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What Type of Dog Is Benji?

If you love movies about dogs, where intrepid canines are the main characters and embark on wild adventures together, then you’ve probably heard of a dog movie called “Benji.”

Depending on your age and your taste in movies, you may be more familiar with the 1974 original or the new Netflix adaptation released in 2018, which features a small dog named Benji as the protagonist. So, what kind of dog is Benji?

Benji was a mix of Miniature Poodle, Cocker Spaniel, and Schnauzer. He is a fictional character created by Joe Camp and has been the focus of several movies from 1974 to the 2000s. 

So, now that we’ve answered that question let’s go a little deeper. This article will tell you everything you need to know about this adorable little dog and the movie he stars in. Keep reading now to get all the details! Is the Dog In “Benji” Real?

benji lying on netflix

One of the first questions you may have had while watching “Benji” is whether the protagonist is a real dog.

It may be harder to tell in the 2018 version due to the use of CGI to make it look like Benji is talking or doing other things that dogs don’t usually do.

Benji is a real dog. The dog who plays Benji in the film is a rescue dog and was originally found in the parking lot of a grocery store before being taken to a nearby shelter.

Upon being cast in the movie, Benji’s trainer immediately thought the little canine was a Schnauzer/Cocker Spaniel mix. However, the shelter where they found him labeled him a border terrier.

Benji Movie/Cast

benji dog 2018

“Benji” is the story of a stray dog who decides he doesn’t need any owner to take care of him, instead choosing to run free across the small Texan town he lives in.

His carefree life comes crashing down around his floppy ears when two of his friends get kidnapped. It’s up to Benji to save them both while also stopping the bad guys’ plans.

There have been multiple “Benji” films ever since the original was released back in 1974, with the most recent adaptation being released in 2018 on Netflix. To be exact, there have been 9 movies, 4 TV shows, and 2 documentaries.

Let’s learn more about the newest movie and its cast.

The film was directed and cast by Brandon Camp, the son of the director of the original Benji film, Joe Camp.

It was produced by Blumhouse Productions and starred Gabriel Bateman and Darby Camp, among many others. Some other actors who played a major part in the film include Angus Sampson, Will Rothhaar, Kiele Sanchez, and Jerod Haynes.

As far as box office sales go, it has been considered far less successful than the original. The 1974 film grossed around $45,000,000 worldwide, while the newest adaptation only grossed around $585,000.

This may be largely due to the film being a Netflix film, which means many viewers may have watched it through their subscription rather than at the theater.

How Many Benji Dogs Were There?

benji on the street

With so many films, documentaries, and TV shows about the loveable Benji, you may wonder how many Benjis there have been across all these adaptations, right?

Well, it looks like there have been a total of 4 dogs playing the role of Benji throughout the various films and shows. Each of these dogs was mixes of various breeds, staying true to the original character.

Even though so many different dogs have played Benji over the years, original director Joe Camp said that whichever dog is playing the role, they still embody positive ideals like hope, love, and compassion. Benji is a character everyone can love, regardless of age or background.

Who Played Benji the Dog 2018?

cooper a.k.a. Benji

The dog who portrayed Benji in the 2018 film adaptation of “Benji” was none other than a stray named Cooper.

Cooper was found abandoned in a grocery store parking lot in California and was brought to a nearby animal shelter soon after.

Cooper was later recruited to portray Benji and introduced to famous animal trainer Frank Inn.

Frank trained Benji to become the movie star he now is, teaching him all the tricks you may have seen him perform in the film. Things like opening a door with a key or shooting a heartfelt scene, which most normal dogs would never be able to pull off.

Is Benji the Dog Still Alive?

frank inn and benji

Even though the dogs who starred in Benji films before the Netflix version are no longer around, Cooper is still alive and well.

After having a long and fulfilling career in Hollywood, starring in multiple films, the dog has since retired.

Frank Inn trained Cooper to be a canine star, perfect for Hollywood and the most recent adaptation of “Benji.”

With all that under his belt, so to speak, the dog has earned himself a nice long retirement. Who knows, though, if his mad acting and stunt skills may be needed once more!

Final Thoughts

benji the movie

Since its release in 1974, the “Benji” film franchise has been near and dear to many film enjoyers’ hearts.

Even though it’s been said that none of the more recent film adaptations could compare to the charm and success of the original, it’s still become a beloved franchise worldwide.

The titular character, Benji, has also grown fond in the eyes of the audience who’ve tuned in over the years.

This small mixed-breed dog, thought to most closely resemble a Spaniel and Terrier mix, embodies the virtues of love, hope, and compassion in each film. It’s no wonder that the canine character has become such a popular icon since then!


About the author: Driven by his lifelong passion for dogs and an insatiable curiosity about their diverse breeds, Pablo Pascua founded dogbreedsfaq.com. Through this website, he seeks to expand his knowledge and share his findings with fellow dog enthusiasts. Having owned several dogs throughout his life, Pablo’s experiences have fueled his interest in learning more about these beloved animals. His mission is to provide accurate and comprehensive information to help pet owners make informed decisions about their furry companion.