What Kind of Dog Was Old Yeller?

Spike (19521962) was a lop-eared yellow Mastador (Mastiff/Labrador Retriever crossbreed) and a dog actor best known for his performance as the title character in the 1957 film Old Yeller, in which he co-starred with Tommy Kirk, Beverly Washburn, Dorothy McGuire, Fess Parker, and Kevin Corcoran. Spike was rescued as a pup from a shelter in Van Nuys, California, and became the pet and pupil of animal trainer Frank Weatherwax.[1]

Was Old Yeller a black mouth cur?

In the novel Old Yeller, the titular dog is a Black Mouth Cur, though the dog who played Old Yeller in the 1957 film adaptation was a Labrador Retriever and Mastiff mix named Spike.

Did they really shoot the dog in Old Yeller?

Yes and no. The dog in the story of Old Yeller was killed because it contracted rabies and there was no way to save it. The boy had to shoot his own dog because it would have otherwise died a horrible death and been a huge risk to anyone nearby. The actual dog that was in the movie was a trained actor.

Was Old Yeller a Mastador?

Spike (1952–1962) was a lop-eared yellow Mastador (Mastiff/Labrador Retriever mix) and a dog actor best known for his performance as the title character in the 1957 film Old Yeller, in which he co-starred with Tommy Kirk, Beverly Washburn, Dorothy McGuire, Fess Parker, and Kevin Corcoran.

What happened to the dog from Old Yeller?

During the fight, Old Yeller is bitten and injured by the wolf. Because of Old Yeller’s exposure to rabies and the fact that he is now a threat to the family as a result, the older son is forced to shoot and kill Old Yeller.

While father Jim (Fess Parker) is away from their Texas homestead on a cattle drive, a stray, yellow dog adopts the Coates familymother Katie (Dorothy McGuire) and sons Travis (Tommy Kirk) and Arliss (Kevin Corcoran). At first, the old yeller dog is a nuisance, breaking down fences and stealing their middlin’ meat, but when Old Yeller saves Arliss from a mother bear and chases the raccoons from the cornfield, he readily becomes one of the family, until tragedy strikes. Edit

The next day, Jim returns from the cattle drive to find Travis and Lisbeth burying Yeller.

What kind of dog is Old Yeller? In the movie, Old Yeller is a Labrador Retriever and Mastiff mix. In the book, Old Yeller is a Black Mouth Cur. The Labrador/Mastiff that plays Old Yeller has a very interesting story.

Franks wife was reading a story one day called Old Yeller and the dog reminded her of Spike. After even more training, taking several more weeks, Frank had gotten Spike to the point where he could put on a show of aggression by snarling and getting into character.

However, some small aesthetic modifications were made for the film like some neck hair was trimmed down and they lightened up some spots on his face. Spike had a very successful life and eventually retired with the Weatherwax family and his children went to work with big names like Steve Mcqueen!

The 1957 Walt Disney film, Old Yeller, was based on a book of the same name by Frank Gipson. The movie was about a boy and a stray dog in post-Civil War Texas. With the father away on a cattle drive, the two sons, Travis and Arliss, do the best they can to keep up with all the tasks on the family farm.

In the meantime, Spike was doing well in training, and otherwise enjoying the life of being among the Weatherwax family of dogs, complete with children to play with. Later that year the Disney company announced that they had purchased movie rights to Old Yeller , and Frank Weatherwax made a callhe wanted to bring Spike in to audition for the role.

When Spike arrived at the studio, the Disney people saw a flop-eared, very friendly, goofy dog with huge feet. His son was the dog in Island of the Blue Dolphins (1964) and his grandson appeared with Steve McQueen and Robert Preston in Junior Bonner (1972).

Spike (dog)

Spike also appeared as Patrasche in 20th Century Fox’sVarious television episodes of the period in which Spike appeared included

The Story Of Spike AKA Old Yeller

Spike’s journey into stardom began at Van Nuys Animal Shelter where he lived as a young dog. That was until the Hollywood canine trainer Frank Weatherwax bought him from the shelter for $3 after his friend saw this dog’s potential and called for Frank to come to check him out.At the time, Frank and Rudd Weatherwax were famous in Hollywood for training a Collie named Pal who played the original Lassie in a movie and several more Collies in a long-running TV show.Spike’s training went very well and he was a very good-natured dog. He played nice with the other dogs of the Weatherwax family and the children too! Frank’s wife was reading a story one day called Old Yeller and the dog reminded her of Spike.When Disney eventually purchased the rights for Old Yeller and began casting roles Frank called Disney to get Spike an audition.When they met him at first his good nature was oozing, he was too good of a boy and it was going to be hard to imagine him as a protector for his family in the film.After even more training, taking several more weeks, Frank had gotten Spike to the point where he could put on a show of aggression by snarling and getting into character. But still being able to return to his good nature when it was time.They took him for the role once they saw he was a versatile dog actor. However, some small aesthetic modifications were made for the film like some neck hair was trimmed down and they lightened up some spots on his face. These were suggestions from Walt Disney himself!Spike had an amazing performance in Old Yeller that led to him becoming a dog to remember in the dog actor history books! And after Old Yeller, many more opportunities were opened up for Spike.Including several TV shows and movies, with 10 total acting credits and more than 30 episodes on various TV shows.Spike had a very successful life and eventually retired with the Weatherwax family and his children went to work with big names like Steve Mcqueen!If you want to learn about another famous on-screen dog, check out our article on the Frasier dog.

Wrap Up

It’s amazing what dogs can do. Even a kind-hearted good dog like Spike can learn to act viciously and quickly go back to being nice when the scene is done. Much credit goes to Frank Weatherwax and his expertise in training dogs as well.

The Story of

The 1957 Walt Disney film, Old Yeller, was based on a book of the same name by Frank Gipson. The movie was about a boy and a stray dog in post-Civil War Texas. With the father away on a cattle drive, the two sons, Travis and Arliss, do the best they can to keep up with all the tasks on the family farm.Meat is being stolen from their smokehouse and some animal has been disturbing the hens. The boys soon find that the culprit is a stray, yellow-colored dog. Travis, the older brother played by Tommy Kirk, tries to drive the dog off, but Arliss (Kevin Corcoran) protects the dog he calls Yeller.One afternoon Arliss is trying to capture a black bear cub by offering it food. As the cub comes closer and closer to Arliss, the little bear’s mother arrives, angry and determined to get her cub back. Old Yeller appears unexpectedly and drives the bear away. By saving Arliss, the entire family embraces Yeller.After this, Yeller remains on the farm, always ready to protect the boys. More trouble brews, however, when a neighbor stops by to report that animals are dying in the area from rabies.One night a rabid wolf nears the house and attempts to attack the family. Yeller is there putting up a strong defense but the wolf keeps coming. Travis finally shoots at the wolf but before the wolf falls he lunges, biting Yeller.The boys quarantine Old Yeller, hoping that he won’t become ill, but one day as they go out to take him dinner, and he has changed, snarling and growling at the boys. With that, Travis has no choice but to shoot him. It is one of the saddest moments in movie history. (To see a trailer for a re-release of the movie, click here.)

The Dog Old Yeller

Spike was located in the Van Nuys Animal Shelter by a friend of Hollywood dog trainer Frank Weatherwax (1902-1991). The Weatherwaxes were prominent animal trainers for the movie industry. One of their most successful lines of dogs played Lassie in all the various movies and TV shows starring Lassie.Frank’s friend liked Spike’s look and called Frank to come down to the shelter. Frank did so and thought the dog seemed trainable. Frank paid $3 to bring him home with him.The dog responded well to Frank, and soon he was looking like a dog with real potential. It just wasn’t clear how Spike was going to fit in to Hollywood. In the meantime, Spike was doing well in training, and otherwise enjoying the life of being among the Weatherwax family of dogs, complete with children to play with.One day Frank Weatherwax’s wife, Connie, was readingLater that year the Disney company announced that they had purchased movie rights toWhen Spike arrived at the studio, the Disney people saw a flop-eared, very friendly, goofy dog with huge feet…. How was this going to be the Protector Dog who saves the Texas family from all types of threats? Spike had been raised around children and loved people of all ages. The dog just didn’t look vicious.That’s where the Weatherwax training was put to work. Frank Weatherwax put Spike through his paces. Spike growled and snarled and was then able to revert to being his normal friendly self.Spike soon had the part.