Famous dogs: Bullseye

Bullseye, image from Target.com
Bullseye, image from Target.com

Bullseye is the official mascot of Target, usually shown with the Target Corporation’s bullseye logo painted around the left eye. The Bull Terrier is featured in many commercial campaigns, on signs through the stores, on the company website, and can often be seen on TV-commercials. They also have a stuffed toy of Bullseye to give out at special events, and for employee recognition.

The mascot was first shown in 1999, and was portrayed by English Bull Terrier Arielle. Viewers instantly fell in love with the character, and in 2006 Bullseye became the second dog ever to have a likeness displayed in Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.

While the character Bullseye is male, the current actor is female. Her name is Nikki and she lives with her owner and training at Worldwide Movie Animals.

Bull Terriers were bred to be companion dogs, and the breed is known to be loving, friendly, and patient. They’re considered one of the best breeds with children.

Barry, a four-legged legend

Image from Barry MuseumMost people in the USA probably haven’t heard about Barry, but his story is fascinating. He was a St. Bernard that lived 200 years ago at the famous hospice on St. Bernard Pass. Myths declare that he saved at least 40 people during his working years.

The hospice resides 2,500 meters above sea level, and has been run since the 11th century. The St. Bernard pass is dangerous at the best of times, and the dogs served an invaluable function in finding the way home even in blizzards. During 200 years, at least 2,000 people were saved by the hospice.

Barry was born in the year 1800, and has inspired countless myths. Some claim he even rescued a child on his own and carried the boy to safety on his back.

He was clearly special even during his lifetime, because spent his last years in Bern, in retirement, and was preserved after his death.

Today, there’s a Barry exhibition at the Natural History Museum in Bern. He looks a bit different from St Bernards of today. The breed went nearly extinct during the 19th century, and the remaining dogs were bred with Newfoundlands in an effort to save the St Bernard. This changed the build of the dogs and resulted in a much longer coat. While the effort to save the breed was successful, it also changed them to the point where they were no longer able to rescue people in the mountains.

Barry has also given name to the Fondation Barry du Grand Saint Bernard, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of St. Bernard dogs.