Nothing beats excellent quality time with our family, accompanied by an entertaining family movie. Especially when the film involves a clever and loyal family pet friend.
Now, you may have been enticed by Marley or had your heartbroken by the incredible story of the loyal Hachiko.
Yet, nobody would be able to give your spirit enough wonder and excitement like our all-time American favorite pup, Benji.
DoggieBreeds.com is reader-supported, and as an Amazon Associate, we earn commissions from qualifying purchases (at no extra cost to you). See our disclaimer page for more information.
Benji Dog Breed
Everyone who has watched “Benji” probably curious about: what kind is Benji dog breed?
Its adorableness makes many people wondering about his history and inheritance.
Now, to end your curiosity, here we are going to explore further about Benji’s breed and its origin.
Benji dog breed is a dog breed of cocker spaniels, poodle and schnauzer.
From its cocker spaniels origin, there are two types of spaniel dog: American Cocker Spaniel and English Cocker Spaniel. In the United Kingdom, cocker spaniels were bred as hunting dogs.
The word cocker itself derives from their job to hunt Eurasian woodcock. In the US, this breed was being trained to hunt American woodcock.
You may also like : Top 4 Most Popular Asian Dog Breeds In The World With Picture And Characteristics
Benji dog breed also originated from poodle. Poodle on the other side is trained to hunt waterfowl, originated in Germany. It is a fairly old breed compared to other kind.
Poodles usually categorized in three sizes; toy, miniature and standard. It only has one layer coat consist of curly fur that doesn’t sheds much. While as for schnauzer, it was bred mainly to be guard dogs. It is originated from Germany too, and was known as a type of working dog.
Now, you know that Benji got its appearance from several breeds. His small size inherited from his forefather: miniature schnauzer, long fur from cocker spaniels, and His behavior/characteristic from poodles.
So, if you’re searching for another dogs like Benji – and if you are lucky enough – you may be able to find them in the nearest pet shelter around you, since Benji was actually a shelter dog before he played a big role in the movie.
Benji History and Facts
Benji is a dog character from the Benji movie franchise. There might be some of you who know Benji only from the movie playing on Netflix.
But, Benji’s history goes all the way back to his first appearance in his very first movie, which premiered in 1974.
In the 1974 movie, Benji was portrayed as a free-spirited dog who liked to roam all around his favorite city of Texas. He would then have to face an incredible challenge when he found out that two children—his favorite hoomans—were abducted and held for ransom.
Benji swung into action, came into their rescue, and finally saved the day. Of course, with a bit of a romance story along the way with a beautiful Maltese named Tiffany.
Benji (1974) was the original Benji movie on the franchise, where Benji made his first appearance and charmed the hearts of all dog-friendly Americans. This first Benji movie was brilliantly created by Joe Camp, with all odds against him, claiming that the film was going to bomb. Joe Camp proved them wrong, and the movie was a huge hit.
On top of everything, the success of Benji (1974) was, of course, thanks to the wonderful furry pooch who played the character: an adorable cute dog named Higgins.
Now, if you happen to have watched the fantastic Benji movie, there will a time when you suddenly have the urge to get a dog precisely like Higgins. Well, unfortunately, you may have to settle for something just a little bit similar.
Because Higgins was one of a kind.
Nobody knew the exact breed of the furry actor. Higgins was found when he was still a puppy by an American animal trainer named Frank Inn at the Burbank Animal Shelter.
As many people assumed that Higgins was a Border Terrier, Frank Inn believed that the furry actor was more of a mix of Miniature Poodle, Cocker Spaniel, and Schnauzer. Still, there was nobody who could 100% confirm Higgin’s type of breed.
The charming Higgins was believed to be born on December 12, 1957. After 14 years active and thriving in the entertainment business, Higgins died shortly before his 18th birthday.
His loyal trainer, Frank Inn, wanted to keep Higgin’s ashes buried with him when he died. However, the request was denied due to legal problems. Therefore, Higgin’s ashes now remain with Paul Inn’s daughter.
After Higgin’s death, the second Benji was played by his offspring of the opposite gender, Benjean. Then, the third Benji was played by Higgin’s distant relative, and the fourth Benji was played by a rescue dog adopted from the Humane Society of South Mississippi.
The success of the Benji franchise inspired Joe Camp’s son, Brandon Camp, to create a reboot of the movie that is friendlier to the present culture, the Benji (2018) on Netflix.
The Benji (2018) basically tells a similar story of the dog’s saving two school kids whom he had formed a friendship. However, this time, Brandon Camp and his incredible team added more dramatic twists and more exciting scenes. This movie would make your heart race, and your eyes tear up for sure.
Besides, as the son of the original creator, Brandon Camp basically grew up with the Benji franchise, and Higgins’s offspring—Benjean herself. Therefore, he had all the experience and necessary foundation to capture the dog’s characters and spirits perfectly.
That is why he was extremely devoted to finding the right actor to play Benji. Brandon Camp then finally found the right eyes in an adorable pup named Fairfield.
Just as his predecessors, Fairfield was also a stray dog with male gender found—malnourished, matted, and flea-ridden—in a grocery store parking lot when he was about 3 months old.
He was brought to a Humane Society shelter in Virginia afterward, and Brandon Camp immediately fell for his warm and expressive eyes. Camp then decided that Fairfield was the perfect furry friend to play his Benji.
Therefore, with the assistance of Mark Forbes, a prominent animal trainer for movies (Marley and Me, We Bought a Zoo, and Zookeeper), they turn Fairfield from a helpless stray dog into a professional furry actor.
Well, because Fairfield was also a rescue dog, you may never find a furry companion that looks exactly like him.
However, you can still try searching for a fox terrier mixed breed because that is the common perception of Fairfield’s type of breed.
So, are you interested in finding out how Benji (2018) shares his predecessors’ brilliance and saves his beloved best friends?
Watch Benji on Netflix, and be ready to get your mind blown!
How many Benji movies were made?
The first movie in the Benji franchise was premiered in 1974 with the title “Benji”. After gaining positive reactions, the franchise continued and managed to produce 5 following movies:
- For the Love of Benji (1977)
- Oh! Heavenly Dog (1980)
- Benji the Hunted (1987)
- Benji: Off the Leash (2004)
- Benji (2018) on Netflix.
Aside from the above movies, Benji also appears in several short TV movies as follow:
- Benji’s Very Own Christmas Story (1978)
- Benji at Work (1981)
- Benji Takes a Dive at Marineland (1981)
- Benji, Zax, and the Alien Prince (1983)
What kind of Dog is Benji 1974?
The original Benji was played by an adorable mixed breed pup named Higgins, who was found as a puppy at the Burbank Animal Shelter by an animal trainer called Frank Inn.
Many people thought that Higgins was a Border Terrier, but Frank Inn believed that Higgins was more of a mix of Miniature Poodle, Cocker Spaniel, and Schnauzer.
What kind of Dog is Benji 2018 (Netflix)?
The latest Benji movie reboot was played by a dog named Fairfield. Nobody knows the exact breed of this dog, but many people believed that Fairfield is a fox terrier mixed breed.
The director of Benji (2018), Brandon Camp, said in an interview that the dog who played Benji (2018) was a stray dog found—malnourished, matted, and flea-ridden—in a grocery store parking lot, then brought to the local rescue shelter. Camp believed that Fairfield had the right warm, expressive eyes, which are perfect for the role of Benji.
How old is Benji the dog 2018?
As the dog who played Benji, Fairfield, was found and rescued from the streets, nobody knew the exact age of this dog. However, Brandon Camp—director of Benji (2018)—and animal trainer Mark Forbes believed that Fairfield was 3 months old when they decided to choose him as the next legendary rescue dog, Benji.
Is Benji the Dog a Boy or a Girl (2018)?
The fifth and current Benji is named Fairfield, a male dog who was rescued from a grocery store parking lot. Now he has found his loving home, living happily in his trailer accompanied by a full team of very demanding lawyers, agents, and even a personal chef.
What kind of dog is Benji’s girlfriend, 2018?
In the reboot movie, Benji has two new colleagues: a vicious Rottweiler named Rott, and a new love interest named Mongrel.
There is no exact information on what kind of dog Mongrel is. However, since Rott is named after his breed, Rottweiler, it is safe to assume that Mongrel is, well, a Mongrel. It means that Mongrel is a dog of mixed breed that does not belong to one specific type of breed.
When did the original Benji Die?
The original Benji was played by a delightful pup named Higgins. After a successful 14-year career in the entertainment business, Higgins died just weeks prior to his 18th birthday.
Higgins trainer, Paul Inn, cremated Higgin’s body and saved the ashes in an urn. Due to his immense love for Higgins, Paul requested that the urn be buried in his coffin after he died. Unfortunately, his request was denied due to legal obstacles. Therefore, Higgin’s ashes now remain with Paul Inn’s daughter.
Mixed-breed dog are popularly believed to be a better choice for pet. Aside from its lower price, they tend to be more resistant to particular inherited disease.
However they may also come with surprises such as you may not know entirely which mix of breeds it is, therefore it may have several behaviour you won’t notice beforehand.
In the end, Benji dog breed can be your alternative if you want to have a pet of your own, because they are cute and relatively easy to take care of.