Dogs are intriguing creatures. Smart, kind, funny, and unbelievably loyal. You can count on a dog’s devotion in a way that you might not with any other creature.
Many wonderful attributes can be associated with ‘man’s best friends’, but one of them takes precedence above all others: their true and unconditional love. Your dog is always happy to see you, and your happiness seems to be the only thing he ever wants.
That’s maybe what drives dogs to save people, to do stunts for a TV show, and do outstanding athletic performances. It’s also why so many dogs are unforgettable.
Here’s a roundup of 8 of the most famous dogs in history. In the next sections, I’ll tell you some amazing stories about your furry friends.
Peritas: Fighting an Epic Battle With Alexander the Great
Alexander was a warrior since he was seventeen years old, and by the time he turned thirty, he’d already conquered most of the world. Peritas, the royal dog, was one of his closest companions.
At such a time of turmoil, there aren’t too many creatures you could trust. But Peritas proved infinite loyalty to Alexander. The valiant dog demonstrated that with its own life.
Alexander had raised Peritas since it was just a little puppy, and he took him along in his wars. Many legends and artworks portray Peritas as an epic warrior who saved the master’s life. The grandest of them tells of how Peritas took on an elephant and a lion in the battle of Gaugamela.
Other stories relate how Peritas saved Alexander from being imprisoned by the Mallians, and how it fought them back till Alexander’s army fortifications came to the rescue. Peritas’ life ended in that battle.
The legacy of the courageous dog didn’t end though. Alexander named a city in Asia after his memorable dog and erected a monument of Peritas in its center. Time concealed the city and the statute, but the epic tales of Peritas remained.
Barry: Saving the Lives of Strangers
A dog’s loyalty and devotion to its owner doesn’t require any proof. But performing the same acts of selflessness for complete strangers takes a bit of pondering.
Dogs and wolves are pretty similar, but their attitudes when they meet you on a snowy night would differ significantly. Why would one animal think about hunting and the other rescuing? Pretty much the same reason that makes some people friends and others, enemies.
Barry, who belonged to the Hospice St. Bernard, was as kind-hearted as a living soul can be. It was born and bred in a monastery in the Alps between Switzerland and Italy. During the years of 1800 to 1814, barry rescued around 40 lives.
An interesting legend about Barry’s death describes how it “saved 40 lives, and was killed by the 41st.”. Fortunately, it was just a fictional tragedy. Barry’s last days were peaceful, and his legacy is still celebrated up to this day.
Chips: The Most Famous Military War Dog
War is one of the worst situations that anyone can imagine themselves in, and it certainly doesn’t seem to be a place to find a dog. However, back during World War II, the United States created a military dog program to help with the war effort.
Regular families donated their own dogs to the war effort. Chips was donated by the Wren Family because they knew he was brave and smart and would be very helpful to the soldiers.
They were more than correct about that – Chips would go on to one day be awarded the Silver Star (the third highest award for bravery) for his actions in battle! He’s still the only animal to ever be awarded a medal for bravery in any military situation – ever!
Chips served in North Africa and Europe (primarily in Italy and France) during his (more than) 3 years in the Army. It was in Italy that he earned his Silver Star.
Chip was part of a group of American soldiers who got pinned down by enemy fire on a Sicilian Beach. Chips broke away from his handler and charged the machine gun crew firing at his soldiers.
A few moments later, an enemy soldier came out of hiding with Chips hanging onto him. The rest of the soldiers in the machine gun nest subsequently surrendered. There was no doubt that Chips had definitely saved soldiers’ lives that day and it was for this action that he was awarded the Silver Star.
Unfortunately, some humans back in America didn’t think a dog should be given a medal that a human soldier would also receive. Chips’ medal was taken away from him eventually, but that didn’t dim the view of many that Chips was a true war hero.
Jofi: Freud’s Newfound Friend
Sigmund Freud is undoubtedly the founder of modern psychoanalysis. His aptitude for work and experimentation was voracious. But as much as he was involved with people in distress, he was significantly less attached to friends and family.
In his old age, Freud experienced the joys of being around a dog. His daughter had been one step ahead of him and decided to bring in a German Shepherd dog. A chance encounter with the dog turned into a clear fascination, and Freud became officially a dog person.
A friend of the family heard the story and decided to give Freud a Chou Chou as a present. The scientist was on top of the world! But that bliss lasted a little more than a year. His lovely dog passed tragically in a train accident.
Freud was devastated for months. The family friend intervened once more and gave Freud the puppy’s twin sister: Jofi.
Freud was infatuated by his new dog, and the two became inseparable. Jofi ate from his plate, went on walks with him, and sat beside him when he had sessions with patients. It was then that Freud realized that dogs had a relaxing effect on anxious or restless people.
Jofi was a significant and beneficial friend to Freud, and he often compared the serenity he felt with her, to less than satisfying relationships he had with other humans. She’d spent seven blissful years with Freud.
That time was meaningful, and Freud must’ve understood the true meaning of friendship.
Courage: Facing the Nasty Ghouls and Other Insecurities
Cartoons and animated movies gave us some of the most iconic dogs ever. One such character is Courage, the cowardly dog.
The 90s were years of exploration and drastic changes. These were the days that witnessed the boom of cellphones, the internet, and some seriously funny TV shows.
Friends, Seinfeld, SpongeBob, and Johnny Bravo were hilariously funny. And they were also shaping a brand new culture. Cartoon Network was among the trailblazers of these days. They took on some seriously zany characters like Dexter and Power Puff Girls.
Courage still managed to outbid all these shows. It was after all a horror series for children! The pink and constantly flabbergasted dog shocked the young, and not-so-young, viewers every single episode.
There was always a haunting story that everyone could identify with, and a heartfelt courageous act that melted all the scary moments away. It’s so sweet to see a frightened little dog constantly facing its deepest fears and saving its owners.
This show was backed up by much talent and a bit of luck. John R. Dilworth, the creator of Courage, started his art career at the New York School of Visual Arts. His remarkable skills were evident early on. He went almost broke producing an animated short soon after graduation. But it led him to an Oscar nomination.
A subsequent meeting with a Hanna-barbera cartoons executive led to a 4-year contract with Cartoon network. From then on he wrote, produced, and pretty much ran the bizarre show of Courage the cowardly dog.
Courage said goodbye to his loyal viewers in 2002. Having changed the animation scene and culture once and for all. Courage has also been pivotal in many people’s facing their nightmares, insecurities, and anxieties head-on!
Argos: Waiting for the Hero to Return
In Homer’s Odyssey, Argos the dog believes that his master and friend would return when no one else does.
The story of Odysseus begins when he leaves his home and his wife Penelope, and goes to fight a vicious war in Troy.
The war ends after ten years, but Odysseus is barred from returning to Ithaca. He’d had a feud with Posseidon, and as the Greek Mythology has it, daring the Gods doesn’t ever go unpunished.
Odysseus spends ten more years fighting the worst monsters and outsmarting fate. Eventually, everyone loses hope that he’d return. Argos, his loyal dog, keeps the faith.
The moment Odysseus sets foot at his mansion, he finds Argos in a fragile state. The house is infested by intruders, so Odysseus needs to hide his identity. Argos almost gives him away, and Odysseus almost drops the act.
They still understand each other perfectly, and they exchange deep sentiments that Homer describes in beautiful poetry. Their silent recognition is immortalized forever in the loveliest prose.
Bobbie: Taking the Long Way Home
Dogs demonstrate their loyalty to their human friends constantly, but the story of Bobbie goes beyond devotion. This Collie crossed the continental divide and ran 2551 miles to be reunited with his owners.
The story starts in 1923 when the Brazier family decided to go on a summer vacation. They left their home in Silverton, Oregon and took a long trip Wolcott, Indiana to see their relatives. That was in the hot month of August.
The collie ended up in a fight with other dogs. This skirmish seems to have driven him far off the house. The next day, the Braziers looked for Bobbie all around town, but they came out with empty hands.
Reluctantly, they took they returned back to Silverton without Bobbie. One winter night, they heard a noise at their door and were pleasantly surprised to see their dog once again.
Bobbie made the long trip back home, but it was in a terrible state, barely alive. The family nursed it back to good health, and the Collie became a nationwide sensation. It appeared in a silent movie that retold its story of limitless faith and unbreakable bonds.
The big question that everyone thought about, was how this Wonderdog was ever able to find its way back? Dogs have an incredible sense of scent, but it seems that Bobbie’s drive enabled it to take that to the max. It followed every trace the family left in any of its successive stops on the road.
Like I said, Bobbie took loyalty to unprecedented levels.
Butkus: Sylvester Stallone’s Sold and Reclaimed Dog
It’s hard to go past the glory and glamor of Sylvester Stallone and imagine him so down and out, that he had to sell his dog.
The 21-year-old Stallone was riddled by a rough childhood, a semi-paralyzed face, and not having a steady job. He still had big dreams and was determined to make them all come true.
Life in New York could be hard, and the big city could feel cold and heartless at times. One day, he invested a hefty sum of money in a puppy dog. In 1971 he was the proud owner of a Bullmastiff that he called Butkus.
They shared the hard times in a tiny apartment that they cohabitated with a hoard of roaches! Stallone was constantly with Butkus. Partly because he had no money to go out, but mostly as he was developing a screenplay for a movie. He was writing the script for Rocky at the time.
Stallone was constantly out of cash. He did some odd jobs back then, including cleaning up lions’ cages at the city zoo! But even that wasn’t the worst of it.
The lowest point was when he couldn’t feed himself or Butkus anymore. One morning, he took his dog out and sold Butkus to a stranger for $40.
A few days later, he sold another thing. He closed the deal for Rocky. As soon as he held his paycheck, he searched the city for his dog. Miraculously, he found Butkus. The new owner didn’t sell back so easily though.
Stallone paid $15,000 of his hard-earned money to get his dog back. And it was totally worth it!
If you’re a dog person, I’m guessing that you could relate to these stories. Your dog probably bears much resemblance to the iconic dogs in these stories, whether they’re real or fictional.
These were the tales of some of the most famous dogs in history. There are many more who fought in wars, saved isolated towns from serious diseases, and acted as eyes for the visually challenged. Few creatures can show that much kindness and valor.