Lassie: The Perfect Dog Sets High Bar for Real Pups

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Clarification: In the broadcast version of this report, we said that Lassie creator Eric Knight was killed in action during World War II. Knight, a major in the U.S. Army, died in January 1943, when a military transport crashed off the South American coast, killing 35.
Timmy and Lassie float on a raft.

Timmy (Jon Provost) and Lassie (animal actor, Baby), float on a river raft in a 1962 episode of Lassie. CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

In books, radio, movies and television, the history of the dog Lassie is long and illustrious. In fact, some real-life pet owners expect their collies to perform like Lassie.

Since she first appeared in print in the late 1930s, Lassie has achieved immortality. Lassie lovers, historians and an acclaimed animal behaviorist discuss what it takes to create a great character.



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