Since dogs are an important part of our lives, dogs are also an important part of our literature. They accompany us on our adventures and protect us from our adversaries. Sometimes, dogs are the stars of the stories. Here’s a list of the most beloved dogs in literature:
Lassie is by far the most famous canine movie star. Her story, though, was based on the 1940 novel “Lassie Come-Home,” in which this faithful Collie goes on an epic journey to reunite with the little boy she loves. The story touched so many hearts that it turned into one of Hollywood’s biggest franchises.
“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” was a children’s book by L. Frank Baum before it was a movie, and neither would be complete without Dorothy’s Cairn Terrier, Toto. Toto serves as Dorothy’s confidant on her journey through the land of Oz.
“Clifford the Big Red Dog” was first published in 1963, and children still love the series of these books today. Clifford, the gentle giant, carries around his owner, Emily, and hangs out with his two best dog friends, Cleo and T-Bone. The book series was turned into a television show.
In “The Call of the Wild,” Jack London tells a vivid, heart-wrenching story about a St. Bernard-Scotch Shepherd mix named Buck that is kidnapped and forced to become a sled dog. Buck endures various forms of mistreatment, but triumphs thanks to his resilience and some help from a kind human. Buck’s story is not for the faint of heart, but it is truly unforgettable.
5. Old Yeller
Even if you haven’t read “Old Yeller,” by Fred Gipson, or seen the movie adaptation, you’ve surely heard of the story. Old Yeller, a Labrador Retriever–Mastiff mix, bravely defends his owners against wolves, bears, and other wild animals. In the mother of all sad endings, Old Yeller gets rabies while protecting the family from a rabid wolf, and he has to be put down.
In J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan,” and its Disney film adaptation, a Newfoundland named Nana is in charge of taking care of the children of the Darling family. Obviously, she’s more trustworthy than a human nanny would be.
Kate DiCamillo’s “Because of Winn-Dixie” is the story of a girl and a dog in need. The protagonist, 10-year-old Opal, was abandoned by her mother at a young age and has trouble making friends. After she rescues a stray mixed-breed dog and names him Winn-Dixie, her new dog serves as her wingman and helps her make friends.
Fun fact: Although the book portrays Winn-Dixie as a mixed-breed, in the film adaptation they actually used a Berger Picard! As the Berger Picard Club of America explains, “It is this breed’s rustic, tousled appearance that has fooled many people into thinking Winn-Dixie is just a mutt.”
“The Phantom Tollbooth“ is a magical adventure story that follows the protagonist, Milo, through “the Lands Beyond.” Tock, a giant talking dog with a clock on his body, guides Milo on his journey.
Fang is Hagrid’s pet dog in the Harry Potter book series. Despite his large size, Fang is afraid of almost everything, but he is still willing to accompany the students on their dangerous journeys and protect his master from threatening spells.
Argos is Odysseus’ dog in “The Odyssey.” He plays a small role in the book, but an important one. When Odysseus returns home to Ithaca after 20 years, Argos is the only one who recognizes him. Now that his master is home, Argos can die in peace. Argos is one of the first dogs ever to be named in Western literature, and he’s proof that dogs have been man’s best friend for as long as we can remember.