There have been many different movies and TV shows based around a furry co-star, it’s often dogs who steal the show. Numerous dogs have found themselves center stage of the silver screen, or the spotlight of many commercials. From Taco Bell to Target, Lassie to Wishbone, dogs of all different breeds have padded and panted their way into acting careers, and perhaps one of the most famous dogs to get his paws on an acting career is Rin Tin Tin

The Original Rin Tin Tin

The original Rin Tin Tin was a german shepherd rescued from a World War I battlefield by an american Soldier named Lee Duncan. “Rinty” as he was nicknamed by Duncan, got his first bite in acting in over 27 different films. Not only did this help to get a then fledgling Warner Bros studios off the ground, but also increased the popularity of the German Shepherd as a family pet. Rin Tin Tin was popular enough to have received the most votes for an Academy Award for Best Actor, however was denied as the Awards are only considered for humans.

When the original Rin Tin Tin died in 1932, the title and named had passed on to distant family members sired by the original. Rin Tin Tin Junior and Rin Tin Tin III, both played a role in increasing the love for German Shepherds, even if they weren’t as popular as the original. Although they didn’t make it on the screen, they did help promote the use of military dogs during World War II. The 1950’s television series that many people are familiar with started with what was considered to be the grandpup of the original Rinty, Rin Tin Tin IV. However, with poor screen testing, was replaced by a different dog, but the audience was never the wiser.

The Current Rin Tin Tin

After Lee Duncan had passed in 1960, the screen property had passed to Bert Leonard, who continued the legacy with adaptations between 1988 to 1993. One of the most well known television series of this german shepherd was Rin Tin Tin: K-9 Cop, which aired in three different countries, all with a different title. In 2007, Rin Tin Tin once again made his way onto the screen in “The Finding of Rin Tin Tin” which told the story of Lee Duncan finding the original Rin Tin Tin in France during the first World War.

By now, german shepherds had earned their place as the police dog of choice for K-9 units. However, for all the popularity Rin Tin Tin had garnered over the years, it wasn’t until 1993 that the Name was trademarked by Jannettia Propps Brodsgaard. Having purchased several direct descendants of Duncan’s Rinty, Brodsgaard had continued to breed the german shepherds to keep the bloodline from the original. Passing the rights to her granddaughter, Daphne Hereford has been keeping the original legacy alive, spanning from 1988 to 2011 where she passed the tradition on to her daughter. The current Rin Tin Tin, the XII is owned by Dorothy Yanchek, takes part in several public events, keeping the story of Rin Tin Tin alive and strong.

+Neil Kilgore is the Jack (Russell) of all trades at Greenfield Puppies in Lancaster Pa. He regularly blogs about dogs, breeders and puppies on the Greenfield Puppies website.