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Many dogs have made their mark on history. These dogs have come from a variety of backgrounds and span from pure bred yellow labs to scrappy mutts; but for this article we’ll be shining the spotlight on the scrappier of the two. We’ve seen many a dog become famous through a wide range of activities including hollywood stardom, scientific discovery, and military heroism . Below are just a few of our favorite famous Mutts.
Spike From “Old Yeller”
Spike is a Labrador Retriever/Mastiff mix who has made countless people cry over the decades. He starred in the 1957 release of “Old Yeller,” a coming-of-age story about a boy and his dog. Two years later, Spike broke hearts again in the movie adaptation of the novel “A Dog of Flanders.” The Mastador didn’t always make you reach for the tissues, though. He appeared in more uplifting roles in “The Mickey Mouse Club” and “Lassie.”
According to America Comes Alive, Spike was a homeless dog that was adopted from a California shelter by Hollywood dog trainer Frank Weatherwax. When he initially auditioned for the part of Old Yeller, the casting crew thought that he might be too much of a sweetheart to accurately portray the dog’s temperament at the end of the story. However, the 170-pound dog did his best to act ferocious and ended up getting the part.
Higgins From “Benji”
Is Benji the most famous mutt in the world? Some people think so. Like Spike, Higgins was adopted from a shelter. He was a scruffy spaniel mix with big, brown puppy-dog eyes. The pooch’s expressive face made him perfect for show biz. Higgins got his start on the television show “Petticoat Junction” but eventually moved into film, as many actors do.
When he was 14, he starred in “Mooch Goes To Hollywood,” which was supposed to be his last movie. He came out of retirement shortly afterward to star in “Benji.” Although Higgins would have been notorious without the role, “Benji” made him a noteworthy star. It’s still a popular name for mixed-breed dogs to this day.
Sinbad, The Coast Guard Dog
Sinbad might have been the most famous members of the Coast Guard, and he wasn’t even human. In fact, no one is sure of his breed. He has been described as having the build of a bulldog and the colors of a Doberman pinscher. Sinbad became the mascot of the George W. Campbell in 1937 after one of the sailors adopted him. He wasn’t just a pet; he was a genuine member of the Coast Guard, having signed the official paperwork with his paw print.
Sinbad served on the vessel for 11 years, crossing the equator several times and traveling to the Arctic. He was part of several battles during World War II and earned five ribbons of valor. Although he had a stint in his own Hollywood film, “Dog of the Seven Seas,” in 1947, the pup went back to work for the Coast Guard in 1948. He had retired from the Campbell and lived out his life watching for ships in danger at the Coast Guard Lighthouse Station in Barnegat, New Jersey.
Bobbie The Wonder Dog
Bobbie was a Scotch Collie/English Shepherd who shocked the world before he ever appeared on the big screen. When the dog was two years old, he accompanied his family on a trip from Oregon to Indiana. More than 2,000 miles away from home, he was separated from his family, and they weren’t able to find him before heading west again. Six months later, the dog showed up on his Oregon doorstep. His feet were damaged from walking the 2,800 miles in the middle of winter, and he was in dire need of nourishment, but Bobbie was home.
Bobbie was featured in “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!” and the book “Bobbie, a Great Collie,” by Charles Alexander. He went on to star in “The Call of the West,” a silent film about his life. After he died, the famous German shepherd Rin Tin Tin set a wreath at his grave. His story is celebrated in an annual pet parade that takes place in Silverton, Oregon every year.
Famous Animated Mutts
Some of the most famous mixed-breed dogs are cartoons. Clifford was a Labrador/Vizsla who quickly outgrew his house, making people question crossing those breeds. Mickey Mouse’s pet, Pluto, is officially a mixed-breed dog, as is Disney’s Tramp. Woofie and Earl, from the Mutts comic strip, are also mixed-breed pups and make great uncommon names for your dog.
The Makings Of A Famous Mutt
Most of the mixed-breed dogs in show business were adopted by Hollywood dog trainers. Sometimes, they were chosen for their looks. Other times, they were selected for their impressive skills. They weren’t selected for their breeding, that’s for sure. Mixed breeds are often considered to be the quintessential American dog. The U.S. is a true melting pot, even when it comes to the family pet. Choosing a mixed-breed dog can save an animal’s life and bring you a special kind of loyalty and love.