June 23, 2024

Very few things are as comforting as having a puppy by your side. But you know what comes close? Indulging in sweet, touching dog movies that are sure to tug at your heartstrings and make you chuckle. Whether you’re searching for good choices for the whole family or you’re looking to enjoy a movie night with your pup, here are 50 of the best dog movies of all time for your viewing pleasure. Cue the sappy music…and pass the popcorn.

43 Gifts for Dog Lovers (Sadly, None of Which Are Actual Dogs)

  • Cast: Roddy McDowall, Donald Crisp, May Whitty, Edmund Gwenn

  • Rating: PG-13

Set in England (unlike the 1950s television series set in America), this movie features Lassie, a brave collie, doing everything possible to get home to the beloved family from which she was separated. It’s a classic! Keep your eye out for a young Elizabeth Taylor.

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  • Cast: Barbara Luddy, Larry Roberts, Peggy Lee, Bill Thompson

  • Rating: G

Whether you watch the original animated Disney cartoon or the freshly updated live-action version on Disney+, this is a must-see dog lovers’ movie. Watch Tramp (a schnauzer-looking mixed-breed pup) and Lady (a cocker spaniel) frolic, fend off rats and, best of all, fall in love. Best served with a giant plate of spaghetti.

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  • Cast: Rod Taylor, Betty Lou Gerson, J. Pat O’Malley, Martha Wentworth

  • Rating: PG-13

For kiddos who scare easily, pop on the 1961 cartoon made with ink-and-paint animation cels. You don’t want them to be terrified by Glenn Close’s performance in the live-action version. Both are fun, family-friendly movies that have happy endings, though, so you really can’t go wrong.

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  • Cast: Gabriel Bateman, Darby Camp, Jerod Haynes, Angus Sampson

  • Rating: PG-13

There are tons of Benji options to choose from, because this lovable character (played by four different mixed-breed dogs over the years) is irresistible. But in this reboot of the 1974 classic, two siblings are rescued by the pup when they get into serious trouble—but this is only the beginning. The orphaned dog is immediately taken in by the pair’s family, and he winds up having an even bigger impact than they expected.

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Though it technically stars a dog and a cat (stay with us), this is a classic animal movie we couldn’t exclude. It’s basically about Otis (a pug) tracking down Milo (a tabby), who got swept away down river from the farm they live on. It was originally released in Japanese and speaks to unlikely friendships everywhere.

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Brought to you by the same Irish studio that delivered The Land Before Time and An American Tale, this animated comedy-drama is a dog-movie staple. There are wild songs, a German shepherd who comes back to life and the most delicious-looking pizza you’ve ever seen.

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Hanks and a giant French mastiff solving crimes together? Sign us up—and get us ready to laugh, cry and root for the good guys (and pups).

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  • Cast: Charles Grodin, Bonnie Hunt, Dean Jones, Nicholle Tom

  • Rating: PG

Who doesn’t love a big, slobbery Saint Bernard winning over a grumpy dad and getting revenge on an evil veterinarian? It’s a great family film, though be aware your kids will believe they can convince you to get a puppy simply by wearing you down slowly over time after seeing this movie.

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  • Cast: Michael J. Fox, Sally Field, Don Alder, Ed Bernard

  • Rating: G

Follow Chance (an American bulldog), Shadow (a golden retriever) and Sassy (a Himalayan cat) as they try to make their way back home to their owners in San Francisco from a distant ranch, encountering dangers and hilarity en route. Prepare to watch the sequel (Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco) immediately after and discuss the differences between these films and the photorealism of 2019’s Lady and the Tramp.

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10. Balto (1995)

  • Cast: Kevin Bacon, Bob Hoskins, Bridget Fonda, Jim Cummings

  • Rating: G

Inspired by the 1925 serum run to Nome, Balto follows a wolfdog hybrid as he embarks on a dangerous mission to save a team of lost dogs and deliver life-saving medicine to a remote town. Although the movie touches on more serious themes like illness, survival and prejudice, it includes plenty of action and a feel-good ending.

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  • Cast: Fred Willard, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Jennifer Coolidge

  • Rating: PG-13

If you’re a dog lover, you may appreciate the lengths to which the colorful characters in this hilarious mockumentary go to ensure their dogs win Best in Show at the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show. A funnier cast may not exist; we don’t know how the Norwich terrier, Weimaraner, bloodhound, poodle and shih tzu canine actors managed to keep straight faces during shooting.

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12. Bolt (2008)

  • Cast: John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Susie Essman, Mark Walton

  • Rating: PG

A white shepherd puppy learns that even if you play a superhero on TV, you have to rely on friendship and quick thinking to save the day in real life. John Travolta and Miley Cyrus are the main voices in this computer-animated feel-good flick.

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  • Cast: Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Eric Dane, Kathleen Turner

  • Rating: PG

Not only was this film released on Christmas Day in 2008 but it set the record for biggest box office smash on the holiday, so get ready to fall in love with a yellow Lab big-time. Also have tissues ready; it’s based on a memoir, which means things get real.

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  • Cast: Richard Gere, Joan Allen, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Sarah Roemer

  • Rating: G

Get ready to weep at this beautiful tale of devotion and love. Hachi (an akita) is led to a professor who adopts the dog initially out of necessity and then of course learns to love him like a family member. It’s full of feelings. You’ve been warned.

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  • Cast: Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban

  • Rating: PG-13

As a stop-motion animation feature from Wes Anderson, this movie is definitely a delightful stylistic journey. If your family is into stories about dystopian futures, boys who love dogs and the lengths to which people can (and should) go to stand up for their canine friends, you’ve got to watch this flick.

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  • Cast: Larry Clemmons, Ted Berman, David Michener, Peter Young

  • Rating: PG

Tod the fox (Mickey Rooney) and Copper the hound dog (Kurt Russell) become BFFs the moment they meet. But as they grow older, they struggle to maintain their bond because of their growing natural instincts and the pressure from their prejudiced families to stay apart. Can they overcome being enemies by nature and stay friends?

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  • Cast: Shane Jacobson, Sarah Snook, Alan Tudyk, Coco Jack Gillies

  • Rating: PG

Based on the real-life story of a farmer named Allan Marsh and his island sheepdog, Oddball, who saved an entire colony of penguins, this flick is a charming and thoughtful tale that’s sure to keep the entire family entertained. Also, you may or may not get the sudden urge to pay some penguins a visit.

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18. Togo (2019)

Set in the winter of 1925, Togo tells the incredible true story of Norwegian dog sled trainer Leonhard Seppala and his lead sled dog, Togo. Together, they endure harsh conditions as they try to transport medicine during an epidemic of diphtheria.

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  • Cast: Paul Walker, Jason Biggs, Bruce Greenwood, Moon Bloodgood

  • Rating: PG

As impressive as Paul Walker is in this movie, it’s the team of dogs that are the true stars. A scientific expedition in Antarctica goes horribly wrong when severe weather conditions force Jerry Shepard (Walker) and his team to leave a team of eight sled dogs behind. With no humans around to help them, the dogs work together to survive the harsh winter. Team work FTW.

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  • Cast: Josh Lucas, Rachael Taylor, Rohan Nichol, Luke Ford

  • Rating: PG

Based on the true story of Red Dog, a kelpie/cattle dog who was well-known for traveling through the Pilbara community in Australia, this comedy-drama will definitely have you reaching for the tissues. Follow Red Dog’s fun adventures as he embarks on a journey to find his owner.

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  • Cast: Kevin Costner, Milo Ventimiglia, Jackie Minns, Marcus Hondro

  • Rating: PG

Take a trip through the mind of Enzo, a loyal Golden Retriever, as he recounts the biggest life lessons that he learned from his owner, race car driver Denny Swift.

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  • Cast: AnnaSophia Robb, Jeff Daniels, Eva Marie Saint, Cicely Tyson

  • Rating: PG-13

In this heartwarming tale, 10-year-old Opal moves to a small town in Florida to be with her dad. The move proves to be a challenge because she misses her old friends, but things start to look up when she finds and befriends an energetic dog that she names Winn-Dixie. With her new pet’s help, she finally starts to settle in and make new friends.

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  • Cast: Josh Gad, Dennis Quaid, Peggy Lipton, Bryce Gheisar

  • Rating: PG

Critics may not be the biggest fans of this film, but trust us when we say that A Dog’s Purpose will pull your heartstrings in so many directions. The sentimental film follows a lovable dog who’s determined to find out what his purpose in life is. As he gets reincarnated over multiple lifetimes, he changes the lives of several owners.

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In this sequel to A Dog’s Purpose, Bailey (Josh Gad), now an old St. Bernard/Australian Shepherd, passes away and gets reincarnated as a female beagle named Molly. In an attempt to keep a promise that he made to his previous owner, Ethan (Dennis Quaid), he tries to find his way back to Ethan’s granddaughter.

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A terrier named Max (Louis C.K.) is living his best life as a spoiled pet in his owner’s Manhattan home. But then a new dog, Duke, enters the picture, and Max is forced to deal. Although they can’t seem to get along, they have no choice but to work together to defeat a common enemy. The whole family will get a few laughs from this colorful, feel-good film.

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Malcolm in the Middle’s Muniz stars as 9-year-old Willie Morris, whose life changes drastically after he receives a Jack Russell Terrier for his birthday. Willie and his dog maintain a lasting friendship as they navigate the ups and downs of his personal life, from dealing with bullies to winning the heart of his crush. It has its fun moments, but you’ll definitely get emotional by the end.

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It’s probably not the best choice for family movie night, given its many adult themes, but it’s a unique and quirky tale that’ll make you appreciate your bond with your pet even more. The animated film follows a middle-aged bachelor who adopts an Alsatian and, despite his lack of interest in dogs, grows to like his new pet.

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Fun fact: During its initial release in 1959, The Shaggy Dog grossed more than $9 million, making it the second-highest grossing film that year. Inspired by Felix Salten’s novel, The Hound of Florence, this fun comedy follows a teenager named Wilby Daniels (Tommy Kirk) who transforms into an Old English Sheepdog after wearing a magical ring.

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This charming rom-com follows the lives of five dog owners and their beloved pups in Los Angeles. As their paths start to converge, their pets start to influence different aspects of their lives, from their romantic relationships to their careers.

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Based on Wilson Rawls’s children’s book of the same name, the adventure film centers on 10-year-old Billy Coleman (Joseph Ashton), who works a number of odd jobs in order to buy his own dogs. After getting two Redbone Coonhound hunting dogs, he trains them to hunt raccoons in the Ozark mountains. Prepare for a lot of tearjerker scenes.

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OK, so the film doesn’t focus on dogs, but it’s definitely a testament to the life-changing impact of a canine companion. When Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson), a misanthropic writer with OCD, is tasked with dog-sitting for his neighbor, his life is turned upside down as he gets emotionally attached to the pup.

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  • Cast: Raphaël Personnaz, Virginie Efira, Dominique Pinon, Frantz Confiac

  • Rating: PG

A young wolf dog embarks on a new adventure after he gets separated from his mother. Follow White Fang’s fascinating journey as he matures and passes through different masters.

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Even if you’re not a big Oliver Twist fan, the music and adventure are sure to entertain adults and kids alike. In this feature, Oliver (Joey Lawrence), an orphaned kitten, is taken in by a group of stray dogs who steal food to survive. But Oliver’s life takes a rather interesting turn when he meets a wealthy girl named Jenny Foxworth.

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  • Cast: Dorothy McGuire, Fess Parker, Tommy Kirk, Jeff York

  • Rating: PG-13

Based on Fred Gipson’s novel of the same name, Old Yeller follows Travis Coates, a young boy who bonds with a stray dog that he meets on his family’s ranch. Unfortunately, he discovers that his new BFF has a deadly virus and he’s forced to make a difficult decision. (Keep those tissues handy.)

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35. Dog (2022)

In this comedy drama, Tatum stars as an army ranger who’s given one of his toughest assignments yet: to escort an aggressive military dog—a Belgian Malinois—to his deceased friend’s funeral in Arizona. BTW, this marked Tatum’s directorial debut and it was a major hit for most critics.

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  • Cast: Harrison Ford, Omar Sy, Cara Gee, Dan Stevens

  • Rating: PG

Set during the 19th century, Buck, a carefree dog, gets stolen from his California home and taken to the Alaskan Yukon. Upon arrival, however, he joins a dog-sled team and embarks on a wild new adventure.

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We could never turn down an opportunity to revisit our childhood. Based on Norman Bridwell’s iconic book series, this adaptation follows Emily, a 12-year-old girl who receives a tiny red puppy. Little does she know that this cute little pup will transform into a giant ten-foot dog.

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  • Cast: Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Winona Ryder

  • Rating: PG

The Academy Award-nominated film revolves around Victor Frankenstein, a brilliant young scientist who uses electricity to bring his bull terrier dog, Sparky, back to life. But when this news gets out, things take a turn for the worse because his peers start to resurrect their own pets.

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  • Cast: Jamie Croft, Philip Quast, Susan Lyons, Coralie Sawade

  • Rating: G

Napoleon, the Golden Retriever puppy, embarks on one of his biggest adventures yet when he’s accidentally carried away from home in a balloon-lined basket on his birthday. Along the way he makes several new friends, including a wise owl and a parrot.

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  • Cast: Michael Cassidy, Sarah Lancaster, Connor Corum, Pluto

  • Rating: PG

Fair warning, you’ll need to keep some tissues nearby for this one. The Stray tells the story a stray dog named Pluto, who turns out to be an angel in disguise for the struggling Davis family.

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  • Cast: Scott Innes, Billy West, Mary Kay Bergman, Frank Welker

  • Rating: PG-13

Practically anything that involves Scooby and the gang is a fun adventure. In this classic, they reunite after a year to investigate a remote island, which is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a pirate and his zombies. Save this one for Halloween season.

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  • Cast: Jason Isaacs, Thomas Cocquerel, Levi Miller, Bryan Brown

  • Rating: PG

After taking his two sons to see the movie Red Dog, a dad details his own story that inspired the film, which involved his dog, Blue. The movie also flashes back to his childhood to reveal the challenges he faced with Blue while living in Western Australia.

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  • Cast: Jaret Sacrey, Zachary Cirino, Dominique Swain, Jesse the Jack Russell Terrier

  • Rating: PG-13

This lighthearted, charming film centers on a dog that has telepathic abilities. When he runs away from the CIA, it’s up to two brothers to protect the dog from government agents who are desperate to find and return him—dead or alive.

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Just Jesse the Jack is Murphy, a canine TV star who’s eager to escape from Hollywood executives and break out of the spotlight. When he finally runs away, the pup gets rescued by a group of kids. It’s got all the makings of a fun family movie, from a cute talking dog and exciting action sequences to feel-good moments.

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When Felix, the Baker Family’s Pomeranian dog, gets kidnapped, Bailey the dog teams up with the children to rescue the pup from being part of an exchange in Cowtown. Get ready for an adventure.

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  • Cast: Beverly D’Angelo, Steve Guttenberg, Sean Giambrone, Alfonso Arau

  • Rating: PG

I Heat Shakey follows widower and his 10-year-old daughter as they move from Toledo, Ohio to Chicago. But there’s one major catch: they can’t keep their beloved pet dog and must find him another home.

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  • Cast: Noah Centineo, Courtney Biggs, Scott Vandiver, Curtis Armstrong

  • Rating: PG-13

The movie tells the story of a 12-year-old boy who’s determined to save his family’s home from foreclosure. But in order to do so, he needs the help of his dog. Together, they go on the hunt for a valuable treasure that could actually save his town.

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Fun fact: This film was inspired by a real dog from 19th-century Edinburgh, who spent more than a decade guarding the grave of his owner until he died. Similarly, in the film, a Skye terrier loses his master to poverty and makes a habit of returning to his master’s grave every night to sleep.

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Based on James Oliver Curwood’s book, Nomads of the North, the adventure film follows a trapper named Andre and his Alaskan Malemute, Nikki, as they take in a stray bear cub. However, the animals are separated from Andre after a canoeing accident, and they’re forced to fend for themselves in the wilderness.

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This poignant family comedy revolves around a young boy named Arjun, who rescues a blind Siberian Husky puppy and, with the help of his family, trains him for the International Dog Competition. The only problem? The dog’s original owner ordered his henchmen to get rid of the puppy for good—and he has no idea the pup is still alive.

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