10 Amazing Dogs That Made History

From famous war hero dogs to marathon runners, here are 10 amazing dogs that made history!

Mar 2, 2024By Lauren Rey
amazing dogs that made history

There’s a quote by Author W. R. Pursche that says: “Everyone thinks they have the best dog in the world. And none of them are wrong”. This quote couldn't resonate more with most dog owners. Dogs are simply these amazing creatures that are often willing to give their love, loyalty, and even life to their owners. There have been many dogs throughout history recognized for their amazing feats. From the first seeing-eye dogs to the brave military dogs and the legends of the most loyal dogs, here are their stories.

10. Buddy - The First Seeing Eye Dog

buddy seeing eye dog

In 1928, a German Shepherd named Buddy became America’s first seeing-eye dog. Buddy was brought over from Switzerland by Morris Frank. Frank, who was blind, had heard about dogs in Switzerland being trained to assist soldiers that lost sight in WWI. Frank reached out to Dorothy Harrison Eustis, a dog trainer in Switzerland who agreed to help him bring seeing eye dogs to America.

Together, Frank and Eustis founded The Seeing Eye, a guide dog school that is still in existence. While Buddy helped Morris Frank navigate the world, Frank helped ensure that other blind people would have access to wonderful dogs like Buddy.

9. Hachikō - The Most Loyal Dog

hachi loyal dog

Often referred to as the most loyal dog, the story of Hachikō dates back to 1920s Japan. Hachikō was an akita that belonged to Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor at Tokyo Imperial University. Hachikō was ill as a puppy and Ueno nursed him back to health. The two developed a strong bond.Hachikō would accompany Ueno every morning on his walk to the Shibuya Train Station and then return in the afternoon to wait for him.

Tragically, one day Ueno had a stroke and died while at work therefore never returning home. Hachikō waited endlessly for his owner’s return, visiting the station every day. Ueno’s former gardener tried to look after Hachikō, but the dog kept returning to the train station. Commuters and station workers became fond of Hachikō and would often feed him.

After returning to the train station every day for 9 years, Hachikō died. A local artist created a sculpture dedicated to the loyal dog. The statue was placed at Shibuya Station as a memorial.

hachi statue

Over the years, the story of Hachikō had traveled worldwide. People were enamored with the legend of the loyal dog. Inspired by Hachikō’s story, the film Hachi: A Dog's Tale was made in 2009. This American adaption of the story starred Richard Gere as a professor who adopts an Akita puppy that follows him to the train station every day.

8. Jofi - The First Therapy Dog

jofi freud dog

Known as the father of psychoanalysis, Dr. Sigmend Freud led many groundbreaking discoveries in the world of psychology. One of his lesser-known feats involved his loyal canine companion, a chow named Jofi. Dr. Freud noted that Jofi had a calming effect on his patients and began using her to help his patients during sessions. Jofi became an unofficial therapy dog of sorts and paved the way for modern-day canine-assisted therapy.

7. Sergeant Stubby - The Hero Dog of WWI

sgt stubby

Sometime around 1917, a stray dog wandered into Camp Yale in Connecticut where soldiers from the 102nd infantry were training. The soldiers befriended the dog and ultimately ended up smuggling him aboard their ship when their unit was deployed to France. Known to the unit as “Stubby” the little dog proved to be quite the soldier.

Stubby faithfully served his unit through 17 battles. He warned of approaching gas attacks, helped find wounded soldiers, and even apprehended a spy. Stubby’s bravery was rewarded with an official rank as Sergeant and several medals.

After the war, Sgt. Stubby became an American icon. He was featured in newspapers, on parade floats, and even met the president. A memorial to Sgt. Stubby now resides in the Connecticut Veterans Memorial Park. The Smithsonian Museum in Washington also has a permanent exhibit dedicated to this WWI hero dog.

6. Gobi - The Marathon Dog

gobi marathon dog

In 2016, ultramarathon runner Dion Leonard was competing in the Gobi Desert Run. On the second day of this 155-mile race through the Gobi Desert, he spotted a little stray dog following him. The dog was a female Terrier mix who ended up following Leonard for 23 miles that day. Leonard developed a fondness for the little dog who seemed to love to run as much as him. He ended up taking in the dog, feeding her, and letting her sleep in his tent at night. Now nicknamed Gobi, the dog accompanied Leonard throughout the remainder of the race. She ran 77 miles overall and was also carried by Leonard. They crossed the finish line together with much fanfare. Spectators were surprised and delighted to see this little dog accompanying a competitor.

finding gobi book

After the race, Leonard wanted to adopt Gobi which became a lengthy and arduous process. After several months of paperwork, legal obstacles, and quarantines, Gobi was finally in her new home. Leonard went on to write a book, Finding Gobi, to share her incredible story. The book was an international bestseller and Gobi became somewhat of a celebrity. Leonard and Gobi still run together and are raising charity funds and bringing awareness to helping stray dogs.

5. Bretagne - 9/11 Search & Rescue Dog

bretagne 911 dog

Bretagne was a Golden retriever with a heart of gold. She became a small glimmer of light to first responders on what was a very dark day in history.

As one of many search and rescue dogs that were deployed on 9/11, Bretagne fearlessly searched through rubble for survivors at ground zero. During breaks, Bretagne was seen putting her head on the laps of distraught firefighters and offering a moment of comfort.

After 9/11 Bretagne continued her search and rescue work being deployed to other disasters including Hurricane Katrina. Bretagne passed away in 2016 as the last known search and rescue dog from 9/11. A memorial statue of her now resides in Houston where Bretagne lived with her handler, Denise Corliss. Corliss continues the important work of training search and rescue dogs in Bretagne’s honor.

4. Midnight - The Savior of Superstorm Sandy

black lab stock photo

In 2012, a catastrophic hurricane hit the east coast of the United States impacting several states. Hurricane Sandy, also nicknamed “Superstorm Sandy” due to its massive size, was particularly damaging to New York and New Jersey. Millions of residents were without power and trapped by rising floodwaters.

In one Manhattan neighborhood emerged a small hero, a black Lab named Midnight. Midnight was unfortunately no stranger to hurricanes as he was rescued in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. This time Midnight did the rescuing. He crawled through dark stairways and debris delivering bags of food and water to residents. He was part of a “bucket brigade” neighbors had started to help the most vulnerable citizens. With Midnight’s help, they were able to get supplies to those in need. Midnight became an instant hometown hero.

3. Adak - The American Hero Dog

adak military dog

In 2008, a hotel in the populated city of Kabul, Afghanistan was struck by a terrorist attack. As shots fired and bombs detonated, hotel guests became trapped. The US military was deployed to evacuate guests while the active terrorist scene was still unfolding. Part of that team was a German shepherd named Adak. Adak was a military explosives detection dog. Adak sprang into action conducting sweeps and securing areas. Adak’s efforts helped save many lives that day.

Adak went on to have a long detection career both overseas and at home. He was awarded as the American Military Hero Dog of 2017 and will forever be remembered as a hero.

2. Chi-Chi - The Therapy Dog

chichi therapy dog

Chi-Chi’s story is a sad one, but her spirit was unwavering, and she was an inspiration to many. Rescued from the streets of South Korea at approximately two years old, Chi-Chi the Golden retriever had a long road ahead of her. She faced unimaginable cruelty at the beginning of her life that led to her being a quadruple amputee. After the work of a dedicated veterinary team and rescuers, she arrived at her new home and even got a new set of legs.

Chi-Chi’s bright spirit and love of visiting new places led to her becoming a therapy dog. Chi-Chi would visit elementary schools and hospitals and bring a sense of joy wherever she went. She won many accolades including American Humane’s Hero Dog Award.

chichi therapy dog prosthetics

Unfortunately, Chi-Chi developed cancer and passed away in 2019. Although she was only 5, she had already touched so many lives. In relation to her legacy, Chi-Chi’s family wrote on her website:

“She faced many challenges during her 5 short years, but her resilience and courage enabled her to share her happiness, love, and joy with thousands of people. Chi Chi continues to inspire people around the world to never give up, love abundantly, and cherish every day.”

1. Kiah - New York’s First Pit Bull Police Dog

k9 officer kiah

Before her big break as a K9 Officer, Kiah was found wandering a parking lot as a stray. The staff at the animal shelter where Kiah was brought saw something in her. She had tenacious energy and a friendly demeanor. They reached out to a group that was training rescue dogs to do police work thinking Kiah would be a perfect fit. As it turns out, she was! After only a month, her trainers recognized her dedication and agreed that she would make an exceptional police dog.

Kiah was later placed with the Poughkeepsie Police Department. She received lots of attention for being the first Pitbull on the police force in New York City. Kiah and her handler, Officer Bruzgul have formed a strong bond and always have each other’s back. When they’re not patrolling the streets, Officer Bruzgul and K9 Officer Kiah visit conferences to educate the public on the importance of animal rescue. In 2016 Kiah was awarded the ASPCA Public Service Award for her work.

Lauren Rey
By Lauren Rey

A lover of all animals, Lauren’s background is in the veterinary world, but she is now a content writer on travel, wildlife, and all things pets! She’s based in Florida, but when not writing, she’s usually plotting out a new road trip route with her partner-in-crime. Pickles is a mixed-breed rescue dog that loves hiking, road trips, and Starbucks just as much as her mom does!