Most Faithful Dogs And Dog Breeds
Many dogs are faithful, and I have been fortunate enough to know many of them in my life. But what does it mean to be faithful?
Part of being faithful is caring about family. Some dogs will save the children in their family even if it costs them their lives. Wild dogs will feed their puppies before they eat themselves, and if there is not enough to go around will actually go hungry. Not a lot of other animals are like that.
Another part of being faithful is a willingness to return home, no matter what the cost. There have been many stories about dogs travelling to return home, and I mention Bobbie here in this article.
Loyalty is an important part of faithfulness. Some dogs are loyal and would protect their families even if it meant giving up their own lives. I do not think that loyalty and faithfulness are the same thing, but sometimes the dog breeds that are loyal are also faithful.
And of course, sometimes faithfulness is just a dog’s willingness to stay next to his owner, even after the owner is gone. There are a few stories like that here:
Hachiko the Akita
Long before the 2009 Richard Gere movie made this dog famous, most dog fanciers knew about him and his faithfulness. Hachiko was an Akita, a large Japanese breed, which had been adopted by a professor in Japan back in 1924 when the breed was almost extinct.
Hachiko went to the Shibuya train station each day when Professor Ueno left for work, and went back in the afternoon to wait for his arrival. One day in 1925 the professor did not come back. He had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage at work and died later.
For nine years Hachiko went to the train station each afternoon and waited for his owner to come home from work. Of course he never did, and Hachi died in Shibuya in 1935.
The Japanese remember Hachiko as a symbol of faithfulness. He was a special dog, but many others have been just as faithful.
Shelby and Capitán, German Shepherd Dogs
There are so many stories about the faithfulness of this breed that I can really only pick a few. Shelby is one of the great ones. In the winter of 1999 John and Janet Walderbach went to bed after putting their kids to bed, assuming everything was okay in their house.
The kids woke up crying and complaining of headaches, but Janet put them back to bed and went back herself, ignoring Shelby´s attempts to get her up and moving about. The dog went next to John, and stood by the side of the bed barking until the man finally got up to let her out.
Shelby would not leave the house. Her owner tried to force her, and it was not until he made it outside and breathed in the clean air that he realized that he had been disoriented when still in the house.
John went back into the house and got his family out. The furnace was leaking carbon monoxide and if they had stayed in bed they would have died. Shelby could have gone outside and abandoned them, but instead she stayed and saved their lives.
One of the more recent stories of faithfulness I have heard was about a dog that somehow found his owner´s grave and has kept a vigil over him.
In 2006, Manuel Guzman died in Cordoba, Argentina. He was buried and soon after his dog, Capitán, ran away. When Veronica Guzman, the widow, visited her husband´s grave a week later she found the German Shepherd sitting next to it.
The director of the cemetery feeds the dog and he sometimes even goes home, although he always returns by evening and sleeps next to his dead owner.
Like Hachiko the Akita, the dog Capitán is waiting.
Bobbie the Collie Mix
This is an old story and anyone familiar with dogs has probably already heard it. The Brazier family from Silverton, Oregon had a dog who liked to ride in the car and travel. Bobbie, a young Collie/English shepherd cross, was with his family in 1923 when they went to visit relatives in the Midwest.
When the family stopped at a garage, the dog was attacked by a pack of stray dogs—he ran off and was lost. The family put ads in the paper, offered a reward, and drove around searching. Bobbie was lost in unfamiliar territory.
They thought he was gone for good, but just six months later he showed up on their doorstep. The pads on his feet were worn to the bone, and although he was thin they were able to identify him by scars he had picked up as a puppy.
Bobbie had travelled over 4000 kilometers (2551 miles) to reach his home in Silverton, Oregon. He died in 1927.
Dorado and Golly the Labrador Retrievers
This amazing dog breed has been replacing the German Shepherd in most seeing eye programs. When the World Trade Center was attacked on September 11th, a blind computer technician was working alongside his Lab guide dog, Dorado.
Omar, the technician, heard the noise and figured he would never make it out of the building alive so he released his dog. Dorado obeyed the command to leave but came back a few minutes later.
It took Dorado and Omar an hour to make it down the steps and escape from the building. It collapsed soon after they got out.
Only Dorado´s faithfulness had saved Omar´s life.
Another Lab owner was saved by her dogs Golly, Lily, Double. Tammy Ogle was with her dogs when she flipped her SUV over in 2003. She was thrown from the vehicle, her head was smashed, and she lost consciousness.
The dogs were not injured. Double stayed with her and Lily and Golly ran to the closest house, almost 1 km away (about ½ mile). The dogs stood on the porch barking and scratching until they were noticed.
Since the homeowner could not see the wreck, Golly pulled on his sleeve until he could see the SUV. He called for help and the rescue team determined that it was only the dogs´ prompt actions that saved Tammy´s life.
Tammy Ogle´s faithful dogs were inducted into the Hero Hall of Fame by the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association.
Delta the Cane Corso
The body of a large dog was found in the ashes of Pompeii. There is no evidence that this dog was a Canis pugnax, the Roman War dog, but from the evidence about her life it seems likely.
When Delta was found she was wearing a silver collar engraved with her name and three of her previous heroic deeds. Delta had pulled her owner Severinus from the sea when he was drowning, fought off attackers who had tried to rob him, and also protected him from an attack by a wolf.
Only a personal protection dog like the Cane Corso would be close to her master all of the time. Delta´s final act was to throw her body over a young child when the volcano Mt. Vesuvius began to erupt. She could not protect him from the ash, of course, and she died that day.
She died faithful.
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A lot of great dog breeds are faithful. Some are purebred, some are mixed.
In Brazil, the Fila Brasileiro, a purebred local guard dog, is so famous for his faithfulness that a common saying is “As faithful as a Fila”.
There are many great stories about the faithfulness of Golden Retrievers. One of my favorites is about “Blaze”, the dog who saved his family after an electrical short started a fire in his home. My own Pit Bull cross, with no special training, alerts me if I am about to seizure.
(She is not only faithful, she is persistent. The first time she alerted me I thought she was just wanted attention so I took her out and went back to my desk. She came back in and wouldn´t leave me alone until I relaxed.)
Some smaller breeds have amazing stories of faithfulness, too, and a lot of stories are about mixed breed dogs where the dog is identified as a “Shepherd mix”, “Lab mix”, “Terrier mix”, etc.
There are a lot of faithful dogs out there. All you need to do is go out and find a companion. If you are interested visit your local animal shelter or look at Petfinder.com. Do not buy a puppy from a pet shop or an internet puppy wholesaler, as you will most likely be supporting a puppy mill.