There have been many animal stars over the years. Mr. Ed the talking horse, Arnold Ziffle the big on Green Acres, Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, and Benji, just to name a few.
Benji was a fictional dog who had been the focus of several movies from 1974 through the 2000s. It is also the title of the first film in the Benji Series.
Joe Camp is the creator and director of the Benji films. The first dog to play Benji was a shelter dog named Higgins, trained by Frank Inn. Higgins was believed to have been a mixed-breed dog possibly crossed with Miniature Poodle, Cocker Spaniel, and Schnauzer.
Higgins (Benji) was born December 12, 1957, and Died at the age of 17 on November 11, 1975. As an actor, Higgins first came to national attention as the uncredited dog who played the character of "Dog" on the television sitcom Petticoat Junction for six of the show's seven seasons, from 1964 to 1970 appearing in 163 episodes. He guest-appeared on the television sitcom Green Acres with Eva Gabor in 1965 and also made a guest appearance on the television sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies. He won a Patsy Award in 1967, and he was cover-featured on an issue of TV Guide magazine.
Later, Higgins' offspring Benjean took the name for a few of the Benji films.
For the Love of Benji (1977)
Benji's Very Own Christmas Story (1978)
Oh! Heavenly Dog (1980)
Benji Takes a Dive at Marineland (1981)
Benji the Hunted (1987)
Benji" Off the Leash (2004)