Higgins was born on December 12, 1957 in Los Angeles, California.
Higgins was one of the best-known dog actors of the 1960s – 1970s. He won a Patsy Award in 1967 and he was cover-featured on an issue of TV Guide magazine.
The animal trainer Frank Inn found the famous canine at the Burbank Animal Shelter as a puppy. A fluffy black-and-tan mixed breed dog, he was marked like a Border Terrier but Frank Inn believed him to be a mix of Miniature Poodle, Cocker Spaniel, and Schnauzer.
Higgins first came to national attention as the pet who played "Dog" in the television sitcom Petticoat Junction for six of the show's seven seasons, from 1964 to 1970, appearing in 163 episodes.
Higgins also made a guest-appeared on the television sitcom Green Acres with Eva Gabor in 1965 and The Beverly Hillbillies.
Higgins starred in the film Mooch Goes to Hollywood with with Zsa Zsa Gabor and Vincent Price.
In 1974, at the age of 14, Higgins came out of retirement to star in Benji.
Higgins had an extraordinary ability to convey a broad range of emotions through his facial expressions. Frank Inn, who trained thousands of animals of all species during his lifetime, told reporters that Higgins was the smartest dog he had ever worked with.
Higgins had a close rapport with the actor Edgar Buchanan, who played Uncle Joe Carson on Petticoat Junction. Buchanan's last film was Benji, which was also the last film that Higgins made. The two actors had an obvious fondness for one another, which is especially clear in Benji.
Frank Inn and Higgins were very close in real life as well as on the job. Frank Inn wrote two poems about Higgins: My Little Brown Dog and My Gift to Jesus.
Higgins died at the age of 17 on November 11, 1975. Higgins was cremated and his ashes were in an urn on the mantel piece in Frank Inn's home.
At Frank Inn's request, Higgin's ashes were buried with him in his coffin when Frank Inn died in 2002.
Higgins's progeny carried on his work in a continuing series of movies and television series featuring the Benji character, beginning with For the Love of Benji in 1977, which starred his daughter Benjean.
My Little Brown Dog by Frank Inn
I have a little brown dog that all my friends dearly love. It is Benji, "God's Gift", to my family from heaven above.
A dog is one of God's created creatures that is faithful to men. Because he is so faithful, he is called, "man's best friend."
He is a companion to people, he is a shepherd to sheep. He guides the blind and he guards your home when you sleep.
Sometime you may betray your dog, but as long as he should live He will follow his master faithfully and he will always forgive.
I wonder if Christ had a little brown dog that trusted and followed like mine With two silky ears and a nose round and wet and two eyes round and tender that shine.
I am sure that if Christ had a little brown dog, it would feel like His master was God. And would need no other proof that Christ was divine, and would worship the ground that He trod.
Now I don't believe that our Lord had a dog, because in the Bible I read How He prayed in the garden alone, while His friends and disciples had fled.
I am sure that if Christ had a little brown dog, with a heart so tender and warm, That dog would never have left Him to suffer alone, but he would have snuggled close under His arm.
Licking the fingers on His hands in agony clasped, Still trying to comfort his boss. And when they took Jesus away, he would have trotted behind. He would have followed Him all the way to the cross.
Young children should learn to be faithful at home Like my little brown dog I described in this poem.
Take them to Church and don't let them get bored, So they can learn to be faithful and follow the Lord.
They should hear about Jesus, how he was born here on earth, Remembering what He did for them when we celebrate His birth.
Be filled with the Spirit and you can live without fear, You will have a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
My Gift To Jesus by Frank Inn
If someone had given baby JESUS a dog that was as loyal as mine, To sleep by His side and follow Him and feel like He was Divine.
As He grew into manhood He'd have a dog following Him every day, As He preached to crowds, or if He went into the Garden to pray.
It's so sad that CHRIST went away to face death alone and apart, With no dog close beside Him to help comfort His MASTER's heart.
When JESUS arose that Easter morn, how happy He would have been, If a little dog licked the hand of the Man who died for all men.
Our LORD has one now as He just called for my popular dog Benji, Later, God called for my Wife and now they are both in Eternity.