We all know that dogs are pretty special, in fact we here at Hiro + Wolf knew that our boys were so special that they needed to go into business together! There have been many infamous dogs throughout history, be they film stars, internet famous or historical icons, we think all dogs deserve to be celebrated and feel truly magical! That is why we are so excited to launch our new Wizard of Dog range, inspired by the colourful world of The Wizard of Oz and Toto himself. So, in celebration of our new collection, join us in exploring the world of celebrity canines throughout history.
In 1925, the town of Nome in Alaska was hit with an outbreak of diphtheria, a deadly and contagious disease. The only antidote was hundreds of miles away in Anchorage and, thanks to bad weather and an abundance of snow, the only way to get it was by sled. While a relay of dog sleds passed the antidote off, the final leg was led by Balto, a Siberian Husky who bravely led his team through 54 miles of blizzards and freezing temperatures of -40. When the team successfully made it to Anchorage to get the antidote, Balto was hailed a hero. In 1995, his story became the subject of an animated film starring Kevin Bacon, Bridget Fonda and Phil Collins. Balto has also been immortalised through a statue in Central Park, and his body, preserved through taxidermy, is open to viewers at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
Doug the Pug
As Doug's own Instagram bio says he is the "King of Pop Culture." He joined Instagram in October 2014. By March 2015, he had become a worldwide sensation, entertaining audiences with his spoof videos. He's had a very successful career, including becoming a New York Times Best Seller, Instagrammer of the Year recipient at the 2017 Shorty Awards, star of a Febreze advert and Fall Out Boy music video, and correspondent for Warner Brothers at the San Diego Comic-Con! In 2018, Doug was named the second-most influential animal on the internet by Forbes, where the top spot was given to Grumpy Cat. He even has his own day! May 20 was officially named ‘Doug the Pug Day’ by Nashville's mayor, David Briley.
Rin Tin Tin
Rin Tin Tin was a German Shepherd that became an international film star of the 20s and 30s. He was rescued from a World War I battlefield by an American soldier, Lee Duncan, who nicknamed him "Rinty". Duncan trained Rin Tin Tin and Rin Tin Tin started a career in silent films. He was an immediate box-office success and went on to appear in 27 Hollywood films, gaining worldwide fame. The immense popularity of his films contributed greatly to the success of Warner Bros. studios and helped advance the career of Darryl F. Zanuck. Rin Tin Tin’s legacy lived on through his multiple successors, including his son Rin Tin Tin Jr. who also became a film star. A show based on Rin Tin Tin's heroics, "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin," aired on American network ABC for 5 seasons from 1954 to 1959. He even received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.
Hachikō, a Japanese Akita, was the pet dog of Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the Tokyo Imperial University and living in Shibuya. Ueno would commute daily to work, and Hachikō would leave the house to greet him at the end of each day at Shibuya Station. The pair continued the daily routine until May 21, 1925, when Ueno did not return. The professor had suffered a brain hemorrhage while he was giving a lecture to his class, and died without ever returning to the train station at which Hachikō waited. Each day, for the next nine years, nine months and fifteen days, Hachikō awaited Ueno's return, appearing precisely when the train was due at the station. Hachikō became familiar to the other commuters as many of the people who frequented the Shibuya train station had seen Hachikō and Professor Ueno together every day. Hachikō became a national sensation. His faithfulness to his master's memory impressed the people of Japan and became a symbol of the spirit of family loyalty to which all should strive to achieve. Teachers and parents used Hachikō's vigil as an example for children to follow. A bronze statue was erected in his honor outside of Shibuya Station which has become a famous, unofficial landmark in Japan.
Possibly one of the most famous dogs of all time, Toto from the 1939 film ‘The Wizard of Oz’ was played by a female brindle Cairn Terrier named Terry. Terry was born in the midst of the Great Depression and was trained and owned by Carl Spitz, an infamous Hollywood dog trainer who developed the method of using silent hand signals to direct dogs. Terry’s first film appearance was in ‘Ready for Love’ in 1934 followed by her first major film appearance one month later in ‘Bright Eyes’ as Rags alongside Shirley Temple. Terry performed all of her own stunts, and almost had a fatal injury on the set of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ when one of the actors accidentally stepped on her foot and broke it. After her injury, she spent 2 weeks recovering at Judy Garland’s home where the two formed a close bond, leading to Judy Garland asking to adopt her! However, her owner declined. Terry earned a salary of $125 per week, and amount that would be equivalent to around $2,300 today. Her salary was remarkably high, in fact, she was earning more than many of the human actors in the film, and also more than most working Americans at the time. Terry even attended the premiere of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ at Grauman’s Chinese Theater because of her popularity! In 1942, her owner Carl Spitz chose to change her name to Toto because of the infamous role she played. She had a total of 16 film appearances however ‘The Wizard of Oz’ was the only role she was credited for, not as Terry but as Toto. Terry passed away in 1945 at age 11 and she was buried on her owner Carl Spitz’ ranch in California. In 2011, a permanent memorial for her was placed at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles. Her puppy, Rommy, also appeared in films, including ‘Reap the Wild Wind’ and ‘Air Force’, carrying on her legacy.
We hope you enjoyed reading all about these remarkable pups! Whether they ever hit the big screen or not, we think all dogs are pretty remarkable. What would your furry best friend be famous for? Don’t forget to shop our new Wizard of Dog collection here and let us know what your favourite piece is in the comments!