20 Great Dog Stars

The Dog is Man's Best Friend.

Even the most disagreeable of humans can like dogs.
Even the most disagreeable of humans can like dogs.

20 Truly Great Dog Stars

I have decided upon Twenty dog stars and in no particular order. It is clear that dogs have and do form an integral part of a lot of people's lives. I grew up with pets and it has been said that having pets around can actually add years to your life. Of course dogs have not always been merely pets. Even today the working dog is very much with us.


Lassie has been a star from the time of the 2nd World War onwards. She has her origins in a novel, Lassie Come Home, written by Eric Knight and first published in 1940. The novel was made into a film in 1943 and the fame of Lassie took off from there. Lassie has always been played by a collie and, strangely enough, has generally been played by a male rather than a female dog. Lassie first broke into television in 1954. Lassie has rarely been off the air ever since.

2. The Littlest Hobo

This television show centers around a stray German shepherd and his adventures with the humans he meets on his travels. A Canadian effort the show was first run from 1963 to 1965 and then from 1979 to 1985. The episodes made for the second run, however, were nowhere near as good as those of the first.

3. Inspector Rex

This is an Austrian television show getting good ratings on Australian television. A German shepherd shows how detective work should be done. Its all in the nose and the attitude.

4. Rin Tin Tin

This fictional dog's history on radio, the movies and television is a lot longer than one might first imagine. Throughout the 1920s and'30s he was a film star but he is best remembered as a star in a children's program that was still in re-run in the 1960s. Manning a fort with his humans in the Wild West is the German shepherd known, for some reason the French can possibly explain, as Rin Tin Tin. The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin first aired on television from 1954 to 1959. The catch-phase of the show was: "GO RINNY!"

5. Snowy

The Adventures of Tintin, created by Belgian artist Georges Remi, would not be complete without the assistance of the dapper pooch Snowy, a white fox-terrier who keeps his reporter master Tintin out of trouble or at least tries to.

6. Scooby-Doo

Of the dogs of television and of animation this cowardly great dane with a cavernous stomach has been a rip-roaring success. His main human companion is Shaggy, a throw back to the hippy surfer period of the '70s. Of the two movies made involving Scooby the second film, strangely enough, is the best. There was a Scrappy-Doo but he isn't seen much nowadays. Being a little fighter he was brought in as a counter to his much bigger and less brave cousin Scooby.

7. Muttley

Muttley the snickering hound first appeared in the cartoon show Wacky Races in the '60s. His master was Dastardly who couldn't seem to get a break not even from his own pet. Both Muttley and Dastardly shined in the WW1 cartoon show Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines (1969-1971). Dastardly was the leader of The Vulture Squadron whose only mission was to stop an allied homing pigeon. The rather racy and fun song "Stop That pigeon" was a highlight of the show together, of course, with Muttley's snickering.

8. Doc Martin's Dog

In real life Martin Clunes, who plays Doc Martin in the popular British comedy about a doctor who has come to a fishing village to practice medicine, actually likes dogs. Doc Martin the character, however, has no love for them. Strangely enough there is a shaggy lump of fur that has taken a liking to him despite his craggy disposition. Some humor has erupted over this odd paring and thus odd couple.

9. Hitler's Dog

There is an old piece of film shot of Hitler giving one of his dogs a pat on the head. The dog has his ears back indicating to some viewers that the dog did not want to be patted. It also indicated to some that the dog was afraid of his master. Much speculation has been made as to why the dog's ears were in the position they were in. Was Hitler cruel to dogs? There is no real proof that he was. Still the speculation continues. He was of course cruel to some humans but that's something else. It was a hunting dog and Hitler didn't like to go hunting. Maybe the dog simply didn't know him very well and thus was wary. Of course he might have sensed that Hitler was mad but that is just further speculation.

10. The British Bulldog

During WW2 the German press sent up Churchill by portraying him in cartoon strips as a bulldog. This was a mistake. Churchill was the first to admit that he wasn't the most handsome man in the world and actually took being regarded as bulldog faced as a kind of compliment. The British bulldog was tenacious and tough. Once it got its teeth into something it was hard to get it to let go. Certainly during WW2 the British people had to be tenacious and tough to get through the bad times and the Prime Minister and the British bulldog showed the way. "We will NEVER, NEVER surrender!" On occasions Prime Minister Churchill was seen walking beside a bulldog just to keep up morale.

11. The Phantom's 'Wolf' Devil

In the comic strips one of the Phantom's traveling companions is a full blooded mountain wolf named Devil. He has assisted his costumed master on many an occasion usually preventing the Phantom from getting ventilated in the back by dastardly back shooters. In the 1943 Phantom movie serial, however, Devil is played by a German shepherd who happens to be acknowledged as being a dog rather than a wolf in the story. Devil, whether dog or mountain wolf, has always been a good and faithful companion to the Phantom and is more than worthy of a place here.

12. Legally Blonde's Pooch

The dog's name is Bruiser and apart from being a little pooch he is apparently gay. In Legally Blonde 2 (2003) much of the action centers around Elle Woods, the blonde, saving dogs from experimentation and reuniting Bruiser with his mother.

13. K9

This is Doctor Who's faithful companion in many of his adventures both on screen and in the comic strips. Equipped with a ray beam that comes out of his nose and can stun a felon , he is not without his uses in a fight. He is also a computer with the capacity to play chess and actually win against the Doctor. He is always polite and protective of his humans. He has, however, two drawbacks. He isn't much good in a rowboat and he has a definite problem with steps. He is now Sarah Jane Smith's companion in peril.

14. Fang

Fang, also known as K-13, is the sometimes companion of Maxwell Smart agent 89 of control in the television show Get Smart (1965-1970). Not the bravest or the most clever of dogs, he seems to have a faithful friend in Max who constantly sticks up for him.

15. Eddie

What would the comedy show Frasier (1993-2004) be like without Eddie hamming it up? Nothing like having a lively Jack Russell Terrier getting in Frasier's way and giving his old man something to smile about.

16. Santa's Little Helper

Of the pets The Simpsons have had Santa's Little Helper, the greyhound, is probably the most endearing. Found abounded by its own after a race, Homer took it home with him and it became one of the family. Homer doesn't quite strangle the dog as much as he does his son but he definitely does get strangled. This is okay for a cartoon but not something you ever want to do with a real dog or a real boy.

17. Huckleberry Hound

This hound of early television first appeared in 1958. He has a southern American accent and tends to be blue, literally. He tends to try to reason with critters that are not to be reasoned with.

18. Lady

Lady, a golden cocker spaniel, was a dog of culture and refinement in Disney's Lady and The Tramp (1955). She had a posh family as her owners and was living in luxury. She was bored. This changed, however, when she met the tramp.

19. The Tramp

The dog who showed Lady the rougher side of life in Lady and The Tramp (1955) was, of course, the tramp, a mongrel who was streetwise enough to protect her and guide her when she was on the wrong side of the tracks. This does not mean, however, that she didn't get into serious trouble. They became lovers and he was eventually accepted by her more posh friends and by her owners.

20. Pongo

1001 Dalmatians has been a Disney hit as an animation feature and as a live action film, actually two live action films. And there was a spin-off television animation series too. It all began with Pongo who wanted to be with a lady fair Dalmatian and dragged his human along for the ride.

Well, there you have my twenty. I hope you enjoyed the read.

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Comments 14 comments

KristenGrace profile image

KristenGrace 6 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

What a great list! Love Lassie :) On the opposite spectrum of "lovable," what about Cujo? Ever see it? Not the most friendly of pups.

Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia Author

Thank you KristenGrace.

Yes I have come across Steven King's Cujo. You are right. Not the friendliest of pups.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Lassir, of coarse, I know and I am a collie fan. As I recall they used a male collie simply because the male has a more striking appearance.One dog I rather liek is Flash on the Duke of Hazzard.

Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia Author

Thanks dahoglund.

I didn't particularly like The Dukes of Hazard so I didn't have much to do with Flash. I guess I didn't like the song comparing these guys with Robin Hood. Also I didn't like the head lawman being both an idiot and a rip-off merchant. Flash is a cool name for a dog though.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Great list of canine movie stars, Rod, I enjoyed reading your list. I would also add one more: Asta, the small dog belonging to Mr. and Mrs. North in the movies - William Powell and Myrna Loy. Probably way before your time. Way before.

Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia Author

Thanks drbj

Yes! Astra! From the Thin Man series of movies. His owners were Nick and Nora Charles (William Powell and Myrna Loy).

I have watched three of the Thin Man movies. They needed Astra to dig up clues but he wasn't much good in a fight preferring the better part of valor most of the time.

Charles consumed a great deal of alcohol all the time and in one film frowned on the very idea of taking this white liquid pill some call milk instead of his very usual martini chaser which, of course, would have been chasing the martini he only just drank five minutes ago. He came from the wrong side of the tracks and knew a lot of low-lifes he could introduce his wife to. She came from the other side and could introduce him to the high and mighty. Between who he knew and who she knew there was plenty going on and of course there were crimes to solve.

Astra was more her dog than his but dog and master definitely understood each other well.

Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

Hi Rod..woof! This a great choice for a hub and those dogs were great actors..I'm trying to think of any stars you might've left off, but I can't at this moment. That's interesting about Hitler's dog but it does seem pretty flimsy evidence to base an accusation of dog cruelty on.

Hang on..what about Benji..? He didn't make the grade?

Love the picture.

Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia Author

Thanks Jane.

Yes, it is interesting what others have made of a small piece of film footage. There was a mini-series made a while back dealing with Hitler before he became dictator. The makers looked at that film footage of Hitler and the dog shot at his mountain retreat and decided that he was not only cruel to dogs in his later life but had always been cruel to dogs. Yes, it is quite an assumption based on only a scrap of film. In my hub I do come up with an alternative. It was a hunting dog and Hitler according to his closest cohorts did not like to go hunting. Therefore he might have owned the dog but really had very little to do with the animal hence the animal's wariness. There are no doubt a lot of other possibilities for why the dog acted the way he did.

Yes. Benji would make the grade.

James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

Thank you for this fine list of famous dogs. I love dogs very much. I enjoyed your Hub. :)

Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia Author

Thanks James.

dontmakemeover profile image

dontmakemeover 5 years ago from Primarily Chicago

Like your list, especially the inclusion of K9. I love that little robot. As for a suggestion of my own, I have to offer up Balto and the dogs from All Dogs Go to Heaven.

Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia Author

Thanks, dontmakemeover. K9 is one of my favorites. The dogs from All dogs Go to Heaven is a very good suggestion.

kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether

Rod - Voted up and awesome. Again, wonderful art and brilliant writing. You never cease to amaze me.

Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia Author

Thanks kitty.

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