In today’s world, recognizing an Instagram or YouTube dog is far more likely than recognizing one from the big screen. And it makes perfect sense that the dogs playing the titular character in Marley & Me (they were several as the dog had to age up) didn’t earn as much as Jennifer Aniston or Owen Wilson. However, this hasn’t always been the case.
4 Movie Star Dogs from Old Hollywood
The chances are that most of the readers were born after the following well-paid pooches. However, here’s a list of the best-paid dogs in the world.
1. Rin Tin Tin
The famous German shepherd was the original movie star dog. He was featured in 26 silent movies through the ‘20s and early ‘30s of the 20th century. Rin Tin Tin was found in a WWI war zone, but after his owner realized how trainable he was, he started snagging major film roles. Making over $6,000 per week, the pooch was out-earning many people of his time.
While Rin Tin Tin might have become better known across time, Strongheart, another German shepherd, is considered the first major movie star among dogs. His debut was in 1921 (two years before Rin Tin Tin), but he only appeared in six films since then. However, Strongheart has earned severe cash as well, becoming a multi-millionaire in the 1920s.
Asta wasn’t the biggest star in 1938’s Bringing Up Baby. The Wire Fox Terrier not only had to share the screen with Gary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, but his wasn’t even the most prominent animal role in that movie (that award goes to the titular leopard, Baby). However, Asta proved to be a charming scene-stealer with his perfectly timed comedic barks, which was well paid. While his trainer was earning $60 per week, Asta was making over $250.
One cannot talk about movie dogs without mentioning Toto from The Wizard of Oz. Today, she’s well-known as Toto, but her (yes, it’s a female dog this time) original name was Terry. The Cairn Terrier earned $125 a week on the film while some of the Munchkins earned as little as $50 weekly.
Social Media Is Taking Over the Big Screen
At least when it comes to pet celebrities. There’s even the term “animal influencer.” People don’t just like cute animals, they adore them, and with the rise of the smartphone era, where everyone has access to publish content, dogs can now promote brands and earn a pretty solid coin.