6 Dogs From Novels That Make You Say “Good Boy!”

It’s way too hot to be outside, so stay indoors and read a few books! It’s the Dog Days of Summer, so here are 6 famous literary dogs to love.

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No one knows why July 3rd through August 11th got the nickname “Dog Days of Summer.” Myths about the time include anything from lethargy due to the sultry heat to bad luck and crazy dogs. Realistically, during these sweltering temperatures, it is probably best to stay indoors in the A/C. Maybe while you’re stuck inside, you could pick up a dog-themed book to pass the time. These 6 dogs from novels will steal your heart this summer.

White Fang

from White Fang by Jack London


Technically not a full dog but still a good boy; White Fang starts the list.

This wolf-dog hybrid went through a hard life-fighting in dog rings until he was adopted by the kind Weedon Scott. With a lot of patience and reassurance, this wild-blooded brawler becomes man’s best friend. He ends up protecting his new master and starting a family of his own in his new home.

Director Randal Kleiser adapted White Fang into a movie in 1991, followed by a sequel in 1994. Of course, as we always say, the book is better than the movie.


from The Call of the Wild by Jack London


Next is another novel by Jack London. Rather than a wolf-dog this time, we get a mixed breed built for the mountains.

Buck originally lived a lavish life in California. But, with the discovery of gold in the Klondike region of Canada, kidnappers take Buck away and sell him. It is a tough break for a spoiled boy but Buck quickly learns to be a sled dog. He goes through many masters, ending with Thornton, a kind elderly gentleman. Still, his love for his master cannot stop the pull in his heart to go to the wild.

The Call of the Wild just recently came out as a movie in 2020, giving a fluffy face to our canine hero.


from Lassie Come-Home by Eric Knight


“What’s that, Lassie? Timmy fell down the well?!” Whether you have read the novel or watched the many adaptations or not, everyone knows that famous quote.

Lassie is the goodest of girls. During a time of economic crisis in London, her family sold her to a mean but wealthy Duke. Even though the Duke sent her 400 miles away to Scotland, she refuses to be separated from her beloved family and her favorite little boy Joe. She manages to find her way South, all the way back home.

Lassie Come-Home has adaptations for movies, television shows, and even a children’s cartoon!


from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum


Who could forget the spunky little terrier in Dorothy’s basket?

Toto is not the main character of the story but everyone remembers the pup who bit the mean old neighbor. In fact, Toto always drives the plot forward: he hid under the bed so Dorothy did not get into the cellar and chased a cat so she missed her balloon ride. Even if mischievous, he is the light of Dorothy’s life, and he loves her just as much.

Of course, everyone remembers the 1939 movie The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but this colorful story has so many adaptations I could never list them all!


from Marley & Me by John Grogan


Okay, maybe not a good boy, in fact, sort of the “worst dog” according to his owner.

This true memoir follows the Grogan family through multiple changes, including marriage, children, jobs, and even homes. With all this growth, Marley came too. Along the way, the Labrador also made a lot of trouble, from stealing necklaces to jumping up to greet guests and neighbors. Perhaps he was not perfect but he was loved by the family, despite all his antics.

The Marley & Me movie adaptation released in 2008, followed by a sequel documenting the puppy years in 2011.

Old Yeller

from Old Yeller by Fred Gipson


Truly an American classic, Old Yeller deserves his spot on the good boy list.

Travis’ papa is away on a cattle drive, so Travis has to protect the homestead as the man of the house. This is no small task for a 14-year-old boy. Luckily, a stray dog appears on the ranch to help! Old Yeller rescues the boy and his family from more than a few natural dangers, such as bulls, a bear, and wolves. Who could ask for a better protector?

Walt Disney released a live-action adaptation of Old Yeller in 1957, depicting our brave hero

There were so many dogs in novels to choose from, we feel bad for the ones we left out. Who is your favorite literature dog? Who did we miss?

Want to see which dog from literature would be your partner in crime? Take our quiz!