We are too familiar with Movie Stars like Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Jr., Meryl Streep, Emma Stone, Will Smith, Kristen Stewart, and more… But who to say that “doge” can never be super stars? In fact, there have been many, many doge stars you may or may not know. So with no further ado, here are the Top 20 Famous Dogs in Movies and TV Shows!
1. Beethoven from Beethoven (1992)
Okay, first off this is Beethoven the “St. Bernard doge”, NOT, the famous music composer Ludwig van Beethoven. Aside from its interesting name, the Beethoven movie in 1992 was among the most successful dog-themed movies to date. In short, the movie was about George Newton and his family who adopted a stray St. Bernard named Beethoven by his children. Despite being deemed as dangerous, Beethoven actually helped changing his troubled family a lot. In 1993, Beethoven’s sequel – Beethoven 2 released featuring the good ol’ Beethoven and this time he had his own doggo family.
In real life, Beethoven’s true name was Chris, trained by Karl Lewis Miller. Chris also worked with other doge actors in films like K-9, Babe and Cujo. A St. Bernard’s life span is around 8 – 10 years so… we will never see Chris again… Well at least Chris had a good time of retirement at his home.
2. Jerry Lee from K-9 (1989)
Police dog is not a peculiar thing nowadays. In fact, police dogs were already a thing back in the 80s-90s and Jerry Lee from the movie K-9 in 1989 was one such cool doge. K-9 was an action-comedy film which told about a story of Michael Dooley, a bad-tempered San Diego police detective who in charge of pursuing an international drug dealer named Ken Lyman. And to make thing “easier” for Dooley, he was given a police dog named Jerry Lee. But the problem was: Lee was a troublemaker who only worked and did what he wanted to.
Jerry Lee was a cool German Shepherd and many people loved him for it. But interesting enough, there was actually doggos played the role of Jerry Lee: Koton who was a real police dog working in Kansas City and his double Rando. Koton was an extremely successful police who was once found 10 kilos of cocaine worth $1.2 million in 1991. While Rando spent his happy retirement time with family in Malibu before he died.
3. Buddy from Air Bud (1997)
Okay, police dog is no longer a weird thing nowadays, but basketball-player doge is definitely something else. Funny enough, that was what Buddy the Golden Retriever did in the movie Air Bud in 1997. Air Bud told a story about Buddy, a Golden Retriever who could actually play basketball! Eventually, he even joined a “hooman” basketball team and joined competition with them.
Buddy was also his true name in real life. He was trained by Kevin di Cicco who taught him several sports, including basketball and ability to dunk (wow!). Aside from the movie Air Bud, Buddy also made appearance in shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos and David Letterman’s Stupid Pet Tricks. And most significantly, he played the role of Comet in TV sitcom Full House (1987 – 1995).
4. Dug from Up (2009)
For the number 4 spot, let’s take a look at a “virtual doge” named Dug the Golden Retriever from the Pixar movie Up in 2009. Dug was a Golden Retriever raised by Charles Muntz. The special thing was: Dug could speak thanks to his special collar invented by Muntz which could transfer Dug’s thoughts to speech. At the end of the movie, the end credits showed a scene indicating that Dug mated with golden retriever and had lots, lots of puppies (at least 20).
*Fun fact: Disney actually brought Dug to real life!
5. Eight Doggos from Eight Below (2006)
Eight Below (2006) was a big hit for Walt Disney. The film took inspiration from the real story of a Japanese explorer expedition gone badly during the late-1950s. The film told about an expedition team in Antarctica in 1993, including an exploration guide (played by Paul Walker), a scientist (played by Bruce Greenwood), and a dogsled team formed by 8 doggos (mainly Huskies). Unfortunately, the expedition went badly, forcing all humans evacuate the area and leave 8 dogs behind. The dogs had to fend off for themselves for nearly 6 months. Ultimately the human team came back and rescued them. 2 among the 8 dogs passed away, but at least this was only in film. Besides, the real-life story was even more tragic with only 2 dogs survived.
The progress of finding and training the actor dogs were pretty long. The first two recruited dogs were red Huskies who brought from Joanne Lenz, a reputable Siberian Huskies breeder in Chicago. Next, they focused on finding Alaskan Malamutes for the remaining 6 slots, two of which were actually rescued dogs in Tennessee. Besides from these 8 actors, there were many other stunt dogs, making up around 30 dogs in total. Despite having a bit trouble during the filming, the film was still recognized with “No Animals Were Harmed…” stamp of approval by American Humane Association.
6. Hachi from Hachi A Dog’s Tale (2009)
Hachi A Dog’s Tale took inspiration from a real story in Japan about Hachiko – a loyal Akita Inu who always waited faithfully for his master at the train station everyday even when his master died. Hachiko quickly became a symbol of loyalty in Japan (you can find his statue in Shibuya Station, Tokyo nowadays) and inspirations in movies, books, and other forms of media.
And as you may have already guessed, Hachi A Dog’s Tale was a direct recreation of Hachiko’s story, but Westernized for Western audiences. In this story, Hachi was a stray Akita Inu which frightened to US from Japan. One day, Professor Parker Wilson found him at the train station in Rhode Island. He brought the pooch back home and named him Hachi. Despite his effort, he could never find the pooch’s original master. Gradually, the two formed a strong bond, so close that Hachi always waited for his master at the station. Unfortunately, his master has died in a class, and even so, he kept waiting. No matter how Professor Wilson’s relatives persuaded Hachi, he still waited and waited until his final moment. Hachi was found lying in the snow, and in his final moment, he saw the vision of his master picking him up. This entire story was told by Professor Wilson’s grandson Ronnie, who considered Hachi as his hero figure.
7. Jack from The Artist (2011)
The Artist is a comedy-drama film which told a love story of 2 performers; however, one of its shining points was surprisingly a Jack Russell Terrier dog named Jack. This adorable puppy literally stole the scene every time he appeared and eventually he became extremely popular.
In reality, Jack’s name was actually Uggie who was like a movie star of pooch’s world. Originally, he was rejected by 2 owners due to his wild nature. His third owner: an animal trainer named Omar Von Muller intended to foster him until he found a dog pound for him. But then he decided to keep Uggie and what did we know: Uggie became a movie star! After The Artist movie, Uggie went viral and he appeared in many shows, medias and occasions like The Graham Norton Show, W magazine, and even Nintendo’s spokesdog. In 2015, Uggie passed away under the age of 13.
8. Lady and Tramp in Disney’s Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Love story has always been a popular theme in film industry. And what could be better than love story of 2 doggos? Lady and the Tramp were originally produced in 1955 by Disney which told about the story of a stray mongrel named Tramp and an “upper-class” American Cocker Spaniel called Lady. They met each other and went on an adventure, eventually this doge couple fell in love. By the end of the film, Tramp was adopted by Lady’s owner family and they lived together since with their 3 puppy daughters and a son named Scamp (and it was this guy who kicked off the Lady and the Tramp II Scamp’s Adventure).
9. Lassie from Lassie Come Home (1943)
Lassie was probably among the most iconic canine movie star to date with the movie Lassie Come Home in 1943. The film took place in the Great Depression Era when Mr. and Mrs. Carraclough had to sell their Lassie the Rough Collie to the rich Duke of Rudling. Their son Joe Carraclough of course did not approve this decision and gradually grew despondent after times. On Lassie’s side, coming to a new home did not do it for her. Thanks to the Duke’s granddaughter Priscilla, Lassie was able to escape and began her hundreds-of-miles journey in Scotland to her true home in Yorkshire. Along her way, Lassie had to overcome various obstacles like dog catchers or storm. But none of those could stop her and finally she reunited to the boy Joe and her true family.
Many people who have seen Lassie Come Home would surely fall in love with this lovely pooch. But many of us nowadays might not know that Lassie was actually a… male Collie named Pal. Pal had a long and happy life from 1940 to 1958. Back to the day, the filmmakers could have chosen female star for the role of Lassie. However, they had to go for male option because their coats were less affected by shedding, thus making better photograph. And because Pal was a male, the filmmakers had to avoid his… sensitive part so that audiences would not notice. Nonetheless, Pal was so famous that everyone wanted to meet him, including Marilyn Monroe. Nowadays we can still see Pal’s other name – Lassie – in Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
10. Marley from Marley and Me (2008)
Marley and Me was originally New York Times’s bestselling autobiographical book by journalist John Grogan (the full name was Marley & Me Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog) in 2005. The story was a huge success that it got a movie adaptation named Marley & Me in 2008. It is the real-life story of John Grogan and his family with their dog Marley the Labrador Retriever. Marley was so energetic, so strong, and so active that he often broke things within the house. Marley caused Grogan’s family a huge problem; however, it was also Marley who created many lessons for them. Gradually, they accepted such was Marley’s nature and loved him. To some extent we could say it’s like a love-hate relationship but sometimes, it might not be Marley who needed to change, but it was us.
11. Otis from The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1989)
The Adventures of Milo and Otis was one interesting animal-themed movie from the land of the Rising Sun. The film was released in 1986 in Japan and in 1989 in US. It took 4 years to make this film, which considering its time period, required extremely hard work given the huge amount of animals appeared in the film. The film told a story of a kitten named Milo (or Chatran in Japanese) and a pug named Otis. One day, both of them were drifted downstream while playing inside in box floating in the river. And so, Otis and Mile had to overcome many challenges to finally return to their barn. The Adventures of Milo and Otis was a childhood for many people. There was once a rumor that all animals in this film were treated inhumanely due to many scenes in the film. The American Humane Association tried to investigate this rumor but to no avail, eventually confirmed that “shows no animals being injured or harmed.”
12. Pongo, Perdita and all Dalmatian doggos from 101 Dalmatians (1961)
Yet again another dog-themed movie by Disney, we have 101 Dalmatians – an animated film released in 1961. If you are Dalmatian lover, you will probably love this film, a lot as it was overwhelmed with lovely Dalmatian couple and their 101 puppers. In 1996, they decided to make a real-life move adaptation of this animated film. It was said that they needed 20 adult Dalmatians to play as Pongo and Perdita and 230 puppies since they could only played their role around 2 weeks before they needed to be replaced.
13. Rin Tin Tin from The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin (1954)
If there was any popular dog-themed TV shows back in 1954, it must be The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin (1954 – 1959) with a total of 164 episodes. The series told a story of an orphanage boy called Rusty and his German Shepherd dog Rin Tin Tin. The boy was raised by US Cavalry in Fort Apache and together with his trusty canine fren, Rusty and Rin Tin Tin travelled and helped to maintain order in Western America.
Interesting enough, Rin Tin Tin was also the real name of our male German Shepherd actor. He was rescued by a soldier Lee Duncan from a World War I battlefield. Duncan trained Rin Tin Tin and brought the pooch to the cinematic world. Rin Tin Tin starred in 27 Hollywood films and he quickly became a huge doggo celebrity. And of course, we can still see his name on Hollywood Walk of Fame to this day.
14. Scooby Doo from Scooby Doo Where Are You! (1969–1970)
Scooby Doo Where Are You was a fascinating mystery comedy cartoon series produced by Hanna-Barbera back in 1969 – 1970. The story told about 5 friends: Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, and of course their trusty Great Dane doggo – Scooby Doo. Scooby Doo was an extremely interesting “character” since he could speak English in… broken tongue. Furthermore, he was extremely intelligent that he could understand and “communicate” with other “hooman” like a human! Fortunately for Scooby Doo fans, the series is still running even to this day with the latest film Scooby-Doo! Shaggy’s Showdown in 2017.
15. Shadow and Chance from Homeward Bound the Incredible Journey (1993)
Homeword Bound the Incredible Journey (1993) was a remake of 1963 The Incredible Journey film, based on the novel of the same name written by Sheila Burnford. The story was told from the perspective of a Chance, an American Bulldog, owned by Jamie Burnford, yet he was not interested in his master or being a part of the family. But one day, Chance, along with Shadow the Golden Retriever and Sassy the Himalayan cat, found themselves to be abandoned. Refusing this to be true, Shadow decided to return to his family while Chance and Sassy decided to accompany him. The trio had to walk on a difficult journey but eventually, they got back home, especially Chance who finally found the meaning of being home. In reality, there were 4 Golden Retrievers, 4 American Bulldogs, and 8 Himalayan cats were used for the filming. All of them came from Jungle Exotics and trained 7 months prior for the film.
16. Skipper from My Dog Skip (2000)
My Dog Skip the film was released in 2000 and it based on an autobiographical novel of the same name in 1995. Unlike most of dog-themed movies on this list, this film was in… darker tone since it partly focused on child abuse, school bully, and other physical and mental issues. Despite all that, the film still gave a hopeful feeling as Skipper the Jack Russsell Terrier literally changed the 9-year-old Willie Morris’s life. The film ended with Skipper passed away; however, the Oxford University student – Willie Morris believed Skipper would still always be in his heart. In reality, the dog actor for the role of Skipper was Enzo the Jack Russsell Terrier. However, Enzo had to retire before the filming finished due to his age and he was replaced by his double – Moose.
*Fun fact: Both Enzo and Moose were also played “Eddie” in the famous TV show Frasier.
17. Snoopy from Snoopy Come Home (1972)
Despite not looking as much, Snoopy from Snoopy Come Home (1972) was actually a Beagle. For those who did not know, Snoopy was an extremely popular fictional doggo from the Peanuts comic strip, who could stand and walk like a human. In the comics and films, Snoopy always had dreams of becoming “world famous figure“, yet he always failed. But hey! Snoopy actually became a worldwide famous dog in reality! In fact, he was honored on Hollywood Walk of Fame, which pretty much told us how famous this doggo was.
18. The Queen’s Corgis from The Queen (2006)
If you’re fan of Corgi, you probably have heard of the famous Queen Elizabeth II and her immense love for the Corgi doggos. She has owned more than 30 corgis (yup, 30!) since she became Queen of the United Kingdom. In 2007, Queen Elizabeth II had Elizabeth II had 5 corgis named Monty, Emma, Linnet, Willow and Holly and 4 “dorgis” (crossbreeds between Dachhund and Corgi). Unfortunately, all of the 5 corgis have died, with the death of remaining Corgi – Willow in 2018. Of course seeing the Queen playing with her beloved Corgis was not something we could see every day. But at least we could catch a glimpse of such memorable moments with the film The Queen in 2006. The Queen featured Helen Mirren in the role of Queen Elizabeth. Aside from the huge success of Helen Mirren, we should also not forget the 5 Corgis who played the Queen Corgis roles: Anna, Poppy, and Anna’s 3 puppers, Megan, Alice, and Oliver. Well… we really feel like having a Corgi right now…
19. Milo from The Mask (1994)
The Mask (1994) was a fantasy comedy film directed by Charles Russell, based on the old comic series of the same name. For those who don’t know, The Mask told a story of a bank clerk named Stanley Ipkiss. One day he found a peculiar mask which changed his personality entirely and gave him peculiar, yet crazy power. The film was rated positively thanks to the funny moments and jokes, especially Ipkiss’s Jack Russsell Terrier doge – Milo. And for some reason, The Mask could also be wore by Milo and it also granted Milo crazy power and shift of personality.
In reality, Milo’s true name was Max the Jack Russsell Terrier who was picked personally by Charles Russell. Max played really well on screen, he got a great excitement for everything in life. The funniest scene of Max/Milo was probably the scene when he tried on the mask, which earned him a place in doggo history.
20. Toto from The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
Finally on this list we have Toto from the classic The Wizard Of Oz in 1939. Like Lassie, Toto was also among the most popular canine movie star. She played in many movies; however, her most notable film was still The Wizard Of Oz. Toto’s real name was actually Terry, a female Cairn Terrier, who was believed to be born in 1933 in Alta Dena, California. She was owned and trained by Carl Spitz. Prior to The Wizard Of Oz, Terry had played in several films. But it was until The Wizard Of Oz that Terry truly became famous. Funny thing was: People was so used to her being Toto that Spitz decided to change her name from Terry to Toto. After the film, she went on playing in 7 more movies until her retirement in 1945. Nowadays, we can still see her memorial in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
And that’s it folks! Those are the top 20 famous dogs in movies and TV shows (though the exact number was not quite 20)! And for now, thank you and stay tune for more news in the future!
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