10 Famous Dogs From Literature

Dogs are a major part of our lives so it isn’t surprising that they often appear in literature. They are commonly portrayed as sidekicks and heroes. And just like in real life, no book would be complete without them.

Growing up we all read fiction books, many including dogs. However, some dog characters are so unforgettable that they stand the test of time. Check out the list below of 10 Famous Dogs From Literature and if you haven’t read all the books, add them to your list.

1. Clifford

Clifford the Big Red Dog was written by Norman Bridwell, who originally wanted to name the giant dog “Tiny”.

The red Labrador retriever’s larger than life size and personality attracts children and adult readers. He’s been teaching kids life lessons for nearly 50 years through adventures with his friends. The children series is considered a classic and a must-read for all children.

2. Lassie

Everyone has heard of Lassie, whether they are a dog lover or not. The devoted collie is one of the most famous dogs in literature and the heartwarming story is one everyone should read.

Lassie Come-Home written by Eric Knight is about a collie named Lassie that traveled great distances to be reunited with the boy she loves. The beloved book has been praised for telling the story from the dog’s point of view and is considered a classic.

3. Old Yeller

A dog is a man’s best friend and loyal companion.

Old Yeller by Fred Gipson tells a story about a stray dog who wondered onto a farm in Texas and won the heart of the main character, Travis, by saving lives and helping out with chores on the farm.

This classic book provides a glimpse into life on the frontier but you will want the tissues handy.

4. Shiloh

If you see something, do something applies to the next book.

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor is a story about a boy, Marty, who does everything in his power to protect an abused beagle he named Shiloh.

While Marty tells a web of lies, he does so to protect and care for Shiloh, but ultimately tells the truth. The author asks readers to apply lessons in the book to real life with thought provoking questions like “Is it okay to stand up for animal rights when the social norm is to mind your own business?”, which many have praised the author for.

5. 101 Dalmatians

While most people probably think of Walt Disney’s movie about the adorable spotted puppies, it was based on the book The 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith published in 1956.

Pongo and Missis search the entire town until they rescue their beloved puppies stolen by their evil neighbor, Cruella de Vil.

Considered a classic, many have said the book is worth reading even if you have already seen the movie.

6. Toto

“There’s no place like home…”

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum follows a woman named Dorothy and her fearless dog Toto on their journey home along the Yellow Brick Road. The book takes you to Oz, where Toto battles flying monkeys and a wicked witch alongside Dorothy, proving just how loyal dogs are.

Another classic that is worth reading and re-reading.

7. Argos

Argos was one of the first dogs in Western literature and maybe the most faithful.

Odysseus’ dog Argos plays a small but vital part in the renowned book The Odyssey by Homer. Argos was just a puppy when Odysseus left to fight in Troy War. It took him 20 years to return home and when he did the only one to recognize him was his beloved dog Argos.

Argos held out hope that his owner would return and even though his health was declining at 20-years-old, he mustered up enough strength to wag his tail upon seeing his dad once more.

The book has been called one of the most important works in literature and many have discussed the symbolism of the sea, his bow, and Laertes’s shroud, but Argos is a symbol of everlasting love and devotion.

8. Buck

The Call of the Wild by Jack London tells a heart-wrenching story about a St. Bernard-Collie mix named Buck who was stolen from his home and forced to be a sled dog. Buck is mistreated and forced to fight to survive, but gets some help from a kind human.

While the struggles Buck faces are hard to read, the classic novella is still considered a must-read.

9. Winn-Dixie

Best-selling Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo proves that dogs make our lives whole.

The main character, Opal, meets a stray dog in a Winn-Dixie supermarket after moving to a new town with her father after her mother abandoned her. She takes the dog home and names him Winn-Dixie. The dog helps lonely Opal make friends in the new town and Opal gives the stray dog a loving home.

The feel-good story is one for all ages.

10. Tock

The Phantom Toll Booth by Norton Juster takes you on an adventure in “the Lands Beyond” where a giant watchdog named Tock helps Milo on his journey. Tock teaches Milo about time and shows him that “life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams…”

The charming children’s book is magical and one that adults can enjoy too.

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Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.
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