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Fun Stuff

Most Famous Dogs in History

At A Glance

Some dogs have made their mark in history because of their astonishing loyalty, smarts, or bravery. Their fascinating stories reflect the strong bond between humans and dogs.

Read on and find out what made these famous canines so unforgettable.

Last Updated on: Jan 19, 2022

Have you wondered why some dogs are still being talked about centuries later? These pets have lives that are so closely intertwined with those of their owners that they can’t be forgotten.

We love to hear stories of dogs who have shown astonishing courage, loyalty, or intelligence. Below is a list of some of the most famous dogs in history.

custom oil-painted dog portraits by Poshtraits

Cerberus – Three-Headed Dog of Antiquity

Claim to Fame

Cerberus was famous for guarding the gates of the underworld.

Country, Year

Greece, 7th or 8th century BC (earliest mentions)

What is the first famous dog? Cerberus is a top contender for this honor. There are plenty of bizarre creatures in Greek mythology, but none as strange or as popular as him.

Frequently known as the hound of Hades, this three-headed dog is responsible for guarding the entrance to the underworld. Cerberus’ job is to prevent the damned souls from leaving and the living from entering without the permission of Hades.

An image of cerberus, the three headed dog

His father, Typhon, was a large fire-breathing god with red, glowing eyes, and a hundred heads and wings. His mother was said to be Echidna, half-snake, and half-woman. A faithful servant to Hades, Cerberus is often shown traveling along the river Styx, the boundary between the underworld and the land of the living.

Peritas – Guard Dog of Alexander the Great

Claim to Fame

Peritas was the pet of one of the most famous conquerors in history. This canine fought both an elephant and a lion.

Country, Year

350 BC, Kingdom of Macedonia

If you’ve heard of Alexander the Great, chances are you’re also aware of Peritas. He is considered one of the most famous dogs in ancient history. Having accompanied The King of Ancient Greece and Macedonia in his military exploits, Peritas is known for fighting much bigger and fiercer opponents. You can’t get any larger than an elephant!

There have been different accounts throughout history about how Alexander acquired Peritas, each more exciting than the other. Some say Peritas was chosen out of 150 bold and courageous dogs. Other stories claim that he was a birthday present from Alexander’s uncle.

While we cannot confirm the origins of the dog, all accounts agree that Peritas was enormous, fierce, and powerful. Specifically bred for the battlefield, this dog stayed true to his demands and exceeded expectations. He is also one of the most famous guard dogs in history.

Donnchadh – Protector of Scottish Royalty 

Claim to Fame

Donnchadh is famous for having saved the life of Robert the Bruce, who became ruler of Scotland.

Country, Year

Scotland, 1306

Most people in the United Kingdom are familiar with Robert the Bruce, a warrior who led Scotland against England in the 14th century. This famous monarch couldn’t have done it without the support of his loyal dog, Donnchadh.

Donnchadh, a Talbot, was the reason that Robert was able to escape an ambush hosted by Edward I of England. The British captured both Robert’s wife and dog, but let the dog go thinking he would lead them directly to Robert’s hideout.

Donnchadh did lead the soldiers right to Robert. As soon as they surrounded the fugitive, Donnchadh turned on the English and allowed Robert to escape. Robert went on to rule the kingdom of Scotland for 20 years.

A statue of Hachiko, the dog that waited.

Hachiko – The Loyal Pet

Claim to Fame

For nine years, Hachiko waited every day for his master at the Shibuya train station.

Country, Year

Japan, 1923-1935.

Hachiko, a Japanese Akita dog, is remembered for his outstanding loyalty to his owner, Hidesaburo Ueno.  Giving an excellent example of what loyalty looks like, Hachiko waited even after his master’s death.

Born on November 10, 1923, Hachiko was brought to Shibuya, Tokyo by Hidesaburo as a pet. They formed a caring and loving bond. Their connection was to die for. Every day, after his commute home, Hidesaburo would find Hachiko waiting for him at the station.

This continued for months until Hidesaburo suffered a cerebral hemorrhage while he was at work and died on the spot. Even after his owner’s death, Hachiko would set out for the station every day, for nine years, till he died, just waiting for Hidesaburo to return. Hachiko proved what real love and loyalty look like.

An image of Rin Tin Tin

Rin Tin Tin – Silent Film Star and WWI Mascot

Claim to Fame

He was the mascot of a military unit in World War I. Later on, he starred in dozens of silent films.

Country, Year

France and the United States, 1918-1932

Born in northeastern France, Rin Tin Tin was a male German Shepherd who became internationally known for his work in motion pictures.

Nicknamed Rinty, Rin Tin Tin was rescued from the battlefield by an American soldier called Lee Duncan. It trained to perform on stage after the war. An immediate success, Rin Tin Tin went ahead to work in 27 Hollywood films.

His films made a great deal at the box office, contributing to the success of Warner Bros. Studios. Rin Tin Tin became the company’s unofficial mascot due to his success. He was also the reason for the rise in popularity of German Shepherds.

The dog Terry in The Wizard of Oz, 1939

Terry – The Real-Life Toto

Claim to Fame

Starred in The Wizard of Oz

Country, Year

The United States, 1933-1945

A female Cairn Terrier, Terry performed in many films. She rose to fame as Dorothy’s pet in the movie The Wizard of Oz. Decades later, people still remember the famous dialogue, “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” Eventually, Terry became officially known as Toto because of this memorable role.

Owned and trained by Carl Spitz, Terry became a talented performer. Terry worked in about 16 films, including Ready for Love, Bad Little Angel, Bright Eyes, and The Women. Terry was undoubtedly one of the most famous movie dogs. A permanent memorial has been dedicated at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.

An image of Clifford the big, red dog

Clifford – The Big Red Dog

Claim to Fame

Clifford is a character from children’s literature. He is the official mascot of Scholastic, one of the biggest publishing houses in the US.

Country, Year

The United States, 1963 to present

If you’re into children’s books, you’re likely to have heard about Clifford. Norman Bridwell penned a children’s book series featuring this friendly dog. The character usually appears with Emily, who is both Clifford’s owner and friend.

Clifford is one of the most famous dogs in history and literature. He went on to appear in a television series, live-action films, and video games. The name “Clifford” is based on the imaginary childhood friend of Norman’s wife.

Picture of a dog in a field

This list emphasizes the importance that dogs hold in our lives. Given the close bond between us and our furry companions, it’s no wonder that some of them have made a name for themselves. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed reading about these unforgettable and famous dogs in history.


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Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.

Through his words, Paul aims to celebrate the joys and challenges of being a dedicated pet parent, reminding you that life is simply better with a four-legged, snorting sidekick by your side.