Known as the “Most Famous Dog in Scotland”, Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier who lived in Edinburgh from 1856 to 1872. Bobby belonged to John Grey, and Edinburgh police officer. Legend has it that after John’s death, Bobby guarded John’s grave for 14 years until he died himself. Both are buried at Greyfriars Kirkyard.
Bobby’s statue is located a block east of their graves. His nose is rubbed gold from tourists rubbing him after taking pictures. The statue was previously a water fountain for humans up top and dogs at the bottom. Tourists line up for pictures before visiting Greyfriars Kirkyard to see the tombstones.
Unfortunately the veracity of this story has been contested. There are theories in Edinburgh that Bobby’s owner was not John Grey, but a local farmer. Another historian points out that there are over 60 documented 19th century “graveyard dogs”, many of whom where fed by visitors. After daily feedings the dogs would stay, and the local graveyard keepers would believe that they were watching over the grave of a friend. The same historian theorized that when the original Bobby died, he was replaced by a younger Skye Terrier, explaining his long lifespan.
Myth or reality, Bobby’s monument is an absolute must-see in Edinburgh, and a quick walk from downtown, well worth seeing.
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