The Dog (also known as Prince, Spike, Byron, Bradley Dog and the Shady Rest Dog) is the nameless pet of the Bradley family and the unofficial mascot of the Shady Rest Hotel. Because the girls could not decide on a name to give him, they opted to keep him nameless until they reached a decision, which they never did. He is an intelligent dog who has proven to be a true member of the Bradley family.
The Dog is a highly intelligent pooch with human-like intelligence and can fully understand humans. He has been proven to even be smarter than Uncle Joe Carson and can do all manner of things normal dogs can't, such as play checkers (skilled enough to beat the champion of Crabwell Corners), carry out complex instructions, keep track of finances, purchase goods, and he can even read, making the Dog a very special canine. The origin of his intelligence and refined training are never detailed as his past is quite a mystery, and even his previous caretakers have no idea where he came from or if he ever had actual owners.
The Dog is very affectionate and loyal, and loves his family dearly, especially Betty Jo Bradley and the two share a very close bond, with Betty Jo being one of the few people who treats the dog in a way befitting his intelligence and considers him a true part of the family. The Dog was also the on and off again mate of Mignon, the pampered pet dog of Lisa Douglas.
Behind the Scenes
The Dog was played by the famous canine actor Higgins, who is also known as the lovable mutt Benji from the popular film series of the same name. Higgins was adopted, raised and trained by Frank Inn who later used Higgins in Petticoat Junction which would help to launch Higgins' long and successful 14 year career. Higgins' exceptional performance as the Dog earned him a PATSY Award in 1966.