Dogs are a man’s best friend, which is even more evident in the stories you hear about them worldwide. For years, dogs have been our most beloved pet and loyal companions, and this loyalty forever earned them places as famous dogs in the history books. Some of the most outstanding dogs in history have either become renowned for their popularity in movies, their contributions to science, or their acts of heroism and loyalty. These dogs truly show the purity of the canine spirit and will forever live on in our hearts as some of the best dogs in the world.
This loyal and faithful dog was a Japanese Akita who is known for waiting for his owner at the train station until his own death—undeniably one of the most famous dogs in history. Hachiko was the dog of a university professor named Hidesaburo Ueno, who taught at Tokyo University and always took Hachiko to the train station. His pup would wait for him every day until he got back from work. One day in May 1925, the professor suffered from a major heart attack at work that claimed his life. Hachiko would always still wait by the train station for his owner while people gave him some dog food and took care of him. Sadly he would spend the rest of his life waiting for a man that would never come. He was found dead on March 8, 1935. His story inspired millions, and a statue was erected at the Shibuya train station in his honor. His story was recently turned into a movie called Hachi: A Dog’s Tale.
The fictional pooch Lassie is one of the most well-known movie star dogs on this list even to this day. The show came from a short story that was later adapted into a novel and then produced on the big screen. The story was about a loyal female Rough-collie who went on many amiable adventures and often saved the lives of many people. The real wonder dog actor Lassie was a male Rough-collie named Pal, who was born in 1940 and was the original star of the first seven Lassie movies. Many of his offspring would later play Lassie as well. Pal also performed as his stage name Lassie in many non-movie events such as rodeos and fairs. Movies and Tv shows are still being made about this beloved character.
You may have seen a statue of a Siberian Husky erected in Central Park in New York City dedicated to the sled dog teams’ admirable spirit who helped save the lives of children in Nome, Alaska, from a diphtheria pandemic by bringing in the medicine needed to cure the sickness. The cross-country “race” featured many volunteer mushers and their sled dogs to ensure the medicine safely got to the city. The most notable lead dogs of these teams are Balto and Togo. Balto is the most well-known due to the fact he completed the last leg in the race. He is also noted for guiding his team out of a complete white-out which for modern-day dog owners wouldn’t be as bad with modern dog GPS tracker collars. Balto’s visage is the one shown on the statue in Central Park. Togo is the one who faced the longest and dangerous part of the trial. Both of these dogs are heroes who showed true courage in the face of danger.
One of the first modern famous dogs was arguably Laika. She started her life as a stray dog on the streets of Russia until she was used in a space experiment to study the effects of animals in space. During the Space Race, America and Russia were both extremely eager to be the first to find ways to achieve space-related technology and feats. Regardless of who eventually won. Russia was the first to send the first dog—first living being—to space. She was a dog named Laika who achieved national news for her additions to our understanding of space travel. Sadly, Laika’s story didn’t end well as she died due to overheating. However, her significance paved the way for many more experiments that would eventually lead us to understand how to eventually send actual people to space safely.
Rin Tin Tin
This interesting German Shepherd had one crazy life that you would often find featured in the movies. In fact, that’s exactly what ended up happening to Rin Tin Tin. He was found as a puppy on the war-torn battlefields of Flirey, France, in World War I. He was the only survivor in his litter. He was adopted by an American soldier named Lee Duncan. Once, at a dog show, he jumped 12 feet into the air and earned the attention of a filmmaker who later approached Duncan about Rin Tin Tin or Rinty, and from then on out, the dog would become one of the most successful film dogs ever. He stared in over 30 films in his career. Many producers even wrote some of those movies, especially for him. He died unexpectedly in 1932. His owner had his body buried in his homeland in France. Rin Tin Tin’s popularity would catapult the German Shepherd breed into the spotlight as working dogs, police dogs, and family pets.
Here’s another loyal pup with a statue made in his honor. Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier from Edinburgh, Scotland, known for guarding his master’s grave for 14 years until he died from jaw cancer on January 14, 1872, at the old age of 16 . Bobby’s owner was John Grey, who was a nightwatchman. He died and was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard, where Bobby would spend every day of his life sitting on his grave. When Bobby died, he too was buried in the same place as his owner, and a statue was created at his grave in commemoration of his everlasting loyalty. Bobby became a famous figure in Scotland after that, with many stories and books being written about him, although most of these stories confuse his origins. However, most people seem to accept that his owner was indeed a nightwatchman named John Grey who met the dog while he was working for the police.
Yet another celebrity dog on the list, Toto is a character from the beloved children’s classic novel the Wizard of Oz. The book turned into a movie with Toto being played by a female Cairn Terrier named Terry. She was abandoned until she was adopted by Carl Spitz the Holywood dog trainer. The charming performance by Terry helped with the popularity of the Cairn Terrier breed, although the breed is still considered rare even today. Terry earned her owner more money than any of the human actors did. It equaled to $125 a week, which would be about $2,000 in today’s time. The doggy actress would go on to star in 11 movies in total. Upon her death, a memorial was erected in loving memory of her most popular stage name, Toto.
Barry also known as Barry der Menschenretter is a true hero among dogs. He was a rescue dog for the Great St Bernard Hospice and rescued over 40 people in Switzerland and Italy. The name Menschenretter even means “people rescuer” in German. Barry’s breed is known today as a St. Bernard, but instead of the chunkier build of the more modern version, Barry would have been smaller and have a thinner body shape than the modern St. Bernard. This is evident in both the pictures of him and his taxidermy. Most accounts of his death are rumored that he was accidentally killed due to being mistaken as a wolf by one of the people he was rescuing. This is evident on a plaque in France to commemorate his service. In reality, he retired to Bern, Switzerland where his remains are on display at the Natural History Museum of Bern.
Peritas is the oldest famous dog on our list. He is most well known for being the guard dog of Alexander the Great before the man’s conquest of the world. His breed, the Molossian died out long ago but it is thought to be a precursor to the Mastiff breed of today, although some sources say he was a hound. One story of him recounts a tale where he bit the face of an elephant who was attacking his master during a battle with Darius III of Persia. He was Alexander’s favorite dog and even had a city in Pakistan named after him. The city is long gone, but the history of possibly the first-ever famous dog is still around.
Although Pavlov’s dogs aren’t given any names or identities, they are no less important to the advancement of science, specifically ones carried out by Ivan Pavlov. He used the dogs to study the effects of classical conditioning. He accidentally discovered this while he was experimenting with numerous dogs at the time. He would measure their salivary response to food to only find out it was a metronome or a buzzer that went off before the food arrived. This discovery led to advances in animal behavior sciences as well as human behavioral sciences.
Dog’s have always been there to protect us, entertain us, and help us discover more things about the universe that we would never be able to do by ourselves. So if you have a pup, give them extra loving, create a dog room with all of their special dog toys, and feed them their favorite dog treats to let them know you appreciate their loyalty and love. Don’t forget to take good care of your pup with regular checkups and good general care so your loyal companion can live their life to the fullest.
What are the top 10 most famous dogs?
The top ten most famous dogs are Hachiko, Lassie, Balto and Togo, Laika, Rin Tin Tin, Greyfriers Bobby, Toto, Barry, Peritas, and Pavlov’s dogs. While Hachiko and Bobby are most known for their loyalty to their owners, Pavlov’s dogs and Laika were known to help advance scientific discovery. Some dogs are known by their stage names rather than their actual names, like Pal, who played Lassie, and Terry, who played Toto in the Wizard of Oz, with the only dog with a movie named after him being Rin Tin Tin. Some dogs performed amazing acts of heroism that earned them a place in history including Balto and Togo, Barry, and the oldest known hero, Peritas.
What are some famous dog names?
While most of the dogs on this list have names that are popular in their own right, there are other popular dogs not on the list that get the spotlight too. For example, Toto and Lassie are still very popular famous dog names today, with other movie star dogs being Beethoven, Marley, Skip, and many more. Movie dogs seem to be more popular to the public but there are some that have popular names that aren’t descended from movies such as Sergeant Stubby the first-ever dog promoted to sergeant and Buddy the first seeing eye dog.