Dogs are everyone’s best friends! Dog lovers know how special it is to spend time with your beloved Fido, whether it’s playing fetch or going for a walk after a long day at work. And nothing beats having a cuddly pup by your side, especially when it’s family movie time. What’s better than watching a sweet dog movie with none other than your dog? If you’ve ever watched movies or TV with your pup in the room, then you know they actually pay attention to the screen (and it’s pretty doggone cute).
So, cue the touching dog films that are sure to tug at your heartstrings and make the whole family roar — or bark? — with laughter. Whether you’re searching for sad dog movies to feel all the feelings or you’re looking for some of the best dog movies for kids, the following dog-centric flicks have you covered. Just for fun, we even threw in a couple of more mature movies about dogs you can watch once the kiddos go to bed.
Disney Dog Movies
1. Lady and the Tramp (2019)
Spaghetti and meatballs have never been depicted so romantically as it was between these two crazy-in-love pooches in this live-action remake of the Disney classic.
2. One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)
Cruella de Vil might steal the show — not to mention some puppies — in this 1961 Disney classic, but at least there’s a happy ending for all these spotted dogs! If your kids are older, we highly recommend following this film up with Disney’s live-action adaptation Cruella (2021).
3. Oliver & Company (1988)
This animated take on the classic tale of Oliver Twist doesn’t get enough love if you ask us. Come for Joey Lawrence voicing the cute titular kitten; stay for Billy Joel as Dodger, the coolest mutt you’ve ever met.
4. Bolt (2008)
When the canine star of a fictional sci-fi show accidentally gets shipped across the country, he’ll do anything to make it back to his co-star-slash-best-friend Penny. What Bolt doesn’t realize, though, is that his TV powers aren’t the real deal — leading to a shocking realization, an epic journey, and some pretty amazing travel buddies.
5. Frankenweenie (2012)
Got a kid who’s a little creepy? Maybe more into the macabre than their classmates? They’re going to love this movie about a boy who brings his beloved dog back from the dead.
6. The Fox & the Hound (1981)
Who knew a movie about a little fox named Tod and a hound puppy named Copper would be so cute? Sure, it’s got hard-to-watch moments, but this film will always be a favorite story about friendship.
7. Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008)
If your family has a chihuahua, your little ones will go nuts over this tale of a prissy Beverly Hills pup who gets lost and must find her way home.
8. The Shaggy Dog (2006)
There are two versions of this classic: the 1959 original, and the 2006 take starring Tim Allen. Either way, you’re getting a hilarious film about a man who occasionally turns into a sheepdog. Comedy gold, we tell ya!
9. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)
Get your tissues out. This movie follows the journey of Chance (an American bulldog voiced by Michael J.Fox), Shadow (a golden retriever voiced by Don Ameche ), and Sassy (a Himalayan cat voiced by Sally Field) as they try to make their way back home to their owners in San Francisco from a remote ranch.
10. The Biscuit Eater (1972)
Another remake of a popular older Disney film, The Biscuit Eater follows two young boys in Georgia as they team up to train a feral bird dog. Don’t sleep on this one; it’s a gem.
Sled Dog Movies
1. Eight Below (2006)
This based-on-a-true-story film centers on a group of sled dogs left to fend for themselves during a brutal Antarctic winter. You’ll shed some tears but come away cheering at the end.
2. Balto (1995)
This 1995 animated flick follows Balto, who led his sled dog team on the correct trail during a blizzard as they transported the life-saving medicine needed to stop a deadly epidemic outbreak in Nome, Alaska.
3. Togo (2019)
OK, so you know the story of Balto. But what will really blow your mind is the true story of Togo — the actual sled dog who led the 1925 serum run despite being considered too small to lead the intense voyage.
4. Snow Dogs (2002)
When a Miami dentist heads to Alaska to handle an inheritance of sled dogs from his biological mother, comedy ensues. Will he sell the team and return to the tropical climate he’s used to? Or will he find purpose in the frigid Alaskan wilderness? It’s worth watching this heartwarming film to find out.
5. Iron Will (1994)
Raise your hand if you watched this movie roughly one million times in your youth (*raises hand*). There’s no time like the present to introduce your kids to the tale of a brave young man and his courageous team of sled dogs on a treacherous cross-country marathon.
6. The Call of the Wild (2020)
There are several versions of this tale of a sled dog struggling to survive in the wilds of the Yukon. The latest? The 2020 version starring Harrison Ford.
7. White Fang (1991)
Much like The Call of the Wild, Jack London’s White Fang has seen many incarnations over the years. However, the one that holds a special place in our ’90s-kid heart is the 1991 version starring Ethan Hawke. But no matter which one you watch, you’ll get a fantastic adventure story about a Yukon gold hunter and his unlikely friendship with a wolf-dog.
8. The Great Alone (2015)
Want to inspire your kiddos to believe in the power of perseverance? This feature-length documentary follows the amazing comeback story of Iditarod champ Lance Mackey.
9. Antarctica (1983)
If you liked the harrowing story of survival in Eight Below, you’ll love Antarctica. In this Japanese film, two scientists bond with their sled dogs during an Antarctic expedition but must abandon the dogs there when they leave. Don’t worry, though; their bond brings them back to search for their canine friends.
10. Stone Fox (1987)
To save his grandfather’s cattle ranch, Willy must win a sled dog race. The odds are stacked against him, but he and his dog just won’t quit in this sentimental classic.
Sad Dog Movies
1. Marley & Me (2008)
Viewer beware: You’re going to cry watching this family flick. So if you’re ready and willing to go through all the emotions of having a dog, from puppy to senior dog, and watch Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson do the same, then, well, you can’t say we didn’t warn you.
2. A Dog’s Journey (2019)
Here’s another tearjerker about an old dog’s promise to his owner that he will protect her forever even as he prepares to cross that rainbow bridge.
3. Red Dog (2011)
Movies that are based on a true story have a special way of tugging your heartstrings extra hard, and Red Dog is no exception. Here, a pup brings together a disparate Australian community while roaming through the outback in search of his long-lost master.
4. A Dog’s Purpose (2017)
Through several lifetimes as a different dog, a dog’s soul discovers his real purpose as he connects with different friends and families.
5. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)
We’re getting a lump in our throats just thinking about this biographical drama. In it, a college professor brings home an abandoned dog and forms a bond that not even death can break.
6. Old Yeller (1957)
It doesn’t matter how much time passes — Old Yeller will always be one of the greatest dog movies ever made. Kids today might scoff at first at its simple, rustic style. But by the end of the movie, they’ll be wishing they had a mischievous “yella” cur dog, too.
7. The Art of Racing in the Rain (2019)
In this sweet movie, Milo Ventimiglia plays Formula One race car driver Denny Swift, whose best friend is a golden retriever named Enzo. There’s some hard life stuff in here, but it’s all part of the overarching emotional message about navigating life’s most difficult challenges.
8. A Dog’s Way Home (2019)
Think of this film as a newer version of Homeward Bound that focuses on just one pup. Here, the canine in question travels 400 miles through the Colorado wilderness to find her owner.
9. Where the Red Fern Grows (1974)
You can’t get much more classic than this one! When Billy Colman was a boy, he lived in the Ozarks with his Mama and Papa — and dreamed of owning his own coon dogs. He works for two years to buy them, and what follows is a story heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure.
10. All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989)
It’s time to face the cold hard facts: We may never get over the story of Charlie the German shepherd’s tale of redemption through his friendship with an orphan named Anne-Marie.
Comedy Dog Movies
1. Dog Days (2018)
This movie is for all the dog owners who’ve ever fallen in love at the dog park (and we know you’re out there!). Starring Nina Dobrev, Vanessa Hudgens, and Eva Longoria, you’ll love this sweet movie that explores the bonds between dogs and people, and everything in between.
2. Best in Show (2000)
One of the funniest movies ever made takes place at the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show, where quirky dog owners vie for the Best in Show.
3. Marmaduke (2010)
Who doesn’t love Marmaduke? This comic strip Great Dane turned movie star living his best life in The O.C. will have your kids rolling in laughter.
4. Cats & Dogs (2001)
Welp, our suspicions were spot-on — there’s a top-secret, high-tech espionage war waging between canines and felines. This movie, which is full of funny moments, confirms as much.
5. Hotel for Dogs (2009)
Back before Julia Roberts’ niece Emma Roberts was a household name, she starred in this charming movie about siblings who turn an abandoned hotel into a pooch paradise.
6. Scooby-Doo (2002)
Zoinks! A movie about everybody’s favorite fearful dog starring ’90s favorites Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, and Linda Cardellini? Uh, yes, please!
7. Oddball (2015)
An eccentric chicken farmer, a mischievous dog named Oddball, and a penguin sanctuary that needs protecting from fox attacks come together to make this quirky movie kinda irresistible.
8. The Secret Life of Pets (2016)
Have you ever been curious about what your pets do after you leave them for the day? Of course you have! This funny animated film lets you in on the big secret.
9. Beethoven (1992)
You remember this one, right? It’s a classic live-action movie from the ’90s starring a giant Saint Bernard named Beethoven who finally wins over the grumpy dad played by the grumpy Charles Grodin and gets revenge on an evil veterinarian.
10. The Queen’s Corgi (2019)
In this royally adorable animated movie, the British monarch’s favorite dog finds himself outside of the palace and inside of a doggy fight club. The film follows his journey back to Her Majesty.
11. Fluke (1995)
If you’re looking for a cute redemption story filled with familiar voices, Fluke is the film for you. The film is based on the 1977 novel by James Herbert. Fluke is not an ordinary dog, as he experiences memories from a past human life. After being rescued from the pound by an elderly homeless woman named Bella, Fluke helps her earn money. In addition to working his job with Bella, the pup also learns a lot about himself and his purpose.
Other Great Dog Movies for Kids
1. Isle of Dogs (2018)
Looking for a whimsical story of dogs? Look no further than this Wes Anderson film about a determined 12-year-old boy who sets off on a crazy adventure to bring back his dog, Spots, who’s in the fictional Japanese city called Megasaki where every dog is exiled after a canine flu outbreak.
2. Lassie (1994)
An abandoned collie finds its home with a family of four who moved from Baltimore to a rural Virginia farm, and, well, life gets infinitely more interesting for all involved.
3. The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1986)
If you didn’t watch this like 100 times growing up and beg your parents for a pug, what even was your life? The film follows a young cat and dog as they become BFFs, get separated, put themselves in various perilous situations to find each other, and then reunite just as they both create families of their own. Aw!
4. Zeus and Roxanne (1997)
There’s a lot to love about this ’90s classic. For starters, it stars Steve Guttenberg of Three Men and a Baby and Police Academy fame. What a treasure he is. But also, it tells the very cute story of a dog and a dolphin who become best friends.
5. Because of Winn-Dixie (2005)
Don’t get us wrong — even though we didn’t file this under “sad dog movies,” there are definitely a few tearjerking moments in this based-on-a-book movie. But the larger story centers on a mischievous dog who befriends a lonely girl (played by AnnaSophia Robb) in a new town and helps her make new friends.
6. Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog (1995)
Not only is Far From Home a tale of the bond between a dog and its person, but, at its core, this film is also a survival story. The adventures unfold after Angus McCormick (played by ’90s heartthrob Jesse Bradford) and his father get stranded along the coast of British Columbia with a stray dog Angus adopted.
7. Sounder (1972)
On the surface, yes, this story is about a dog. However, it’s easy to see early on that the movie is about so much more. A quick plot preview? In the Depression-plagued South, a family of poor sharecroppers struggles to put food on the table. Even with the help of their hunting dog, it isn’t enough, and the father gets arrested for stealing. What follows is the son’s refusal to give up — on his father or their dog.
8. Benji (2018)
There are a few different versions of Benji, but today’s kids will enjoy this modern take featuring two school kids who strike up a friendship with a scruffy orphaned pup.
9. Shiloh (1996)
Who among us didn’t dream of getting a beagle after watching small-town Southern boy Marty Preston rescue the title pup from an abusive owner and gain a loyal friend for life?
10. My Dog Skip (2000)
Back at the beginning of Frankie Muniz’s career, he memorably played Willie Morris — a shy boy growing up in 1940s Mississippi with the help of his faithful canine companion Skip.
11. Patrick (2019)
Dogs get into all kinds of hijinks, but Patrick takes the task. After a school teacher’s grandmother passes away, she inherits a pug. The little smush-faced canine may seem cute, but he turns out to be a handful and single-handedly upturns the young woman’s life. It’s a hilarious film that’s family friendly and shows how the right dog can end up changing you for the better.
Dog Movies for Adults
1. Megan Leavey (2017)
Since this based-on-a-true-story drama is rated PG-13, it may be appropriate for your mature tween or teen. Just know that it’s the story of a young Marine corporal who endured some pretty heavy stuff while serving in Iraq, so there are tough moments. The bond she shares with her military combat dog — and the lengths she’ll go to so they can be reunited — is truly inspiring.
2. Turner & Hooch (1989)
Tom Hanks takes the backseat to a drooling dog in this buddy cop movie that’s a hoot and a howl. Bonus: Once you rewatch this one, you can cue up the new Disney+ TV series by the same name starring Drake & Josh‘s Josh Peck.
3. K-9 (1989)
Detective Dooley is great at his job, but he’s also a loose cannon who can’t seem to stay out of trouble. He meets his match, though, when he gets paired up with a mischievous, aggressive, smart alec German shepherd named Jerry Lee.
4. Wendy and Lucy (2008)
If you missed Michelle Williams in this heartwrenching drama, well, don’t feel bad — it was one of those movies that turned out to be amazing but wasn’t widely talked about at the time. In the film, Williams plays Wendy, a young woman whose life is falling apart. Lucy is her faithful canine companion that sees her through this dark time.
5. White God (2014)
An army of dogs leading a revolution against abusive owners? A young girl desperate to reunite with her pup that has become part of this revolt? This premise couldn’t be more intriguing!
6. Heart of a Dog (2015)
In this stunning documentary, multimedia artist Laurie Anderson reflects on her meaningful relationship with her beloved terrier, Lolabelle. And, yep, it’s as beautiful as it is moving.
7. Alpha (2018)
This one’s rated PG-13 and cool enough to keep the attention of your mature tween or teen. The story? A young man in the prehistoric past gets separated from his tribe during a buffalo hunt and forms a unique bond with a lone wolf.
8. Wiener-Dog (2016)
Don’t be fooled by the cutesy name — rated R, this one’s definitely for the grown-ups. Laughable at times and deeply relatable at others, it follows an adorable dachshund puppy as it gets shuffled from one eccentric owner to the next. Along the way, it impacts each oddball in a profound way.
9. A Boy and His Dog (1975)
A libidinous boy. A telepathic dog. The post-apocalyptic desert. Suffice it to say this film is a wild (and wildly interesting) spin on the bonds between man and man’s best friend.
10. Cujo (1983)
If you were subjected to this Stephen King horror film growing up, you probably never quite trusted St. Bernards ever again. The trouble all starts when the title dog contracts rabies from a bat and goes on a reign of terror.
11. Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell (1978)
Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell is not for the faint of heart, and this doggo is far from Lassie. This hound has more rage than an angry chihuahua and is literally a dog from hell. And as the devil’s best friend, he does what any hell hound would do and terrorizes an unsuspecting suburban town. The only thing that may be able to stop this evil dog is the family that took it in.
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