The Aborted War Dog. The original Rin Tin Tin was a German Shepard that was intended to be a war dog. He was found by Lee Duncan, an American airman in WWI as a puppy in an abandoned German army kennel. Lee was scouting the county side after the front advanced when he stumbled upon the wrecked building. In it he found a mother and five puppies, which he rescued and brought back to the base. He kept a male, which he named Rin Tin Tin. Getting him back to the U.S. after the war ended was no easy task. Special permission was required which Lee only obtained just before the ship sailed for home. When he got back and as the puppy grew, Lee found that Rinty (as Lee called him) was exceptionally athletic, and that the dog’s intelligence was off the chart. Next: Rin Tin Tin’s Movie Career.