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The 21 Best Movies About Dogs

What dog lover doesn't enjoy a great film? There is nothing more enjoyable than turning on a film about a man's best friend, whether it's a night in with your canine companion or a family movie night.

When searching for the ideal dog movie, you may feel rather overwhelmed by the variety of options. Despite the fact that you can't go wrong with dogs, certain films stand out. We wanted to make your movie night a bit simpler by identifying the top dog films.

Not only have we personally viewed each of these films, but we have also read the various reviews. Here is BestForPets (bestforpets.org)'s choice of the best movies about dogs.

Reviews

The Exploits of Milo and Otis

This 1986 live-action family film is narrated by Dudley Moore and follows orange tabby cat Milo and pug Otis. They grew up with several animals on the family farm. The children’s curiosity leads them astray, and they become separated.

You accompany each of them on their treacherous journey to find one another, during which they traverse perilous terrains and encounter several different species. This is an excellent family video for dog and cat lovers alike.

Pros

  • Interesting actuality
  • Excellent for the family.
  • Happy ending

Cons

  • Tension-filled situations

 

Benji

In the 1974 film Benji, a charming stray dog named Benji spends his days exploring a Texas town and subsists on donations from neighbors. Although he is a stray who lives in an abandoned house, he has captured the hearts of the locals.

Everything changes when Benji’s two favorite children are abducted and held for ransom. Benji arrives to save the day when the cops and the parents reach a dead end. Benji even encounters a romantic interest in his travels.

This well-known classic is a terrific option for the whole family and is our pick for the greatest value because it can be purchased, leased, or acquired online for streaming at a very cheap price.

Pros

  • Classic
  • Excellent for the entire family
  • DVD comes included

Cons

  • Emotional scenes

 

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey

Michael J. Fox plays a young American Bulldog named Chance who is welcomed into the family of Bob, Laura, Peter, Hope, and Jamie. Now a whole family with Shadow the Golden Retriever (Don Ameche) and Sassy the Himalayan cat (Sally Field) While the family is on vacation in San Francisco, the group must remain at a friend’s ranch.

The gang, believing they have all been abandoned, decides to make their way back to their people. These domestic dogs find themselves in the Sierra Nevada Mountains’ untamed wilderness, and they must rely on their own strengths to make it home safely.

This is without a doubt one of the greatest dog films of all time. It will provoke a wide range of feelings and finally fill you with happiness.

Pros

  • Excellent for the entire family
  • Action-packed and entertaining
  • Happy ending

Cons

  • Emotional scenes

 

101 Dalmatians

If you are searching for a movie about puppies, the 1961 Disney classic 101 Dalmatians is an excellent choice. When Roger, owner of Pongo, meets Anita, owner of Perdita, both the human pair and the dog couple fall in love.

Pongo and Perdita have a litter of puppies, and Anita’s former classmate Cruella De Vil intends to purchase each one. Roger refuses Cruella’s offer, so she employs two criminal brothers to steal them in order to obtain the desired fur coat. Follow the gang as they strive to evade Cruella and return to normalcy.

This animated picture has also been adapted into live-action films, including the 1996 film 101 Dalmatians starring Glenn Close, and the 2021 film Cruella starring Emma Stone.

Pros

  • Disney standard
  • Great for kids
  • Real-life remakes

Cons

  • Young children may be frightened by some situations.

 

Beethoven

Who doesn’t like a large, adorable, drooling Saint Bernard? This 1992 family comedy begins with the theft of five lovely Saint Bernard puppies from a pet store. The Saint Bernard puppy escapes the robbers and winds up at the doorway of the Newton household.

George Newton (Charles Grodin) is hesitant to adopt a dog into his family, but his wife Alice and children Ryce, Ted, and Emily persuade him otherwise. Along the journey to being a treasured family member, Beethoven fights to gain George’s devotion.

A veterinarian devises a horrific plan to abduct Beethoven for a lethal experiment he has been conducting, jeopardizing his joyful existence. As it turns out, this veterinarian has been conducting horrible experiments on a number of canines, and it is up to Beethoven and the Newtons to put things right.

Pros

  • Excellent for the entire family
  • Action-packed
  • Wonderful narrative

Cons

  • Emotional scenes

 

All Dogs Go to Heaven

All Dogs Go to Heaven is a 1989 animated film starring Burt Reynolds as Charlie B. Barkin, a German Shepherd. He is slain by a buddy, Carface Carruthers, but decides to bypass Heaven and return to Earth to get revenge on Carface and reunite with Itchiford, his best friend.

Charlie ultimately concocts an intricate vengeance scheme involving Anne-Marie, a little orphaned human girl. She ultimately alters everything. Charlie has the chance to learn a great deal about the significance of friendship, love, and generosity, and is forced to make an essential choice.

Pros

  • Famous animated film
  • Excellent for the entire family

Cons

  • Sad moments

 

Old Yeller

If you are searching for a classic tearjerker, the 1957 film Old Yeller is an excellent option. The live-action Disney picture based on the children’s story by Fred Gipson has endured the test of time and remains one of the most adored dog films for decades.

The film is set in the 1860s and explores the bond between Tommy Coates and the stray dog he adopts when his father is on a cattle drive. As they both grow up together, Old Yeller demonstrates the influence he has on Tommy, even saving his life, and becomes a treasured family member.

This video explores the harsh reality of dog ownership in the past, as well as the terrible conditions surrounding it.

Pros

  • Great narrative
  • All-time classic

Cons

  • Tearjerker

 

The Fox and the Hound

The Fox and the Hound is another highly recommended Walt Disney classic. It relates the tale of a fox named Tod and a hound named Copper who become good friends and swear their loyalty to each other when they are young.

Copper is raised and trained as a hunting dog by its owner, a hunter. Copper sets out to hunt Tod, causing the two to become enemies. Thankfully, their previous friendship saves Tod, but this film does not finish with the happily ever after we all desire. It tells us that coexistence is not always simple and illuminates concerns such as discrimination.

This 1997 animated picture is recommended viewing and is a favorite among dog lovers and Disney fans.

Pros

  • Legendary Disney flick
  • Educates regarding differences

Cons

  • Bittersweet ending

 

Marley & Me

Based on the book by John Grogan, this touching family comedy follows Jenny (Jennifer Aniston) and John (Owen Wilson) through 13 years of ups, downs, and everything in between. As newlyweds, the pair brings home The Fox and the Hound, a charming but hyperactive and unruly Yellow Labrador.

Marley may create a great deal of worry and devastation, but he is a family member who is there for them through all that life has to give. You will almost certainly shed a tear, as the film follows Marley’s family through the love and friendship of his life.

Pros

  • Wonderful narrative
  • Amusement for the family

Cons

  • Tearjerker

 

Lassie

This 1994 family drama is based on the well-known and cherished television series, Lassie. The city-dwelling Turners are on their way to begin a fresh life on a sheep farm in Virginia. An accident on the highway that resulted in the death of a truck driver delays their journey.

The family discovers the deceased truck driver Collie abandoned on the roads and chooses to adopt her. This film follows the Tuners as they build ties with Lassie and adjust to life in the country. Their cherished new Collie certainly aids them in their travels.

Lassie is a well-known classic because of the obedient dog that places her owner’s safety before her own.

Pros

  • Admired by many
  • Based on the classic television series
  • Happy movie

Cons

  • There may be some language unsuitable for youngsters

 

Balto

This 1995 animated family picture depicts the tale of Balto, an unexpected hero amid a deadly diphtheria outbreak in wintertime Nome, Alaska. The only way to fetch the medicine required to save the lives of the sick is to send a sled dog team on the long journey.

Balto, portrayed by Kevin Bacon, is an unpopular half-wolf dog among the other sled dogs. When the other dogs become trapped in the snow while searching for the medication, Balto sacrifices his life to rescue them and return the medicine to the town.

Based partially on the actual story of a wolf-hybrid named Balto who has a monument in New York City, this is a beloved family film.

Pros

  • Based loosely on actual events.
  • Excellent for the entire family

Cons

  • Some were dissatisfied that the film’s plot did not resemble the historical narrative of Balto.

 

A Dog’s Purpose

Based on the novel by Bruce Cameron, A Dog’s Purpose is a highly moving film that follows the reincarnation of a boy’s pet dog, voiced by Josh Gad. As he traverses numerous quite different incarnations, he encounters a wide range of positive and negative events.

He learns what is most essential in life by experiencing several lifetimes, finally returning to where he belongs and demonstrating that real relationships are unbroken by death. Be certain to have Kleenex on hand for this one. It is a very moving picture with a very intriguing viewpoint.

Pros

  • Interesting account
  • Happy ending

Cons

  • Tearjerker

 

My Dog Skip

My Dog Skip is an excellent film based on the autobiography of Willie Morris. This film relates the tale of when Willie Morris received Skip, a Jack Russell Terrier, for his ninth birthday.

Willie’s life is drastically altered by Skip, who helps him make odd acquaintances and even a new girlfriend. You are able to follow the duo through all of their adventures, good and terrible, until the very end. It highlights exactly how influential our four-legged companions are in our lives.

Pros

  • Excellent film about a child and his dog
  • Based on real-life incidents

Cons

  • Tearjerker

 

Lady and the Tramp

Lady and the Tramp is a 1955 Disney classic that you should not miss. The protagonist of this film is Lady, a privileged cocker spaniel who feels displaced when her owners bring home a new baby.

Lady becomes homeless and makes friends with Tramp, a stray dog who serves as her protection. Despite the fact that they are so dissimilar, a passion develops between them, and you get to accompany the couple through dramatic drama and the reclamation of Tramp’s reputation.

Pros

  • Disney standard
  • Happy ending

Cons

  • More subdued Disney film

 

Max

This famous family film was published in 2015 and chronicles the story of Max, a courageous Belgian Malinois military dog who assisted American Marines in Afghanistan. Max suffers from severe post-traumatic stress and is unable to return to duty when his handler, Kyle Wincott, is killed in combat.

Max returns to the United States, where he is adopted by the family of his handler. Justin, the adolescent sibling of Kyle, is battling with his troubles and refuses to interact with the dog. However, Max is ultimately the key to solving a mystery. With the assistance of Justin’s dog-savvy acquaintance, Justin and Max build a friendship.

The plot follows the two through a series of ups and downs that finally demonstrate how dependent they were on one another.

Pros

  • Interesting account
  • Explain military canines

Cons

  • Not ideal for small children

 

Where the Red Fern Grows

This 1974 classic is set during the Great Depression in the Ozark Mountains. A young Billy Colman desires a pair of Redbone Coonhounds for hunting purposes. He spends his time performing odd jobs in order to save enough money to purchase two pups.

While picking up the puppies, he observed a tree sculpture that inspired him to name them Little Ann and Old Dan. Billy educates his dogs to hunt with the assistance of his grandfather, and they rapidly become highly accomplished, ardent hunters who are deeply loyal to Billy and to one another.

This story concludes with a tearjerker that will tug at your emotions, but this film’s wonderful narrative has made it one of the most renowned dog films of all time.

Pros

  • The narrative from the 1860s
  • Highly acclaimed classic

Cons

  • Tearjerker

 

Air Bud

Josh relocates to a tiny town in Washington after the death of his father. He is the new kid in town and has difficulty fitting in. He is far too bashful to try out for his school’s basketball team, despite his passion for the sport.

Buddy is the name he gives to an unexpectedly skilled Golden Retriever he befriends. Buddy, it turns out, is an excellent basketball player. Josh ultimately tries out and makes the squad, while Buddy is designated the team mascot. Josh and Buddy receive much media attention as the halftime show’s stars.

Buddy’s old owner notices the attention, and the two new pals are at risk of being permanently separated. This family classic from 1997 emphasizes cooperation, teamwork, and the significance of friendship.

Pros

  • Great for kids
  • Includes athletics and group work

Cons

  • Some claimed that there were insufficient subtitles.

 

Turner and Hooch

In this crime comedy from 1989, Tom Hanks portrays Detective Scott Turner, a tense police officer who wishes to escape his little Californian town for the big city. Turner gets Hooch, the French Mastiff of his deceased friend Amos Reed.

Turner learns that Hooch may be the key to solving his friend’s murder, despite his initial displeasure at the prospect. Turner, despite his initial reluctance, learns to adapt to his new chaotic existence with Hooch and ultimately acquires a faithful friend who makes the ultimate sacrifice to save his life.

Pros

  • A classic crime film from the 1980s.
  • Moving narrative

Cons

  • Tearjerker
  • Not as child-friendly as some of the others on this list.

 

Scooby-Doo: The Movie

This 2002 live-action film follows up with Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby two years after the dissolution of Mystery, Inc. Individually, the group is summoned to the popular spring break resort Spooky Island to investigate a series of spooky occurrences.

Unaware that the others have been invited, the group is displeased to run into each other. They realize that the young guests are being impacted in really peculiar ways. They quickly understand that in order to unravel this riddle, they will need each other’s assistance.

The group solves the riddle with the help of body-swapping, monsters, and a very unexpected villain, and concludes that they are better off working together. This is an excellent film for the entire family.

Pros

  • Excellent for the entire family
  • Happy ending
  • Comedy and feel-good film.

Cons

  • Some were dissatisfied that it wasn’t a cartoon.

 

Alpha

A young guy named Keda attempts to return home after being separated from his tribe during a buffalo hunt. The story is based in ancient times and takes place during the last Ice Age.

He meets a lone wolf who shares his plight, and together they develop a friendship that alters the future of both man and wolf. The two must rely on one another for survival and to get home before winter arrives.

Alpha is an intriguing film that demonstrates how dogs became man’s closest companions. This film will not be suitable for children, as it is aimed primarily at an adult audience. There is no spoken language in the film, only built languages with subtitles.

Pros

  • Interesting account
  • Packed with excitement

Cons

  • Not for kids
  • Conversation in-built languages

Conclusion

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) hopes you enjoyed our list of the best movies about dogs. For a summary of our top selections, we have Milo and Otis, a terrific novel for animal lovers that is filled with humor, adventure, and a joyful conclusion. Benji is a well-loved classic that offers excellent value either purchased or rented. It is uplifting and fantastic for the whole family. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey is a classic film that is action-packed, uplifting, and receives excellent reviews. You may be confident that whatsoever movie you pick to watch while eating popcorn on the couch will be a good one!

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Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher

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