I always (ALWAYS) appreciate when a television program includes a supporting character with a good bark! The level of participation in shows vary, but they are all important to me. This list of my top five (with five more honourable mentions) will be a bit nostalgic, very cute, and in no ranking order because every dog is the best dog.
- Eddie from Frasier
Behind the Bark: Frasier ran from 1993-2004, Moose (the original dog who acted as Eddie) was bred so that his children could take over. His son Enzo started acting as his stunt double and eventually took over when Moose became too old.
We recently subscribed to Crave TV and I am loving rewatching Frasier! It is such a great show that always makes me laugh, one of my favourite aspects of the show is that Eddie consistently contributes greatly to each episode. He isn’t just a prop, his character might not have lines, but the writers definitely gave him personality. Eddie has complex relationships with Frasier, Niles, Martin, and Daphne who interact well with his physical comedy. I recommend you watch this fun video featuring some of Eddies best scenes. Frasier would not have been the same without the supportive Jack Russel Terrier.
- Hobo (AKA London) The Littlest Hobo
Behind the Bark: Chuck Eisenmann trained all of London/Hobo’s German Shepard
descendants. The dogs, from multiple generations, starred in the movie, the original television series, and the reboot as well – it’s all relative!
Hobo is a Canadian icon! I watched this show occasionally growing up, I liked that the dog was quite literally the star and that he was way cooler than Lassie. The Littlest Hobo had multiple productions: the first being a 1958 American film of the same name; the second being the original television series that ran for two seasons from 1963-1965; and lastly, after increased popularity of the syndicated 1960s program, The Littlest Hobo was started up once more and ran from 1979-1985 -that’s six more seasons! It featured the adventures of a stray dog who would travel and help humans in need of some animal assistance. Take a look at some of the hilarious episode descriptions from Wikipedia as curated by Nicole Cliffe to get a better idea of what the plotlines were like!
Behind the Bark: Unlike Frasier’s Jack Russel pup, Wishbone was the lead character and therefore acted in nearly every shot. Wishbone was mainly played by Soccer who was
chosen due to his very expressive face, but the demanding hours required some scruffy stunt
doubles including Phoebe, Slugger, and the odd doggo-acting-extra.
This brings back childhood memories for me! Wishbone aired from 1995-1998 and featured a Jack Russel Terrier who was often clad in period-piece costumes while introducing youth to literary classics such as Robin Hood or Frankenstein. The fictional Wishbone lived in the modern 1990s, but would start day dreaming about himself in the lead role of many famous novels. The show encouraged reading and featured a dog in funny outfits – it’s an obvious A+ and I’d love to watch it for a laugh now that I’m older!
- Comet from Full House
Comet simply wasn’t in Full House enough. This was a pre-Air Bud world so a gorgeous Golden Retriever on my television screen was exciting! There would be some episodes with plenty of daughter-doggy time and then the series would go episodes without Comet in sight. It was always on my mind, I was always looking for that fluffy tail. What I really loved about Comet was that he was a lot like the dogs I had growing up: big; loving; lazy; and always there for a hug. I definitely love this cheesy show and the dog upped it’s cute-factor by a thousand.
- Backup from Veronica Mars
Behind the Bark: The very obvious recast of Pilot-Episode-Backup (played by a white and brown American bulldog named Gordo) to Series-Regular-Backup (played by a tan
colored pit bull named Lefty) is said to be the result of the crew not wanting to work with the first dog’s unreliable trainer.
Here’s our most modern TV dog on the list, Backup quite literally had Veronica Mars’ back when she had to investigate some shady areas.
Veronica Mars was a kickass show from 2004-2007 that featured a teenaged girl who conducted some not-so-licensed private investigating. Admittedly, Backup wasn’t in the show very much, but when he was, I loved him. The name itself is worthy of making the list, imagine being able to say things like “don’t worry I brought backup” and then watching peoples faces when they realize you mean your dog – it’s brilliant! Backup not only protected Veronica on the job, but comforted her at home after boy trouble and acted as an occasional face-licking alarm clock!
I could talk about fictional dogs forever, but I think five is a good starter list. Some honourable mentions include:
- Diefenbaker (AKA Dief) from Due South
- Dog from Columbo
- Murray from Mad About You
- Speedy from the The Drew Carey Show
- Stinky and Nunzio from Dharma and Greg