The Story of ‘Dog,’ the Rescued Blue Heeler in ‘Mad Max 2′

All of George Miller’s Mad Max movies were as intense to make as they are to watch. From the harsh desert filming locations, to a bunch of custom vehicles and stunt people, to non-stop practical effects with tons of explosions and countless car crashes. But in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, there was an iconic 80s canine action star, played by a rescue dog (that also did all his own stunts). And this “Dog,” had an intense life too. First he was a shelter dog just saved from euthanasia because he landed this role. Then he managed to give an incredible first acting performance, in the face of the chaotic shoot that involved loud cars, crazy actors, and scary stunts.

The Story of Dog the Rescued Blue Heeler in Mad Max 2
Credit: Mad Max 2/Kennedy Miller Entertainment

The original Mad Max trilogy is filmed in Australia, with the story also set there. It starred Mel Gibson as former police officer Max in a near-future Australia, where society has collapsed due to war, environmental destruction, and the depletion of vital resources. The sequel starts off with Max having already adopting “Dog” since the end of the first movie.

The dog from Mad Max 2: what is his name and his breed?

Let’s start this off by clarifying the dog is named “Dog” – Both in the movie and in real life. Being an extremely Australian movie, the dog in Mad Max 2 is a Blue Heeler, also known as an Australian Cattle Dog. The breed was first bred in the mid-1800s by crossing Highland Collies with the native dingo dogs to help herd cows. Director George Miller also wanted the Blue Healer to be a tripawd and would name him “Trike.” But it was predictably too hard to specifically find a three-legged Blue Healer. Production was also worried if they posted an advertisement looking for a three-legged dog, that some terrible people might amputate a dog just to be cast in the film.

Mel Gibson blue Heeler named dog from Mad Max 2 The Road Warrior
Credit: Mad Max 2/Kennedy Miller Entertainment

How was “Dog” adopted and cast in Mad Max 2?

Now looking for a four-legged Blue Healer, Miller wanted the pup to have a big personality. He tasked stuntwoman and animal trainer Dale Aspin to track one down. She ended up auditioning over 100 dogs, all from Sydney Shelter, one of the largest animal shelters in New South Wales. She ended up noticing Dog’s energy and picked him, which also saved him from being euthanized. Aspin was originally concerned with casting a Blue Healer, as they’re naturally very territorial and are known to try and bite moving car tires (as they naturally want to nip the heels of cattle). But after spending some time with Dog, she noticed he already loved playing fetch, so she figured he could be trained.

(While NBD for us humans, this was a challenging scene for Dog)

What was Dog’s experience filming Mad Max 2?

Dog’s drama started even before he left the shelter. The shelter rules were dogs had to be neutered before being adopted out. But to keep with the post-apocalyptic realism where dogs would no longer be neutered, Miller insisted they didn’t. A compromise was reached, and Dog controversially received a vasectomy instead. Then after a smooth three-month training session, they soon discovered a big road bump: Dog was scared of cars and loud engine noises – Which is pretty much the entire premise of the movie. Production then created custom earplugs for Dog, then used food or toys to help distract him during noisy car-related scenes.

(This scene really showcases Dog’s acting talent)

What happened to Dog from Mad Max 2?

While Mad Max 2 is an awesome movie we recommend, you should know Dog dies in the movie. And if a poor pup passing away in a movie factors into you watching it, you can visit In real life after production ended, Dog was adopted by his trainer Dale Aspin and her husband Max (who was also a stunt person in the movie). The Aspins planned for Dog to retire on a high note and take it easy on their farm outside of Sydney. But Dog still wanted to work and kept rounding up their farm animals (and occasionally eat a chicken). So Gerry Gauslaa, another one of the movie’s many stunt people, ended up taking him in.

(Didn’t expect to tear up watching this clip but here we are)

For another incredible canine actor, check out our interview with Darby who starred in the Fallout TV series.

Interview With Canine Actor Darby From the Fallout TV Series
Credit: Fallout-Amazon Prime/@thejoycrew-Instagram
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