When you take a look in Hollywood or political offices or other avenues of fame, you will see a lot of important people and celebrities that have really made a name for themselves. Did you know that people aren’t the only ones that spend time in the spotlight? People just LOVE animals, and those furry adorable animals in the spotlight are no exception- they are just better known around the world.
Everyone has seen the dogs in the movies and on television shows, you know, the ones that just captivated your heart and tugged at your heart strings? Yep- those dogs! There are some dogs out there that have really made a name for themselves, whether through show business or through other avenues of stardom. Whether animated or living, some dogs have had their fair share of time in the spotlight.
Some of them will forever be known for their fame and stardom, while others may just be getting their fifteen seconds of fame. Ultimately, it is important to know that fame and fortune isn’t just for us humans- we can’t forget about our furry four legged friends! There is definitely a reason why dogs are known as ‘man’s best friend’, and it proves true when you take one look at these famous dogs!
Top 20 Most Famous Dogs
#1 – Air Bud
Airbud is our favorite four legged basketball star! In the 1997 film Air Bud, people all over the world fell in love with this cute pooch! His name is Buddy, and he takes to a young boy named Josh. Josh was the new kid in town, and he befriended the dog and started shooting hoops at an old abandoned basketball court. Soon, he learned that Buddy could actually play basketball pretty good! Throughout the movie, Air Bud fosters a relationship with Josh and helps to build his self-esteem. They both end up on the basketball team at the boy’s school, which is something he was far too shy to try out for before Buddy came along. Buddy was the mascot of the team, and everyone just loved him. Air Bud taught us all a whole lot- but most importantly he taught us to be a friend.
#2 – Old Yeller
Old Yeller is the star of a timeless Disney classic. He started out as a troublemaker at the ranch, but by the end of the film he truly captures your heart and makes you fall in love with him. Sure he is clumsy and gets into trouble, but what lovable pooch doesn’t? Old Yeller taught us all an important lesson too. He taught us to always look for the good in people. In a heartbreaking turn of events toward the end of the film, Old Yeller dies because he has been infected with rabies and must be put down by his master. This is ultimately one of the hardest things for a dog owner to have to do, but sometimes you must do what is best for your dog even if it is hard for you to do it. This is another important lesson that we can learn from Old Yeller.
#3 – Hooch (aka Beasley)
Hooch is a fictional pup in the 1989 comedy Turner and Hooch. His real name is Beasley, and he is a Dogue de Bordeaux. He really is great with his role as Tom Hanks’ canine friend in the movie. This is another story of a dog that is more of a burden in the beginning, but turns into a lifelong friend at the end of the movie. He was just a fun loving police dog who liked to occasionally drink beer. (Don’t try this at home with your pup though, beer is actually harmful for dogs) He was born in 1978, and only had his one acting stint before he died in 1992. He only had about 3 years in the spotlight while he was still alive, but he will always be remembered for his role as Hooch.
#4 – Beethoven
Whether you grew up in the 90’s or not, Beethoven is probably not a pup that you will ever forget! He was a huge, cuddly St. Bernard with a heart of gold. He quickly became a family favorite, and in fact there are probably a lot of dogs that were named after this furry giant! Beethoven was the star of seven different films, including Beethoven, Beethoven’s 2nd through 5th, Beethoven’s Big Break, and Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure! Beethoven was actually played by several different dogs, but the most memorable is Chris, the star of Beethoven and Beethoven’s 2nd. Trained by Karl Lewis Miller for his role in the movies, Chris was a perfect choice for this family favorite film. He has surely stolen the hearts of the young and old alike! His face is a face that we will remember for a lifetime.
#5 – Marley
Everyone just fell in love with Marley. He was a fun loving yellow lab with a lot of energy, and he really just stole the hearts of millions across the world instantly in his role in Marley & Me. Marley & Me was definitely a tear jerker movie, but it offers just as many laughs as tears- if not more! In fact, thinking back on the movie most people don’t remember too much about the human actors, but rather just Marley- the energetic, overly playful, sometimes neurotic star of the show. Marley teaches important life lessons, mainly about acceptance, love and forgiveness. Based on a true story, you really get to see the impact a dog can have on a family. Unfortunately, Marley dies toward the end of the movie, which for most people turns on the waterworks. He was definitely well loved by many, and will always be remembered.
#6 – Toto
Another fictional favorite is Dorothy’s trouble making pup Toto from the Wizard of Oz. Her real name was Terry and she was born in 1933 and died in 1944. Toto is always getting into mischief, but all dogs seem to do that from time to time. Her travels with Dorothy down the yellow brick road and through the Land of Oz really make you fall in love with her. While the Wizard of Oz was definitely the movie that made ‘Toto’ so famous, she was also in 13 other movies, including Bright Eyes, where she played with Shirley Temple- a favorite child star of the past. Back in the 1930’s when the Wizard of Oz was filmed, she made a whopping $125 a week for her time filming. This was more than a majority of humans made during production of this movie!
#7 – Benji
Benji, or Higgins in real life, has really made a name for himself over the years. Before he even got into movies, he was on television shows making guest appearances. In the 1960’s, he was on classic television shows like Petticoat Junction and Green Acres. When he was 11, he took a break from stardom, and came back into the movie making industry in 1974. Benji was his next major role. Many don’t know this, but Higgins was born to be a star. You just wouldn’t have known it at first, when he was a stray on the streets. He was rescued from a Burbank Animal Shelter by an animal lover named Frank Inns, and his future was then brighter than ever! He passed away in 1975, and the role of Benji was then passed on to his daughter.
#8 – Rin Tin Tin
Rin Tin Tin wasn’t the first dog to be on the big screen, but he is one of the oldest that we remember. He was a German Shepherd from Germany, and he was found by Corporal Lee Duncan during World War I. He was not found alone, but rather with an entire litter. He took them in and later adopted him into the military battalion. He trained him over the years and let him compete in dog shows, where he was later discovered. This is when he made it to the big screen. He was in 26 different Warner Brothers movies, and he even collected a massive fan base! With a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, his name will never be forgotten over the years. When he died in 1932, he left behind a son, and a grandson to take over his place in the film industry.
#9 –Winn Dixie
This is another pup that was made famous because a novel was written based upon a true story about a dog named Winn-Dixie. Winn-Dixie was named after the grocery store where he was found. It is a southern classic story that adults and children love. There was later a film released based upon this book. Winn Dixie is a Picardy Shepherd who changed the lives of many. He was great at making friends, and he is the best depiction of a simple, sincere, unconditional love that a dog has to offer. This is perhaps why so many people really just fell in love with him. While the book was award winning, the movie is definitely what brought his name into the realms of fame! Now, it is a name that we won’t ever forget- even if we didn’t grow up with a Winn-Dixie store around the corner.
#10 – Chance and Shadow
Homeward Bound is one of those movies that every pet lover has seen, or has on their list of movies that they must see! It takes you through the extravagant adventures of Chance and Shadow and a cat named Sassy that always stuck around for the adventures. These animals were estranged from their families, and they had to trek across the country to find their families and make it back home. There are mishaps, tears, and laughs all along the way, and ultimately they do find their way home. Homeward Bound later released future adaptations of the movie, also starring these famous pooches! The main lesson that you can take home from them is that family and friends are the most important factors in your life. You are sure to fall in love with them instantly.
#11 – Lassie
When you see a Collie, do you ever find yourself saying ‘oh, there’s Lassie’? Lassie wasn’t just a collie that made herself famous through her acting. She has actually imprinted the entire Collie breed, and you might as well call them the Lassie breed now! Lassie even has her own star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame, right there along with Rin Tin Tin. She is a historic dog that is most well known for her acts of bravery during World War I. When it comes to famous dogs, none really have made their mark quite like Lassie. She even took home a few Emmy awards for her powerful performances in the film industry. Lassie will be a family name for many years to come, that is for sure. She has captured our hearts for an eternity.
#12 – Wishbone
Wishbone is the star of an educational television series that was geared towards children. He has starred in several classic stories through his daydreams, including Sancho Panza, Robinhood and many more. He is a Jack Russell Terrier with a huge imagination. His owner is Joe Talbot, and when he lets his imagination run wild he is able to interact like he is a person and not just a dog. His show won several Emmy awards, and there were other awards given for this show as well – including the George Foster Peabody award back in 1998. Through a fun imagination, we walked through classic stories in literature and completely fell in love with Wishbone. If for no other reason than that he was so darn cute in his cute little outfits that really bring out the character in his imagination.
#13 – Bo and Sunny Obama
Now we will throw in a pup that got its fame through politics! Bo Obama is the ‘First Dog’. He was born on October 9, 2008. He is a Portuguese Water Dog, and he was a gift to the Obama family. They thought long and hard about the type of breed they would choose, but they went with the Portuguese Water Dog because they are well known for being hypoallergenic. Malia Obama suffers from pet allergies. Sunny has since joined the first family, as of August 2013. She is of the same breed. According to President Harry Truman, ‘if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog’. Obama took his words to heart, and that is why the First Family now has their furry four legged companions. Obama isn’t the first president to have a first dog. It is actually somewhat traditional for the president to have pets!
Capitan definitely wins the award for the most loyal dog in the world! This is a dog that sat by his owners grave for six whole years! When his owner, Manuel Guzman, passed away back in 2006, he ran away from home. His family looked for him for a solid week before they found him by his owner’s graveside grieving. He remained loyal to his owner, even in death. This is one of the best lessons that we can learn from a dog. Loyalty is important in life, and dogs are one of the most loyal animals out there. Capitan, however, truly showed his loyalty in such a way that he was made famous throughout the world for his behavior. While the dog does leave the graveside to visit with family at times, he always goes back before the sun goes down to stay by his master’s side. What a precious story of a dog’s undying love!
#15 – Hachiko
Another dog who is well known for his loyalty is Hachiko. His owner was a professor at the University of Tokyo. Every evening, the dog would greet him at the Shibuya Station. This became a routine for both of them. In May of 1925, Hachiko thought that the day would be ordinary and just like the rest. That wasn’t the case. Hachiko’s owner didn’t show up at the Station that day. He suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage while he was at work and later passed away. This didn’t stop Hachiko from coming back each and every day in hopes that his master would return. He got a lot of attention from people who commuted from the Station, and people grew to love him. After his master passed away, people would come into the station and feed him and bring him treats to ensure that he had nourishment. The town somewhat ‘adopted’ him you could say.
#16 – Scooby Doo
Now that we have taken a look at real life famous pups, there are some that got their fame through animated films and shows. Scooby Doo is probably one of the most popular animated pups of all times. He is well known for his mystery solving skills, and his intense love of Scooby snacks. As a show for children growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, Scooby Doo has really stuck around over the years. It is a timeless classic that kids and adults both enjoy watching. Sure, he may put you on the edge of your seat when he is trying to solve the latest mysteries, but that doesn’t mean that he won’t capture your heart before it is all said and done. Let’s face it, Scooby Doo is here to stay! You just can’t do away with the old school pups from our childhood.
#17 – Blue
Then, you have to consider Blue! While Blue was a 90’s show on Nick Jr., she has spent her fair share of time in the spotlight. Kids just love this interactive show that makes them think, and it was really the turning point in children’s educational television for preschool aged kids. In fact, most parents will agree that they enjoyed watching as well. Blue was Steve’s best friend, and he also had another furry friend named Magenta. Through watching Blue and helping her find her clues, it is easy to fall in love with her over and over again. While she may not be a real dog, or even look like one for that matter, it doesn’t mean that we don’t love her any less! Her fun loving, inquisitive personality steals your heart right away.
#18 –Lady and the Tramp
Lady is the beautiful golden cocker spaniel with a lavish sense of style who runs into ‘the Tramp’, who is just a mutt, some would even consider him a mongrel! Throughout twists and an extreme turn of events, the world has fallen in love with Lady and the Tramp. It is a Classic Disney movie that illustrates a connection that you wouldn’t expect. We all know those types of relationships (you know, where the good girl marries the ‘bad boy’). In this movie, you really see that you can’t judge a book by its cover, nor should you judge someone based upon their past. Each day is a day for someone to make a change for the better in their lives. This movie has been out for decades, but it is a timeless classic. We all love Lady and the Tramp.
Another Disney favorite is Pluto, the floppy eared clumsy short haired pup who belongs to Mickey Mouse! He started out as a character on Mickey Mouse, and soon got his own television series! Unlike many of the animated dogs in show business, Pluto doesn’t talk (with the exception of a brief time in his past) He relies on his physical humor to make people laugh. This is one thing that makes him stand out, because before Pluto, there had not been very many animated figures that expressed their personality through action rather than through words. He even had several short films that were nominated for Academy Awards. Pluto remains a popular household name to this day because of his fame. He didn’t just get five minutes of fame. His fame is here to stay.
Finally, we all love Snoopy! Back in the 1950’s, he was first introduced as a comic strip. Over the years, we have seen him in the newspapers, comic books, and even on television! He is actually one of the most well loved characters from the Charlie Brown comic strip. As is true with most cartoon pups, Snoopy also teaches us an important lesson. He is always getting himself into a bind, is clumsy at times, and sometimes even has to retreat into his own little fantasy, but everything always works out for him. This is something that Charles Schulz wanted when he created Snoopy’s character. Through his stories of trials and triumphs, you can learn that everything always works out in the end. Sometimes you have to go through the ringer to get to the other side, but it is usually worth it. Maybe we should all take the time to learn a few things from the pups in our life!
They say some people are ‘dog people’ and others are ‘cat people’. I’m a cat person! I got my first cat when I was in the 2nd grade. I had to beg my mom to let me keep him. He was an orange tabby, and I have been partial to them ever since! We currently have three cats.
Being a cat person, I am always trying to learn more about why cats do the things they do. Cats are such loving animals, but they can be so fickle. I guess I can kind of relate to their behavior, and that is probably what attracts me to them.