Famous dogs in history

Dogs have long captured the hearts of humans so it’s only natural that there have been many famous dogs through history.

Dogs have been famous for a variety of reasons, for example because they’ve been film stars, they’ve had famous owners, or they’ve performed heroic acts.

And of course in the modern age of the internet, dogs now become famous for their antics that are captured on home video and uploaded to YouTube and other video sharing sites, and because they’re irresistibly cute.

A prime example of the latter is the so-called “Cutest dog in the world” Boo the Pomeranian, who has over 17 millions likes on his Facebook page and has released a number of books.

So lets take a look at some of the most famous dogs in history.

Famous Dogs In History


Je Suis Diesel
Diesel the police dog

Diesel was a French police dog who was killed five days after the Paris terror attacks of November 2015. He was a Belgian shepherd dog who died when he was shot after being sent into a building looking for the mastermind of the attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

After Diesel’s death, the phrases Je Suis Chien and Je Suis Diesel went viral around the world on social media. He was later awarded the Dickin Medal, the highest animal honor, by the charity PDSA (the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals).


No-one symbolizes the faithfulness and loyalty of dogs better than Hachiko. He was an Akita who’s owner was a professor at the University of Tokyo.

The professor, Hidesaburo Ueno, would travel to and from work by train and would return to the train station at the same time every evening. And Hachiko would be there waiting to greet him every time.

Sadly, one day the professor didn’t return. He’d suffered a brain hemorrhage and died.

For the next nine years and nine months, Hachiko would faithfully return to the train station at the time his owner would have arrived back. Because of this, he became a symbol of loyalty in Japan.


Laika will forever have a place in history as the first animal to orbit Earth. Sadly, at the time there was no way of returning safely to Earth after the mission.

According to Soviet officials at the time, Laika was euthanized before the oxygen ran out on her spaceship. However, it was later revealed (in 2002) that she’d actually died because of overheating just a few hours after the launch.

There is a statue and a plaque in memory of Laika at the Russian cosmonaut training facility.


Pal was a Collie dog who became a film star. He was the first dog to play the hugely popular Lassie, in the 1943 film Lassie Come Home. He went on to play Lassie in six more movies too. Several of his descendants also went on to play Lassie on film too.


Helen Keller, the famous deaf and blind author and activist, was a dog lover. And of course, dogs helped her to overcome her disabilities. Although her parents had dogs when she was a child, the first dog she owned herself was a Boston Bull Terrier called Phiz. Phiz was a gift to Keller from her classmates at Radcliffe College.

Keller wrote about her love of dogs, and Phiz in particular, in her autobiography The Story of My Life:

Whenever it is possible, my dog accompanies me on a walk or ride or sail. I have had many dog friends–huge mastiffs, soft-eyed spaniels, wood-wise setters and honest, homely bull terriers. At present the lord of my affections is one of these bull terriers. He has a long pedigree, a crooked tail and the drollest “phiz” in dogdom. My dog friends seem to understand my limitations, and always keep close beside me when I am alone. I love their affectionate ways and the eloquent wag of their tails.

Rin Tin Tin

Famous Dogs In History - Rin Tin Tin
Rin Tin Tin

Rin Tin Tin was another hugely popular movie star dog. He was a German Shepherd dog that was rescued from the battlefields of World War I by an American soldier called Lee Duncan. Rin Tin Tin was a massive success at the box office and starred in 27 movies.


Smoky was a Yorkshire Terrier who’s credited with being the first ever therapy dog. She was found in the jungle of New Guinea by an American soldier in February, 1944.

In July of that year, she began to accompany nurses on their visits to casualties of the battlefields, at the 233rd Station Hospital. She continued her work as a therapy dog for 12 more years.


Terry was another film star. She was a Cairn Terrier whose most famous role was as Toto in The Wizard of Oz. She also appeared in 15 other films but didn’t receive credit for any of them. The only credit she received was for The Wizard of Oz but even in that she was wrongly credited as “Toto”.

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