To celebrate National Dog Day, we look at some our favourite fictional hounds…
Lassie Come-Home by Eric Knight
Who hasn’t sobbed their heart out watching one of the popular Lassie movies? But before her movie incarnation, Lassie was a beloved collie in the 1940 book by Eric Knight. In the original –Lassie Come Home – Lassie has to be sold when Joe’s father loses his job. The amazing Lassie escapes and finds her way home three times before she is taken to a remote part of Scotland…
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Formerly a pet dog with a nice life, poor Buck is kidnapped and forced into a life of hardship as a sled dog in the harsh 1890s Gold Rush. The classic tale of how he must fight for his survival in the wild.
The Eye of the Sheep by Sofie Laguna
Of course fictional dogs don’t only make their appearance in the classics – loving dogs have universal appeal and in this year’s Miles Franklin-winning The Eye of the Sheep, difficult child Jimmy Flick bonds with his uncles’s dog, Ned.
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
And not all fictional dogs are cute and cuddly either. One of Dickens’ darkest characters, the frightening, drunken villain Bill Sykes owns an English Bull Terrier, Bulls Eye. Before Bill drowns his girlfriend Nancy, he viciously beats the pitiable Bulls Eye.
Cujo by Stephen King
Stephen King in classic horror mode when a good-natured family dog, a St. Bernard, is bitten by a rabid bat and goes mad. Poor old Cujo then goes on a murderous rampage.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Hagrid’s massive boarhound, Fang, is not as scary as he looks and accompanies Hagrid as well as other Potter characters on their adventures through the Forbidden Forest. Fluffy the three-headed dog is far more frightening.
Marley and Me by John Grogan
A New York Times bestseller, Marley and Me is an autobiographical book about the writer’s golden labrador retriever, Marley, ‘the world’s worst dog’.
Famous Five by Enid Blyton
Anyone who loved the Famous Five will remember George’s loyal dog Timmy, a mongrel who doesn’t like ginger beer and a key member of the intrepid Five.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Who couldn’t love small but brave Toto who gives the Wicked Witch of the West a good telling (yapping) off?
Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell
The runt of the litter, Clifford was chosen by a city child Emily Elizabeth as a Christmas present. First published in 1963, the big red dog is still going strong. He’s sweet and lovely, but sometimes his size gets him into trouble.
Tintin by Hergé
The white wire fox terrier Snowy is the faithful companion of Belgian cartoonist Hergé’s creation Tintin and is central to the little guy’s adventures.
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
The children’s faithful nurse, the dog Nana, was said to be inspired by J.M. Barrie’s own dog, a St. Bernard called Porthos.
The 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith
Long before the Disney movies, the black and white puppies were immortalised in the 1956 children’s book by Dodie Smith.
See our list of favourite dog stories for children
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