Strongheart was the screen name of Etzel von Oeringen (October 1, 1917June 24, 1929), a German shepherd that became one of the earliest canine film stars. After being trained in Germany as a police dog, he was brought to the United States by husband and wife filmmakers Laurence Trimble and Jane Murfin, who had previously worked successfully with Jean, the Vitagraph Dog. He appeared in several movies, including a 1925 adaptation of White Fang. Some of these pictures were highly successful, and did much to encourage the popularity of the breed, but most have been lost.

A popular celebrity in his day, Strongheart paved the way for the much better remembered Rin Tin Tin. Strongheart and his mate, Lady Jule, had many offspring and their line survives to this day. In 1929, while filming a movie, Strongheart accidentally fell against hot studio lights and was burned. These burns caused a tumor to form and Strongheart died as a result of it.


Strongheart in Popular Culture

  • A dog food company named their product after him; Strongheart Dog Food is still being produced.
  • Strongheart has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It can be found at 1724 Vine Street.


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