From the dawn of time to the end of the universe, the one thing Man (as in humanity) can depend upon is his best friend, the dog. A dog’s devotion is unwavering, their loyalty unfaltering (except, perhaps, in the presence of steak), and the value of their friendship cannot be overstated. And so, to honor all the great dogs from the books, movies and television shows we love, here is our list of the best ten of them:
10. Einstein – Doc Brown’s sheepdog in the Back to the Future movies is, of course, the first of any of the characters who actually travels in time. A true pioneer!
9. Gaspode – this intelligent, talking dog from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books has a an interesting curse: because people know full well that dogs can’t talk, they tend to interpret his speech has their own inner thoughts, resulting in may amusing situations.
8. Brain – master of disguise, faithful friend to Penny, and unfailing savior to his master, Inspector Gadget, Brain lives up to the canine archetype as few can. And what does he get for it? More often than not, a scratch on the back with a robotic hand.
7. Blood – from the film A Boy and His Dog, based on a novella by Harlan Ellison. Blood is telepathic, and acts as a guide and father-figure to Vic, a young man trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. One of the few cases in geek culture where the smarter of the species actually gets to be top dog.
6. Courage – fantastic, terrifying things always seem to happen to Courage, and while he is easily and spectacularly terrified (they don’t call him Courage the Cowardly Dog for nothing), he risks his life over and over to save his family, which is, in the end, the best any dog can hope to do.
5. Scooby Doo – Perhaps the most chicken-hearted, and yet loyal, dog ever, Scooby has helped solve more mysteries (and eaten more jars of hot peppers) than any three other sleuths put together.
4. Gromit – Wallace may be the idea man, but Gromit is the quick-witted Maker we all yearn to be. Whether it’s a quick jaunt to the moon for some cheese, or chasing after robotic pants, Gromit can be depended upon to save the day. And he can lay track with the best of them (no, that is not a euphemism).
3. Krypto – Superman’s faithful companion (don’t call him a sidekick!), the big “K” may be the most even-tempered and self-controlled dog in the universe. Consider, he has all of Superman’s powers, but restrains himself from eradicating the feline species. Amazing!
2. Dug – he may be the Johnny-come-lately, but Dug the talking dog from Up! has done more to advance canine-human relations (as well as to point out the threat that the squirrels pose) than any other furry friend we can think of.
1. K-9 – Of all the Doctor’s companions, K-9 probably qualifies as the smartest (sorry Mickey) and longest-lasting. His penchant for saving all reality while the Doctor goes off to taunt Daleks or blow up Cybermen earns him our top spot. GOOD BOY!