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What Kind of Dog Is Wishbone? With Surprising Facts

Jordyn Alger

By Jordyn Alger


Wishbone was a PBS television show produced in the late 90s, where a dog named Wishbone imagines himself in famous works of classic literature. He often plays the lead role in these imaginings, though sometimes he will take on a side character’s part. In the classic television show, Wishbone is a Jack Russell Terrier.

Jack Russell Terriers are known for their bombastic personalities and are upbeat and inquisitive. This can make them excellent candidates to be animal actors, such as the real-life dog named Soccer, who was the animal actor for the character Wishbone. If you want to learn more about this remarkable animal actor and the television show itself, this article has you covered.

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More About Soccer

Soccer was an animal actor who lived from 1988–2001. He was beloved for his role as Wishbone, but that is not the only role he has taken on in his animal acting career. He also starred in commercials for Nike and Mighty Dog Dog Food and is even credited as being in a video game called M.U.G.E.N.  He was an active actor from 1995 –2001 and was considered one of the most loved television dogs in the 1990s.

Soccer’s owner, Jackie Martin Kaplan, brought him to live on a lovely ranch in Texas, where he was eventually buried at his time of death. This ranch was also where the Wishbone television series was filmed.

Soccer was a talented actor. There were over 100 dogs who auditioned for the role of Wishbone, but he surpassed them all and starred in nearly every episode of the series Wishbone.

Image Credit: Characters by Rick Duffield owned by Big Feats! Entertainment vanity imprint division of The Lyons Group (Lyons Partnership L.P.).  All rights reserved to the copyright owners.

What Other Wishbone Content Is Available?

The television series is one of many places where the character of Wishbone appears. There was a movie called Wishbone’s Dog Days of the West in 1998, where Wishbone had to save the town from a villain who wished to destroy it.

Outside of the television screen, there were plenty of other Wishbone appearances. From 1996–2001, nine Wishbone book series were published. Some books were novelizations of the television series, while others were entirely new stories.


Fun Facts About the Wishbone Television Series

If you are interested in learning some interesting tidbits about the Wishbone television series, take a look at these fun facts we have gathered.

1. A Real-Life Jack Russell Terrier

The creator of Wishbone, Rick Duffield, was inspired to develop the show by his very own Jack Russell Terrier. He had long been interested in telling stories from a dog’s perspective, but he was uncertain how to transfer that idea into a television show.

It wasn’t until he started thinking about classical literature that an idea struck him. He decided he wanted to hear his dog’s perspective on famous literature, and that is where the concept of Wishbone came from.

Image Credit: Characters by Rick Duffield owned by Mattel Inc.  All rights reserved to the copyright owners.

2. Soccer Was Not the Only Dog to Play the Character Wishbone

Although Soccer was the leading actor that played Wishbone, he was not the only one who did. Five dogs in total took on the role of Wishbone, including Soccer.

Three of the other dogs involved were Phoebe, Slugger, and Shiner, who were used to film stunts. The last dog was Bear, who was put to work on publicity stills. Even though Soccer was the main actor, each dog got credit for playing Wishbone.

3. Soccer’s Special Talent Earned Him the Role of Wishbone

Featured Image Credit: Characters by Rick Duffield owned by Mattel Inc.  All rights reserved to the copyright owners.

As mentioned, over 100 dogs tried out for the role of Wishbone. Soccer’s stand-out abilities earned him a shot at the lead, but one impressive trick sealed the deal.

During auditions, Soccer performed an exemplary backflip that blew the producers away. Soccer’s owner trained dogs long before Soccer auditioned for Wishbone, so his training was in very capable hands.

4. Wishbone Reached All Sorts of Audiences

Although Wishbone was featured on PBS, specifically PBS Kids, no shortage of adults tuned in to watch the show. Although young children, their parents, and their teachers often sang praises of the show, an unexpected demographic was college students. These students often watched the show and reported that it helped them with their literature exams.

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Wishbone left a unique legacy behind, with a well loved canine character and actor to be adored. Although the television series is no longer produced, there have been talks of reviving the character with a movie in the near future. Whether or not this will happen, only time will tell.

Featured Image Credit: Characters by Rick Duffield owned by Mattel Inc.  All rights reserved to the copyright owners.

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