Written By: Eliza Berman

As magazine titles go, LIFE is perhaps the most all-encompassing in the history of periodicals. Though the magazine specialized in facets of human life from war to fashion and culture to politics the editors more than dabbled in the lives of our four-legged (and slithering and winged) friends. Someone in the art department clearly had a soft spot for dogs, but mice, lorises, triggerfish and walruses all had their turns on the cover, as well. For their contributions to science and cinema, agriculture and plain old human companionship, animals more than earned their ample coverage in LIFE.

Liz Ronk edited this gallery for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

February 8, 1937 LIFE Magazine cover

February 8, 1937 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by Charles J. Belden

March 1, 1937 LIFE Magazine cover

March 1, 1937 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by Henry M. Lester

April 26, 1937 LIFE Magazine cover

April 26, 1937 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by Torkel Korling

July 26, 1937 LIFE Magazine cover

July 26, 1937 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt

January 10, 1938 LIFE Magazine cover

January 10, 1938 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by Lane Flinders

December 12, 1938 LIFE Magazine cover

December 12, 1938 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by George Karger

April 3, 1944 LIFE Magazine cover

April 3, 1944 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by Nina Leen

September 9, 1946 LIFE Magazine cover

September 9, 1946 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by Martha Holmes

September 23, 1946 LIFE Magazine cover

September 23, 1946 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by Frank Scherschel

November 4, 1946 LIFE Magazine cover

November 4, 1946 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by David Douglas Duncan

August 23, 1948 LIFE Magazine cover

August 23, 1948 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by Jon Brenneis

January 31, 1949 LIFE Magazine cover

January 31, 1949 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by George Karger

October 8, 1951 LIFE Magazine cover

October 8, 1951 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by Burton Glinn

November 30, 1953 LIFE Magazine cover

November 30, 1953 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by Fritz Goro

December 22, 1952 LIFE Magazine cover

December 22, 1952 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by Ed Clark

March 22, 1954 LIFE Magazine cover

March 22, 1954 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by Roger Kirschner

November 8, 1954 LIFE Magazine cover

November 8, 1954 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by Gjon Mili

November 24, 1958 LIFE Magazine cover

November 24, 1958 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by Ralph Crane

March 16, 1959 LIFE Magazine cover

March 16, 1959 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by Dmitri Kessel

June 27, 1960 LIFE Magazine cover

June 27, 1960 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by Fritz Goro

February 10, 1961 LIFE Magazine cover

February 10, 1961 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by Henry Burroughs

March 1, 1963 LIFE Magazine cover

March 1, 1963 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by Nina Leen

June 19, 1964 LIFE Magazine cover

June 19, 1964 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by Francis Miller

January 6, 1967 LIFE Magazine cover

January 6, 1967 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by John Dominis

December 5, 1969 LIFE Magazine cover

December 5, 1969 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by John Dominis

January 30, 1970 LIFE Magazine cover

January 30, 1970 LIFE Magazine cover

Photo by Co Rentmeester

More Like This

animals

Cats: Companions in Life

animals

LIFE’s Tribute to Dogs

animals

When Maine Got Its Caribou Back

animals

Celebrities’ Best Friends

Young girl riding her pony as colt follows, 1956. animals

Mane Event: LIFE’s 25 Most Memorable Horses

Poet Rod McKuen playing record on stereo set while pet Siamese cat nuzzles his face affectionately, 1967. animals

Twenty-five Delightful Pictures of Cats