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Although there are endless human celebrities, nothing is more likeable than a dog starring on the big screen or more heartwarming than a real-life pup saving the day in the midst of a disaster. Dogs are “man’s best friend” for a reason. They have been beloved pals and the part of families all over the world throughout history. Whether it be a dog that acts as a hero in the military, ventures to space, or even a fictional canine like Toto or Lassie – all have been loved and adored by the public for centuries.
Dogs have played a huge role in humans’ lives throughout history. They have helped first responders save countless lives, assisted soldiers at war, and uncovered major scientific discoveries. Their smarts and loyalty have made them the perfect right-hand man to humans for as long as we can remember. Few dogs have stood out over the course of history as true celebrities, heroes or simply as adorable entertainment.
1. Laika: It is not just humans who have ventured outside of Earth’s atmosphere. Laika was a stray terrier-husky mix who was the first canine to travel to space and the first animal to orbit Earth. In November of 1957, she was launched in a Soviet spacecraft into space from Moscow, Russia. Unfortunately, due to a malfunction in the oxygen supply and heat levels of the spacecraft, Laika passed away soon after launch. Many have criticized the decision to send an innocent pup into space against her control. Laika is now remembered as one of the most famous dogs in history and as a pioneer in space expansion.
2. Rin Tin Tin: Rin Tin Tin is arguably one of the most famous German Shepherds of all time, starring in over 30 films. He was rescued in France by an American soldier during World War I and brought to Los Angeles, where a Hollywood filmmaker happened to notice his ability to jump 12 feet in the air. Rin Tin Tin’s unique talents made him a movie sensation. He was so successful that he was eventually named the unofficial mascot of Warner Bros Studios!
3. Hachikō: Known as the most loyal dog of all time, Hachikō was adopted by a professor as a puppy. Every day the professor commuted to and from work at a railway station in Japan called Shibuya Station, where Hachikō learned to wait for his return each day. Sadly, one day the professor had a hemorrhage and passed away at work; he never returned to Shibuya Station. Heartbroken Hachikō continued to return to the station day after day, patiently waiting for his owner to come home to him. He is now a national symbol of loyalty in Japan, and even has several tear-jerking movies written about his story.
4. Boo: As social media grew and grew, so did the world of new virtual influencers and celebrities. Boo the Pomeranian was one of them. When Boo’s owner started posting photos and videos of him online, he was an instant sensation. He was repeatedly named the “cutest dog in the world.” Although he passed away in 2019, he had almost 20 million followers on his social media accounts. Boo was one of the first canine social media celebrities, and has several books, toys, and more made in his honor.
5. Balto: A town called Nome, Alaska, was overtaken by an outbreak of diphtheria, a highly contagious disease, in 1925. The disease is a deadly infection that leads to difficulty breathing, heart failure, paralysis and death. There was an antidote, however it was only available in Anchorage, Alaska – hundreds of miles away. Due to the snow and extreme weather conditions, the only chance of getting to Anchorage was by sleds. A Siberian Husky named Balto led the sled dog team that trekked through freezing cold and blizzarding snow to reach the medication. His and his team’s hard work saved the lives of the citizens of Nome. He is now one of the most famous sled dogs to date.
6. Lassie: Lassie, the main character of a beloved, timeless film as well as an extremely successful television series is, without a doubt, one of the most famous pups in the world. Lassie was originally played by a Rough Collie named Pal, and it was shocking to some that although the fictional Lassie is a female, all dogs who played her were males. After Pal passed away, every pup who starred as Lassie was from his bloodline. Lassie’s 19-season-long television series premiered in the 1940s and the final film, Lassie, was released in 2005. It is rumored that through Lassie Come Home, Pal made almost twice as much from his cinematic career than his human co-star Elizabeth Taylor.
7. Toto: If you’ve seen The Wizard of Oz, you may recognize lead character Dorothy’s adorable Cairn Terrier named Toto who she’s addressing in her iconic line, “Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”. The talented pup who played him was named Terry, who was abandoned as a puppy and rescued by a Hollywood dog trainer. Before playing Toto alongside Judy Garland, Terry had extensive experience in the spotlight. Terry lived to be 11 years old, and her career consisted of starring in a whopping 17 movies.
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