Dogs can perform almost any type of profession, even that of show business: some historical actors dogs have even earned more than humans.
You know when you say it Recite from dogs? It is not exactly a positive thing, quite the contrary. We could call it a rather common insult. A person who does not have the faintest idea of how you play a role, who does things at random, who follows the nose and not the technique, with a very bad result, acts as a dog. Although the belief that the dog is an animal more or less incapable of doing everything is strongly rooted in the common imagination, in reality it is quite the opposite: Fido now carries out almost every type of profession and there are many actors dogs in the world of cinema and entertainment. Some they have a cachet much taller than humans.
Do you remember the formidable German shepherd of “Commissioner Rex” or the golden retriever of “Me and Marley” or the Saint Bernard of “Beethoven” or the collie who played the brave and heroic Lessie? In the course of the history of television, but also of the big screen, many have passed before our eyes magisterial level actor tests performed by actor dogs. It is not true that these animals do not know how to act, because they are among the most empathetic and expressive of all living creatures (sometimes, even much more than us).
Dogs know exactly how to communicate their emotions with their eyes, with facial expressions, and they are true masters of proxemics. On a physical level, isn’t this what a good interpreter must be able to do? They are performing artists, because they love to show off themselves to entertain man. They love to play, do stunts and obey commands, literally, because if this makes humans happy, it makes them happy too.
They perform the commands, are trainable and athletic, very good at communicating with body movements and very empathetic: for these reasons they manage to act, sometimes even better than human beings. That is, there are men who, rather than dogs, are real “goats” to act (and goats are not good actresses): therefore, it can happen that actor dogs get paid more, compared to them, to take part in the filming of a film.
Dogs actors: the 4 four-legged friends famous for having had a higher cachet than humans
Lassie, Toto, Air Bud. You probably know these four-legged icons, as you might know any human celebrity (e.g. Tom Cruise or Meryl Streep). Although Commissioner Rex is perhaps the most famous policeman in the world, it may seem strange, especially today, to think that the actor dogs in the films pass the cachet of their human colleagues, even if they play the role of the protagonist and the story focuses only on them. For example, the dogs who play the main character in “Me and Marley” (there were several, since the dog had to age) did not have the same compensation, of course, of Owen Wilson and of Jennifer Aniston.
But in the golden age of old Hollywood, it was a completely different story. Acting dogs have had more chances of becoming very, very important on the screen compared to today: so important that they get even higher compensation for each scene than the humans who collaborated on the same film.
Although movies with dogs are almost in fashion today, almost exclusively, or that talk about animals (or where animals talk) or even entire TV series with a dog as a protagonist, it is very difficult for dogs to really become “movie stars”, known by their real name, as happened in the past. Dogs are much more likely to become famous as mere attractions on the web. And, of course, it may seem silly even to speak of dogs that are “paid”: the puppy is certainly not pocketing the money (where does he put it in his bank account?).
Generally, the money that dogs earn making their appearances on the big and small screens, it is divided between the dog owner and the talent agency that represents him.
Here are what they are the four actor dogs of old Hollywood famous for making a lot more money than their human colleagues.
Rin Tin Tin
There is a reason why people still remember the name of this famous dog, almost a hundred years after it first appeared on the screen. Rin Tin Tin was the dog star of the first Cinema. Appearing in twenty-six silent films in the 1920s and early 1930s, Rin Tin Tin has captured the hearts of thousands of Americans as only our four-legged best friend can do. This German shepherd he was found in a war zone during the First World War and, after his owner realized how prepared he was for training, he began to conquer important film roles. Among his best known films are “Where the North Begins” of 1923 and “The Clash of the Wolves” of 1926 (in the latter, he even played the part of a wolf, incredible!).
According to “Citizen Canine: Dogs in the Movies” by Wendy MitchellRin Tin Tin took a cachet that certain human actors could only dream of: up to six thousand dollars a week. According to an urban legend who filmed in Hollywood, this notorious German shepherd has received more votes in his life as the best leading actor at the Academy Awards than any human being. Unfortunately for him, he never won an Oscar and the Academy has always decided to reward people: like when Emil Jannings blew the statuette from under his muzzle. Today, however, nobody remembers Jannings, while the whole world knows well the name of Rin Tin Tin.
Rin Tin Tin may be the best known name in the history of actor dogs, but it is Strongheart, another German shepherd, who started everything: he is considered the first great canine movie star.
He trod the scenes for the first time about a year before Rin Tin Tin, with his 1921 film “The Silent Call”. And even though he only appeared in six films, he made quite a bit of money, eventually becoming, in the 1920s, a true multimillion-dollar rich man. At one point he was even the star, of a non-human species, with the highest grossing in Hollywood, according to Wendy Mitchell.
Perhaps the reason for his huge celebrity is that, unlike Rin Tin Tin, his era a worldwide reputation. In fact, he was born in Poland and was a German police dog, before a couple of major Hollywood heads discovered him. His most famous, and also the last, cinematographic role was that played in the film “The Return of Boston Bleckie”.
This Wire Fox Terrier was certainly not the star that shone most intensely in the 1938 film “Bringing Up Baby”: he shared the screen with Katharine Hepburn is Cary Grant. He didn’t even have the biggest animal role in that movie: the most important character of this type was that of the Baby leopard. But Auction, born with the name of Skippy, turned out to be a fascinating thief of scenes with her comic expressions, the way she barked and other antics of the genre that made her loved so much by the audience at home (and she was well paid to do it). His name was changed after his first film role, since he played a dog named Asta in “The Thin Man”, a role that he would have taken in multiple sequels. And according to Mitchell, she earned up to two hundred fifty dollars a week, during the most prolific period of his career, while his trainer earned only sixty dollars.
Terry (better known as Toto)
You were expecting this name in our ranking. Normal, since one of the most common urban legends tell that, apparently Toto was paid more for all the mastiffs for his central role in the film “The Wizard of Oz”. Although she (yes, she was a girl) was later renamed Toto, the Cairn Terrier who played Dorothy’s faithful companion his name was actually Terry. And his salary for the success of 1939 was exorbitant. It was not only more than what the mastiffs earned, but even more than double. Terry (or, more precisely, his trainer, Spitz) earned one hundred and twenty-five dollars a week during all filming, while some of the mastiffs earned only fifty dollars a week. The human star of the film, Judy Garland, was paid five hundred dollars a week, so not that much over Terry, the dog.
If, however, we consider the important part played by Toto to save the life of his mistress and accompany her through the country of Oz, along the beautiful but dangerous golden path and even facing a terrible witch, we realize that he has that money certainly all deserved, up to the last penny