Who are the most famous dogs ever?

Who are the most famous dogs ever?

What inspired your love for dogs? Their loyal nature? Their big brown eyes? Or is there a high-profile pup who first sparked your interest in all things canine?

Every dog owner has their favourite famous mutt or pedigree pooch. Here’s our Top 10, ranging from movie stars to literary legends to life-saving Labradors.

Remember – whether your pooch is a heroic hound or a loyal Lurcher, make sure it’s covered by insuring your dog.


1. Film: Lassie

Are you inspired by famous dogs from movies?

Lassie Come Home is one of the most renowned films in Hollywood history, and made a star out of Pal, the Rough Collie in the titular role.

The movie tells the heart-warming tale of a devoted dog who makes her way from Scotland to Yorkshire to be reunited with her young master.

It premiered in 1943 and was such a hit that several sequels followed, as well as a television series.

Lassie is the kind of big-eyed, shaggy mutt that makes even cat people consider getting a Collie.

Just ensure you buy straightforward dog insurance in case your animal decides to go wandering off Lassie-style, too.

Tommy Rettig with Lassie Junior, son of Pal, the first Lassie, in the Lassie television series

Tommy Rettig with Lassie Junior, son of Pal, the first Lassie, in the Lassie television series


2. Musical: Toto

Hollywood loves its hounds, and Toto the Terrier from the Wizard of Oz is another of the most famous dogs from movies.

As Dorothy’s faithful canine companion, Toto scampers along the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City, meeting a host of technicolour characters along the way.

Truly a doggy icon!

Toto with Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz

3. Space exploration: Laika

Dogs aren’t just lovable bundles of fur – they can be pioneers.

None more so than Laika, the Moscow mongrel sent into space.

Laika’s rags-to-riches tale started on the streets, where she was living as a stray.

Aged around three, she was chosen by Russian space scientists in 1957 to become the first animal to orbit the earth, in the Sputnik 2 spacecraft.

For her contribution to our understanding of space travel, Laika can be remembered as one of the most heroic dogs ever.

She even has her own memorial in Moscow.

A stamp depicting Laika, the first dog in space

4. Scientific discovery: Pavlov’s dogs

Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov’s experiments were rather more down-to-earth: they involved giving dogs food.

Pavlov’s great discovery was that dogs salivated not just when food appeared, but also when anything occurred that they had learned to associate with their mealtimes, such as the sound of a bell.

This is now called a conditioned or Pavlovian response.

The discovery won Pavlov the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology.

And his dogs? There were actually at least 35 of them, of different breeds, and they’ve earned themselves a small place in scientific history, too.


5. Politics: Sunny and Bo

There’s a fine tradition of political pets, brought in to remind global leaders of what’s really important in life as well as to melt the hearts of voters. 

Boris Johnson has recently introduced rescue dog Dylan, a Jack Russell-cross, to Downing Street.

However, the title of top dogs must still go to the Obamas’ pedigrees, Bo and Sunny.  

These Portuguese Water Dogs have non-shedding hair, making them ideal for owners with allergies, such as Barack and Michelle’s daughter Malia.

They’re happy, easy to train, great with kids and look gorgeous – but you might find you need a team of eager dog-walkers around you to meet their exercise needs.

A pedigree puppy can be expensive, so make sure you protect your pet through excellent specialist dog insurance.

Barrack Obama and his dog Bo running in the garden of the White house

6. Children’s literature: Timmy

Many, many children’s authors have extolled the virtues of dogs in their works.

However, pride of place goes to Timmy, the canine member of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five.

As his four human chums go about their endless jolly japes, Timmy is always there by their side as a guide and guard.

How spiffing!

If your pet pooch is liable to get into Famous Five-style scrapes, make sure it’s covered for accidental injury or loss through pooch insurance.


7. Detective novels: The Hound of the Baskervilles

A family curse. A mysterious death. Distant howls on the moor at night.

It must be The Hound of the Baskervilles, perhaps the most famous – and chilling – Sherlock Holmes story ever!

We don’t want to give any spoilers about The Hound, so read it for yourself – just make sure you’re not alone in a haunted house on Dartmoor when you do…

A view across a green filed in Dartmoor

8. Television: Shep

Fortunately, most dogs are less like The Hound and more like Shep, the excitable Border Collie featured on children’s TV programme Blue Peter in the 1970s.

Blue Peter has featured about 10 dogs over the years, but none has won the nation’s hearts more than Shep.

His TV antics even sparked a catchphrase: “Get down, Shep!”


9. Hero: Bilbo

There are so many lifesaving dog stories that it’s hard to single out one.

Dogs are used on the battlefield, to sniff out landmines, and to aid mountain rescues.

They’re also trained to guide blind and deaf people, steering them away from danger.

Bilbo was a Newfoundland who patrolled Sennen Beach in Cornwall helping his lifeguard master.

He’s credited with saving several swimmers who got into trouble in the seas, as well as teaching schoolchildren about water safety.

What a hero!

A brown Newfoundland dog in a woodland A similar Newfoundland dog

10. Loyal companion: Greyfriars Bobby

Finally, if you’re looking for another of the most heroic dogs ever, Greyfriars Bobby is the pooch for you.

This Skye Terrier is famed for spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner in Edinburgh in the 19th Century.

What could better symbolise the unbreakable bond between human and canine than such undying loyalty?

This real-life animal has now been the feature of a hit movie and book and even has his own statue in Edinburgh.

Faithful canines need rewarding with careful, loving ownership.

Dog insurance is a great way to ensure your pet pup is covered for accidental injury, loss by theft or straying, and much more.


Get a quote from Purely Pets

A dog running through a field

Whether your pooch is a mongrel movie star or just a beloved family pet, it deserves the very best dog insurance.

Purely Pets offers Lifetime cover from £1,000 to £15,000 for your canine companion, including cover for accidental injury, loss from theft or straying, and third-party liability.

Purely Pets offers one of the lowest excesses in the market at £60 and a 24hr helpline offering you advice at any time night or day

Get a quote for dog insurance today to keep your pooch protected.

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