Dog films might be our favourite films in the world. They make us laugh, they make us cry, and sometimes they touch us so deeply that they stay with us forever. In fact, we’re so moved by these movies that we first look them up on “Does the Dog Die”, just to be sure we know what we’re getting ourselves into!
But overall, despite the ones that make us shed a few tears, we just can’t get enough of good dog films. So if you’re looking for a new one to watch, or an old one to re-discover, here’s a list of the best dog films of all time:
Lost dog films
Love a good reunion? These are the films for you.
Eight Below (2006)
Based on a true story, Eight Below tells the story of scientists at an Antarctic research base who are forced to leave their team of 8 Huskies and Malamutes behind as they evacuate before a deadly storm hits. The dogs spend months fending for themselves, waiting for their owners to find a way back to them so they can be evacuated too. Have a box of tissues with you for this one.
A remake of the original Lassie Come Home movie which was released in 1943. Lassie’s family can’t afford to keep her anymore, so to their despair, they have no other option than to sell their beloved dog to a rich aristocrat. But Lassie escapes and travels all of Scotland to try and get back to her family. Tissues needed.
101 Dalmatians (1996)
Ok, this one you won’t really need tissues for. It’s just a great movie - with fantastic actors (human and animal alike). If you loved the 1961 Disney classic, then you’re sure to love this one too!
Homeward Bound (1993)
A remake of the original 1963 film, which was based on the 1960 book. Homeward Bound follows a Golden Retriever, an American Bulldog, and a Himalayen cat who think their owners are in trouble when they are late to pick them up from their sitter. They embark on a cross-country adventure to get back home - and meet many challenges along the way. Yep, you’ll be needing those tissues again!
For the Love of Benji (1977)
Benji gets separated from his family during a vacation in Athens and scampers around the city trying to find them, encountering adventure (and danger) every step of the way! If you’re a sucker for the older movies, this one hits a sweet spot.
Sad dog movies
Do you need a good cry? These movies will do the trick. Good luck to you!
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)
Based on a true story, the film tells the tale of Hachiko, a Japanese Akita who accompanies his owner to the train station before he goes to work, and goes to pick him up in the same place at 5pm every day. Sadly, there comes a day when his owner doesn’t return, having suffered a stroke at work. But still, Hachi goes to wait for his owner at the train station every day, for the next 10 years.
Marley and Me (2008)
The devastating thing about this movie is that it’s so relatable. Based on the 2005 book by a bereaved dog owner, it tells the tale of how a rambunctious Labrador wreaked havoc and, at the same time, brought love and joy to his family for years.
Old Yeller (1957)
Based on the award-winning 1956 novel, Old Yeller is about a mongrel who shows up on a Texas family’s farm in the late 1800’s. Although the family sees him as a pest at first, they quickly come to see him for who he truly is: A brave, obedient, and loyal dog. But things take a turn for the worst when Yeller tries to save his family from a rabid wolf…
Talking dog movies
Most of these are better suited to a younger audience - but that doesn’t mean they won’t make adult audiences smile!
Lady and the Tramp (2019)
An animated remake of the 1955 Disney classic movie, the new version of Lady and the Tramp is available to watch on Disneyplus. It’s a more socially-acceptable, deeper version of the classic, and unlike many remakes, it’s actually really good!
Show Dogs (2018)
It’s a fun movie about a police dog who goes undercover as a show dog in order to help an FBI agent find a baby panda. We love that the main character is a Rottweiler - nice way to forget all about that bad dog reputation!
Also a fun kids’ movie, Marmaduke is a “real-life” adaptation of the comic book character. Marmaduke is a Great Dane, so his size and his puppy personality often get him into trouble, but he’s a lovable member of the family nonetheless.
Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008)
This fun kids’ movie is based on the life of a Mexican Chihuahua named “Papi” who meets his other half (a very pampered Chihuahua) and starts a family with her in Beverly Hills.
Another family movie! A Beagle accidentally develops superpowers (sort of like a doggy spiderman) - and uses them to save his city from evil!
The Shaggy Dog (2006)
A prosecutor against animal rights is bitten by a Bearded Collie and suddenly transforms into one! Tim Allen voices the dog’s thoughts and is hilarious in this great family film.
Cats and Dogs (2001)
An adopted Beagle pup is trained by the neighbourhood dogs to become a spy, whose main goal is to stop cats from taking over the world. Dare we say it’s a classic? Yes, yes we do.
Animated dog films
Being animated doesn’t necessarily make them for kids. Check out these awesome animated dog movies.
Isle of Dogs (2018)
Isle of Dogs won lots of recognition and awards when it first came out. Created in a very particular animation style, it tells the story of a pack of dogs who are sent to a vast garbage dump after an outbreak of the dog flu ravaged their city.
The Secret Life of Pets (2016)
This comedic animation explores our pets’ lives - the ones they have when we leave for work in the morning - by following the adventures of Max, a pampered city dog.
Bolt is an actor dog who, in his movies, has superpowers. But when he gets separated from his owner and has to deal with the real world, he quickly realises that he doesn’t actually have superpowers - but that doesn’t make him any less worthy of love.
An animated take on the story of Balto, one of the dogs who took part in the serum run to Nome, Alaska in 1925. In this version of the story, Balto is portrayed as a wolfdog, part wild and part domesticated. But despite his mixed blood, he chooses to stay loyal to humans.
The Fox and the Hound (1981)
This Disney classic tells the story of an unlikely friendship: One between a fox and a hound. As young animals, they are “the best of friends”, but as they grow older, life pulls them apart. It’s a metaphor for real-life, and that makes the movie that much more heart-wrenchingly beautiful.
Heart-warming dog films
Ok, so you’re looking for something not too intense, but also something that you’ll enjoy as an adult. The films below are the perfect fit.
First released on Disneyplus, Togo tells the real-life story of the dog who led bravely for most of the journey to Nome, Alaska during the 1925 serum run. In popular culture, Balto is the hero of the story, but he was in fact only the lead dog who arrived in Nome with the medicine. Before he made it to Nome, Togo led his team over 264 miles of Alaskan tundra. A beautifully made film, full of emotions.
A Dog’s Purpose (2017)
A dog goes through four different lifetimes with four different owners, realising that every owner’s need is different, and fulfilling them all. This explores the meaning of dogs in our society, and how important they are to us. Touching and sweet.
Because of Winn-Dixie (2005)
A 10-year-old girl moves to a new town with her father and struggles to fit in. That is, until she adopts a stray dog who helps her meet and befriend new people. A heartwarming story.
The ultimate dog film classic! A family takes in a St Bernard puppy who becomes HUGE, wreaking havoc in the family home. But he is also a loyal and loving family member, who would do anything to protect his human family. Are you fond of dads who say they don’t want a dog and then end up loving the dog more than anyone else in the family? This movie’s for you.
White Fang (1991)
And, last but not least, an adaptation of Jack London’s 1906 novel. A young man moves to Alaska to search for gold and rescues a wolfdog who’s been cruelly treated by his owner. The two become inseparable. A beautiful tale of friendship with man’s best friend.
So, which one will you be watching first?