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Home > Dogs > 18 Most Popular & Famous Dogs in History (With Pictures)

18 Most Popular & Famous Dogs in History (With Pictures)

HAshiko Shibuya Tokyo13

Dogs have been by the side of humankind for thousands of years, so it should come as no surprise that there is a long history of dogs that have made a difference for their owners. Whether it’s for the good of all humans or saving the lives of a few, dogs have proven themselves to be exceptionally loyal companions that have no match.

The list of famous and popular dogs in history could go on for hours, but these are some of the most well-known.

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The 18 Popular & Famous Dogs in History

1. Balto

Balto east hazy day jeh
Balto east hazy day jeh (Image Credit: Jim.henderson, Wikimedia Commons CC0 1.0 Universal)
Breed: Siberian Husky
Color: Black and white
Origin: North America

Although many sled dogs were involved in the run that took vaccine serum to Nome, Alaska to save lives, Balto is the most well-known. He was the lead sled dog in the final run, which means that he led the group into the town. Balto and the rest of the team went through danger and hardship to save the lives of the people of Nome. After his heroic act, Balto lived out the remainder of his life in comfort at the Cleveland Zoo.


2. Togo

Breed: Siberian Husky
Color: Agouti
Origin: North America

As mentioned above, there were lots of dogs that participated in the sled run to Nome to save lives. Togo was the lead sled dog for the longest and most dangerous stretch of the trip but is often overshadowed by Balto. Togo was originally a sickly puppy that grew into a rambunctious dog, but he eventually was considered to be a prodigy and was known for his strength and stamina. He spent the last years of his life living in the lap of luxury in a Siberian Husky breeding kennel in Poland Spring, Maine.


3. Chips

Chips the war dog
Chips the war dog (Image Credit: Cassowary Colorizations, Wikimedia Commons CC 2.0 Generic)
Breed: Mixed
Color: Black and white
Origin: North America

Chips was a mixed breed dog with parentage from German Shepherd, Collie, and Siberian Husky. He was donated by his owner to be trained and used as a sentry dog in World War II. He became well-traveled during his time in the military, serving in France, Italy, Germany, and North Africa. Chips is remembered for saving his handler by attacking four men who were firing a machine gun at American forces. The men ended up surrendering to American troops. Chips was awarded many military awards for his bravery, including the Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart. After being discharged from service, Chips was returned to his family in New York.


4. Sergeant Stubby

Breed: Mixed
Color: Brindle
Origin: North America

Sergeant Stubby was a mixed breed dog of unknown parentage, although he shared characteristics with the Boston Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier. He served as the unofficial mascot of the 102nd Infantry Regiment and the assigned mascot of the 26th Yankee Division during World War I. Sgt. Stubby is considered the most decorated dog of the war, and he was promoted to the rank of sergeant through his work in the war. He was essentially a stowaway on his original trip to France to serve. When he was discovered by a commanding officer, he showed off the “salute” trick he had been taught and was allowed to stay.


5. Rin-Tin-Tin

Breed: German Shepherd
Color: Sable
Origin: Europe

Many people don’t realize that Rin-Tin-Tin was a real dog because he was featured in many books and movies, but he was also named Rin-Tin-Tin in real life as well. He began his life in France during World War I, but he was taken to the United States at a very young age. He became a fixture in movies, books, and advertisements. In 1923, Rin-Tin-Tin had his first starring role in a silent film called Where the North Begins. This film, and Rin-Tin-Tin’s role in it, are often credited with saving the failing production company Warner Brothers.


6. Rags

Breed: Mixed
Color: White
Origin: Europe

Much like Rin-Tin-Tin, Rags began his life in Europe, but he stayed in Europe until later in life. He was a mixed breed terrier-type dog that became the official mascot of the 1st Infantry Division during World War I. He was commended for his message carrying abilities on the battlefield. Over time, the soldiers became aware of his keen sense of hearing and how it allowed him to know when shellfire was going to land nearby. This sense allowed the soldiers to stay safer by allowing them advance notice to take shelter.


7. Millie

Breed: English Springer Spaniel
Color: Brown and white
Origin: North America

Millie, full name Mildred, was the pet dog of George H. W. Bush and wife, Barbara. She has been referred to as “the most famous dog in White House history” for multiple reasons. She was referenced in a speech by her famous owner as knowing more about foreign affairs than the two men that Bush was up against in his bid for re-election, Al Gore and Bill Clinton. She appeared in multiple episodes of TV shows, authored a book, and gave birth to a litter of puppies, one of which went on to live in the White House with George W. Bush. Millie has a dog park in Houston, Texas named after her.


8. Laika

Breed: Mixed
Color: Brown and white
Origin: Asia

Laika may be one of the most famous dogs in history, but her story didn’t have a happy ending. Laika was a stray mixed-breed dog that was taken in to be part of the Soviet space program in the 1950s. At the time, researchers were working to prove that a human could survive being launched into orbit, so animal studies were the precursor to putting humans in space. However, they did not plan to keep the dog alive or attempt to recover her. This meant that Laika died within hours of being launched into space, either from heat stroke or suffocation.


9. Terry

Breed: Cairn Terrier
Color: Black
Origin: North America

You may not recognize the name Terry, but you almost certainly would recognize her most famous role of Toto in The Wizard of Oz. Terry was a Cairn Terrier that performed in multiple movies in her lifetime, although she was only credited in The Wizard of Oz. Even in that credit, she was credited as Toto and not Terry. She did her own stunts and, when injured on the set of The Wizard of Oz, she spent weeks recovering at the home of her co-star, Judy Garland. Terry was paid $125 per week while filming, which is equivalent to approximately $2,400 today and made her one of the most highly paid actors in the film.


10. Hachiko

Hachiko Statue in Tokio
Image by: Max Khoo, Shutterstock
Breed: Akita
Color: White
Origin: Asia

Hachiko is remembered for his intense loyalty and love for his master. Every day, Hachiko would meet his owner, a professor at Tokyo Imperial University, at the train station. However, when his owner died unexpectedly from a brain hemorrhage at work, Hachiko continued to wait at the train station. Every day from 1925 until his own death in 1935, Hachiko would arrive at the train station to wait for his owner’s return. Today, there are multiple statues that commemorate Hachiko’s undying loyalty for his owner.


11. Bobbie

Statue of Bobbie the Wonder Dog in the Pet-Friendly Garden
Statue of Bobbie the Wonder Dog in the Pet-Friendly Garden (Image Credit: Rick Obst, Wikimedia Commons CC 2.0 Generic)
Breed: Mixed
Color: Brown and white
Origin: North America

You might see Bobbie referred to as “Bobbie the Wonder Dog,” and for good reason. This Scotch Collie and English Shepherd mix traveled with his owners from Oregon to visit family in Indiana. However, after their arrival Bobbie was attacked by multiple other dogs and ran away. The family desperately searched for him, but they were unsuccessful. Only 6 months later, though, Bobbie showed up at his home in Oregon, dirty and a little worse for the wear. It’s believed that he walked the entire distance, some 2,551 miles, or around 14 miles per day.


12. Gidget

Breed: Chihuahua
Color: Tan
Origin: North America

Gidget is the real name of the well-known Taco Bell Dog in the 1990s and early 2000s. Gidget served as the mascot of Taco Bell for around 4 years, until she was removed as the mascot and the marketing campaign was ended due to poor sales and many people taking offense at the caricature of Hispanic people that the dog seemed to represent. Gidget starred in multiple movies as well, including in Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, in which she played the mother of Bruiser the dog.


13. Nipper

Breed: Mixed
Color: Black and white
Origin: Europe

Nipper was a terrier mix dog from Bristol, England. He was the model for a famous painting called His Master’s Voice, in which the dog looked into a gramophone with an expression of curiosity on his face. This picture became the inspiration for the company trademark for multiple gramophone companies, like Berliner Gramophone and all of its subsidiaries. This trademark is most recognizable today as the trademark for RCA Records. Nipper was given his name because of his habit of nipping at the ankles and legs of visitors to his English home.


14. Pal

Breed: Rough Collie
Color: Tricolor
Origin: North America

Although male, Pal was the original dog actor who portrayed Lassie. He was in multiple Lassie movies and shows, as well as touring to fairs and rodeos. Pal lived just past his 18th birthday, living a happy and comfortable life throughout. He fathered multiple litters, and many of his offspring went on to play Lassie in later films and shows, as well as starring in many other movies and shows. Pal is said to have had “the most spectacular canine career in film history.”


15. Greyfriars Bobby

Greyfriars Bobby statue
Greyfriars Bobby statue (Image Credit: Nilfanion, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 3.0 Unported)
Breed: Skye Terrier
Color: Blue
Origin: Europe

Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier that lived in Scotland from 1855–1872. When Greyfriars Bobby was still young, his owner, an Edinburgh city policeman named John Gray, passed away. The pup then began guarding his master’s grave at the Greyfriars Kirkyard, staying near it at all hours of the day. In 1867, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh paid for the dog’s city license and gave him a collar. After Greyfriars Bobby passed away, he was buried near the edge of the Greyfriars Kirkyard, close enough to his master that he could still stand watch.


16. Nemo

Breed: German Shepherd
Color: Black and tan
Origin: North America

Nemo, also known as Nemo A534, is a somewhat mysterious dog for being so famous. Nemo was a US soldier during the Vietnam War, but it’s unclear what his early life looked like. Nemo was stationed at the Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Vietnam with his handler, Robert A. Throneburg. On December 4, 1966 early in the morning, the airbase was attacked by Viet Cong soldiers. During the attack, Nemo received multiple bullet wounds to his face, resulting in severe damage to his snout and causing him to lose an eye. However, he went on to fiercely protect his handler until they were rescued.


17. Squeak

Breed: Jack Russell Terrier
Color: Tan and white
Origin: Africa

Squeak’s story is a heartbreaking one, but he proved to be an extremely important tool in Zimbabwe. In 2002, Squeak’s owner was murdered as part of the land feuds that have plagued Zimbabwe since the 1980s. After his owner’s murder, Squeak was found laying by the side of his owner’s body. An image of the dog by his owner’s corpse quickly went worldwide, spreading awareness of the problems Zimbabwe was facing. Thankfully, the then 14-year-old Squeak was adopted by friends of his owner.


18. Cappy

Breed: Doberman Pinscher
Color: Black and tan
Origin: North America

Cappy was another war dog, sometimes referred to as Cappy the War Dog or Cappy the Devil Dog. He was a sentry on the US naval base in Guam, where a war was raging at the time. While on patrol, Cappy alerted the presence of Japanese soldiers, saving the lives of 250 soldiers. Unfortunately, Cappy was severely injured in the attack, as was his handler. However, Cappy’s handler refused all evacuation efforts until he knew Cappy had been evacuated to safety. Cappy passed away from his injuries, and he was the first dog on the base in Guam to be killed in the war, with 24 of the 60 deployed dogs following. A statue of Cappy sits at the National War Dog Cemetery and Memorial in Guam.

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Conclusion

Dogs may be man’s best friend but we also have a responsibility to care for our furry friends. These dogs all exemplified the impact that a loyal dog can have on individual people and the world. It’s our job to let our loyal companions live happy and safe lives with proper care.

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Sources

Featured Image Credit: HAshiko Shibuya Tokyo13, Hyppolyte de Saint-Rambert, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 4.0 International

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