In 1925, Jim was born in Louisiana and purchased by Sam Van Arsdale. He was a Llewellin Setter, which is a strain of English setter that was bred to hunt upland game birds. The dogs are not naturally aggressive and are very smart.
At a young age, Jim quickly made his mark as a great hunt dog. He was so good that Outdoor Life Magazine termed him “The Hunting Dog of the Country.” However, Jim became world famous after it was determined that he could perform some amazing acts on command.
When told to do so, Jim could go out into the street and locate a car by make, color, and license number. Among a crowd of people, Jim was able to identify the “man who sells hardware,” the “man that takes care of sick people,” and the “visitor from Kansas City.” He could understand instructions in any foreign language, shorthand, or Morse code. Jim also displayed psychic ability. If asked, he could guess the sex of an unborn baby. He picked the winner of the Kentucky Derby seven years in a row and also predicted the Yankee victory in the 1936 World Series.
After Jim was featured in the newspapers, his psychic ability was studied by psychologists from different universities. Dr. A. J. Durant, director of the School of Veterinary Medicine, tested his ability in a public demonstration and concluded that Jim “possessed an occult power that might never come again to a dog in many generations.” Journalists from all over the world came to witness Jim’s show and were stunned. His fame spread across the United States and he was featured in Ripley’s Believe it or Not. Jim died on March 18, 1937 and is buried in Marshall’s Ridge Park Cemetery in Missouri.