4 Surprising Facts about Lassie.

4 Surprising Facts about Lassie.

Lassie is one of the most well-known dog characters of all time; the films, TV series and other adaptations of “Lassie” have become a huge part of international pop culture, and to this day Lassie is referenced in countless forms of media. But how much do you really know about Lassie? Take a look at the following surprising facts about Lassie and test your knowledge of this famous dog!

The Lassie films caused the popularity of Border Collies to skyrocket

From the 'Wishing' Lassie episode
From the ‘Wishing’ Lassie episode

It isn’t uncommon for popular films about dogs to make people want to adopt or buy a dog from that same breed. The popularity of Border Collies, however, skyrocketed much higher than typical after the first series of Lassie films. The number of purebred Border Collies registered in the USA went from just 3,000 before the premiere of the first films to over 18,000 dogs!

Lassie the character is a girl—but she’s played by male dogs

From the 'Lassie's Guest' episode
From the ‘Lassie’s Guest’ episode

The character of Lassie is a girl in all the story’s incarnations, but the character is actually played by a male dog in every film and television show. Initially, female dogs were cast to play Lassie, but problems arose when it was discovered that female Border Collies experience significant shedding during certain parts of the year. This created issues of consistency in the filming, and the decision was made to recast the role with male dogs.

The original Lassie played the role for almost 7 years

from the Lassie 'The Cat who Came To Dinner' episode
from the Lassie ‘The Cat who Came To Dinner’ episode

It is very uncommon for dog actors to reprise their roles, especially since sequels and spin-offs often take years to come to fruition; just a few years for a dog can take a large toll on their health and ability to perform in films, which typically means that their role will be recast. The original Lassie–a dog named Pal–however, went against all odds by playing the principal role from 1943 to 1950, for a total of 6 films.

There are dozens of Lassie books

The Lassie story inspired several different book lines, including a series of Golden Books, several different novel series’, and children’s tell-a-tale books. The most popular Lassie novels were the Whitman Novels, which often featured mystery to be solved; novels in this series included Lassie and the Mystery of the Blackberry Bog; Lassie and the Secret of the Summer; Lassie and the Mystery of Bristlecone Pine; and Lassie: Treasure Hunter.