The current Lassie is the 10th generation direct descendant of the original Lassie, Pal. With big paws to fill, he is already well on his way.
Lassie is owned and trained by Carol Riggins
The Lassie trademark recently returned home to the USA and is now owned by Classic Media.
Look for Lassie 10 at upcoming appearances as he prepares to continue the wonderful legacy of Lassie, as the 10th generation direct descendant of the original Lassie, Pal.
Lassie began as a short story written by British author Eric Knight for the Saturday Evening Post. The story was such a success, it was expanded into a book, "Lassie Come Home". In 1943, the movie version of the book was released.
The Lassie of Eric Knight's book was a tri-color collie, based on his own dog "Toots", but the dog cast for the film was a sable and white show dog from a prestigious kennel. In the famous scene where Lassie was to cross a raging river, stunt dog Pal, was called in. Pal swam across the actual raging river, nearly collapsed on the other side but under the direction of his trainer, continued to struggle to move on. Director Fred Wilcox is quoted as saying "It may have been Pal that went in the river, but it was Lassie that came out. That is my star!". Thus began the legacy of the world's most famous line of dogs, all direct descendants of the original dog, who have played Lassie, and which continues today.
Even though Pal was never formally registered with the AKC, he was part of a registered AKC litter and is believed to have been bred by Glamis Collies of California. To see the original pedigree for Pal's litter, click here. There is no truth to the rumor that Lassie's blaze is not acceptable by the AKC.
Although the fictional character of Lassie is a female, every dog that has portrayed Lassie has been male. This is because female collies periodically lose their coat and males are bigger, thus allowing a child actor to play opposite the dog for a longer time.
The Lassie trademark requires Lassie to be a sable and white collie, with a full white collar, four white feet, and a white blaze up the nose. All of the genetic line dogs have had these markings naturally and have not used makeup.