25 Most Famous Dogs in History

Posted by , Updated on March 24, 2024

Ever wondered about the most iconic dogs throughout history? Astonishingly, dogs can be capable of more than just lounging around at home. Many dogs over the centuries have risen to fame for heroic acts such as military service, or delivering medications in harsh climates. Others have starred in successful blockbuster films, rescuing children from nefarious abductors or risking their lives in fiery infernos to save trapped individuals. On occasion, our most beloved dogs aren’t even real, but creative fabrications. Regardless, they never fail to put a smile on our faces. For whatever reason, certain dogs have achieved a level of celebrity that most humans can only aspire to. Here are the 25 Most Famous Dogs in History.


Jofi the Chow Chow

jofpicSource: https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703886904576031630124087362?ns=prod/accounts-wsj

A beloved pet of famous therapist Sigmund Freud, he used Jofi as a way to calm his patients who were anxious during the sessions. Jofi had a tranquil effect.


Laika The Space Dog

russianspacedogSource: https://www.thoughtco.com/laika-the-dog-1779334

Laika was the very first dog to travel into orbit on Sputnik 2. Sadly, the Russians had no plan to bring the ship back to Earth and Laika died in space. Alone.


Rin Tin Tin

rinpic1Source: https://www.canidae.com/blog/2012/08/the-true-story-of-rin-tin-tin/

Rin Tin Tin was a famous movie dog actor. He was discovered by Corporal Duncan in a kennel that was bombed during WWI. Corporal Duncan took Rin Tin Tin, and his family, home. Unfortunately, Rin was the only dog that survived and began starring in movies in the early 1920’s.


Chips the War Dog

chipspicSource: https://www.canidae.com/blog/2012/07/the-story-of-chips-war-dog/

Chips was a german shepherd mix whose owner donated him to the military during WWII. This heroic dog leapt over into enemy territory during a battle with the Italian army and attacked he shooters. He helped capture 10 enemy soldiers as a result.



cujpicSource: https://www.stephenking.com/library/movie/cujo.html

So, in our defense, we said the dogs on this list were famous, not dogs you would want as pets. Cujo was a fictional St. Bernard created by horror author Stephen King. A vicious and rabid dog who terrorized a mother and her young son, trapped in a car.


Astro the Space Dog

astrojetsonSource: http://scifi.wikia.com/wiki/The_Jetsons

Any Jetsons fans here? How could we create a list of famous dogs and not put the beloved space canine? Astro the space dog was the lovable dog of The Jetson Family. The popular cartoon ran for 21 years.


Trakr the 911 Dog

911dogpicSource: http://petslady.com/articles/remembering_hero_911_trakr_dog_63957

Ask anyone and they can probably tell you where they were during 9/11. Trakr, along with his owner James Symington, a police officer from Canada, helped find missing people during the attacks. Sadly, Trakr died from smoke inhalation during his service. Before 9/11, Trakr worked as a typical police dog, finding contraband and chasing bad guys.


Millie Bush

bushdogSource: http://www.presidentialpetmuseum.com/pets/millie/

Mille the springer spaniel was the pet of late president George. H.W.Bush and his wife Barbara. She was also the mother of George W. Bush’s pet dog Spot. Here is another interesting fact: Millie wrote a kids book, called “Millie’s Book: As Edited by Barbara Bush, which was on The New York Times Best Seller in 1992.



baltopicSource: http://www.sibrescue.com/balto.html

A Siberian husky from Alaska who worked with a dog team that brought supplies to miners, Balto was actually considered to be the weakest among the other dogs, but as they say, don’t judge a book by its cover. In 1925, an huge epidemic spread through the town, making everybody very sick. Balto, with his team of sled dogs, braved the harsh weather conditions to get medicine to the sick.


Smoky the Yorkshire

smokyyorkiepicSource: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/17/smoky-the-yorkshire-terrier_n_4110586.html

When you think of war dogs, a Yorkshire terrier may not be the first dog that comes to mind. She was first found in a foxhole during WWII and then trained by Cpl. Billy Wynne to help out during the war. She is considered the first therapy dog.




Hey, Scooby Doo, where are you? If you were a child of the ’80s then you definitely remember Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Thelma, Daphne, and Fred as they solved haunting mysteries. Scooby was definitely not brave like the other dogs on the list, but he was always willing to help out if a Scooby snack was involved.


Bo Obama

bopicSource: https://www.politico.com/gallery/2015/10/bo-obama-birthday-photo-gallery-002120?slide=0

Bo was one of President Obama’s pet dogs. Barack and Michelle’s daughter Malia had severe allergies to dogs so they had to get a hypoallergenic one. Bo, the dog was a welcome addition to the Obama family.


Old Yeller


A book and a movie about a boy and his dog nicknamed Old Yeller. One word of advice: neither the book nor the movie are appropriate for a dog lover. You’ve been warned.


Bobbie the Wonder Dog

wonderdogbobSource: https://oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/bobbie_the_wonder_dog/#.XEktyvZFyUk

A dogs loyalty knows no bounds. Imagine if you lost your dog over 2,000 miles from your home, and then 6 months later he showed up at your doorstep. Well, that’s exactly what Bobbie the Wonder Dog did. He became a national icon for a few years. When he passed away, it’s said that fellow wonder dog Rin Tin Tin came and paid respects.



toterrypicSource: https://www.canidae.com/blog/2013/09/carl-spitz-and-hollywood-dog-training-school/

Even though the character of Toto in the Wizard of Oz was a male dog. He was actually played by a female dog named Terry. Her owner Carl Spitz was a famous dog handler and trainer in Hollywood.


Nemo the Vietnam War Dog

nemovietwardogSource: http://www.pbase.com/635thK9/nemo_most_famous

Nemo is considered the most famous war dog. He was part of a unit during the Vietnam War whose sole purpose was to find and capture enemy intruders. Even when he got shot in the face, he still went on the attack and helped his unit capture four enemy combatants.


Checkers Nixon

nixdogcheckSource: http://www.presidentialpetmuseum.com/blog/richard-nixon-checkers/

Checkers was former president Richard Nixon’s dog. He was the most famous dog in the White House. Although he never lived there, he was the inspiration behind one of Nixon’s speeches to defend himself against the misuse of campaign contributions. Nixon said the only thing he was keeping was Checkers as it was a gift for his daughters. It became known as The Checkers Speech.



argospicSource: http://www.thisisthecrosby.com/argos-odysseus-dog

In Greek Mythology, Argos was the faithful dog of Odysseus. When Odysseus went on a long voyage, his faithful dog waited 20 years for him to come home, and even recognized him dressed as a beggar.


Higgins aka Benji

benjihigginspicSource: http://www.luckymojo.com/higgins-benji-dog.html

Higgins was a stray dog adopted from a shelter in Beverly Hills. He went on to star in the movie “Benji.” The Human Society said that because Benji came from a shelter, that inspired other people to adopt from shelters, and over one million dogs were adopted nationally. Higgins is also the second dog to be inducted into the Animal Actor Hall of Fame.



lassiecolliepicSource: https://americacomesalive.com/2015/08/17/the-dog-who-played-lassie/

Most people remember the TV show “Lassie.” Every week you could tune in to hear Timmy call out her name, “Laaasiie!” The real dog was actually not a girl but a male dog called Pal. Pal’s trainer adopted the pet from the trainer’s family. Although not easy to work with, Lassie eventually became well-trained. He was a huge television star and the first dog to be inducted into the Animal Hall of Fame.



snooppicSource: https://peanuts.fandom.com/wiki/Snoopy

How could one forget Charlie Brown’s lovable and mischievous beagle Snoopy? Also, known as The Red Barron, Snoopy is one of the most well-known cartoon dogs in history.



lexwardogpicSource: https://www.wtok.com/home/headlines/Military_Dog_Lex_Remembered_By_His_Family_144453085.html

The first military dog given early retirement. Lex was adopted by his master’s family after the soldier was killed in battle. When Lex’s owner Cpl. Dustin Lee was killed, despite the dog being injured, he refused to leave his side. Lex was adopted by Cpl. Lee’s mother and father, but died of cancer in 2012.


Clifford the Big Red Dog

cliffreddogpicSource: http://clifford.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Characters

Clifford was a kids book about a giant red dog with an even bigger heart. The books inspired TV shows and even a few movies. No, there is no real Clifford. In the book, he is 25 feet tall. Can you imagine that being real? The doggy drool alone…


Buddy Clinton

buddythedogSource: http://www.presidentialpetmuseum.com/pets/buddy/

Buddy was former president Bill Clinton’s dog. Clinton didn’t own a dog during his first term as president, but he got Buddy during the second term; they were good friends. He’s mostly famous for his ongoing battle with the Clinton’s cat, Socks.



loyalhachipicSource: https://nerdnomads.com/hachiko_the_dog

This is probably one of the saddest and most endearing stories of loyalty ever. Hachiko was an Akita dog owned by Eizaburo Ueno, a professor in Japan. Every day the dog would wait for his master at the train station to come home. One day his master never showed up as a result of a brain hemorrhage and later, death. Hachiko still went to the station. Every day he waited and waited. He became so famous for the consistent loyalty that a statue was built at the station in his honor. Sadly, the waiting came to an end when Hachiko passed away at the train station in 1935.


You love history. You’re in good company! Keep filling your brain with more knowledge with the 25 Craziest Things You Might Not Know About Kings

Photo: Featured Image - Croes, Rob C. / Anefo, Benji and Frank Inn 1979, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL , 1. Unknown, Hachiko, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons , 2. Office of the President of the United States, Buddy Clinton dog, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons , 3. L.Rich, Marine K9 Lex with Purple Heart, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 4. L.Rich, Marine K9 Lex with Purple Heart, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 5. flickr.com, CC BY 2.0, 6. Credit: State Archive of Florida, Lassie, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons , 7. By Croes, Rob C. / Anefo - [1] Dutch National Archives, The Hague, Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANeFo), 1945-1989, Nummer toegang Bestanddeelnummer 930-1619, CC0, Link, 8. pintrest.com (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 9. pintrest.com (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 10. dogtime.com (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 11. pintrest.com, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/546131892290495819/?lp=true (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 12. By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37085228, 13. Skansken, Gul labradortik, CC BY 3.0 , 14. Chuck Kennedy, Bo official portrait, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons , 15. flickr.com, https://www.flickr.com/photos/62743992@N05/6661601875, CC BY 2.0, 16. By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37086215, 17. Brown Brothers, Gunnar Kaasen with Balto, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons , 18. White House Photo, no name, Millie (dog), marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons , 19. pintrest.com, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/298785756510785628/?lp=true (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 20. pintrest.com, https://www.pinterest.com/jewell3737/astro-the-dog/?lp=true (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 21. imdb.com (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 22. flickr.com, https://www.flickr.com/photos/cassowaryprods/37223130705, CC BY 2.0, 23. James Brown, James Brown fan postcard 1955, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons , 24. Konrad Loesch, Russo European Laika, CC BY 2.5 , 25. wordpress.com (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only)