AP Photo/Edward Kitch

Found During WWI, Rin Tin Tin Became Hollywood’s Biggest Star

Rin Tin Tin is likely one of the most recognized German Shepherd Dogs of all time. Yet do know you this famous dog's story?

According to a story on Canidae.com,  in the 112-year history of the breed, his bloodline is the oldest continuous line and has remained relatively unchanged over the years. Had it not been for a corporal in the United States Army during WWI, Rin Tin Tin most likely would have perished in France.

Who was Rin Tin Tin?

A corporal in the United States Army during WWI found Rin Tin Tin in France.

Rin Tin Tin was five days old when he and four siblings were found in a bombed-out dog kennel near Lorraine, France in 1918. Corporal Lee Duncan noticed the damaged dog kennel and convinced his battalion to check it out. They found five pups and their mom alive inside, surviving an aerial bombing. Duncan picked a male and female from the litter.

What type of breed was Rin Tin Tin?

This Hollywood legend was a German Shepherd Dog born into a litter of shepherd puppies during World War I.

An American soldier, Corporal Duncan was impressed with how the German war dogs performed, so he started working with Rin Tin Tin and another puppy to train them to perform just like the dogs he had seen. The German Kennel Master in charge of the kennel where the dogs were found had been captured by the Americans. Duncan went to visit him in the prison camp so he could learn more about the German Shepherd breed.

The 'wonder dog' became a real-life hero.

TV and movie career


This dog (Rin Tin Tin IV) is best known for his career in the television series, 'The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin' — His TV show was a favorite of all ages. Rin Tin Tin was also a movie star.

Rin Tin Tin began his movie career in 1922. Charles Jones paid Duncan $350 to shoot Rin Tin Tin in action. Afterwards, Duncan decided to pursue a movie career for his dog.

The German Shepard was in a silent film, and he went on to star in 26 movies for Warner Brothers.

Yet it was Rin Tin II that starred in the 'The Adventure of Rin Tin Tin'.

Canidae.com tells us about this dog's protected bloodlines:

There's only one breeder, Rin Tin Tin Incorporated. To protect the integrity of the lineage of Rin Tin Tin, their breeding program is a "closed program." Anyone buying a pup enters into a nonbreeding agreement and their pups must be spayed or neutered.

Duncan groomed Rin Tin Tin IV for the 1950s television series The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, but the dog performed poorly in a screen test and was replaced in the TV show by trainer Frank Barnes's dogs, with the public led to believe otherwise. Instead of shooting episodes, Rin Tin Tin IV stayed at home in California. The TV show Rin Tin Tin was nominated for a PATSY Award in 1958 and in 1959, but did not win.

So you likely didn't know that the original Rin Tin Tin wasn't in the famous series! Yet he appeared in many television shows and received more votes in the first year of the Oscars than any human actors. Can you imagine a dog being voted as 'best actor' instead of a human actor in a TV series? I certainly can see this but the academy awards must have felt some pressure as they didn't give him the award to avoid embarrassment.

'Rinty' was his nickname, and we all loved him!

Where is Rin Tin Tin buried?

Rin Tin Tin died in the front yard of his home on August 10, 1932, at the age of 14. His body was returned to France and he was buried in the Cimetiere des Chiens, a famous pet cemetery in the Paris suburb of Asnieres-sur-Seine.

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