Great Dog Moments of the Twentieth Century

  • 1908 An American businessman buys a bisquit recipe from a London butcher and markets them under the name Malatoid. In 1915, he adds cows milk to the recipe and changes the name to Milk Bone
  • 1910 Two women graduate from veterinary schools
  • 1915 Boston Terriers become America’s favorite breed
  • 1916 Stubby, a mutt, goes overseas with the 102nd Infantry, saves his regiment from mustard gas attacks, locates wounded soldiers, and earns a decoration for valor from Gen. John Pershing.
  • 1923 Rin Tin Tin, a homeless pup rescued by an American airman in France, stars in the first of more than 40 films.
  • 1925 Extreme cold made air travel impossible when diphtheria broke out in Nome, Alaska, so rescuers used a dogsled to deliver the serum.
  • 1926 Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park opens.
  • 1927 Guide dogs debut in Germany. Buddy, a German Shepherd, is the first Seeing Eye Dog.
  • 1930 Pluto makes his debut in Disney’s The Chain Gang.
  • 1932 Rin Tin Tin dies at age 14 while playing. His son Junior carries on the movie tradition.
  • 1932 Goofy makes his cartoon debut.
  • 1932 President Roosevelt’s German Shepherd, Major, rips the pants of the British Prime Minister.
  • 1936 Cocker Spaniels become America’s favorite breed
  • 1939 Toto follows the Yellow Brick Road with Dorothy.
  • 1940 A horse and rider jump off a cliff into a raging river during the filming of Jesse James, and the horse dies. The American Humane Association opens a Los Angeles office to protect animal actors.
  • 1940 Vaccination programs begin to curb the spread of rabies.
  • 1941 F.D.R’s Scottie Fala and Churchill’s Poodle Rufus attend the signing of the Atlantic Charter.
  • 1943 The movie Lassie Come Home premiers
  • 1945 Eight dogs receive the Dickin Medal for Valor, the highest Allied animal decoration for WWII service.
  • 1946 The Lassie radio show begins.
  • 1948 The non-profit Morris Animal Foundation is founded.
  • 1950 Charles Schulz’s Peanuts debuts, introducing the world to Snoopy.
  • 1952 Richard Nixon makes the ‘Checkers Speech’.
  • 1953 The Beagle becomes America’s favorite dog breed.
  • 1954 The Humane society of the United States is founded
  • 1954 The Lassie TV show debuts on one network, and The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin on another.
  • 1955 Tramp romances Lady in Disney’s Lady and the Tramp.
  • 1956 The canine hip prothesis is adapted for humans.
  • 1957 Laika, an 11 pound mixed breed, becomes the first dog in space with the launch of Sputnik 2.
  • 1957 A stray dog taken in by a Texas family saves them from all kinds of dangers before coming to a sad end in Old Yeller.
  • 1957 Pressure cooked Purina Dog Chow is introduced.
  • 1961 101 Dalmations is a box-office hit.
  • 1963 President Lyndon Johnson raises a howl from animal lovers when he lifts his Beagles – Him and Her – by their ears.
  • 1965 Singing dogs bark their way to stardom with the hit tune, “Jingle Bells”.
  • 1965 The stainless steel dog dish is introduced.
  • 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signs the Animal Welfare Act into law.
  • 1969 A German Shepherd war dog named Bruiser drags his badly wounded handler to safety while taking two rounds. More than 4000 dogs served during the Vietnam War, and were credited with saving many lives.
  • 1970 Trying to find a toy his German Shepherd cannot tear apart easily, Joe Markham comes up with the design for the Kong toy.
  • 1972 San Diego announces that dogs can run leash free on what will become known as Dog Beach.
  • 1974 The Ashley Whippet Invitational Frisbee Championship begins.
  • 1974 A small, fuzzy former shelter dog captures moviegoers hearts in Benji, and mixed breed dogs jump in popularity. Benji is credited with inspiring a million shelter pet adoptions.
  • 1975 As a reward for serving nobly with American troops in Vietnam, most of the 4000 dogs are left behind at the end.
  • 1976 Therapy Dogs International makes the first pet therapy visit to a nursing home in New Jersey.
  • 1976 IAMS Co. introduces Eukanuba, the first super-premium dog food.
  • 1977 The Delta Society is founded to promote the benefits of human-animal interaction.
  • 1978 The animal poison control center opens at the University of Illinois Veterinary School.
  • 1978 Parvovirus, highly contagious and deadly, emerges and begins killing dogs by the thousands.
  • 1979 The first leash-free dog park in the U.S. opens in Berkeley, California.
  • 1980 David Letterman debuts “Stupid Pet Tricks”.
  • 1980 Veterinary Pet Insurance offers the first health insurance for pets.
  • 1982 University of Georgia mascot Uga accompanies Herschel Walker to the Heisman Trophy banquet.
  • 1984 When Bob Dole is named Senate majority leader, his wife presents him with a Schnauzer named Leader.
  • 1989 The nations first pet sitting organization – National Association of Professional Pet Setters – is founded.
  • 1990 Spuds MacKenzie makes People magazine’s best dressed list.
  • 1990 Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush becomes a best seller.
  • 1997 Melissa Heeter of Cartersville, Ga. becomes the first woman to win the Canine Frisbee Disc World Championship.
  • 1998 Riding the Taco Bell wave, the Chihuahua enters the top ten list of popular dog breeds.
  • 1999 The first canine pregnancy test is introduced.
  • 1999 The American Veterinary Medical Association discourages its members from performing ear cropping and tail docking for cosmetic reasons.
  • 1999 Sony introduces AIBO, the first robotic dog.

Excerpted from Dog Fancy, January 2000