Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tenacious Terriers

Another terrier won top honors at the 134th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show last week. Sadie, a Scottish Terrier, was just one in a long line of her group to take Best in Show at the most prestigious dog show in the USA. These dogs seem to thrive at everything they try, and it's no surprise that they are not only top show dogs, but top dogs in the entertainment industry as well.

Here are just a few of the hundreds of movies out there which these amazing dogs have made their own:

A Border Terrier visits Earth from outer-space in Good Boy! (2003) and has to get the Earth dogs in shape before their inspection by the Greater Dane. An Irish Terrier goes from Hollywood hotshot to hometown hero in Firehouse Dog (2007). The most recent incarnation of the Greyfrier's Bobby story, The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby (2006), highlights a West Highland White Terrier playing the role of a Skye Terrier.

The 99 puppies captured by Cruella de Vil would not have made it out alive without the the help of a heroic Airedale Terrier in 101 Dalmatians (1996). And who could forget scene-stealing "Winky," the Norwich Terrier from Best in Show (2000)?

Wire Fox Terriers made their mark on film history forever when Skippy, "Asta," played alongside William Powell and Myrna Loy in the Thin Man series of the 1930s. Smooth Fox Terriers have known much less film fame than the wires, but can be seen in a few features like Disney's Charlie the Lonesome Cougar (1967), in-which a Smooth named "Chainsaw" terrorizes a mountain lion. I think the dog was typecast.

American Pit Bull Terriers, Pete the Pup and Luke, were two of Hollywood's first canine stars. Later, Bull Terriers flourished in movies from It's a Dog’s Life (1955), to The Incredible Journey (1963), to Oliver! (1968).

The most famous movie terrier ever, and one of the world's most famous movie dogs, is "Toto," played by a female Cairn Terrier named Terry. It wasn't the book that made Dorothy's "Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore," so well known. The Wizard of Oz (1939) remains one of the world's best known dog movies to this day, even though it was never meant to be a real dog movie.

Far and away the most prolific Hollywood Earth Dogs, are the Jack Russell and Parson Russell Terriers. Both in movies and TV, like Frasier and Wishbone, these dogs have stolen the hearts of audiences all over the world. Some noted performances can be seen in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989), Clean Slate (1994), Richie Rich (1994), Michael (1996), Son of the Mask (2005), Hotel for Dogs (2009), and of course, one of the best loved Russell films, My Dog Skip (2000). Though in the true story the film was based on, Skip was a Smooth Fox Terrier, he was played by the talented father and son team Moose and Enzo in the movie.

Want to see a Parson Russell Terrier pull a sled in a dog sled race? Check out Kevin of the North a.k.a. Chilly Dogs (2001).