Saturday, June 14, 2014

Strongheart the Wonder Dog

In an earlier post, I wrote about the "pawtographed" picture of Rin-Tin-Tin that I found at the estate sale of an elderly woman.  Rin-Tin-Tin was one of the most famous movie dogs of all time.  In a lot of his biographies, you read about his screen predecessor, another German Shepherd named Strongheart.

I'd never come across any Strongheart memorabilia, though, until I found a small book at a sale this morning.

From my research on Rin-Tin-Tin, I knew who Strongheart was, so I bought the book.

Strongheart's biography, published in 1926 by Whitman, was written by his trainer, Lawrence Trimble, who, along with his wife, writer Jane Murfin, brought the dog back from Germany after World War I, believing that he could be trained so he could appear in films like other dogs such as Jean the Vitagraph Dog .

The Internet Movie Database notes:  

His first movie, "The Silent Call" (1921), bore Trimble's expectations out, making Strongheart a star, beloved by movie-goers of all ages. Strongheart was given the star treatment, traveling by train to make personal appearances, at which he was greeted by crowds of adoring fans. He was written up in newspapers and magazines, and even the radio proclaimed "Strongheart" a star. A dog food named after him became popular and is still being produced over three-quarters of a century later. In the ultimate accolade, J. Allen Boone wrote two books about the shepherd, "Letters to Strongheart" and "Kinship with All Life."

The description of the photo above reads: 

of men who had gone before, and Strongheart was always in the lead.  The wild North had a great call for him, it must have brought back to him, wild, primordial instincts 
of the past.

If you look closely at the left side of the pages in the book, you'll see perforation marks.  The book was designed so Strongheart's fans could take the pictures out and display them.

Strongheart did not have to brave the wilderness alone; he found a companion in a female Shepherd named Lady Jule. continues:

Strongheart appeared in "Brawn of the North" (1922), "The Love Master" (1924), "White Fang" (1925), "North Star" (1925) and "The Return of Boston Blackie" (1927). Love came his way when he was paired with Lady Jule, a female German Shepherd who co-starred with him. The happy canine couple produced many litters, including offspring who would sire pups who grew up to be movie stars themselves.

None was as popular as their father, though, who got his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1724 Vine Street. 

Here's an article on Strongheart:

Here's the IMDB citation:

You can watch a short video clip of Strongheart attacking a bad guy in The Return of Boston Blackie, here:

Strongheart Dog Food is still being produced.  It even has its own page on Facebook.

And finally, here's my blog post on Rin-Tin-Tin:


  1. Thank you for this delightful post on Strongheart! Just this past weekend, I picked up J. Allen Boone's book, "Kinship With All Life" at a garage sale. It's in beautiful condition for a book published in 1954. I devoured it in two sittings, and was grateful for the validation of my belief that we humans can have a much more evolved relationship with animals if we lose our "master-versus-slave" mentality.

    Fine job on providing background information about a most unique canine.

  2. Glad you enjoyed the information!

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