No list of these critters would be complete without mentioning the Benji franchise. This started in 1974 with the movie entitled Benji about a scruffy homeless dog who soon befriends a doctor's young son and daughter as well as their housekeeper Mary (played by Patsy Garrett who did the Chow-Chow-Chow dance in Purina Cat Chow commercials in the 1970's through 1980's) but must stay out of the doctor's way since the doctor dislikes dogs. Anyway, after Benji does a heroic deed, the doctor changes his tune. Oh, and Benji was played by a performer named Higgins who had been featured as the nameless dog seen chasing the Cannonball on the tracks in the credits and having misadventures with Uncle Joe in Petticoat Junction but, by the time of this movie, Higgins was already getting old though still remarkably agile and attentive despite his age. Oh, it should be noted that this movie reunited Higgins with his Petticoat Junction co-star Edgar Buchanan as well as featuring a cameo by Frances Bavier (TAGS Aunt Bee) as a the owner of a cat (just ONE cat as opposed to her real life fate) in what would be all three performers' last movie roles. Alas the next year Higgins would soon go to that great kennel in the sky at age 17 and for the first few sequels, the role would be taken over by Higgins's daughter Benjean. The series would be revived several times- most recently in 2018 but what's interesting is that, from Higgins's death onward, Benji's always been played by female dogs despite the character being male.
This is the exact opposite of the Lassie movie and TV series (plural) in which the character was female yet always portrayed by a male dog!