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Rafael de Santiago
FCI President
Marilyn died 55 years ago, on 5th August 1962…
We would like to pay tribute to her with this article:
Marilyn Monroe’s dogs

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring”,
Marilyn Monroe

© Douglas Miller

Marilyn Monroe, and the rather less well-known Norma Jeane Baker, perhaps the most famous woman in Los Angeles, California, led a lonely life as a result of her enormous fame, but she always had pets, especially dogs. Quotations such as "If you talk to a dog or a cat it doesn't tell you to shut up" or “Dogs never bite me, only humans” show how much she loved dogs, who had been her constant companions ever since her unhappy, rootless childhood, when she was shunted about from one foster family to another.

Here are details of the dogs (and their breeds) that she had during her lifetime:

Tippy : a dog given to Marilyn in around 1932, when she was still Norma Jeane. Her adoptive father, Albert Wayne Bolender, gave her a black and white dog, which accompanied her to school and played with her. Tippy was shot by a neighbour while he was prowling around his garden. We do not know what breed he was, but the photos I have seen during my research suggest that he may have been a Boston terrier or non-pedigree Boston mongrel.

Spaniel : in the 1940s, Marilyn shared a pet cocker spaniel with her "sister". There are photos of the dog but we do not have any further details.

Muggsy : Marilyn Monroe’s first husband, Jim Dougherty, bought her a pet Collie because the breed had taken the actress’s fancy after she met Lassie. It was sandy and white. The story goes that the poor dog died of a broken heart because Marilyn paid little attention to it, as her career was starting to take off and she was busy all the time.

Ruffles : a fine Springer spaniel, which joined her group of dogs in around 1947.

Josepha : a Chihuahua. After this little dog she had another one called Choo Choo. Marilyn made various films with Columbia Pictures in 1948, and it was a gift from the studio.

Hugo : a Basset Hound. The dog was owned by the actress and her husband Arthur Miller, when they were both living in 57th Street in New York City. Marilyn had the bad habit of giving him sips of whisky to liven him up. When they got divorced, the dog remained with Arthur Miller, as the licence was in his name. It was a fairly intense black colour.

Maf o Mafia Honey : some people say that this was a small white French poodle given to Marilyn by Frank Sinatra, others say it was a Maltese. Sinatra gave her this dog and she named it "Maf" because of Sinatra’s supposed Mafia connections. The dog was purchased by Natalie Wood’s mother at a farm in Sussex, Great Britain, although other people say that it came from Scotland. Marilyn allowed Maf to sleep on an incredibly expensive white beaver coat which Miller had given her in order to annoy her ex-husband. When her mistress died, Sinatra gave Maf to Gloria Lovell, his secretary and publicist. The little dog was around three years old when Marilyn died in 1962.

Andrew O´Hagan tells the whole story in a book entitled The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of his Friend Marilyn Monroe, which was a worldwide bestseller, especially in the USA. The story is told from a dog’s point of view.
As far as I have been able to find out, the dog’s licence said poodle, although some biographers say it was a Maltese and, judging from the photos, I would say it was a lovely mix of the two breeds.
Monroe enjoyed being photographed with lots of her friends’ dogs and with others for her work, such as in 1959, the two Dachshunds belonging to the French ambassador who awarded her the famous Crystal Star for the film “The Prince and the Showgirl”.

I hope you have enjoyed getting to know another, less well-known side of blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe, the dog-lover.

Rafael Fernández de Zafra