Dogs have accompanied mankind throughout history and made their mark with their impressive skills. Many are celebrated figures from movies, TV shows, and art.
This article celebrates their heroic deeds, inspiring loyalty, and astounding achievements.
Take a seat and strap yourself in for a fun and engaging read about the most famous dogs by breed who have made their mark in history and in our hearts.
American humorist, writer, and lecturer Josh Billings once said, “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” The 69 million households in America who own a dog will most likely agree.
Since they make fantastic domestic companions, they have accompanied mankind throughout history and made their mark with their impressive skills. Many are celebrated figures from movies, TV shows, and art.
Hailing from Germany and tracing back to the late 1800s, German Shepherds were bred to be sheepherders. They are strong, intelligent, and fast dogs with a sharp sense of smell. They may seem reserved at first but quickly warm up to strangers. German Shepherds make outstanding watchdogs and relate well with children.
Rin Tin Tin was born in 1918 in Flirey, France. After being rescued by US soldier Lee Duncan, Rin Tin Tin bagged his first film in 1923. From then on, there was no looking back. The dog was cast in 27 movies.
At one point, he received around 10,000 fan mail. He passed away in 1932 after a glorious Hollywood career. Author Susan Orlean once remarked, “Rin Tin Tin was born in 1918 and never died.”
France: 1918. USA: 1920s
These hound dogs originated in England around the 16th century. Known for their keen sense of smell, beagles were bred for hunting and catching small prey. They are one of the most cherished family dogs in America. Let’s read about two of the most famous beagles in history.
Him and Her belonged to President Lyndon Baynes Johnson, the 36th president of the United States of America. They could often be seen around the White House.
One of the photographs with Him and Her led to controversy. President Johnson was seen lifting Him by its ears outside the White House. This was not well-received by the public and animal activists.
Several questioned how the president would feel if he was treated similarly. This led to the president issuing an apology and assuring the public of his harmless intent while picking the beagle up.
Golden retrievers are sociable, friendly, and intelligent. They are the third most popular breed in the USA. No doubt they find their way into this list of most famous dogs by breed.
He had a story published in Allure Magazine and has been mentioned by Oprah. Tucker shot to fame with his first video that got a massive 5.5 million views. This adorable Golden Retriever is one of the most famous dogs on YouTube.
He has captured the hearts of millions with videos that often show him reviewing food. This YouTube star lives with his owner Courtney Budzyn and his girlfriend Journee.
Originally from Germany, dachshunds gained popularity in America in the 1930s and 1940s. They are courageous and excellent watchdogs.
Known as Picasso’s muse, Lump initially belonged to photojournalist David Duncan. Upon the dog’s first meeting with the painter, Picasso painted a portrait of Lump on a dinner plate. It was the beginning of a lasting bond. Lump became Picasso‘s faithful companion for six years.
During this time, Duncan would often visit the painter and photograph him and his family along with Lump. Picasso had many dogs, but Lump occupied a special place in his heart. The painter commented, “Lump, he’s not a dog, he’s not a little man, he’s somebody else.”
Dating back to the Han Dynasty, pugs originated from China. Pugs are funny little creatures who love the good life. Bred for royalty, they will be perfectly happy anywhere where there is food and people to snuggle with. No wonder they are present in this most famous dogs by breed list.
Pompey belonged to the Prince of Orange, William the Silent, a Dutch leader during the Eighty Years’ War for Independence. History remembers the dog for saving his master’s life in 1572.
One night, assassins tried to sneak into the tent of the Prince. Pompey barked, created a stir, and finally jumped on the prince to raise an alert. This allowed the Prince to successfully dodge an assassination attempt.
Pompey’s heroic act awarded him the distinction of being the official dog of the House of Orange.
Great Danes have existed for over 400 years. They played an important role for German nobility by guarding estates and hunting wild boars.
While there are several famous cartoon characters based on the breed, this real-life Great Dane was indeed great because of his stature.
Freddy: Tallest Dog in the World
Claim to Fame
Ever thought a dog could be as tall as you? Well, Freddy the Great Dane wears the badge for being the tallest living male dog ever.
He gained international attention when he was declared the tallest dog in the world by the Guinness World Records in 2016. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2021 at age eight.
When measured, Freddy was close to 3.5 feet from foot to withers. Standing on his hind legs, he measured an imposing 7.5 feet.
Country and Year
Any mention of the most famous dogs by breed will not be complete without Basset Hounds. Affectionate and calm, bassets were first bred in the 1800s. Although originally used to hunt small rabbits, they make great family pets. As the name suggests, these hound dogs possess an exceptional sense of smell.
Ever seen that charming dog on Hush Puppies posters? Well, that adorable dog is Jason, the famous basset hound. He was the last dog to be considered in the audition. The founders of Hush Puppies immediately fell in love with him.
Jason rose to be an international icon and to date is one of the most photographed hounds. Known as the original face of Hush Puppy, the dog sadly passed away in 1990. Jason left behind a timeless legacy for the brand and basset hound lovers across the globe.
Huskies were bred as sled dogs. They are excellent working dogs with high intelligence and athleticism.
Nome, a city in western Alaska, was suffering from a disease called diphtheria. Their hope lay in an antitoxic serum stored in Anchorage. The serum could not be transported by train due to snow.
The crisis led to dogs Balto, Togo, And Fritz braving inclement weather to fetch the serum. Owned by breeder Leonhard Seppala, the dogs brought back the serum within six days despite the snow and difficult terrain. The town was saved. Balto, Togo, and Fritz were its heroes.
Balto’s remains can be seen at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in Ohio. There is also a statue of him in Central Park, New York. Togo has a statue dedicated to him in a children’s playground in New York’s Lower East Side.
Balto – US, 1919. Togo – US, 1913. Fritz – US, 1915
A Bull Terrier is a mix between the Bulldog and the white English Terrier. The breed was used for dog-fighting. Today, the dogs make remarkable guard dogs for families. They are aggressive but can be kept in check with proper training.
You’d never think that a bull terrier could become as famous as the great emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte, but that’s exactly what Trusty the bull terrier did.
Trusty was exceptionally gifted at dog-fighting. He went undefeated in 104 dog fights. This feat saw him being featured in Sporting Magazine in 1804. Trusty was a dog of intricate breeding with a wedge nose and dark almond-shaped eyes.
Labradors are among the most famous dogs by breed. They are also one of the best dog breeds. The American Kennel Club or AKC states that the Labrador has been one of the most popular breeds since 1991.
They were gundogs in the 1830s. Their friendly and outgoing nature makes them ideal family pets.
Born along with seven other puppies, King Buck was the runt of the litter. Who knew that this tiny puppy that almost died at birth would grow up to be one of the greatest Labradors?
Buck was a dog of admirable skill and showed great potential in hunting. This pushed his owner to sell him to Bing Grunwald who would contribute to the dog’s bright future.
During his 12 years, Buck finished 63 successive series in the National Championship Stake. He also bagged the championship in the National Retriever Field Trial for two consecutive years.
In 1959, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service produced a duck stamp with a picture of King Buck, a space that previously only featured waterfowl.
The poodle is one of the smartest breeds. They were used as water retrievers for ducks and small birds. The 1800s saw the dog become part of many circus shows.
Initially named Charles le Chien (translated as Charles the Dog), Charley responded to commands in French. This poodle was the companion of well-known American author John Steinbeck.
The two were inseparable and would often travel together. In the fall of 1960, they took off on a road trip to America. Charley was an inquisitive traveler and got along well with strangers on the road.
Over a period of three months, they traveled over 10,000 miles and visited 34 states. Afterward, Steinback wrote about his memories with Charley and the book “Travels with Charley: In Search of America” was born. It won a Nobel Prize for literature.
Known for their confidence and firmness, Rottweilers make excellent guard, rescue, and police dogs. They used to carry money around their necks for local butchers till the 1900s. Rottweilers are big in size and require training early on in order to socialize them. Here’s one from the pack that’s winning hearts in social media.
If you’re a fan of rottweiler videos, you must have seen a few of Banzai. With his lively spirit and playful nature, Banzai is winning likes all over Instagram. Banzai is an Instagram star with over 100,000 followers. He loves meat and has many nicknames such as Banzi, Pito, and Banzilito.
Their gentle and affectionate personalities have earned them the nickname “American Gentleman.” The dog is a hybrid between the English bulldog and the white English terrier. Let’s hear about Sergeant Stubby who displayed exemplary courage during World War 1.
Sergeant Stubby was the only war dog to become a sergeant. He served in the 102nd Infantry Regiment of the United States. Prominent in the Battle of Marne and the Battle of Chateau-Thierry, Stubby was part of 17 battles and remained in the war zone for 18 months.
He was a wonderful mercy dog who provided comfort to injured and dying soldiers. Stubby helped alert the soldiers of incoming enemies and helped detect dangerous gas. He, unfortunately, sustained injuries from a German hand grenade in 1918. Luckily, he survived. Stubby was awarded two wound stripes and a medal of honor.
In honor of his courage and commitment, Sergeant Stubby was part of several US parades and even met three US presidents. To this day, a brick in the Walk of Honor at Liberty Memorial in Kansas bears Stubby’s name.
The English Cocker Spaniel is a hunting dog bred to hunt Eurasian Woodcock birds. Cocker spaniels are popular in the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Norway. They arrived in America in the 1620s. AKC recognized them in 1878. They found their way in the list of most famous dogs by breed thanks to Elton John. If you are a fan, you’re going to enjoy hearing about Arthur.
Heard the song, “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” by Elton John? It is dedicated to Arthur, the singer’s dog. Although he had many dogs, Arthur was a favorite companion.
Together, they graced many red carpets and shared dinners in Michelin-starred restaurants. At Sir Elton’s wedding, the best man was no other than Arthur. He was also credited for the album “The Captain and the Kid.”
The Doberman, or Doberman Pinscher is the brainchild of Karl Louis Doberman, a German tax collector. These dogs are trustworthy, protective, and well suited for guard and police dog roles. When trained and properly socialized, the breed is a wonderful addition to the family.
Kurt’s bravery saved the lives of 250 US marines. He alerted them to an impending attack by Japanese soldiers. Kurt was wounded first. He, along with 24 other Dobermans, passed away in Guam in 1944 during the war.
If you visit the World War II War Dog Memorial in Guam, a bronze statue of Kurt pays tribute to his courage. The memorial also bears the names of the 24 dog soldiers who died fighting against the enemy.
Trivia: Around 20,000 dogs helped the Army, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard during World War II. They carried messages, rescued injured soldiers, guarded supplies, led soldiers into hostile territory, and alerted them of ambushes.
Cane corsos were guard dogs in Italy. They have recently gained prominence in the United States. These are low-maintenance family dogs recognized by the AKC in 2010.
Lexi and Roman are pets of celebrities Sherry Shepherd, an American actress and comedian, and Vin Diesel, a Hollywood actor who became famous due to the Fast and the Furious movie franchise.
Lexi is the star of Sherry’s social media posts and workout videos. Roman is usually photographed with Vin.
These touching stories illustrate the strong bond dogs share with their owners. We hope that the most famous dogs by breed made you appreciate our four-legged friends even more.
A digital marketing expert by profession, Andrews is a gifted writer and animal lover at heart. A self-confessed "pawrent", Andrews is well-versed in all things dogs. He uses his years of experience of raising puppies into show-quality dogs to help guide first-time pet parents. He believes in spreading the joy that comes with being a dog dad and advocates more families to adopt pets.