It’s a Dog’s Life: Famous Dog Actors
Chances are, we all have dogs from our childhood that we remember fondly. Many times, it’s our own dog that we grew up alongside, but if we weren’t fortunate enough to have family pets, it may have been a dog on TV or in the movies. Dog have been appearing on the big screen for almost as long as humans, and although they may not achieve the popularity of a human actor, most of the time, they get paid and are cast in the same way as their human co-star
Here are some of the most famous dog actors of all time. See if you can recognize any of their on-screen roles.
Terry the Terrier
One of the most famous and beloved canine characters of all time is Toto, Dorothy’s adorable dog that accompanies her on all her adventures in The Wizard of Oz. The dog who played Toto was a female Cairn Terrier who was initially named Terry, and was later renamed Toto after her starring role.
Terry was born in 1933 and was trained for her onscreen roles by owner Carl Spitz. For her role in The Wizard of Oz, Terry was paid $125 per week, which is the equivalent of $2,200 in today’s dollars. She died at age 11, but not before giving birth to another Hollywood dog actor named Rommy.
Terry (November 17, 1933 – September 1, 1945), a female Cairn Terrier owned and trained by Carl Spitz, appeared in 16 movies. The Wizard of Oz was her only credited role, though she wasn't credited as Terry but as her character Toto. https://t.co/TY89bP9D2z #TCMParty #TCMusicals pic.twitter.com/sVbG6HELYm
— Tater (@TaterIsHappy) June 8, 2018
Pal the Wonder Dog
One of the most unique dog actors of all time is Pal, a pit bull who had already been in several silent films when he was cast as Pete in the film series Our Gang, which later came to be known as The Little Rascals. Pal had a partial circle around one eye, which gave him a completely unique look.
As of 1927, he was paid $125 per week for his work on Our Gang. In 1930, Pal retired, and his son Pete took over his role in the series. Although Pete looked similar to Pal, makeup artists had to draw in the characteristic circle around his eye.
— TravSD (@TravSD) August 26, 2018
Rin Tin Tin
Rin Tin Tin is a German Shepherd who was rescued from the battlefield by an American soldier named Lee Duncan and was taken back to the United States after the end of WWI. His owner decided that his expressive face made him the perfect dog actor and started training him.
27 movies chronicling Rin Tin Tin’s adventures were made, which led to a huge jump in popularity not only for Rin Tin Tin himself, but also for German Shepherds as a breed. The original Rin Tin Tin died in 1932, and he was succeeded by his son, and later his grandson.
James Brown and Rin Tin Tin pic.twitter.com/gNZWT54AaK
— spacewoman reporter (@SpacewomanR) October 3, 2018