How many collies played Lassie? 11 collies starred as Lassie—-not including stunt collies. Only one in 2005 was not a Pal progeny!
Listed are Lassie stars of each generation - plus there was always at least one brother/cousin who worked as a stand-in or stunt dog for fast running, dangerous jumping, or facing tractors or working close to wild animals!
Till 2005, all the Lassies were direct descendants from Pal, who starred in 1940’s movies playing dogs named Lassie, Laddie and Bill.
All Lassies since then were owned and trained by Rudd and Frank Weatherwax (and their assistant trainer Frank Inn in the 40’s) and later Rudd’s son Robert. The Weatherwaxs bought and owned the Lassie Trademark. 8 straight generations of Pal’s progeny played Lassie on TV and in movies. 9th and 10th generations picked up this century.
Here are the ‘star’ (close-up) Lassie of each generation through 1973: Pal – the first Lassie (movies & first episodes of TV series w/Tommy Rettig.Lassie Junior – (“Lassie” later called “Jeff’s Collie”)Spook – (Timmy years)Baby – (Ranger Cory’s Lassie)Mire – (with other rangers)Hey Hey – (last rangers & later at foster home ranch 1973)Boy (Hey Hey’s son) -1974 “Magic of Lassie”The Old Man (Boy’s son) – 1989 – 1991 TV series “The New Lassie” Howard – (Pal 8th gen) in Lassie TV series in 1997 & Howard was replaced briefly with an unsuccessful non-Pal descendant who was replaced by a 9th gen from Pal – Hey Hey II.
Pal, a purebred collie, did not have AKC pedigree papers because Rudd Weatherwax rescued him from a dog pound! Pal was trained for stunts; a champion show collie cast as the movie’s star. The show dog couldn’t ‘act’ or swim and Pal could do both and became the star! Since Pal all close up collies have had the hallmark white blaze face (not approved by AKC.)
Mason, a non-Pal lineage collie, starred in 2005 remake of “Lassie Come Home”.Rockie (10th gen Pal line) in 2006 PBS TV series, “Lassie’s Pet Vet”.