What Kind of Dog was in “Big Jake”? Was it a German Shepherd?

The dog in this Western Movie starring John Wayne was a “Rough Collie”. In the movie, the dog’s name is “Dog”.

“Dog” is killed by a bad guy with a machete at the end of the movie.

In real life, the dog’s name was “Laddie”. According to IMBD, Laddie was trained by Robert Weatherwax and Rudd Weatherwax.

Bob Weathermax was given a PATSY Award for the 1971 movie “Big Jake”.

PATSY stands for ‘Picture Animal Top Star of the Year’ or ‘Performing Animal Television Star of the Year’.

In 2012 Bob put the award up for consignment on ha.com here. Screenshot from the plaque:

Bob was also the owner and trainer of Lassie and the original owner and trainer of the first “Lassie” from the 1943 MGM film “Lassie Come Home” and a handler for collies in the CBS TV show “Lassie”.

I’m pretty sure Laddie was a decedent of Lassie.

Laddie was painted for his role in “Big Jake”.

  1. Beautiful dog xx

    • He was a Belgium Tervuren one of the 4 types of Belgium Shepherds.

      • Wrong it was a collie from the Weathwax kennels. Famous for Lassie. It is one of Lassies pups dyed black for the movie. As the movie goes on you can see the color fading and tell more that it is a collie

    • Absolutely incredible!!! Makes me cry every time I watch the movie where Laddie gets killed. I have to turn off the movie and still sulk even though I don’’t see it.

      • Me too!! Love dogs!! Could tell this was a collie but had never seen black one b4. So now I understand laddie was painted. Those weatherwax collies were awesome. Does the lineage continue today, I wonder?

        • Rudd’s granson has written a book about the Weatherwax collies and other dogs trained by his father and grandfather.

  2. He was loved, no doubt by John & those who wooked with him! 🐕❤

  3. Glad to see article thought he might have been a Belgium Shepard. Wonderfully trained. How could one not love that pup?

    • Yes, I would agree on that. He was definitely NOT a Rough Collie. He’s black. Collies do not come in that coat color.

      • The last sentence of the article says: “Laddie was painted for his role in “Big Jake”.”
        I just saw the movie again last night. Great Dog! His fur was the same length as my rough collie.

      • Painted black

      • You are wrong . The dog was a standard rough Collie . It was painted. Collies originally were black tan & white. The sable was bred into the bloodline in the 1800’s . And the size was increased . I have two standard rough coat Collies that are black, white & tan. AKC registered. Also have 3 standard rough coat Sable Collies . All are beautiful , intelligent dogs .they are a wonderful pet for a family, especially children.

        • Ann do you know na good breeder? Do not want show dog or dog from a puppy mill. We had a smooth collie who has passed and a 14yr old border collie, Wonderfull family members both. The border is still with us. Anyway just wondered if you knew a good collie breeder. Thanks, Tom Diehl

          • Try River Run Collies in Ridgefield, Ct.I have owned 2 of their dogs.

      • He was a collie, painted black.

      • You did not do your homework because YES they do.

      • In different scenes, Laddie’s dye/paint is washed off, showing his natural colors; that of a rough collie.

      • “PAINTED FOR THE ROLE” Hence he WAS a Rough collie… they didn’t do a very job keeping the color consistant.

      • He’s NOT Black… They Spray Painted him for Who knows what STUPID reason

      • He was a rough Collie. His ears are wrong for a Belgian. Also, he was dyed black for the movie. You can see there are times when the dye has worn out.

      • He’s only black sometimes. In half the scenes he’s black and in others brown with a whitish ruff. In the scene where they’re at the shot up cars he’s brown, also when they’re leaving the motorcycle crash he’s brown again.

      • If you watch closely, you can often see the white neck of the dog. Just after JW crosses the river, there’s a shot of Dog up on a rock, he growls at someone approaching. You can clearly see the collie coloring then.

      • Dyed brown black w coffee for movie

    • I also thought was 1 of the 3 Belgian breeds, at first the Grenendol (sp?) Then Malinois… then saw the collie patterned coat (some scenes Dog job was badly faded). The collies & the Belgian breeds some of best breeds to traolin

    • Yes, I thought it was a Belgian Terv but some scenes it looked like a collie with a white ruff. So guess some of his dyed fur wore thin.

  4. Don’t forget the movie Hondo.

  5. Watching BIG JAKE right now, and “Dog” was not a Rough Collie, but did have a lot of Collie in him. He’s black and Rough Collies do not come in black. They are sable, tri or blue merle. Dog was extremely dark, looks almost solid black.

  6. The dog is smarter than the people posting on here, I don’t know what part of painting the dog they don’t understand so to put it as plan as possible the dog was painted black with black Krylon.

    • Just watched tonight on INSP. There are scenes where Dog is not dyed and you can see he is a Collie (Rough), I show dogs (terriers) and have been at this for 20 years. I also happen to know one of the top Collie (Smooth & Rough) breeders in the USA today. I was just surprised how poor the continuity was from scene to scene with the dye. I’m not surprised a Collie was used since the Weatherwax family was a top dog trainer for movies and TV at the time; Collies (Herding Group) just don’t have as strong a bite as a guard dog this was 1971. Today, a German Shepherd Dog or Rottweiler or Great Pyrenees (watch the Working Group on TV like Westminster Kennel Club dog show) might have been used, but, hopefully the selected dog would have been appropriate for the year (1909 for “Big Jake”). I do like this movie, saw it when it was first released.

      • Being a huge John Wayne fan, I have seen the movie Big Jake more than thirty times. That being said; Dog is definantly a collie. I’ve always wondered about the color; at times his tan and white can clearly be seen and other times he’s very black, all this time I’ve wondered if they used multiple dogs or if he had been dyed. Thanks for the info.

      • I love that dog in big jake
        I read somewhere that the breed was mixed rough collie and some thing else looks like also Sheppard.
        I want a dog like that…hated the movie having the dog get butchered.

    • dyed would be a better word as painted indicates to me a picture

    • No Key kon would have stayed on him !!! Very good paint !!!

  7. I thought at 1st was 1 of the long haire shepherd breeds like a Trueveren, then several seems wondered if they subbed a rough collie as the color changed. Later I could see it was same dog, with poor dye jobs in places. A shame as ppl like me notice & get distracted *** same if they switch horse/or head gear (bit, material on halters)
    Still great movie & Dogs performance has me cry every time

  8. Wow, that must make you smile each, and everyday having all of those no doubt beautiful magnificent collies👍😍💞I would love to see a picture of them.
    As a lifelong animal lover, and daughter of an exotic dog breeder, I never knew there was a sable coated rough Collie🤗

  9. I’m watching Big Jake now and I thought the mat Dig looked like Lassie in make up. No wonder!

  10. Australian Shepard?

  11. what happened to Dog

  12. what happened to Dog

  13. When they meet Sam Sharon’s, the paint is wearing off. You can see the white in the dog

  14. Again, the article said the dog was painted for the movie.

  15. Hilarious 🦮🐕‍🦺 🎥

  16. At fist I thought he was a Belgian Sheepdog because of his silhouette and black color. But in the close ups, you can clearly see he is a rough collie. His ears are all wrong for a Belgian. Belgian Sheepdogs and Tervurens ears should be high on the head and either erect, or laying back flat. They really do not flop at the top like a collie.

  17. Strange that they could not keep Dog’s color dark. Every segment he was a different color.

Leave a Reply