the black nose, and Dale is the one with the red nose and gapped teeth.
They eventually got their own animated series, titled Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers in 1989. In that show they teamed up with two mice named Gadget Hackwrench (a female inventor mouse whom Chip 'n Dale are both attracted to) and Monterey Jack (an Australian muscle mouse who has a fear of cats and a constant craving for cheese), and a fly named Zipper. Their usual adversaries include a cat crime boss named Fat Cat and his henchmen: an alley cat named Mepps, a lizard named Wart, a mole named Mole, and a rat named Snout. They also encounter an evil scientist named Professor Norton Nimnul.