Benji was the name of a canine character in several very popular movies. The dogs that played Benji were so cute and so smart that it’s only natural that many people want a dog like him.
So what kind of dog is Benji, anyway?
Unfortunately, answering that question is not as easy as it sounds, because the dogs that played the role in the movies were stray dogs. The first dog to play Benji’s character was named Higgins. His trainer, Frank Inn, found him in a kennel in Burbank, California.
The trainer was often asked what kind of dog it was, and his best guess was a cross between a miniature schnauzer, a miniature poodle, and a cocker spaniel. Let’s call it “cockaschnoodle”, just for fun.
Benji wasn’t the only role Higgins played. He was also a regular guest on the television show. Petticoat crossing, which was popular in the 1960s. Higgins’s first appearance in movies was in 1971 as a character in Mooch goes to Hollywood. He was 15 years old and officially “retired” when he was cast in Benji’s first film.
Higgins’ daughter later took on the role and played the role of Benji in the movies from 1977 to 1989. He looked a lot like Higgins, except that his fur was softer and fluffier, and he had a white patch on his muzzle. Because she started playing the role when she was only 11 months old, she was called “Benji” both in real life and in the movies.
When the role was repeated in the movie. Benji: No leash! In 2004, another shelter dog was cast for the role. A nationwide search for the perfect dog took three months and was widely reported in an effort to encourage others to adopt shelter dogs. Eventually, a mongrel dog that looked good (and was easy to train) was found at the Humane Society of Southern Mississippi in Gulfport.
And that brings us back to our original question: what kind of dog is Benji? And answer all the dogs that have played Benji in the movies have been stray dogs. And with the exception of Higgins’ daughter, they have all been adopted from an animal shelter, where many adorable, trainable, and devastatingly cute dogs now await a permanent home.