It seems that more and more newspapers, magazines, online reports and even blogs are talking about some of the more famous dogs around the world. Some of these dogs have become famous for a heroic deed or famous for their roles on television shows, in the movies, or even as advertising icons.
Learning a bit about these fascinating and quite famous dogs is both interesting and inspiring. Each dog in the stories below is a star in his or own rights and has certainly made the owners proud. Don't worry if the dog that you love isn't a hero or a star on television or in the news, just being your pet and giving you all the rewards that owning a dog brings is recognition enough for most people.
Dogs In Sports
There are certainly dogs that are highly competitive in all types of sports including racing, jumping, herding and working, but perhaps the most challenging sport of all for dogs is the Iditarod Race held annually between Anchorage and Nome, Alaska. This sled race is a full 1,110 mile race that tests even the best conditioned dogs and their drivers to work together as a team to complete the long and very dangerous race.
Most people that finish the Iditarod are just happy to get to the end and many that start aren't able to get over the finish line. In most cases the terrain, weather and the many variables on this two week trek through the frozen north is just too much for them. The dogs that are used in the race train year round to keep up their stamina, to withstand the grueling distance and to stay healthy and strong even duringl the below freezing conditions throughout the race.
War and Police Heroes
There are a great number of dogs that have become decorated war heroes due to their outstanding service, behavior above and beyond the call of duty and their uncanny ability to save lives while under fire and seize. War hero dogs come in many different sizes from a tiny Yorkshire Terrier named Smokey that became one of the first military therapy dogs along with helping in building a landing strip. In Japan in World War II this tiny dog ran down a 70 foot piece of conduit pipe buried under the ground to pull a piece of communication wire through that enabled the airport to be reconnected to the communication system. Without this small dog, which was found as a stray, the airport would have had to have been shut down, leaving many soldiers in harm's way.
German Shepherds have long been used as military and police dogs. In both of these organizations working dogs are promoted through the ranks just as soldiers and police officers are. Dogs in these organizations can also achieve awards for bravery, courage and performance in the line of duty. In most areas the injury or killing of a police or military dog is seen as the equivalent to the killing of a human officer, with the same serious consequences.
Both war and police dogs often function doing many of the same duties as their human counterparts. In wars throughout history dogs have acted as scouts, messengers and even in finding injured soldiers on the battlefield. In the war in Vietnam the United States used over 4,000 dogs in different aspects of rescue and duty.
Not all dogs are famous for their heroism or their bravery, some are also famous because they are movie stars or even have their own spot on television show or advertisement. Perhaps one of the first dog stars was Nipper, the white dog with the black markings that was pictured listening to a phonograph for RCA. Nipper was an actual dog born in 1884 in England and was made famous in that painting three years after his death.
Another famous TV advertising dog was the little Chihuahua featured in many of the Taco Bell advertisements. Although many people thought this little dog with a big attitude was male, in reality she is a little female named Gidgit that went on to star besides Reese Witherspoon in the movie "Legally Blonde 2" as the mother of the Chihuahua Bruiser. Another advertising dog is the Budweiser beer dog known as Spuds Mackenzie. Again, not a male but a female, this Bull Terrier was shown in both television ads as well as print advertisements and made many guest appearances on other television shows.
There have been a number of celebrity dogs that have started in their own movies and television shows or been a major character on a regular TV show. Some of the many dog stars include the Dogue de Bordeaux named Beasley that portrayed the lovable yet stubborn dog sidekick in Turner and Hooch as well as a group of German Shepherds that starred as the legendary Rin Tin Tin in films. Lassie, Old Yeller and Beethoven are but a few famous movies that feature dogs as the main character.
Some of the best loved stories of famous dogs have to do with outstanding acts of loyalty by a dog towards the owner or family. Perhaps one the most famous is a small Skye Terrier known as Greyfriars Bobby that actually spend almost 14 years after his masters death sleeping on his grave. Greyfriars Bobby was honored with a small statue outside of the cemetery and has also become the subject of both a movie and several books of the same name.
Another dog honored by a statue is Hachiko, an Akita in Japan. This dog walked every day for 10 years to the train station to wait for his master despite the owner having passed away. This loyal dog became a symbol for the community as well as helped to establish the Akita breed as a National Treasure in the country.
Another loyal dog is simply known as Bobbie the Wonder Dog, who became lost on a vacation and traveled back home over 2800 to find his family again. Although very thin and obviously exhausted this mixed breed dog somehow managed to make it home without being serious injured over this huge distance.
Stories of famous dogs, be they stars or heroes, only helps to reinforce how important our canine friends are to us on an daily basis.