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Most Famous Dogs in Science

At A Glance

Wondering who the most famous dogs in science are? Click on the article to learn all about their enormous contributions and how they became famous. We’ll forever owe it to them for their scientific contributions.

Last Updated on: Feb 21, 2022

Dog’s have been man’s best friend for centuries but people are hardly aware of the contributions they’ve made in the field of science. They’ve played a seminal role in several scientific theories and even managed to amaze us by achieving things we didn’t think were possible.

Multiple dogs have gone down in scientific history for the pivotal role they’ve played in the discipline. Read on to discover the most famous dogs in science.

custom oil-painted dog portraits by Poshtraits

laika the space dog

Laika – The Space Dog

She was a stray that had been rescued off the streets of Moscow and became the first dog to orbit the Earth in the 19th century.

She rode a rocket into the Earth’s orbit, 2000 miles from the place that she called home. Unfortunately, astrophysicists had only figured out how to send her into space and not get her back.

Bold and fearless, she set on this suicide mission without a fuss and went down in scientific history as one of the bravest dogs of all time. She managed to survive for an hour before the temperature in her craft sky-rocketed.

As sad as it is, even if the heat shield had done its job like it was supposed to, Laika’s death would have been inevitable upon the rocket’s re-entry to the Earth.

Strelka and Belka – The Preserved Dogs

They were a pair of dogs among forty mice, two rats, and a rabbit to go into orbit and come back safely.

After the success of the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 5, scientists got the courage and confidence to send a human, Yuri Gagarin, up in space, just a year later.

These dogs became instant heroes and got themselves a permanent place in the space travel hall of fame. This has made them feature in the list of the most famous dogs in science. They still inspire many current-day comics and animated films.

Fortunately, both the dogs went ahead to live a full and healthy life after their outer space mission. Their remains were preserved when they died. Currently on display at the Museum of Cosmonautics in Moscow, out of the two Strelka had kids. Her legacy carries on till today.

dog reading from a book

Marjorie – The Diabetic Dog

This dog made history due to her huge contribution to the pharmaceutical industry.

Henry Banting, a Canadian medical scientist, physician, and Nobel laureate marked one of the biggest medical discoveries of the 20th century. This would have been impossible without Marjorie, the first dog to survive the trial.

Henry, along with his student, injected Marjorie with extracted insulin and noticed the changes that took place in her body. After an hour had passed, the diabetic dog was not only able to raise her head and stand but also wag her tail.

When her blood sample was tested within the lab, the blood sugar levels had dropped down by a drastic 40%. The discovery of insulin has gone on to save millions of lives at stake. Marjorie, the most successful patient, managed to survive for about two months with the help of regular injections. As a result, she gets a special mention in the list of most famous dogs in science.

Togo and Balto – The Serum Transporters

In the Alaskan mining town, Nome, Diphtheria, an airborne respiratory disease started spreading in the year 1925. At that time, there were no vaccines available to treat the disease. So the government decided to provide everyone with serums that could be used for treatment.

Unfortunately, bringing the serum to Nome was a hassle and transportation wasn’t as easy due to the nearest supply being in Anchorage. Even the trains couldn’t reach beyond 700 miles from the town.

This is when Togo, a Siberian sleddog, came to the rescue and became the leader of his sled dog team. He covered the most stretch, which was double the range that any other dog in the relay ran and that too through the most rugged areas.

Balto was another sled dog on the same team and he made a name for himself as he ran the last 55-mile interval and delivered “Antitoxin” to the people of Nome, safely.

Trouve – The Speaking Machine

Who doesn’t know Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone? If truth be told, he isn’t the only one who deserves the credit for this invention, his pet dog, Trouve, a rescued stray terrier, should get equal credit.

Bell’s father used to work with deaf people and he encouraged his son to develop a speaking machine to help them. Enacting father Bell’s advice, Alexander started training his beloved dog to do the talking.

He tried to manipulate Trouve’s barks to sound like a human voice. He began by teaching his pet dog how to start and stop barking on command.

After countless efforts were put in, Trouve was able to pronounce the word “mama” in the most human way possible for an animal. Alexander managed to move his muzzle in different ways to make him pronounce different syllables. 

Unfortunately, Trouve wasn’t able to do anything but growl on his own. However, he did motivate and inspire Alexandar to invent the telephone, an invention that we are truly grateful for.

Chaser – The Largest Test Word Memory Dog

This Border Collie trained with John W. Pilley, a professor from Spartanburg, South Carolina, and went on to have the largest tested memory of any non-human animal.

Chaser was able to not only identify but also retrieve 1,022 toys by their names, the result of years of efforts and training by Pilley.

Luckily for us, Pilley maintained a journal where he recorded all of Chaser’s improvements. He documented all the milestones that Chaser crossed as his vocabulary grew with time. Starting with 50 words after 5 months, 200 words after 7.5 months, he was up to more than a thousand words within three years.

Although Chaser was able to pair the toys with their names even in the first trial, plenty of rehearsals were required to embed them in her memory. She started recognizing things that she saw around her, such as trees, houses, balls, etc.

Unfortunately, Pilley died on June 17, 2018, putting an end to Chaser’s long and beautiful journey of developing her vocabulary. Chaser herself died the next year on July 23, 2019, from natural causes.

most famous dogs in science

Dogs are marvelous creatures and sometimes what they can achieve is unbelievable. Dogs have made numerous contributions for which we are truly thankful. Now and then, they’ve given their own lives in multiple experiments so that science could reach where it is today. While they might not be alive anymore, their memories still live in our hearts.

Now that you have learned about the most famous dogs in science, you can also take a look at the most famous dogs by breed.


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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.

most famous dogs in science