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What Breed of Dog Is Benji? Famous Movie Character Facts

Written by: Chelsie Fraser

Last Updated on April 26, 2024 by Dogster Team

Benji movie poster Mulberry Square Productions

What Breed of Dog Is Benji? Famous Movie Character Facts

Netflix’s reboot of the timeless classic Benji has landed the loveable homeless mutt into the hearts of a whole new generation. Now, many viewers are wondering where they can adopt a Benji of their own and what breed of dog Benji is.

Benji is a rescue dog. He’s referred to as a “mutt” in the movie, meaning he isn’t one particular dog breed. He’s a mix of multiple unknown breeds. He was labeled as a Border Terrier, but his trainers believed that he was a mix of Cocker Spaniel, Miniature Poodle, and Schnauzer. However, certain characteristics of the dog in both the original and the remake can give us clues as to what breeds Benji originates from.

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What Dog Breeds Does Benji Come From?

The Benji (whose actual name was Higgins) cast in the original 1974 movie came from a Burbank, California, animal shelter. The dog cast in the 2018 movie is classified as a “mixed breed” dog. The creators of the most recent installment of the Benji franchise claim that he displays characteristics of both a Spaniel and a Tibetan Terrier.

border terrier
Image  By: Colin Seddon, Shutterstock

Where Can I Find a Dog Like Benji?

If you’re looking to add an adorable Benji-like dog to your family, finding one will be easy. Just by searching your local animal shelters, you’re likely to find a dog that looks like Benji. You may not find one that looks exactly like Benji, but you are still likely to find a loveable mixed-breed dog in need of a family.

Benji acts the way that he does in the movies due to his training. The movie creator, Joe Camp, has written a book called “The Benji Method” that describes the training methods used to teach dogs the tricks in the movie.

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How Many Dogs Have Played Benji?

In total, there have been four different dogs cast as Benji since the original movie was made. All of them have been mixed breed rescue dogs of unknown origins.

The original Benji, or Higgins, passed away in 1975. His daughter was named Benjean and called “Benji” for short. She stepped up as the dog that appears in several Benji sequels. Three different dogs portrayed Benji in Benji: Off the Leash, which was released in 2004. The adult Benji was played by “Moochie,” while “Sally Sue” played 8-week-old Benji, and “Odola” played 4-month-old Benji.

The Benji that stars in the most recently released movie on Netflix was adopted from the Humane Society of South Mississippi after the movie creators combed through shelters across the country to find a dog that had a perfect look. The dog is a mixed-breed female that was found wandering the streets of Pass Christian, Mississippi.

Benji the Dog Mulberry Square Productions
Image By: Characters by Joe Camp, Mulberry Square Productions.  All rights reserved to the copyright owners.

Why Did the Movies Use Rescue Dogs?

Benji’s creator, Joe Camp, decided to use rescue dogs in his movies in an effort to bring attention to the millions of unwanted and abandoned dogs in American animal shelters. It is reported that due to the adoption of Benji in 1974, over 1 million dogs were adopted from shelters across the country. Camp said that he hopes that the newest Benji movie will inspire people to adopt even more pets that need homes.

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The dog Benji is not a specific dog breed. All the dogs used in the movies were rescue dogs (or offspring of rescue dogs). They are mixed breed dogs of unknown origins. The creator of the movie used shelter dogs specifically to encourage potential dog owners to give loving homes to animals in need.

Featured Image Credit: Characters by Joe Camp, Mulberry Square Productions.  All rights reserved to the copyright owners.

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