Laika: Laika’s life started as a stray on the streets of Moscow; but as luck would have it, she was picked up for the Soviet space program in 1957. On November 3rd, 1957, Laika was launched into orbit on board Sputnik 2. She was the first living being that traveled into space; but unfortunately, did not return alive, as the technology at the time did not allow for it.

Hachiko statue at Shibuya train station

Hachiko statue at Shibuya train station

Hachiko: The Japanese Akita, Hachiko, would wait, every day, for his master, Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor at Tokyo University, to arrive at the train station in the city of Odete, Japan. After doing this for years, one day in May 1925 Uneo failed to arrive, due to suffering a fatal heart attack. Hachiko continued to return to the Shibuya train station on a daily basis for nine years, waiting for his owner.

Hachiko was found dead on March 8th 1935 on the streets of Shibuya. There is a commemorative statue of Hachiko at the Shibuya train station.

Argos: As the most ancient dog on this list, Argos was the dog of Odysseus. He waited for over twenty years for his master to return from the Trojan War. Upon his return, Odysseus, who had disguised himself as a beggar was recognized by Argos, even though no one else could recognize him.

Nemo: The German Shepherd was a Vietnam War veteran, who saved his handler’s (Robert Thorneburg) life by attacking four enemy gunmen, giving Thorneburg time to call for backup. Nemo was shot in the process, as was Thorneburg, but both survived, and Nemo, after being treated for his wounds, spent the rest of his days in a dog training facility on the Lackland Air Force Base. He died on March 15th, 1973.

Brandy: The first seeing-eye-dog in the United States, Brandy’s contribution led to the possibility of many visually disabled people to live independent lives.

Barry: The famous Saint Bernard that was trained by monks as a search and rescue dog in the snowy Alps is possibly the most legendary rescuer. During his life, he is reported to have saved 40 souls. The most famous of his rescues is that of a small child whom he kept warm by licking him, and barking to signal their location to the search party of monks. Despite valiant efforts, the monks could not reach the child, but Barry carried him to safety as the child clang to the Saint Bernard.

Commemorative monument of Balto

Commemorative monument of Balto

Balto: During a significant diphtheria epidemic in the Alaskan city of Nome in the summer of 1924, Balto, along with other sled dogs raced across 650 miles of Alaskan wilderness to bring the diphtheria medication to Nome.

Peritas: The favorite dog of Alexander the third of Macedon (Alexander the Great), Peritas accompanied Alexander on many of his conquests, and there are mentions of Peritas saving his life during a battle with the troops of the Persian king Darius III.

Chips: Another valiant German Shepherd (he was a Shepherd, Collie, and Husky mix) was the most honored and decorated dog that served in the World War II. He was donated by a private citizen to serve with the armed forces, and ended up turning the tide during a battle in Sicily in 1942 in favor of American troops.

Statue of Greyfriars Bobby

Statue of Greyfriars Bobby

Greyfriars Bobby: The diminutive Syke Terrier guarded his master’s grave site, in Edinburgh, Scotland, for fourteen years, until he died in 1872, and is commemorated with a life-sized bronze sculpture in the November of 1873, which is located across from the Greyfriars Kirk church.

Subscribe to our FREE newsletter