Buck is the main character in the film ‘The Call of the Wild’, released in 2020. The film itself is based on the novel of the same name written by Jack London in 1903. The film revolves around a dog named Buck who is stolen from his California home and taken to Yukon amidst the Klondike Gold Rush. Buck then befriends a grizzled outdoors man named John Thornton and sets off on an adventure that changes both of their lives forever. So, what kind of dog is Buck?
In the original novel, London describes Buck as a mix of a St. Bernard and a Collie. Early film adaptions of the novel before the modern film adaptation also portray Buck as some form of St. Bernard mix. The 2020’s film adaptation stays as close to the original novel as possible in terms of the depiction of Buck. The film now uses computer-generated imagery (CGI) to portray Buck as a St. Bernard and Scotch Collie mix.
Originally bred as rescue dogs by the hospice of the Great Saint Bernard Pass, St. Bernards are now beloved the world over for their large size and friendly nature. They can grow up to 76 cm (30 inches) in height and up to 80 kg (180 lbs) in weight. They are also known for their thick coating of hair that protects them from the harsh conditions of the Alps. Perhaps their most desirable trait for dog owners around the world is their patience and protectiveness towards children. This has led to them being referred to as ‘nanny dogs’ by dog breeders.
The Scotland Collie, or Scotch Collie, as the name suggests, originated from Scotland. Exported to America for their usefulness in herding and farming, they now are one of the most popular breed for dog owners around the globe. They usually grow up to 60 cm (24 inches) in height and up to 30 kg (70 lbs) in weight. Their distinct appearance coincides with their friendly and loyal temperament. Scotch Collies also have a strong sense of herding, making it common for them to gather children or other pets and act as their guardians.
In the beginning film, Buck is taken from his home in California and sent to Yukon to be used as part of a dog sled. This establishes the film’s main arc as Buck is exposed to human cruelty, harsh weather conditions, and other more vicious and dominant dogs. As the film progresses, Buck is forced to adapt and begins to rely on his more primitive instincts and tendencies in order to survive. By the end of the film, Buck completely sheds any traits of domestication and fully embraces the wild as his home.
Buck’s story arc in the film mirrors those of many others around the world. Buck is forced to rely on his primitive instincts to survive in a harsh environment he is not accustomed to. True to the lesson of the original novel, the film’s depiction of Buck teaches us to rely on our instincts in the face of adversity, helping us achieve a stronger and better version of ourselves.