Pop Culture

Good dog! 5 classic TV pooches who lead the pack on National Dog Day

Courtesy Everett Collection / Today
Lassie hit the big screen first (seen here in "Lassie Come Home" with Roddy McDowall), but later became a beloved small-screen pooch, too.

We love all dogs, but prime-time pooches are among the most amazing canines ever. They're everywhere — as cartoon characters, bit players and heroes who always save Timmy from the well in the nick of time. In honor of National Dog Day (Aug. 26), we bring you some of TV's top dogs from today and years past.

If don't see your favorite famous pup in the roundup, it's only because there's no way we can toss a bone to every great one. 

Sit and stay ... and enjoy!

The shaggy collie with a hero's heart was perpetually getting her owner Timmy out of various jams, whether in short stories and novels starting in 1940, movies starting in 1943 and finally an Emmy-winning series that initially ran from 1954-57. 
Leader of the Pack: Lassie had company in the pack of super-pets who transitioned from big to small screen — Rin Tin Tin and Petey from "Our Gang," for example — but it's Lassie who stays in our hearts and keeps kids out of danger.

Brian from "Family Guy"

Brian Griffin, 'Family Guy'
On the other end of the spectrum from Lassie is the upright-walking, drinking, smoking, smart-talking (yes, talking) aspiring writer known as Brian. He's a huge draw and proved so popular that he had to be brought back from the dead when "Family Guy" suddenly killed him off in 2013. 
Leader of the Pack: A whole list could be made of amazing animated dogs, from "The Simpsons'" Santa's Little Helper to Scooby-Doo to "The Jetsons'" Astro. But as Russell in "Up" might have noted, "It's a talking dog!"

Vincent, 'Lost'
If you look up the definition of "loyal" in the dictionary, a yellow Labrador retriever's face should be right there. "Lost" may have been mysterious and confusing, but Vincent was a constant companion in an island of chaos for many on the show. And as the series wrapped, who else could have been with Jack to see him through the final minutes of his — and the show's — life better than Vincent?
Leader of the Pack: Yeah, Scully had Queequeg  on "The X-Files", but in general, sci-fi/fantasy dramas don't include pooches who'd rather just chase a ball into a lake than figure into some major mystery. Vincent stands alone.

Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) and his nemesis, Eddie (Moose the Dog).

Eddie, 'Frasier'
A Jack Russell terrier who packed as much personality as any human, Eddie became a star in his own right and even graced the cover of Entertainment Weekly in his day. Played by two dogs — a father (Moose) and son (Enzo) — over "Frasier's" 11-season run, Eddie remains one of modern TV's most memorable dogs for any number of reasons, including his uncanny ability to stare down humans.
Leader of the Pack: "Mad About You" had Murray, "Full House" had Comet and "The Brady Bunch" had "Tiger" but let's face it, those sitcom pets can't hold a candle to the only dog who could make Frasier Crane look dumb.

Anyone who grew up watching NBC sitcoms overseen by Gary David Golberg's company UBU Productions, like "Family Ties" and "Spin City," knew the show was definitely over when they saw an image of a black Labrador retriever holding a Frisbee and a voice (Goldberg's) saying, "Sit, Ubu, sit. Good dog." Ubu (Goldberg's real-life dog who died in 1984) was truly the best TV dog who never had a real role on TV.

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