From the early days of silent cinema to the modern era of social media, dogs have been stealing hearts left and right!
This list shows how our canine companions are not only loyal friends, but could also become silver screen and viral sensations. These paw-some doggos are just a few who have left their paw prints all over the film, television and online spaces.
Blair: Blair was a Collie who played the titular role in “Rescued by Rover” (1905), a British silent film. This film turned out to be the first of two things: the first to introduce film as an art, and Blair as the first known dog actor.
Source: Los Angeles Times
Strongheart: This German Shepherd was formerly named “Etzel von Oeringen” and served in the German Red Cross during World War I. He was later renamed “Strongheart”, and starred in the first film adaptation of Jack London’s book “White Fang” in 1925.
Strongheart was trained by the movie’s director, Laurence Trimble. This good boy even received prominent billing on the movie poster!
Rin Tin Tin: Along with Strongheart, Rinty was the film industry’s most prolific German Shepherd. Although Strongheart is considered the first major German Shepherd in silent cinema, he died early (due to an accident on set). Since Rinty had more movies, he became the better-known German Shepherd actor.
Rinty was rescued by Army Corporal Lee Duncan in northeastern France during the first World War, who found a mother dog and her puppies while the Germans evacuated. He appeared in over 25 films, including “The Man from Hell's River” (1922) and “The Lightning Warrior” (1931).
Terry: Trotting next to Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road is Toto, played by Terry. This Cairn Tern was trained by Carl Spitz and Gabrielle Quinn for the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz”, which would go on to become the most seen film in movie history.
Pal: This Rough Collie played the first Lassie in “Lassie Come Home” (1943). He was trained by Rudd Weatherwax. Here’s a fun fact: Pal’s original owner left him with Weatherwax to curb his uncontrollable barking and habit of chasing motorcycles. Weatherwax was able to control the barking, but couldn’t exactly kick the habit of chasing motorcycles.
Chris: Played the titular role in “Beethoven” (1992) and “Beethoven 2” (1993). This 200-pound St. Bernard was voted “Favorite Film Dog” in 2010, and has since been one of the most recognized on-screen dogs. What qualified Chris for the role was his laid-back temperament, but was trained by Karl Lewis for the agility scenes.
Buddy: Golden Retrievers are active, outgoing, and eager-to-please. It’s little wonder that Buddy went full-in when he starred in “Air Bud” (1997) in a few episodes of “Full House” (1987) as Comet. Surprisingly, Buddy had very few acting experiences under his belt before going into film. He was trained by his owner Kevin Dicicco to play sports like basketball, baseball, and football.
Mushu: Agent K and Agent J’s trusty sidekick Frank in “Men in Black” (1997) is played by Mushu. This pug was trained by Cristie Miele, who made sure Mushu was in tip top shape to bring aliens and all manners of intergalactic folk to justice.
Moonie: This pint-sized dog played Elle Woods’ trusty companion, Bruiser in “Legally Blonde” (2001). Clad in pink and numerous jewels, Moonie soon became a symbol of canine style and sophistication, proving that even in the hallowed halls of law school, a Chihuahua can be the ultimate fashion accessory.
Clyde: It’s usual for multiple dogs to play one role on the screen. The actor with the most screen time for Marley in “Marley and Me” (2008) was Clyde, a yellow labrador trained by Mark Forbes.
Source: Vicky Wong and Hachi
Forrest: Along with Chico and Layla, these three Akitas played Hachiko in “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” (2009). The movie is based on the story of Hachiko, an Akita owned by Eizaburo Ueno, a professor in agriculture science at Tokyo University.
The tale of Hachiko is one of loyalty and love. The Akita himself has a statue next to Shibuya Train Station in Tokyo and in Rhode Island in the USA, where the movie was filmed.
Beatrice: Playing the role of Jay’s lovable Stella in “Modern Family” (2009) is Beatrice, a French Bulldog. Stella is an indispensable part of the Pritchett-Dunphy family, although she often finds herself against Jay’s wife, Gloria.
Stewart and Stella: Stewart played Cheddar in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (2013), a Corgi owned by Captain Raymond Holt. Cheddar is at the centre of many antics in the show, including an episode where he runs off and has Jake Peralta and Charles Boyle chase after him, as well as playing an important role in their annual Jimmy Jabs games.
Stewart played Cheddar the longest; when he died in 2019, his sister Stella took on the role until the show’s end in 2021.
On social media
Walter Geoffrey: French Bulldogs are known for their unique vocalisations. Walter Geoffrey’s charismatic “singing” talents seemed to catapult him to online stardom. Walter made waves on YouTube for his numerous videos showcasing his incredible vocal range, from melodious tunes to comical howls.
This Frenchie also maintains an Instagram account, where his owner posts regular content of what she lovingly calls his “meltdowns”. He also has his own line of merchandise.
Maya: Maya, better known by her handle “Mayapolarbear” on YouTube, is a Samoyed often compared to a cloud. Maya lives in Germany with her owner Lingli Ye, also known as Karen. Her videos show Maya’s daily life, adventures, and interactions with her human companions.
Doug The Pug: Meet Doug the Pug, the canine sensation who has taken social media by storm. Known for his expressive face and humorous expressions, Doug combines the cuteness innate in pugs with a comedic flair, earning him millions of fans.
Norbert: Norbert is a mix between a Chihuahua, Cairn Terrier, and Lhasa Apso. At 3 pounds and 7 inches high, Norbert is among the smallest dogs on this list. This little pup is also well known for his little tongue sticking out, a sight that has captured the hearts of many.
Norbert is a registered therapy dog who regularly volunteers at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. He is also featured in his own picture book, Norbert: What Can Little Me Do? which won 9 book awards.
Source: New York Post
Tucker Budzyn: Those who have an affinity for bigger dogs will definitely enjoy Tucker Budzyn’s content on YouTube. Tucker is a Golden Retriever who embodies all the characteristics of his breed: playful, energetic, and loyal.
Tucker’s channel is full of his daily shenanigans, from playtime to his reactions to various items and experiences. Whether he’s trying new treats, taking on challenging puzzles, or simply enjoying the outdoors, this Goldie’s infectious enthusiasm shines as brightly as his gorgeous coat.
As entertainment continues to evolve on both large and small screens, dogs have proven to be more than just performers, but also beloved icons. Whether they’re stealing scenes, adding laughter to sitcoms, or captivating audiences online, these furry stars have earned their niches in the industry.
But for both famous and non-famous dogs, one thing remains constant: dogs continue to bring joy and enrichment to our lives.