Is the Dog in The Call of the Wild Real?

The Call of the Wild‘ is based on Jack London’s 1903 book of the same name, which has already been made into a movie once in 1935. Considered to be one of the most important works of literature in the 20th century, the premise follows a man who looks for his fortune during the Gold Rush. He crosses paths with a dog named Buck, who has been stolen from his California home and sold to freight haulers in Yukon.

Together, this man, John Thornton, and Buck embark on an adventure that changes their lives and helps Buck understand his place in the world. Considering that Buck is an instrumental part of the story, coupled with the fact that the dog in London’s own book, is based on a real-life dog, you might be wondering if Buck is real. We have got you covered in that regard.

Is the Dog in ‘The Call of the Wild’ Real?

Unfortunately, Buck is not a real dog. The half Saint Bernard, half Scotch Shepherd is completely rendered with computer graphics. The CGI dog has garnered a multitude of reactions, with The Wrap noting that the lifeless eyes of the CGI model made the movie an uneasy watch for a dog-owner. The Guardian is a little more forthcoming, saying, “The director here is Chris Sanders, who moves (partly) away from animation into the world of live-action mixed with CGI animals from the uncanny valley.”

Terry Notary, the actor, and stunt coordinator has stood in for the CGI creation of Buck. Despite the detractors who have not liked how Buck looks due to the CGI, PETA has come out praising the rendition. You can check out the welfare organization’s tweet below, where it lauds the movie for not exploiting animals.

Notably, several movies already opt for CGI animals rather than real-life counterparts, to prevent the danger of harm in certain scenes. For example, ‘The Call of the Wild’ has Buck going up against a bear. One can only imagine the horrors in store if an actual dog was filmed, facing a bear. That being said, Buck is modeled on a real-life dog, and we have information about that too.

The Real Dog that Bucky is Based On:

Director Chris Sanders and the CGI team had the perfect real-life dog actors for all other parts except Buck’s. Chris and his wife saw the perfect match on Petfinder. Jessica, Chris’ wife, was looking for dogs similar to her own 14-year-old Brody when she came across Buckley.

Much like the real story, this dog comes from the same crossbreed, of a St. Bernard and a farm Collie. Buckley’s tale of rags to riches, as he came off the street, into a pet shelter, and eventually made his way to Hollywood, is serendipitous in itself.

Both the director and his wife have commented on the coincidence of this dog being named Buckley, who eventually becomes the model on which Buck, from ‘The Call of the Wild’ movie, is based. When Jessica brought Buckley on the set, the team had Terry standing in for him, but they needed an actual dog, based on which they would make the CGI versions. One of the first scenes that Buckley filmed was eating pancakes on set. You can check out the sweet story of Buckley’s inclusion in the movie, below.

As for Buckley, not only is he a star in a movie but is also part of Jessica’s family now. He has his own Instagram page, which you can check out, and seems to be enjoying his time on the red carpet, as is evident in the post below.

Thus, while Buck might not be real in ‘The Call of the Wild’, he is very much modeled on a real dog, and the story of this real-life dog is amazing in its own right since he travels from a place of loneliness and coldness to one of fame and comfort, perhaps realizing his own place in the world, just as Buck did, in London’s tale.

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