Walt Disney Pictures
If there is one thing everyone can agree on it's that dogs are the best part of life. There is nothing purer than a happy dog with a waggy tail. Some people are lucky enough to have a dog (or a few!) but, unfortunately, not everyone can have a furry friend. That's where our favorite genre of movies comes in: dog movies. Stories full of good boys and heartwarming tales, sure to leave you with a smile on your face. As well as a few tears! (Dog movies are so emotional, guys!). No matter the genre, these flicks about man's best friend are sure to please dog lovers everywhere.
Dog movies run the spectrum of joyful to depressing and hit every emotion in between. These films can be a lot like dogs themselves: upbeat, a little wild, and full of personality! At the end of the day, when things seem bleak all over the world, one thing will never falter and that's the positivity pups bring into people's lives. Movies about our furry faves never cease to brighten our mood! Here are the best dog movies of all time. Guaranteed to be full of good boys and a just a little bit of slobber!
Walt Disney Productions
This movie proves that dog movies are utterly timeless. Did you know this Disney classic came out in 1955?! Decades later we're still loving the story about a stray mutt and the pampered pup he falls in love with. Romance movies are just a smidge better when they involve dogs! Lady and the Tramp tells a tale as old as time: a rich girl and a poor boy fall in love despite their differences. It's one of the most reused plots in Hollywood, but this is by far the most unique retelling. The fact that both pups end the film in a loving home together makes this one even better! #AdoptDon'tShop!
There's nothing like the bond between a boy and his dog. Travis (Tommy Kirk) forms an unbreakable bond with a stray he finds hanging around his family cornfield. He names the yellow lab mix Old Yeller and, from that day on, they're inseparable. But Travis soon learns that having a dog isn't all fun and games. When Old Yeller becomes rabid after a wolf bite, he must make the difficult decision to put his beloved dog down. This is one of the most heartbreaking dog movies of all time for that scene alone! This movie reminds us all that having a dog is more than just snuggles and kisses. Sometimes it means being responsible for that animal's happiness and doing what's necessary to make sure it's well.
This film is based on a true story which will make you love it even more! It tells the story of Hachiko (Hachi, for short) and his owner Parker (Richard Gere) whose relationship shows just how deep the bond between dog and human can be. Parker adopts Hachi as a pup and the two soon fall into a routine of Hachi waiting for him at the train station to accompany him home each day. When Parker passes away Hachi remains loyal to his master and waits for him every single day at that train station. The movie Hachi and real-life Hachi did this for almost a decade after their owners passed. The loyalty dogs feel for their owners is unrivaled!
Dogs are amazing survivalists, as proven by this film. Jerry (Paul Walker) must travel by dog sled up a mountain to do vital research. But an impending storm and increasingly dangerous conditions drive him out of the area — leaving the eight dogs that had transported him behind. While he plans to return within days to get them, the weather is much worse than anticipated and he soon realizes they won't be able to return for months. Under those situations, it would be easy to think the dogs would be long dead. But together, the eight dogs do whatever they can to survive, showing how inspirational the pack mentality can be! Jerry is eventually able to go back for them in one of the most cry-worthy reunions in a film!
The Donners' Company
Based on the title alone, I want to live in this hotel! Andi (Emma Roberts) and Bruce (Jake T. Austin) are orphans that don't have the most loving foster parents. But they do have a lovable mutt named Friday! When their foster parents assert that they don't want to the dog around anymore, the two siblings decide to hide their dog in an abandoned hotel, along with a few other pups that have been hiding out there. Eventually, it becomes a haven for rescues so that they can avoid the pound and have a warm, clean place to stay. Even after their haberdashed hotel for dogs is discovered, the media attention and appreciation from the community allows it to continue. Duh — who doesn't want a hotel for dogs in their neighborhood! Every poor stray deserves a home and these siblings made sure they all had one!
Northern Lights Entertainment
How people can be mean to dogs, we will never know. But poor Beethoven learns all about it in this movie! The St. Bernard is adopted by the Newtons after wandering into their home as a puppy. The dog is, naturally, the fam's new best friend. But a routine visit to the vet turns their entire world upside down when they encounter a veterinarian who is secretly the worst. He clandestinely experiments on dogs and conspires to experiment on Beethoven and then eventually put him down. But, of course, his family comes to the rescue! We love dog movies where jerks get what they deserve and loving pups find a family that loves them just as much!
Lassie is one of the most popular fictional dogs of all time and has been since the 1940s. There's no denying the stray collie is the perfect dog! The bond she forms with her new family is unshakeable and she even helps with the family sheep herding business. When a jealous neighbor who doesn't want to see the family succeed comes into sabotage them and kidnap Lassie you know that dog isn't going to take it lying down. Sure, movies like this are predictable. We know Lassie is going to make it home to her people and live a good life. But it's happy endings like that that make us love dog movies to begin with!
Tom Hanks + a big dog = buddy comedy gold! Turner's (played by Hanks) longtime friend Amos (John McIntire) is murdered and in the aftermath, he reluctantly adopts his giant Mastiff. Together the two help each other deal with the loss and feel a little less lonely. Oh, and they work together to solve the case of who killed Amos! What's better than a buddy cop comedy where one half of the equation is a burly pooch?! The ending may be a bit bittersweet, but the path to get there and justice served is enough to love this one.
While this is a remake of a 1963 movie, it's also the one most people will be familiar with so it gets the spot on this list! Animals have an amazing capacity for survival when tied to the desire to get home to their family. Dogs Chance (Michael J. Fox) and Shadow (Don Ameche) and cat Sassy (Sally Field) are placed at a ranch while the family they belong to temporarily traverses across the country. They're coming back for their beloved pets, but the three furry friends don't know that! Thus begins the long journey home, through rivers, mountains, and across the paths of dangerous wild animals. Dogs (and cats!) have always been characterized as ridiculously loyal. This movie takes that idea and personifies the lengths pets will go through to get to the ones they love (and their food bowl!).
Sometimes dogs come into our lives in strange ways. But they're usually in ways we need! Ted (Cuba Gooding Jr.) learns that he was adopted and that his birth mother, who lived in Alaska, has died. She leaves him seven Siberian Huskies and a Border Collie that he must now take care of. Predictably, it's a bit complicated. But he falls in love with the dogs and his life in Alaska and finds new facets of himself. Those dogs are part of the roots he never knew he had and for that, they become highly important to him. He even relocates to Alaska for the pups! If we're being honest, we'd move to Alaska for those adorable Huskies, too!
Over one hundred dogs are kind of a lot, we're not gonna lie. But you need an army if you're going to go up against Cruella De Vil (Betty Lou Gerson)! Pongo (Rod Taylor) and Perdita (Cate Bauer) have an incredible life with their owners, but that's all compromised with devilish Cruella kidnaps them for her dastardly plans. As it turns out they aren't the only Dalmatians she's gotten her hands on! They plot and execute their escape together leading to 101 Dalmatians traipsing across London towards Pongo and Perdita's owners, all operating under the assumption that the humans will want all those dogs! Luckily, they do, and they even buy a bigger house to accommodate their newfound pack of Dalmatians. Dog movies where dogs get good homes will always reign supreme!
Buddy Films, Inc.
Not only is Air Bud one of the best dog movies, it's the start of one of the best dog movie franchises! The OG movie in the series centers on Buddy, a basketball playing Golden Retriever. Yup, you read that right. The dog is a better ballplayer than most people I know! His skills make him a local celeb and help his owner Josh (Kevin Zegers) improve his own basketball playing skills himself. Also, fun fact: the dog that played Buddy, Air Buddy, also played Comet on Full House! That famous pooch has played two iconic pop culture dogs!
Fox 2000 Pictures
Dogs can completely upend your life. Fortunately, it's usually in positive ways! John (Owen Wilson) and Jennifer (Jennifer Aniston) adopt Marley, a yellow Lab puppy, as a bit of a dry run for raising a family. The dog is unruly and full of energy, but the family loves him and his antics. Through babies, depression, and multiple moves, the dog is with the family through everything. The ending will have you in tears (no spoilers, but let's just say dogs aren't immortal and they really should be) but it will also warm your heart. Dogs become family, and family is everything.
Where can we book a flight to this island? When canine influenza breaks out in Japan, all dogs are banished to "Trash Island" in order for the disease to stay contained. When Atari's (Koyu Rankin) dog Spots (Liev Schrieber) is sent off to the island, the man follows dog in an attempt to bring him home. His journey is filled with helpful dogs trying to get the boy and his dog reunited. It's also full of traps and dangers that Atari must overcome to be reunited with his faithful pet. The Wes Anderson creation melds the typical loyal-dog-needs-saving plot with science fiction, adventure, and fantasy elements. This is an animated dog film unlike any other!
Turns out even the dogs that are bad boys are actually still good boys because they all go to heaven! At least, they do the first time around! Charlie (Burt Reynolds) is killed by a rival dog and is sent up to heaven. Itching to return to Earth, he steals a magic watch, but is warned that when it stops and he dies again, he won't return to heaven — he'll be sent to doggy hell! He takes the chance and in his second go-round on Earth, he slowly realizes what's most important in life. He trades in his gambling, scheming ways and finds unconditional love in the form of a young girl. It's that love that gives him admission into heaven when his time comes again. Because deep down, all dogs are good boys!
Warning: this movie will make you cry approximately every 20 minutes. Or maybe that was just me. Regardless, the flick will send you on an emotional rollercoaster! A Dog's Purpose follows the many lives of a devoted pup who reincarnates several times, learning about life and love along the way. Some of his lives are fulfilling and fun. Some are not so great. But his most significant is with Ethan (Bryce Gheisar), who raises him from a young boy until his teen years. Their lifelong bond will have you sobbing by the end of the movie, fair warning!
Ever wish you knew what your dog did all day while you're at work or running errands? Yeah, us too. This film attempts to give a little insight into the secret life our pets live when we're out of the house. Max (Louis C.K.) spends most of his day hanging out with other pets in his building and waiting for his beloved owner to arrive home. But, one day, she adopts another dog named Duke (Eric Stonestreet) and Max's life is turned upside down. The two end up getting into some trouble together and must find their way home to their owner. Dog movies tend to lean towards the dog-finding-their-way-home trope, but there's a reason for that — it makes sense! Dogs love their people and will do anything they can to get home to them. That's why we love them!