Good Dog!

From heroes to movie stars, canines have made notable contributions to our health, safety, entertainment, and general well being.
January 31, 2010

Balto

Breed: Siberian husky

Why famous: Sled dog who led his team on the final leg of the 1925 serum run to Nome, Alaska (in which diphtheria antitoxin was transported from Anchorage to combat an outbreak of the disease). After the mission's success, Balto became a celebrity. Statue erected in New York's Central Park.

Bo Obama Bo

Breed:

Portuguese water dog

Why famous: Dubbed "first dog" by the White House. Supposedly hypoallergenic (though the idea of hypoallergenic dogs is scientifically questionable). Bo has his own baseball card (released by the White House) with an official portrait and tongue-in-cheek statistics.

Buddy

Breed: German shepherd

Why famous: The first formally trained guide dog in the U.S. Belonged to Morris Frank, who worked to establish The Seeing Eye, the first guide-dog school in the country.
Gidget, Getty Images

Gidget

Breed: Chihuahua

Dates: 1994-2009 

Why famous: Pitch dog for Taco Bell, famous for catch phrase "yo quiero Taco Bell!"

Hachiko

Breed: Akita

Why famous: In 1924, Hachiko was brought to Tokyo by his owner, Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo. During Hidesaburō's lifetime, Hachiko daily saw him off from the front door and greeted him at the end of the day at the nearby Shibuya Station. After Hidesaburō died, Hachiko was given away but routinely escaped, returning each day to the train station (which now has an annual celebration in his honor) at precisely the arrival time of his late owner's train.

Pal
Getty Images
 

Pal

Breed: rough collie

Why famous: First in a line of rough collies to portray fictional female collie Lassie in film and television. In 1943, he was chosen to play Lassie in the film Lassie Come Home. Starred in six more Lassie films from mid-1940s to early 1950s and starred in the two pilots filmed in 1954 for the TV series. Sired a line of descendants who continued to play the fictional character he originated. Originally rejected from among 1,500 dogs that auditioned for the first Lassie film, but after performing impressively well as a stunt double, Pal got the part.

Rin Tin Tin

Breed: German shepherd

Why famous: Name given to several related German shepherds featured in fictional stories on film, radio, and television. First of the line was a shell-shocked pup found by an American serviceman in a bombed-out dog kennel in France two months before the end of World War I. Named for a puppet called Rintintin that French children gave to American soldiers for good luck; the dog returned to Los Angeles with the soldier at the end of the war.

Stubby Stubby

Breed: bull terrier

Why famous: Most decorated dog in American military history. During World War I, strayed into U.S. encampment of the 102nd infantry. Befriended soldiers and was sent to France. Warned soldiers of gas bombs and German attacks in the middle of the night. Once found a hiding German spy and held him at bay until U.S. soldiers came to capture him. After returning home, Stubby became a celebrity and was made a lifetime member of the American Legion. Met Presidents Wilson, Harding, and Coolidge. Received the Purple Heart and was "promoted" to sergeant. His remains were preserved and are on display at the Smithsonian Institution.

Terry

Breed: cairn terrier

Why famous: Played Dorothy's dog, Toto, in The Wizard of Oz (1939). Earned $125 a week (more than many of the human actors; the Singer Midgets who played the munchkins only received $50). Broke her foot during production when one of the Winkies (witch's guards) stepped on her, and another dog was used while her foot healed. After the success of the movie, her owner officially changed Terry's name to Toto. Appeared in thirteen films. After death, reportedly was stuffed and sold for $3,680.

Trakr
Associated Press
 

Trakr

Breed: German shepherd

Why famous: Rescue dog used in 9/11 rescue efforts; discovered last survivor of World Trade Center attacks. Handler James Symington won an essay contest in 2008 to find the world's most "cloneworthy dog"; as a result, Trakr's DNA was used to produce five puppies.