Surely if a dog is man's best friend, then dogs must also be the best buds of scientists and their pursuit of knowledge. Consider this statistic: assuming that dog ownership among scientists mirrors that of the U.S. population at large, there are just over half a million scientists who are dog owners in the U.S. alone.

Now, if those dog-friendly households each keep 1.7 dogs under their roofs (like in the general populace), that means there are just shy of one million scientist-owned dogs in the States. (Just to be clear, there are more researchers with doggies than residents of San Francisco.) Small wonder then that their paw prints are trampled all over the pursuit of science.

So without further ado, meet the top 10 dogs of science, exemplars of how our beloved canines chased the elusive ball of scientific discovery and brought it back to the feet of their human colleagues for the betterment of all—sometimes sacrificing themselves in the process.

View a slide show of the Top 10 Dogs of Science