The TV and movie dogs of my childhood were a varied pack. I remember watching reruns of The Little Rascals and wishing our neighborhood gang had a Petey in tow. Scooby Doo would have been a welcome addition, too. Or Benji. And Snoopy was my main reason for watching anything involving Charlie Brown.
With that in mind, I put together a list of 10 awesome dogs on the big and small screen. Some go back decades like those previously mentioned. Others have only recently arrived on the entertainment scene.
1. Giggy, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Whether you love or loathe the show, or simply couldn’t care less about it, how could you not want to scoop up Lisa Vanderpump’s adorable Pomeranian for a snuggle? He regularly accompanies his human when out and about, including to the 28th Annual National Alopecia Areata Foundation Conference in June. Giggy himself suffers from the disease, hence the designer duds to cover his bald patches. The pair helped raise money for the organization during the visit and spent time with kids attending camp at the conference. The start date for the show’s fourth season has yet to be announced, but you can follow Giggy on Twitter @giggythepom in the meantime.
2. Bruiser Woods, Legally Blonde and Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde
Fashion icon. Animal and gay rights activist. Elle’s BFF. Need I say more?
3. Swatch, Project Runway
How envious am I of fellow Dogster writer Robyn Hagan Cain, who got to meet the mascot of Mood Fabric Store? Very. Whenever the cameras catch the Boston Terrier, I turn to my own two and say, “Look! It’s Swatch!” In addition to greeting customers, his human uses their celebrity status to raise money for charity. Thank you, Swatch.
4. Frank, Men in Black and Men in Black II
This Pug — fine, this alien disguised as a Pug — went from informant in the first movie to a much bigger role as special agent in the second, all thanks to a talented canine actor named Mushu. He crossed the Rainbow Bridge after the second movie, hence his absence from the third. Rest in peace, Mushu.
5. Brian Griffin, Family Guy
Struggling writer. Martini drinker. Stewie’s faithful companion. Again, need I say more?
6. Backup, Veronica Mars
Whenever Keith Mars would tell his teen daughter/junior private detective to “bring backup,” fans knew Veronica would be safe. After all, the family dog was an American Pit Bull Terrier named Backup. News broke earlier this year that Veronica would not have her best friend in the movie adaptation of the show, due in 2014, as series creator Rob Thomas felt it would be unrealistic for Backup to live that long. Humph!
7. Fang, Harry Potter
He may turn tail when faced with danger, but Hagrid’s faithful companion gives the best slobbery kisses. J.K. Rowling describes him as a boarhound in the books, but a series of Neapolitan Mastiffs portrayed Fang on the big screen. Those jowls!
8. K-9, Doctor Who and various spin-offs
This dog — fine, this robot disguised as a dog, sort of — has traveled on and off with the Doctor and various companions since the ’70s. He has undergone several upgrades but always remains able to help the Time Lord out of a tight spot by shooting laser beams from his nose.
9. Uggie, The Artist
Full disclosure: I have not seen the silent movie that brought this Jack Russell Terrier so much fame, but I did watch him make the rounds of talk shows around its release. The talented pup deserves every honor that comes his way. So far that includes the 2011 Cannes Film Festival Palm Dog Award and immortalizing his pawprints outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
10. Rowlf, The Muppet Movie
Piano player. Jim Henson creation. Kermit’s old pal. One last time, need I say more?
These are just 10 of the awesome dogs who have graced TV shows and movies. Which are your favorites?