Whatever Happened To The Dog In The Bush's Baked Beans Commercials?

Even if you're not familiar with the brand, there's a good chance that your favorite BBQ baked beans recipe involves a can Bush's Baked Beans. When we did our ranking of popular canned baked beans, the top three were all Bush's Baked Beans offerings. 

The beautiful baked bean footage we've all come to love would not be complete without an appearance from legendary spokesdog, Duke, a Golden Retriever who had his paws on the secret family recipe. And Duke would be happy to share what makes them special, but Jay Bush, the founder's great-grandson who is seen in the commercials with the pooch, has done his best over the years to keep a lid on the secret formula.

What's no secret is Duke's popularity. His Instagram account, which keeps fans up to date on the pup's favorite things and his daily activities — from making tacos to going on adventures — has amassed over 18,000 followers. Furthermore, one of the original canine actors behind the role of Duke, a pup named Sam, according to Pop Icon, had fans coming out of his floppy ears. But what ever happened to the hardworking hound?

Duke lives on after Sam's death

Although Sam retired from the Bush's Baked Beans commercial gig years ago, his fans were sad to hear of his death in June 2018. At the time, USA Today reported that Sam was euthanized after suffering from an aggressive form of cancer. The dog lived in Apopka, Florida, with his owner, who trains animals to work in commercials.

The bit involving Bush and his canine companion began in the mid-1990s, when the company needed a new advertising campaign and decided that Jay's special relationship with his own dog, Duke, would be the perfect way to sell canned beans, according to NPR. They later started using dogs that were a little less camera-shy than the original spokesdog. In a statement, Bush's called Sam and Jay, "the embodiment of the BUSH's brand."

Sam had not represented Bush's brand in years at the time of his death. Although the actor had moved on to chasing tennis balls in greener pastures, the company will continue to use Duke as a spokesdog by employing other canine actors.