110 Of The Best Dog Movies That No Animal Lover Should Miss
Those of us blessed with having our own dogs will tell you this - watching a puppy doing its puppy things is like watching the best Hollywood blockbuster on repeat. Supplement that with running your fingers through its crazy soft fur and inhaling that forest-like smell and it’s a sensation to die for. However, for those who are yet to own a furry friend, watching a dog movie might be the answer. Here, our four-legged heroes not only do their regular thing that we adore so much but act just as good as their human counterparts, too. And even if you own a pooch of your own, these animal movies might make you feel an even deeper love for these wet-nosed, shiny-eyed angels on Earth. So, without any further ado, here’s our list of the best dog movies ever!
And it’s a comprehensive list, indeed! From such amazing family movies from the olden days like Old Yeller and the animated Lady And The Tramp to thrilling modern ones like Eight Below and Bolt, these family-friendly movies will cater to even the pickiest cinephile. It’s dogs, after all, and who doesn’t love them! You can expect to see thrilling adventures, beautiful romances, and unlikely friendships in these movies about dogs, and all of these stories will sate your need to experience something good and profound. Let me repeat - it’s dogs, after all, and who doesn’t love them!
So, let’s go straight to our list of dog movies! As per usual, the beautiful movies are just a tail’s wag below. Vote for the ones that you’ve spent your whole childhood watching on repeat or maybe the ones that you haven’t watched but they’ve caught your eye. After all that is done, share these cute animal movies with your friends!
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
1993 | 1 hour 24 minutes | Directed by Duwayne Dunham
Voiced by Michael J. Fox and Sally Field, starring Ben the Golden Retriever as Shadow, Rattler the American Bulldog as Chance, and Tiki the Himalayan cat as Sassy
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey is a Disney remake of a 1963 movie called The Incredible Journey which was based on the novel of the same name by Sheila Burnford. The story centers around a trio of pets: a fun-loving American bulldog, Chance, a wise old golden retriever, Shadow, and a hilarious Himalayan cat, Sassy. All of them belong to one family and as their owners have to temporarily relocate from their hometown, the pets are left with the family’s friend to babysit them. Due to miscommunication, the trio thinks they are left behind and sets out on a dangerous journey home through the Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s a delightful movie, one that was designed for kids, but liked by the adults just as much!
1961 | 1 hour 19 minutes | Directed by Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, Wolfgang Reitherman
Voiced by Rod Taylor, Betty Lou Gerson, J. Pat O’Malley
Although 101 Dalmatians has had plenty of ecranisations throughout the years, the one that we’d like to include in our list is the original Disney animation from 1961. It is based on Dodie Smith’s novel The Hundred And One Dalmatians and centers, well, you know it, around Dalmatian puppies. A litter of them is kidnapped by the villainous Cruella de Vil who wants to turn them into fancy fur coats. The puppies' parents, Pongo and Perdita, set out to rescue their little ones, saving, in addition to their own, 84 more Dalmatian puppies brought from pet stores, bringing the total count to 101. It’s a witty, charming, heartwarming animation that proved to be a remarkable success among both the younger and the older audiences.
Lady And The Tramp
1955 | 1 hour 16 minutes | Directed by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske
Voiced by Barbara Luddy, Larry Roberts, Peggy Lee
Lady And The Tramp is an animated musical romance film produced by Walt Disney. And although you might’ve already known that, you probably didn’t know that the movie was based on a 1945 Cosmopolitan magazine story Happy Dan, The Cynical Dog by Ward Greene. The movie centers around a beautiful, odds-defying love story between a pampered American cocker spaniel Lady, who hails from an upper-middle-class family, and a stray mutt called Tramp. When the two of them meet, it’s like their romance was written in the stars - if it all starts quite coldly between them, we all know how the story ends! Lady And The Tramp is a delightful fantasy that hasn’t lost its charm even after almost 70 years.
The Fox And The Hound
1981 | 1 hour 23 minutes | Directed by Ted Berman, Richard Rich, Art Stevens
Voiced by Mickey Rooney, Kurt Russell, Pearl Bailey
The Fox And The Hound is an animated buddy drama film produced by Walt Disney Productions and loosely based on a novel of the same name by Daniel P. Mannix. The story centers around Ted the red fox’s and Copper the hound’s unlikely friendship. It’s a struggle for them to continue their bond, as the surrounding society's views push them to act as adversaries since the duo are enemies by nature. It’s a cheery old-fashioned movie that doesn’t break any new grounds with its story or animation but has loads of heart. And that is by far one of the most important things!
1992 | 1 hour 27 minutes | Directed by Brian Levant
Starring Charles Grodin, Bonnie Hunt, Dean Jones, and Chris the St. Bernard as Beethoven
Beethoven is a family comedy film and the first installment of the Beethoven film series. The story goes like this - a group of puppies is dognapped by thieves from a pet store. One of them, a slobbering St. Bernard, escapes and finds its way to the Newton family home. The father of the family, as dads usually are, is against keeping the puppy, but soon bends to his family’s pleas and takes him in. And this is where their lives turn upside down and Beethoven the puppy takes the center stage of everything. There’s a villainous vet, captive dogs, and all the other adventures that the family, together with their mischievous new pet, have to go through.
2006 | 2 hours | Directed by Frank Marshall
Starring Paul Walker, Jason Biggs, Bruce Greenwood together with D.J., Timba, Koda, Jasmin, Apache, Buck, Noble, Troika, Flapjack, Dino, and Sitka the sled dogs
Eight Below is a Walt Disney survival drama film based on the 1983 Japanese film Antarctica. It all starts like this - eight sled dogs bravely get their humans back to the safety of an Antarctic base, where, because of the dangerous weather conditions, all the human personnel is being evacuated. The dogs, much to the dismay of their trainer Jerry Shepard, are left behind collared and chained at the base. Jerry was certain that he’d come back soon to rescue his dogs, but the operation only takes place six months later. During this time, the dogs fight for their survival. It’s an effective story supplemented by an unarguably talented animal cast, seemingly capable of showing the truest and deepest human emotions on screen.
The Incredible Journey
1963 | 1 hour 20 minutes | Directed by Fletcher Markle
Starring Emile Genest, John Drainie, Tommy Tweed together with Muffy the bull terrier as Bodger, Rink the Labrador retriever as Luath, and Syn Cat the Siamese cat as Tao
1963’s The Incredible Journey is the original ecranization of Sheila Burnford’s 1961 novel of the same name. Just like in the remake decades later, we follow the journey of a trio of pets - Bodger the bull terrier, Luath the Labrador retriever, and Tao the Siamese cat - as they brave 250 miles of wilderness to get back home. Besides being just as exciting and as heartwarming as its successor, the original Incredible Journey movie can boast about its awe-inspiring picturesque nature views that were shot in Ontario, Washington, and Oregon.
Marley & Me
2008 | 1 hour 55 minutes | Directed by David Frankel
Starring Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Eric Dane, and Jonah and Clyde the Labrador Retrievers as Marley
Marley & Me is a comedy-drama film based on the memoir of the same name by John Grogan. It’s a story of a young family as they mature throughout the years together with the family’s ‘bonding material,’ Labrador Marley. Marley is a rambunctious little pup who soon grows into a 100-pound beast but loses none of his silliness. Throughout the years, he proves to be an irreplaceable part of John and Jenny’s family even after they have their own kids; Marley is always there. The story is beautiful, heartwarming, and utterly heartbreaking in the end - a quite realistic depiction of the happy messiness that is family life.
1957 | 1 hour 23 minutes | Directed by Robert Stevenson
Starring Dorothy McGuire, Fess Parker, Tommy Kirk, and Spike as Old Yeller
Old Yeller, a drama film, is set in a post-Civil War Texas and follows the story of the young Travis Coates. He’s left to take care of the family ranch together with his mother and his younger brother, as their father sets out on a cattle drive. Soon, a yellow mongrel dog comes for an uninvited stay at the ranch, and although Travis is quite reluctant to adopt the dog at first, Old Yeller soon gains his respect and love by warding off raccoons, snakes, bears, and various other dangerous wildlife. Old Yeller drastically changes Travis’ life with his courage and utter devotion. It’s a sensible and warm family picture that’s both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.
All Dogs Go To Heaven
1989 | 1 hour 24 minutes | Directed by Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, Dan Kuenster
Voiced by Dom DeLuise, Burt Reynolds, Daryl Gilley
All Dogs Go To Heaven is an animated musical adventure film that tells the story of Charlie B. Barkin, a German shepherd, murdered by his former friend Carface Carruthers. Charlie withdraws from his place in Heaven and goes back to Earth to his best friend Itchy Itchiford in order to take revenge on Carruthers together. However, on Earth, Charlie meets an orphan girl who can speak with animals and she soon becomes his very best friend. This proves to Charlie that there’s nothing more valuable on Earth and in Heaven than a real friendship. Although the subject matter at times might be on the darker side in All Dogs Go To Heaven, it is still a widely loved Disney animation.
Homeward Bound II: Lost In San Francisco
1996 | 1 hour 28 minutes | Directed by David R. Ellis
Voiced by Michael J. Fox, Sally Field, Ralph Waite, and starring quite a lot of dogs and cats
In Homeward Bound II: Lost In San Francisco, we get to meet our beloved trio - Chance, Shadow, and Sassy - once again. Now, the pets are separated from their vacationing owners in San Francisco - a huge city with mean streets in the eyes of these animals. During their adventurous road back to safety, Chance meets Delilah the Kuvasz, and a romance is born. While the second installment in the Homeward Bound series has copious amounts of sentiment in it, it is still a very loveable movie that the whole family will enjoy.
1996 | 1 hour 43 minutes | Directed by Stephen Herek
Starring Glen Close, Jeff Daniels, Joely Richardson together with 230 Dalmatian puppies and 20 adult Dalmatian dogs
101 Dalmatians is an adventure-comedy film that is a live-action adaptation of Disney’s 1961 animated movie of the same name. Now, this 1996 version has by far the best Cruella de Vil embodied by Glen Close - so evil and villainous that you’ll get goosebumps even looking at her. The main story, however, is basically exactly the same, although adapted to the more modern setting. There’s Pongo and Perdita, the 101 puppies, and the successful rescue mission. However, backed by stellar acting, this new take on the old story will not bore you at all!
1994 | 1 hour 34 minutes | Directed by Daniel Petrie
Starring Helen Slater, Tom Guiry, Jon Tenney, and Howard the rough collie as Lassie
As you all may well know, Lassie has had many appearances in various movies and TV series, but the one that we are including in our list is 1994’s Lassie. What sets it apart from the others? Well, besides the undeniable charms of Howard the rough collie in Lassie’s role, this movie is stunningly picturesque and adorably sweet. Oh, and let’s not forget that the story is complemented with the music of such amazing musicians as The Beatles, The Allman Brothers, and Bob Dylan.
The Adventures Of Milo And Otis
1986 | 1 hour 16 minutes | Directed by Masanori Hata
Voice by Dudley Moore in the US version, starring Chatran the cat as Milo and Pu the Pug as Otis
The Adventures Of Milo And Otis is a Japanese adventure comedy-drama film about two animals, Milo the cat and Otis the pug. Upon meeting each other, they instantly form a bond, however, circumstances separate them and send them on hazardous treks. Although various animal rights organizations raised allegations of animal abuse during the filming of The Adventures Of Milo And Otis, they were not confirmed. Also, the US version has all the scenes that might seem sensitive (like animals in dangerous situations) edited out, so the final cut is a perfectly beautiful family movie.
1991 | 1 hour 47 minutes | Directed by Randal Kleiser
Starring Ethan Hawke, Klaus Maria Brandauer, and Jed the Vancouver Island wolf-Alaskan Malamute hybrid as White Fang
White Fang is a Northern adventure drama based on Jack London’s 1906 novel of the same name. Both the book and the movie tell the story of a young Klondike gold prospector, Jack, and his unbelievable friendship with a wild wolfdog. Here, the wolfdog is played by Jed, who is, in fact, a wolfdog and a true Hollywood star, having been featured in movies like The Thing and The Journey Of Natty Gann, just to name a few. White Fang is a beautiful story about courage that is supplemented by stunning views of the Alaskan frontier.
The Secret Life Of Pets
Hotel For Dogs
2009 | 1 hour 40 minutes | Directed by Thor Freudenthal
Starring Emma Roberts, Jake T. Austin, Lisa Kudrow, Cosmo the Jack Russell terrier as Friday, and around 70 other dogs
Hotel For Dogs is a family comedy that tells the story of two orphaned siblings - Andi and Bruce - living in foster care. They are not allowed to have pets in their home, but for Friday, an adorable Jack Russell terrier who they secretly take in, they would do anything. Andi and Bruce find the perfect place for shelter where they could keep Friday - a huge abandoned hotel. The siblings transform it into a full-scale dog hotel and Friday is joined by dozens of other furry friends. It’s a fantastic story that disarms the viewers with its joyful take on the beautiful bond between kids and their pets.
2008 | 1 hour 36 minutes | Directed by Byron Howard and Chris Williams
Voiced by John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Susie Essman
Bolt is a computer-animated comedy-adventure film whose main hero is Bolt - a Swiss shepherd voiced by John Travolta. This pup has spent his whole life on the set of television series and believes he certainly has amazing superpowers. When his beloved co-star and owner, 13-year-old Penny, is “kidnapped” on the show, Bolt runs away. Eventually, he teams up with an alley cat named Mittens and a hamster called Rhino on a cross-country journey back home. Bolt’s likable characters, a new take on a familiar story, and beautiful animation skyrocketed the movie into the heights of popularity upon its release.
1974 | 1 hour 26 minutes | Directed by Joe Camp
Starring Peter Breck, Deborah Walley, Patsy Garrett, and Higgins the mutt as Benji
Benji is a through-and-through family movie and the first one in the series of five films about Benji, the adorable mutt. Benji is a stray dog who’s so friendly and smart that there’s nothing left to do for the townspeople but to adore him. Among those loving little Benji, there are two children - Cindy and Paul. However, their father is against adopting the little dog. The kids get kidnapped for a ransom, and of course, it is Benji that tries to save them. Benji is undoubtedly one of the best family movies even in our day - it’s cheerful, it’s well thought through, and nobody can stop themselves from loving the adorable main actor Higgins.
Turner & Hooch
1989 | 1 hour 37 minutes | Directed by Roger Spottiswoode
Starring Tom Hanks, Mare Winningham, Craig T. Nelson, and Beasley the dog as Hooch
Turner & Hooch is a cop comedy starring Tom Hanks and Beasley the Dog as Turner and Hooch. Turner is a police investigator that loses his partner in a shoot-out and gains the ownership of his dog Hooch. And although their relationship is as rocky as Boulder, Colorado, the pair eventually form an invincible team. Hooch is also responsible for finding a wife for Turner, but let's leave some intrigue as to how and what's at the end. And, although some of the critics deemed this movie to be a particularly silly one, we do think that Hanks paired with a canine co-star is one of the greatest things ever.
Where The Red Fern Grows
1974 | 1 hour 37 minutes | Directed by Norman Tokar
Starring James Whitmore, Beverly Garland, Jack Ging
Where The Red Fern Grows is a drama film based on a 1961 novel of the same name by Wilson Rawls. It’s a beautiful story about loyalty and determination centering around twelve-year-old Billy Colman and his quest of owning two coon dogs. His wish, supported by his copious efforts, comes true, and now he is the owner of Little Ann and Old Dan. The trio goes on various thrilling adventures, winning the title of best coon hunters along the way. Where The Red Fern Grows is simply a wonderfully beautiful film for the entertainment of the whole family.