Dogs have been a part of the history of human beings for thousands of years. Some of the most influential and famous dogs have left their pawprints and legacy scattered around the world. From history and heroics to celebrity dogs, let us share some of our favorite famous dogs with you!
Hachiko: Tokyo professor Hidesaburo would walk with Hachiko to his train stop every day, and every evening the dog would return in time to walk him home. Sadly, in 1925 the professor suffered a fatal cerebral hemorrhage, never to return to meet his dog at the train.
Every day for over nine years, Hachiko would appear at the station looking for his master’s return. Once the dog’s legend spread, other commuters started bringing him food and treats. After Hachiko’s death in 1935, a statue was erected at the station in honor of him and his great loyalty.
Nemo: The German Shepherd was a Vietnam War veteran, who saved his handler’s (Robert Thorneburg) life by attacking four enemy gunmen, giving Thorneburg time to call for backup. Nemo was shot in the process, as was Thorneburg, but both survived, and Nemo, after being treated for his wounds, spent the rest of his days in a dog training facility on the Lackland Air Force Base. He died on March 15th, 1973.
Barry: The famous Saint Bernard that was trained by monks as a search and rescue dog in the snowy Alps is possibly the most legendary rescuer. During his life, he is reported to have saved 40 souls. The most famous of his rescues is that of a small child whom he kept warm by licking him and barking to signal their location to the search party of monks. Despite valiant efforts, the monks could not reach the child, but Barry carried him to safety as the child clang to the Saint Bernard.
Rin Tin Tin: Most people know him as a movie star from the days of classic Hollywood, but before that he was a war dog. A soldier from the United States, Corporal Lee Duncan, found him left behind in a kennel that had recently been hit by an air raid. He adopted him, took him home with him to California and trained him in various tricks. With some friends working in the movie industry, it occurred to Duncan that Rin Tin Tin could be in movies. He worked to get the attention of the local studios and the rest is history. He appeared in 27 movies over the course of his life, almost all of them big box office successes.
Lassie: Lassie is arguably the most famous dog in America. The first “Lassie” was a male collie named Pal, who starred in the 1943 movie classic Lassie Come Home. Since the 1940s, Pal’s descendants have played Lassie in movies and television shows, entertaining generations of American children. Interesting to note that while Lassie is a female character, the roles are almost always played by male dogs, who are larger and have thicker coats.
Sergeant Stubby: The most decorated dog of World War I, and the only dog to be nominated for rank and then promoted to sergeant. Stubby was a stray found wandering the campus where the 102nd Infantry was training. A corporal took the dog in and smuggled him aboard when he was shipped out. When the commanding officer discovered him, Stubby saluted just as he had been trained to do in camp. He went on to serve 18 months and saw 17 battles.
After the war, his celebrity status found him leading parades, meeting presidents, and becoming the official mascot of the Georgetown Hoyas. Upon his death in 1926, his New York Times obituary filled half a page.
This is far from a comprehensive list of the most famous dogs in history, but these are a few of the standouts. Dogs undoubtedly change our lives for the better, and in some cases, they can change the course of history too!