The Best Television Dogs Of The Past

When I was a kid, we did have color TV!  LOL!  Yes I am old, but not that old.  Back then, all we got was 3 TV channels. Yup just 3.  Imagine that!  Kids today would die with just 3 channels.

TV was something that me and my sister loved to watch.  We were so excited when my parents would let us watch a show or movie.  I still remember sitting on the floor next to her so excited for the show to start.

With only 3 channels we of course didn’t have a huge selection to choose from, but the shows that we did love to watch were big shows in our world. Many of our shows were ones that included dog TV shows.

Now eventually we did manage to get cable TV in the early 80’s and that was a real game changer for us.  We were able to see so many other shows.

Shows like the Littlest Hobo, Lassie and of course Charlie Brown aka Snoopy.

Were these the best television dogs?  Now I am talking about the past of course.

The Best Television Dogs
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To start, we need to go back to the beginning of TV dogs.  Lassie started airing in Canada in 1954 and ran until 1973.  The show followed a heroic female Rough Collie dog named Lassie with her human and dog companions.  Through many adventures and epic journeys to help and save people.

Lassie was a very smart and brave dog who would always manage to save the day.  She rescued a runaway orphan boy called Timmy who instantly became part of her family.

The show was so popular that it is still today the 5th longest-running US show of all time. That is quite the amazing run for a show that was centered around a super smart dog. 17 amazing years of great TV.

The popularity of Lassie has gone far past 1973.  There was even a movie released in 2005 still called Lassie.  Just goes to show that what was good in the past can still be relevant today.

The Littlest Hobo

The TV show The Littlest Hobo was also a Canadian show that aired on the CTV channel.  It first aired in 1963 – 1965 in syndication and then re-emerged again for 6 more seasons from 1979 to 1985.

This show followed a German Shepherd dog who had no owner around as he moved from place to place. All the while helping people in need along the way.

He would befriend these people that needed his help. Many of the people in the show were famous actors and actresses that made guest appearances. Although this show seemed very similar to Lassie the biggest difference was that the Littlest Hobo never had an owner.

In many of the episodes people would try to adopt him, but at the end of every episode he would always leave and hit the road alone. The theme song to the show, was so recognizable that just a few bars into the song, you would start to sing or hum along.


When I think TV dogs whether real or animated one of my top favorites is Scooby-Doo. This Saturday morning cartoon Scooby-Doo Where Are You came out in 1969 – to current.  Created by the Hanna-Barbera Production company.


The show was made up of four teenagers Fred, Velma, Daphne, Norville aka Shaggy and their talking Great Dane Scooby-Doo.  Every episode the gang is tasked with solving mysteries that also surround supernatural creatures.

There are many missteps and crazy antics along the way.  In the end of every episode, of course the great mystery is always solved and somehow Scooby manages to help save the day.

Scooby-Doo started as a cartoon TV show just on Saturday mornings.  Due to it’s early success, it became theatrical movies, TV movies, spin-offs and even brought out other characters to help Scooby solve more mysteries.

This show and Scooby’s character has remained as funny and current today as it was when it first came out. Touching generations after generations of kids.

Honestly to this day, I can still sit down to watch an episode that I have of course seen many times but still laugh and am totally happy.  That is the sign of a great dog character that is always captivating to watch.


Snoopy Snoopy Snoopy!!  What can I say about this animated dog.  He has to be one of the most well-known TV dogs of all time. Definitely top of my list.

Snoopy of course is part of the Peanuts gang.  The Peanuts first appeared in 1950 in a comic strip created by Charles M. Schultz.  Snoopy is Charlie Brown’s pet beagle dog whose character was drawn based on Shultz childhood dog Spike.

In the beginning comic strips Snoopy wasn’t even Charlie Brown’s dog, he was Peppermint Patties dog.   Very quickly he became Charlie Browns’s dog when Charlie Brown asked Snoopy to sit and stay, Snoopy never left him from that moment on.

Snoopy at times is portrayed as being a bit of a lazy dog, but really overall is shown to be very loving and loyal to his owner Charlie Brown.   The funniest part of his character is he never actually speaks out loud.   He does talk to himself but it appears in talking balloons above him.

Charlie Brown and Snoopy may have started out as a comic strip, but in 1983 became an animated television series called The Charlie Brown and Snoopy show.  The show aired on Saturday mornings on the CBS Network starting in 1983-1985.


After this show was canceled, the Peanuts gang of characters did go on to achieve amazing success in several TV specials.

Some of the most famous holiday specials were of course “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, and “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  In our house holidays weren’t holidays until you watched the Charlie Brown specials.

Both specials are still shown today on those special occasions.  TV Guide ranked the Peanuts television specials the fourth Greatest TV cartoon of all time.

Peanuts has even managed to make it to the big screen as a movie in 2015, called “The Peanuts Movie”.

Clifford the Big Red Dog

Clifford made his debut in an American children’s book series about a giant red dog.  Published in 1963, written and created by Norman Bridwell.

Clifford is a 2-year old giant dog whose disposition and behavior are solely based on how big he is.  The interesting thing about his size is it consistently changes from 25 feet tall to much larger.

His owner is Emily who is an 8-year-old girl and can be seen at times riding Clifford as if he was a horse.

In 1988 Scholastic Studios released the books into a video series. The first videos were Clifford’s Birthday Surprise, The Scavenger Hunt, The Rhyme Cat Rescue, Clifford Goes to Hollywood and The Pet Show.
These books were used as teaching and training children to learn to read.

Scholastic Studios then produced a 65 – episode adaptation on the PBS Kids channel.  This aired from 2000-2003.  The cool thing about those shows is that Clifford’s voice was done by the actor late great John Ritter.

Due to the success of the first 65 episodes, they then released a 39 – episode prequel series, that showed Clifford as a puppy.   This ran from 2003-2006.  The big finale came in a 76-minute film released in 2004.   No new episodes were released after the tragic death of John Ritter.

Clifford is not done as in 2019 Amazon Prime Video will be releasing a new Clifford series that will also be seen on PBS Kids.


Growing up watching these amazing dog shows is the reason why I love dogs so much today.   Seeing all the adventures that these television dogs would go through helping people and solve mysteries or crimes was so exciting to see.

They always had a happy ending after each show which would leave me with that feeling that dogs really can do everything.  There never seemed to be a situation that they weren’t capable of getting out of.

Even the animated dogs showed me that through laughter and miscues there are still ways to have things turn out ok.

When you are young and impressionable, watching positive shows that included dogs left me wanting my own dog.  After years of hounding my mother, she finally gave in and allowed us to get a family dog our Cocker Spaniel named Buffy.

Having our own dog taught us really how much love and laughter dogs provide in your life. It taught us responsibility and how to care for someone or something else besides ourselves.


The Entire TV Collection Box

I realize that these dog shows may age me as most of them were many years ago.  But honestly some of these shows still today are relevant to young kids. There are still lessons for children to learn just from watching these amazing shows.

Anytime you can watch something that provides joy and teaches a lesson for young kids, is a win-win in my opinion.

The best television dogs shows of my past still bring me such happy memories.  All of these dogs are true TV dog heroes.

I hope you that you enjoyed a trip down the memory lane of my life.


8 thoughts on “The Best Television Dogs Of The Past”

  1. That’s very interesting. I never knew that they made a movie about Lassie. So that really was the start of dogs on TV. That littlest hobo show is one that I have never heard of. It sounds like a very funny concept and I wonder how they did it with the technology of those times. I will have to look into that and look up that tune that you mentioned. Of course I know Scooby-Doo, Snoopy and Clifford. I hadn’t thought about Clifford recently but I think Clifford is my favorite. I liked how you use the word hounding at the end good word play. Thanks for this article and I look forward to reading more from you.

    • Hi Charles,

      Thank you for sharing your comments with me.  I am glad that my post had you thinking about some great moments from your childhood.  It is always nice to think about things that we haven’t thought about in a while. It shows us that some things are universal.

      The love of a good dog on a TV show can still be a relevant character even 40 years later in my case. LOL!  Go back to the posts as I added the theme song you can check out the littlest hobo. Go see how they put a show like that together way back then. 

      Thank you again.


  2. Hi Coralie. Thank you so much for bring back some incredible memories for me. When I was a small child of three my family owned a dog called Lassie, yes, you guessed it, she was just like the Lassie on TV. I loved her dearly, she would baby sit me and make sure I was safe. When I say my family owned her, I really think it was me that owned her. She lived with us for 13 years before prematurely dying in an accident. I was devastated. Another great doggy show I remember was ‘Rin Tin Tin’ , Because of it I also grew up loving German Sheppards.  What fantastic memories, even Snoppy was an incredible little dog. Jim

    • Hello Jim,

      You are so welcome for the trip down memory lane.  I think about those times once in awhile and it sure does bring me joy remembering those amazing shows that taught me my love for dogs.

      I can’t believe how lucky you were as a kid to have a Lassie of your own.  I love you name her Lassie. I am sure it was extremely devastating to lose her when you did.  Losing a pet at a young age is something that teaches us the difficulties of real life and death.  It certainly shapes us.

      Sharing your wonderful memories with me was so exciting to read and I appreciate it very much. 

      Thank you Jim,


  3. Scooby Doo, Clifford, and Snoopy, wow I remember those! We might be of the same age because believe it or not, I actually have their comic books and I remember their innocent TV shows, ahhhhh how bright and hopeful those times were! After I grew up and we live now in a modern world where TV is HD and all, I started documenting and scanning all of those to put in a special hard drive called Childhood which I hid in a treasure box 😀 

    • Hi Riaz,

      Thank you for reading my post and for your comments.

      While writing this post I was thinking about how many people would be able to relate to any of my favorite childhood dogs. I love that you are documenting and scanning some of these treasures  from our past. Great idea. 

      TV today is so different then it was back then. I sometimes miss the slowness of life then. TV was a luxury we cherished and didn’t take for granite.

      Take care


  4. This was a nice article that took me back, way back, to the early days of my youth in Northern Minnesota. There we only had a black and white television initially, and a big upgrade to color only when I was in High School. The dog shows that I remember watching were Lassie, Rin-Tin-Tin, and The Littlest Hobo

    All of them were shows that we all used to gather around the set to watch as often as we could. Those days we were not allowed to watch much television, my parents had us either working outside in the garden, hauling wood, or some other chore a lot of the time, and of course, we played outside too.

    These shows did have a major positive impact on us all though, and the lessons were not lost on us as we grew up and struck out on our own. We also had our own dogs and cats plus other animals around us too, so we were able to apply some of the lessons from the TV. I try to get versions for my grandkids to watch now, often from YouTube! Thanks for the memories!

    • Hi Dave,

      It is so nice to hear that in Minnesota it really wasn’t that much different than growing up in Saskatchewan.  I love that my post brought you some great memories.  It is so funny to think back to those times, they seemed to be so much simpler than. 

      Honestly it was a pretty great era to grow up in. I wouldn’t change it.  

      I am a bit surprised that you guys got the littlest hobo on TV too.  Such a great show for kids. All the lessons were and still are very relevant. Glad to hear that you are sharing this stuff with your grandkids.  I hope they enjoy it all.

      Thank you for sharing your childhood stories with me. I really enjoyed reading your comments.



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