In a message dated 5/16/99 12:01:55 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:

<< Maybe someone can enlighten me.....why do all these male dogs have the name
 "Lassie"? Doesn't "lassie" mean "girl"?  Even if they are using a male dog
 to play the part of Lassie in movies, it seems a little strange to give
 them that name in real life if they are not female. >>

The character of fiction is a female.    The dogs have all been male.   Bob
has often said it's not a matter of intelligence that female dogs are not
used.   They are male because they don't lose coat like a female and they are
larger so child actors can work opposite them for longer periods of time.
In today's entertainment world, you need to be ready to shoot anytime,
anywhere and very few producers will wait till a dog comes back into coat.

On the naming of the live dog, consider the child audience, or children of
all ages.   They see the movies, tv shows, etc.   Then Lassie makes a
personal appearance.   They yell Lassie!  and the dog doesn't acknowledge
them.    Bummer!!    What disappointment!

The way things are anyone that calls the name gets the dog's attention(
except when Bob is working him- nobody but Bob gets his attention then).
I've been in the presence of Lassie on his boat and kids yelled Lassie from
the docks.   Lassie got up on his own, looked over the side of the boat at
them and barked hello.   No trainer told him to do this.  He just did it.
But he "knows" when he's working.   I've tried to break him while Bob was
working him in his own backyard and he won't give in.   He does what Bob
directs him to do.  When Bob gives the cue, work is over and he's back to
responding.    Sometimes it's almost like a working relationship between them
too.  We've taped interviews where we ask Bob a question, like Does Lassie
enjoy being a star?, and Lassie will answer!  WOOF!   It's an incredible bond
they have.

It's funny too.   As much as I'm around Lassie I can't remember the last time
I thought about it being a "girl's" name.   Lassie fits him!