Let’s face it, dogs have always been a part of our lives. Now you may not have grown up with them scampering around you, offering up unadulterated love, but they were there nonetheless. Think about it. Maybe you and your family spent part of your Sunday nights watching the adventures of Lassie, the collie that could put some members of Special Forces to shame with what she was capable of doing; Saturday mornings with Scooby-Doo and the rest of the Scooby Gang, or Sunday mornings with Goliath (as in Davey and…) — just hours before it was Lassie time again.
In between, there were prime time shows galore that were just overflowing with our canine buddies, and it’s been the same throughout the years. They’ve been animated (The Jetsons, Family Guy), live action sitcoms (The Brady Bunch, Frasier, Full House), and slightly more dramatic fare (Columbo). They were there towards the beginning of television, like The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, and they’re likely to be a part of any number of new shows coming our way.
To celebrate the love for our fine furry friends, we’ve compiled this look back at some of the dogs that have filled our collective memories.
Tv Dog Astro
Astro (The Jetsons)
George, Jane, Judy and Elroy Jetson provided TV viewers with a look into the future in this animated show that originally ran for one season between 1962 and 63 and has lived on ever since. We saw wall viewer phones (just larger versions of our iPhones) and flying cars, though we’re nowhere near the latter (hey, Back to the Future lied to us on that front, too). The other thing they gave us was Astro, their Great Dane who always had something to say, like “Ruh Ro, Reorge,” or, when George shrunk to itsy-bitsy size, “Rook at the rimp; rook at the rimp.” And don’t be making fun of Astro’s speech impediment. What has your dog said to you lately?
Tv Dog Heres Boomer
Boomer (Here's Boomer)
We don’t want to say that this show was a take-off of the Benji feature films of the mid 1970s, buuuuuuut….. First appearing in the 1979 TV movie A Christmas For Boomer, the series ran with a similar premise of the title dog, a stray, who would travel from town to town helping people out of any particular jams they found themselves in. At the end of each episode, he would take off for his next adventure and encounter a whole new group of characters. Think of Boomer as The Fugitive with fur.
Tv Dog Brian Griffin
Brian Griffin (Family Guy)
He’s a white Labrador Retriever who — along with psychopathic infant Stewie — is the brains behind the Griffin family, and certainly seems to have his act together far more than the rest of them. He walks, he talks, pursues hot women, and he serves as the audience’s eyes and ears for the insanity around him, oftentimes reacting the way we would.
Tv Dog Comet
Comet (Full House)
Like everybody else in the Tanner family on Full House, this Golden Retriever brings on the “aww” factor whenever he’s on screen — which didn’t start to happen until the third season episode “And They Call it Puppy Love.” In one episode he ran away...until he saw little Michelle on television asking him to come home and, dognabit, he did. Everyone together: “Awwwwwwww.”
Tv Dog Djinn Djinn
Djinn Djinn (I Dream of Jeannie)
You may think of a 2,000 year-old-dog who can make himself invisible as kind of a fun novelty (would really impress the kids at birthday parties), but this nasty little bugger hated uniforms because of the way it was treated by palace guards all those centuries ago. Needless to say this did not go well when he was reunited with his original owner, Jeannie (Barbara Eden), whose “master” (are we allowed to even say that now?) Tony Nelson happens to work at NASA and wears a uniform. Uh-oh.
Tv Dog Dog
Peter Falk’s Lt. Columbo was accompanied by his Bassett Hound an awful lot of the time, but the dog’s purpose was not to do very much but lay around and look cute. If that was his assignment, he done good. He was also the middle finger to the network by the show’s creators who were requested to add another continuing character.
Tv Dog Eddie
Pretty much everywhere he turned, Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammar) had a foil to deal with, and one of the biggest on this show was Eddie, the Jack Russell Terrier that belonged to his father, Martin. More than anything, the dog liked to stare at Frasier, which unnerved him and usually resulted in the shout, “Stop staring at me, Eddie!” Thankfully he never did.
Tv Dog Fang
Fang (Get Smart)
Would you believe this was the smartest dog to ever walk the Earth? Would you believe he was smarter than a barrel of monkeys? How about brighter than a doorknob? In fact, he was a Briard who also happened to be Agent K-13 of CONTROL, who in the first two seasons of the spy spoof Get Smart would occasionally work with Don Adams’ Maxwell Smart and Barbara Feldon’s Agent 99. Was he good? He graduated from the same class that Max did, so we're not sure what that says about Mr. Smart. Sorry about that, Chief!
Tv Dog Goliath
Goliath (Davey and Goliath)
“I dunno, Davey!” was a frequent worrying refrain from the dog who sometimes served as the moral compass of young Davey Hansen whenever he would do something questionable (relatively speaking — this clay-animated series was squeaky clean, coming from the United Lutheran Church). Goliath would only talk in front of Davey, which probably made anyone witnessing their conversations think that the boy had taken leave of his senses.
Tv Dog Lassie
Lassie (Title Character From the 1954-73 TV series)
We’ll give you that that Rough Collie had her beginnings in an 1859 short story and a 1940 novel by Eric Knight, which became a number of films throughout the 1940s and then periodically afterwards. But her greatest fame resulted from the TV series that ran for nearly 20 years. For her first decade, Lassie has adventures with people from a small farming community — all of whom became well-versed in the phrase, "Timmy fall in the well, Girl?" in response to her excited barks — but then she began working alongside the United States Forest Service Rangers in the wilderness, proving herself tougher than Rambo in the field. Anyone who grew up with this show finds it virtually impossible to see a Collie and not call it Lassie.
Tv Dog Maximillion
Max, the Bionic Dog (The Bionic Woman)
His name was actually Maximillian, pet of Jaime Sommers in season three of the show, who is critically injured in a chemical lab fire. The decision is made to save his life by equipping him with bionic implants that allows him to run at 90 mph and bite through solid steel. The whole bionic thing, which began with The Six Million Dollar Man in the early seventies, may have been pushing the concept a bit much. That point was actually addressed on the Captain & Tenille variety show that had a segment called “The Bionic Watermelon”.
Tv Dogs Murray
Murray (Mad About You)
A collie mix belonging to Paul and Jamie Buchman (Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt) in this '90s sitcom, he was usually played for laughs. Sometimes he’d run around the apartment in pursuit of a non-existent mouse, another time Paul and Jamie came home to find him just standing on their dining room table, causing Paul to comment, “This is new.”
Tv Dog Muttley
Muttley (Wacky Races)
Muttley was just a supporting character in the 1968 animated series Wacky Races, serving as the disobedient dog to his partner in crime, Dick Dastardly. He was as underhanded as Dastardly, but his saving grace was that wheezing laugh that became iconic.
Tv Dog Petey
Petey (The Little Rascals)
We know we’re cheating here a bit, because Petey and the Rascals originally began life as Hal Roach’s Our Gang theatrical shorts, but they found a long afterlife on the small screen and we’re all the better off for it. We love Petey, with his black circled eye (added via make-up), and the fact that he went right along with Spanky, Alfalfa and the gang on many of their adventures.
Tv Dog Rin Tin Tin
Rin Tin Tin (The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin)
From 1954-59 the show followed the adventures of the title German Shepherd. The show’s premise is that young Rusty was orphaned in an Indian raid and, in the aftermath of that, he and Rin Tin Tin were adopted by the troops at Fort Apache in Arizona, working together to help establish order in and around Mesa Grande.
Tv Dog Scooby Doo
Scooby Doo (Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!)
Nearly 50 years old and still going strong, Scooby, Shaggy and the rest of Mystery, Inc. hardly need an introduction at this point. They’ve been entertaining a couple of generations of fans, and Scooby is at the center of it all. You may notice that when Scooby speaks (wait, is that unusual?), he sounds an awful like The Jetsons’ Astro. Could they be related? Or could it be that the same guy, Don Messick, voices both of them? Ponder amongst yourselves.
Tv Dog Snoopy
Whether you think of him as Joe Cool, a World War I Royal Flying Corps pilot, or an aspiring writer, Snoopy at the end of the day is the pet beagle and best friend to that old blockhead, Charlie Brown. Created by the late Charles M. Schulz, Snoopy and the Peanuts gang have appeared in numerous TV specials, theatrical films, and the Broadway stage for nearly 60 years.
Tv Dog Tiger
Tiger (The Brady Bunch)
Those Brady Kids loved their Bearded Collie oh-so-much...for the first season and a half of the show. And then? Tiger mysteriously disappeared, although his doghouse managed to survive the full length of the series, which ran from 1969-74. Things did get dicey at one point when it seemed that Jan (Eve Plumb) had developed a serious allergy to the dog, and it was so sad watching the family gather up to say goodbye to her… Oh, wait, that was our twisted version of events. Turns out it was the dog shampoo or something, and they all stayed a bunch….at least for a little while.