Our Favorite TV dogs! I love 'em all. Some have starred in their own shows while others have only appeared from time to time in the background and they still manage to make an impact upon the show! However and whenever dogs are portrayed on TV they are sure to steal our hearts. So here are the dogs that have stolen my heart over the years!
Lassie has been an all time favorite TV dog for years (as well as being the only animal on Variety's "100 Icons of The Century" list!) This fictional female collie dog was created by Eric Knight in what was first a short story, then a novel and a movie (Lassie Come Home.)
In 1954 Lassie made it onto TV and the show lasted for 19 years! A second Lassie series emerged in the 1980s, then in 1997 a new Lassie series appeared on Animal Planet. Lassie was one of three animals to be awarded a star on the Hollywood 'Walk of Fame' (the other two being silent film star Strongheart and Rin Tin Rin, which leads me to my next choice...
Another famous showbiz dog is Rin-Tin-Tin, starring in a television series and movies (even way back into the silent era of filmmaking!)
Rin Tin Tin's backstory is quite emotional and happens to be true! He was a German Shepherd rescued from a battlefield in World War 1 by Lee Duncan, an American soldier. Duncan trained "Rinty" (as he called him,) and obtained silent film work for him. Rin-Tin-Tin was a box office smash. In the 1950's a TV show was created with various incarnations continuing through the new millennium! Next to Lassie, Rin-Tin-Tin is one of the most popular show business dogs ever!
This children's PBS half- hour show aired from 1995 to 1998 (and was in reruns until 2001.)
The star of the show is a lesson teaching Jack Russell terrier named Wishbone who lives with his owner Joe Talbot and family in fictional Oakdale, Texas.
The twist in this series is Wishbone's penchant for daydreaming which places him in lead character roles from classic literature. Only the viewers see Wishbone the dog dressed as each specific character and hear him speak! The other (human) actors can't see the dog but they do see the character portrayed by the dog.
Wishbone won four Daytime Emmies, a Peabody Award, as well as honors from the Television Critics Association. The Wishbone theme song was written by Tim Cissell and Lynn Adler.
Another Jack Russell terrier, Eddie, became popular as the cutest star on the TV sitcom "Frazier."
This energetic pup's real name was Moose who won the Frazier role after only six months of training! He had the talent of fixing a really long stare on Kelsey Grammer which became a hilarious running sight gag on the show.
Moose was so popular in fact that at the height of the shows popularity, he was receiving more fan mail than his human counterparts!
Still another Jack Russell Terrier was Jack, the fearless, eight year old dog who wore an eye patch because his owner, Jake Cutter, lost Jack's eye in a poker game. The TV show was 1982's "Tales of The Gold Monkey." Leo (a.k.a. Jack) was, in my opinion, the coolest dog on the tube, who just happened to be a multi-lingual terrier who answered questions with a yes (two barks) or no (one bark) and was so talented he could untie ropes with his teeth and free his owner who found himself being held hostage by some bad guys from time to time! What a dog. What a hero!
Buddy (aka Comet aka Air Bud)
Found by Kevin di Cicco in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the stray was brought home and adopted. He was later trained in a number of sports, including basketball, baseball, football, soccer, and hockey (which came in handy when auditioning for his "Air Bud" part.)
Buddy's first appearance on TV was on America's Funniest Home Videos and then on the Stupid Pet Tricks segment of the Late Show with David Letterman.
This beautiful golden retriever then went on to star in the 90's show "Full House" as Comet, who was adopted by the tanner family during the shows third season.
Sadly Buddy died in his sleep of complications from cancer in 1998. He was believed to be around 11 or 12 years old.
Pete, the dog that frequented the Little Rascals short films was portrayed by two dogs.
The first dog to portray Pete was Pal the Wonder Dog. Pal's natural coloration graced him with a partial circle around his eye that was finished off in makeup. His eye was even recognized by Ripley's believe it or Not as an oddity!
He first was cameoed in The Freshman, a Harold Lloyd film in 1925.
Pal started his career as "Tige" in the 1920's Buster Brown Series, then went on to star in The Little Rascals films. Hal Roach decided to keep the encircled eye, thus making him the most identifiable dog of all time!
After Pal died, one of his offspring named "Lucenay's Peter" (registered as a UKC American Pit Bull Terrier but oftentimes referenced to be a Staffordshire Terrier *) played Petey. Born without the famous encircled eye, the circle had to be added by the makeup department. A few other dogs also played Petey but Lucenay was the best known of those dogs.
*Take note that the three pit bull breeds can be easily confused (American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier) and are essentially the same dog bred for different purposes.
Monkey from Gossip Girl
Monkey (real name is Hudson) is a rescue from a shelter who happened to make it big as a star on the show "Gossip Girl." Owned by the show's resident billionaire, Chuck Bass, Monkey manages to steal scenes from all the hotties on the show! Who can resist that cute doggie face as well as his fine talent of ripping fake designer clothes to shreds, especially fake Prada. Monkey was loyal to everyone... that is, everyone who fed him!
Her real name was Madison but this Yellow Lab played the male dog Vincent on the TV show, Lost. Vincent was on many Lost episodes tagging along with the cast through all the strange happenings on this weird island. The strangest occurrence of all was Vincent didn't appear in the final church scene of Lost, maybe because Vincent remained alive on the island? Now I'm Lost!
Mr. Muggles from Heroes
The best thing about Heroes (after a great first season) was the presence of a Pomeranian named Mr. Muggles who made the remaining declining seasons a bit more tolerable for viewing. This dog just did not care about humans with super powers. When a crazy psycho nut killer breaks into the apartment with intentions of murdering his owner, Mr. Muggles licks the killers shoes because the killer pets him! By the final season Mr. Muggles must've really not cared because he barely made any appearances on the show at all. One thing for sure - Heroes had gone to the dog and the series itself had gone down the tubes!
Gidget, the taco bell dog
This hot Chihuahua was famous for the phrase “Yo quiero Taco Bell.” You can say Taco Bell's advertising success stemmed from this dog who's acting job was supposed to go to a dog named Dinky but at the last minute there was a casting change. The commercial went to the dog cast originally as Dinky's girlfriend, Gidget. So fickle is Hollywood, sheesh!
Spuds was a fictional dog created specifically for use in an advertising campaign for Budweiser Light Beer in the 1980's. Spuds not only sold beer, Spuds sold a lot of Spud merchandise like t-shirts and toys.
Spuds was a bull terrier, cast as a male but was in actuality a female. Her real name was Beauregard Lollygags. Now that's a name!
A lot of controversy followed Spuds throughout his/her career. Anheuser-Busch was accused of luring children into having an interest in their product by pitching Spuds to them. (It's interesting to note that the Federal Trade Commission found no evidence to support this previous allegation.)
When the Spuds image began overshadowing the product, Anheuser-Busch decided to pull the campaign in 1989.
So there are a few of our favorite TV dogs. How many more can you dig up... C'mon, it's not that ruff!
By Tom Matteo
Photo by: Lost Media