This statue of Bobby sits at the corner of Edinburgh's Candlemaker Row and George IV Bridge, and is a Category A listed building
|Born||c. 1855 or 1856|
|Died||14 January 1872 (aged 16)
|Resting place||Greyfriars Kirkyard|
|Key to the City of Edinburgh|
Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier who became known in 19th-century Edinburgh for supposedly spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner until he died himself on 14 January 1872. The story continues to be well known as active oral history in Edinburgh, through several books/films, and because a prominent commemorative statue and nearby graves act as a tourist attraction.
Traditional view 
The best known version of the story is that Bobby belonged to John Gray, who worked for the Edinburgh City Police as a night watchman. When John Gray died he was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard, the graveyard surrounding Greyfriars Kirk in the Old Town of Edinburgh. Bobby then became known locally, spending the rest of his life sitting on his master's grave. 
In 1867 Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Sir William Chambers — who was also a director of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals — paid for Bobby's licence, and gave the dog a collar which is now in the Museum of Edinburgh. 
Several books and films have since been based on Bobby's life, including the novel Greyfriar's Bobby (1912) by Eleanor Atkinson and the films Greyfriars Bobby (1961) and The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby (2006).
Alternative views 
The accuracy of stories of Greyfriar's Bobby has been challenged many times - for instance in books by Forbes Macgregor Greyfriar's Bobby: The Real Story at Last and by Jan Bondeson Greyfriar's Bobby: The Most Faithful Dog in the World.  and by Richard Brassey in "Greyfriars Bobby The Most Famous Dog in Scotland".
Questions about the story's accuracy are also not new. In a Scotsman newspaper article "Greyfriars Bobby A Dogs Devotion" (August 11th 1934) Councillor Wilson McLaren responds to contemporary questions about the accuracy of the stories by describing his own conversation, in 1871, with "Mr Traill" of "Traill's Coffee House" in relation to the dog he himself was then feeding, reassuring readers about the story Mr Traill had given him, and describing responses in 1889 to questions about the story's accuracy. A sense of the difficulty of determining accuracy is gained from two opposing letters to the Scotsman newspaper on February 8th 1889 (part of the debate referred to by McLaren), both from people claiming close links to Greyfriars Church, both claiming to have known of the dog personally, but with opposing views over the accuracy of stories.
A common discussion is over which of two people named John Gray was the real owner of Bobby (one being a night watchman and the other a farmer).  In Councillor McLaren's account Mr Traill in 1871 had spoken about John Gray the farmer.
Jan Bondeson's book advances the view that fundamental facts about the dog and its loyalty are wrong. Bondeson suggests that as background, in 19th century Europe there are documented over 60 'graveyard dogs', or 'cemetery dogs'. These were stray dogs which were fed by visitors and curators to the point the dogs made the graveyards their home, people coming to believe that they were waiting by a grave, and the result being that the dog was looked after. Bondeson claims that after an article about Bobby appeared in the Scotsman, visitation rates to the graveyard increased, which supposedly created a lucrative situation for the local community. Bondeson also believes that in 1867 the original Bobby died and was replaced with a younger dog, and that this explains the longevity of Bobby.
The story of Greyfriar's Bobby has similarities to many others from around the world. List of dogs noted for being faithful after their master's death
In memory 
A lifesize statue of Greyfriars Bobby was created by William Brodie in 1872. This was paid for by a local aristocrat, Baroness Burdett-Coutts and unveiled on November 15, 1873. It stands near the south (main) entrance to Greyfriars Kirkyard. The monument is Edinburgh's smallest listed building. Originally built as a drinking fountain, it very aptly had an upper fountain for humans and a lower fountain for dogs. This had the water supply cut off (as with all Edinburgh's drinking fountains) around 1975 amidst health scares. Both basin areas were infilled with concrete soon after. After being daubed with yellow paint, allegedly by students, on General Election night in 1979, and being hit by a car in 1984, restoration became critical. The monument was subsequently fully restored under the supervision of the then Edinburgh District Council in 1985. The entire base is newly carved but emulates the original exactly. A plaque on the statue reads "A TRIBUTE TO THE AFFECTIONATE FIDELITY OF GREYFRIAR'S BOBBY. IN 1858, THIS FAITHFUL DOG FOLLOWED THE REMAINS OF HIS MASTER TO GREYFRIAR'S CHURCHYARD AND LINGERED NEAR THE SPOT UNTIL HIS DEATH IN 1872 WITH PERMISSION, ERECTED BY THE BARONESS BURDETT- COUTTS" and on the statue is written "GREYFRIAR'S BOBBY, FROM THE LIFE JUST BEFORE HIS DEATH" and "W.H. Brodie Sc RSA 1872"
A red granite stone was erected on Bobby's grave by The Dog Aid Society of Scotland, and unveiled by the Duke of Gloucester on 13 May 1981. Since around 2000 this has been utilised in a shrine-like manner, with sticks (for Bobby to fetch) frequently being left and occasionally dog toys, flowers etc.
The monument reads:
Greyfriars Bobby Died 14 January 1872 Aged 16 years Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all.
Books and films directly about Bobby 
- The book Greyfriars Bobby by Eleanor Atkinson, embellished the story, and made John Gray a shepherd, known as "Auld Jock". The 1961 Walt Disney film Greyfriars Bobby: The True Story of a Dog was based on this book.
- The Illustrated True Story of Greyfriars Bobby by John Mackay.
- The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby, Another film, was released in the UK in February 2006 starring Oliver Golding and Christopher Lee (released elsewhere in 2005 under the alternative title Greyfriars Bobby). The Edinburgh Castle scenes in this film were actually shot at Stirling Castle, whilst many had reservations on casting a West Highland White Terrier as Bobby, and for adding new characters while leaving out one of the later major characters in Bobby's life, John Traill.
Other cultural references 
- Challenge to Lassie (1949), an earlier film based on Atkinson's book, but replacing Bobby with Lassie.
- In the 1945 film The Body Snatcher, Boris Karloff's character (incidentally named Gray) digs up bodies from graves. One of these bodies is that of John Gray. Bobby tries to stop him from taking the corpse, but is struck over the head by Boris Karloff's character, and killed.
- In the PBS kids' series, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, Patty Larceny put a collar on the statue of Bobby and walked him away in the Season 3 episode Little Dog Gone.
- Scottish-Canadian Celtic-Punk band The Real McKenzies wrote a song as a tribute named "The Ballad of Greyfriars Bobby" that appeared on their 2008 album, Off the Leash.
- There is an anachronistic reference to the character in the 2010 British black comedy Burke and Hare'.'
See also 
- Bobbie, the Wonder Dog
- Dog on the Tuckerbox
- Hachikō, the faithful dog commemorated by a statue at Shibuya, Tokyo
- Fido (dog)
- List of dogs noted for being faithful after their master's death
- greyfriarsbobby.co.uk  (11 February 2013).
- Education Scotland website  (11 February 2013).
- Edinburgh Museums and Galleries website  (11 February 2013).
- Edinburgh Museums (monuments) website  (11 February 2013)
- Jan Bondeson. Greyfriars Bobby: The Most Faithful Dog in the World, Amberley Publishing, 2011
- Scotsman Newspaper, August 11th, 1934
- Scotsman Newspaper, February 8th, 1889
- Buildings of Scotland; Edinburgh by Colin McWilliam
- Edinburgh Council Conservation Grant records
- Greyfriars Bobby, by Eleanor Atkinson: Project Gutenberg website.
- Greyfriars Bobby: The True Story of a Dog: IMDB.com website.
- The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby: IMDB.com website.
- Stirling Castle location, The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby: BBC.co.uk website.
- Challenge to Lassie: IMDB.com website.