Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Dog Named Strongheart

I thought Strongheart was just a kind of dog food, so I was shocked to learn that it was named after a real live dog whose name was Strongheart.  And I also learned that Strongheart was a German Shepherd Dog who was actually born in Germany in 1917.  His German name was Etzel von Oeringen, and he came from a famous line of show dogs and police dogs.  His first job was as a police dog, and then he was a war dog, and after that, he went to Hollywood and became a famous movie star.  Not many dogs have a career like that, but Strongheart did!




The way that Strongheart went from being a German dog to being an American dog was that he got "discovered" by an American movie director named Laurence Trimble and his wife, Jane Murfin, who was a screenwriter.  The two of them went to Europe looking for a dog who would be good in movies, and they found Strongheart and decided that since he was so smart, he could be taught to be a good actor.

But Strongheart had been trained to be an attack dog, so Mr. Trimble had to work with him for a long time to teach him that people were mostly nice and that they shouldn't be attacked unless they were bad people, which was something that Strongheart was smart enough to figure out for himself.



Then after Strongheart got trained, he starred in his first movie, which was named The Silent Call.  Strongheart was a big hit in this movie, and he became famous right away.  This was in 1921, when nobody talked in the movies, so Strongheart didn't have any lines he had to learn.  After that, he made five more movies, and they were called Brawn of the North (1922), The Love Master (1924), White Fang (1925), North Star (1925), and The Return of Boston Blackie (1927).  And besides that, a man named J. Allen Boone wrote two books about Strongheart.










Strongheart's leading lady was named Jule, and the two of them had several litters of puppies.  Some of these pups went on to make movies, too.  And dogs that descended from Strongheart and Jule are still around today.

Whenever he made a movie, Strongheart traveled all around the country in a train so his fans could meet him.  He was very, very popular, and lots of people wanted to have a German Shepherd Dog.  So many people went to see Strongheart's movies that his movies ended up making more money than movies made by any other actor at that time.






The Strongheart dog food was invented back when Strongheart was making all those movies, and it is still being made today.  Mom remembers seeing this kind of dog food in the grocery store when she was a kid, but she has not seen any for a long time, so she thought they didn't make it anymore.  But I did some in-depth research, and I learned that they sell Strongheart dog food at stores call Sav-a-Lot.  We don't think there are any of these stores around here, which is why Mom hasn't seen any Strongheart dog food around.  The cans used to always have a picture of Strongheart himself on them, but now they look different.

I asked Mom whether eating this kind of dog food would make you a movie star, but she said it wouldn't.  She also said she didn't think it was probably very good quality food because it is even cheaper than Ol' Roy dog food.  So I guess we won't be eating any Strongheart dog food.



Well, I guess the only thing left to tell you is how Strongheart died, and how it happened was that while he was working on making a movie, he fell against one of the studio lights and got burned.  And after that, the burn turned into a tumor, and the tumor killed him.  I don't exactly understand how a burn can turn into a tumor, and Mom doesn't understand it either, but we did not go to veterinary school, so what do we know?








Anyway, Strongheart was the first really popular doggy movie star, but he was not the last.  There have been a lot of famous movie dogs since then.  But I can tell you this:  you will never see my name up on the movie posters because I don't want to make a movie.  I would much rather stay home and take a nap!

13 comments:

  1. Direct dog's bred down from Strongheart can be seen at WWW.MCKNIGHTGERMANSHEPHERDS.COM

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    1. Dear Mr. McKnight,
      I looked at the German Shepherds on your website, and I think they are very beautiful dogs. I also watched the video of Serpico doing all the stuff you trained him to do. He is a very smart dog. Of course, since I am a basenji, I think basenjis are the very best dogs, but German Shepherds are good, too!
      Sincerely, Piper

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    2. Thank you for the compliment Piper.

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  2. My Human found your informative post when she Googled Strongheart. She had found an ad for one of his movies when she was looking at an old newspaper from the 1920s. I see you are "down the road" from me, so I wanted to bark "ha roo" from Columbia, MO.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Friend from Down the Road,

      I am so glad your human found my brilliant blog entry on Strongheart. He was a handsome dog who lived an interesting life, which I am sure is true of you, as well. Thanks for reading my blog and taking time to write me a comment.

      Piper

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  3. I remember buying and feeding our dog Strongheart canned dog food back in 1970, a can cost 10 cents !!!

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    Replies
    1. A lot has changed since those days -- especially prices!

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  4. StrongHeart was a good dog food all of our dogs done really well on it so I would like to try and find some for my dogs now rather than tractor supply dog food .

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  5. StrongHeart was a good dog food all of our dogs done really well on it so I would like to try and find some for my dogs now rather than tractor supply dog food .

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    1. As far as I can tell, the company went out of business, so you will not be able to buy any Strongheart dog food. I don't know what they sell at tractor supply places, but if it's Purina or something like that, it's pretty good quality, I think. If you are near a Petco or Petsmart store, there are lots more choices.

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