Are you hankering for some of the best dog movies to watch? Dog movies have various genres and plots, but one thing remains the same: dogs are the main or secondary stars. If you love canines (or own one), you will enjoy watching doggie movies. Some of these movies are sad; others have adventures, there’s also comedy and action. To help you choose which dog movies to watch, here is a list of the best dog movies ever.
Table of Contents
- #1. A Dog's Purpose
- #2. Iron Will
- #3. The Adventures of Milo and Otis
- #4. All Dogs Go to Heaven
- #5. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
- #6. Hachi: A Dog's Tale
- #7. 101 Dalmatians
- #8. Beethoven
- #9. Marley & Me
- #10. Eight Below
- #11. Lady and the Tramp
- #12. Old Yeller
- #13. Benji
- #14. The Fox and the Hound
- #15. White Fang
#1. A Dog's Purpose
This is a dog film both sad and happy, but enjoyable to anyone who wants to watch it. The film follows a feral puppy named Toby who is euthanized afterward. What follows after that is the dog being reincarnated as a Retriever and then adopted by a boy named Ethan. The boy renames “Toby” as “Bailey.” Bailey bonds with Ethan and shares ups and downs of the boy’s life. Eventually, Bailey dies and is reincarnated three times (with his past lives memories) into a different canine breed.
It is happy and sad to see the dog live out its lives making a difference and bonding with its owner. On a happier note (and ending), Bailey (in his final re-incarnation) manages to reunite with his first owner Ethan and brings joy back to him. In his journey, Bailey learns of his real purpose: to bring happiness to his owner. This film is a good dog movie for family and dog lovers to watch.
#2. Iron Will
There are lots of adventure-packed family dog movies to watch, but Iron Will is highly recommended. The story is about a young man (Will Stoneman) who enters a dog-sled race to get money for college and save his family’s farm. With his dog team led by the Siberian Husky Gus, Will braves the cold, freezing weather, his fellow unscrupulous racers and physical hardship to win the race.
The film is about teamwork and finding the inner strength to succeed. Despite all odds, Will is victorious thanks in no small part to his partner Gus and the rest of the Siberian Husky sled team. If you like your doggie movie to have adventures and true companionship, then Iron Will is one of the best dog movies to watch.
- WALT DISNEY PICTURES (04/23/2002)
- DVD, PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
If you want a dog film where the dog is friends with other animals, then you will certainly love watching The Adventures of Milo and Otis. This movie is Japanese in origin, and its alternative title is Koneko Monogatari or A Kitten’s Story. The story focuses on Milo, a kitten who is friends with Otis a Pug. One day Milo accidentally drifts downstream in a river while trapped in a box. Otis goes after his friend to rescue him. Milo has many adventures and meets other animals, while Otis tries to catch up to him. In the end, the two best friends find their way home…with their mates and kids in tow.
Friendship is the theme of this movie as well growing up. It is a testament to the friendship of the two animals that one of them decides to follow the other to the end. At the same time, the two manages to return home wiser and with a family of their own.
Some of the best dog movies are full-length animated films and Don Bluth’s All Dogs Go to Heaven is one example. Charlie B. Barkin a German Shepherd along with his friend Itchy escapes from a dog pound to reclaim the former’s casino business. Charlie’s rival who refuses to share the profits plans to murder Charlie and succeed. Charlie ends up in heaven but decides to return to Earth for revenge.
Charlie’s simple plan of revenge becomes complicated as he is slowly facing the choice of vengeance or staying true to his friends (which include an orphan girl) and doing the right thing. The movie shows the profound decision that every person must make in their lifetime: to do the right even if it means giving up something or keep doing what you want. This movie is one of the best dog movies for kids and adults.
Dog movies with themes of friendship and perseverance in the face of trouble are the ideal viewing for families and kids. In Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, three pets (two dogs and a cat) mistakenly believe that their owners abandoned them and they set out to find them. The three go on journey meeting new people and triumphing over obstacles until they are reunited with their family.
The film is an excellent lesson in the strength of friendship and learning the valuable lesson of life. The American Bulldog Chance learns this lesson when he discards his selfish view of life. This movie for those who like to watch friendship and adventure dog movies.
A kid named Ronnie tells a story about Hachiko, a dog that belonged to his grandfather Professor Park Wilson. The professor finds a lost Akita puppy from Japan whom he and his Japanese colleague give the name “Hachiko.” The teacher and pup form a close bond with each other. Hachi accompanies Parker to the train station and waits for him until he gets home. This routine continues even when the professor dies. Until to the end, Hachiko never leaves the train station, still waiting for the professor to come home.
This dog film has plenty of drama and sad ending, but one can glean the lesson of friendship and dedication even unto the end. It is a powerful experience even for the boy Ronnie and for anyone who watches this film. It is one of the sad dog movies, but an emotion-moving and an excellent film to watch.
#7. 101 Dalmatians
Disney’s animated films are some of the best and their doggie movie 101 Dalmatians is one of the best as well as one of the best dog movies. Pongo and Perdita are Dalmatians belonging to the married couple, Roger, and Anita. Perdita gives birth to puppies whom Anita’s friend Cruella De Vil wants to buy. Roger refuses Cruella’s offer, and she resorts to stealing the pups. It’s up to Pongo and Perdita to rescue while making new friends along the way.
This movie showcases the lessons of a family’s strong ties. Roger (with Anita’s approval) refuses Cruella’s generous offer for the puppies since he values them more than the money. Pongo and Perdita, on the other hand, extend their family ties to puppies not their own. Disney has certainly outdone themselves in quality with this classic animated movie. This film has a live-action version in 1996 starring Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil. The setting of this live-action version of 101 Dalmatians is up to date and changes a few things in the original. Both versions of 101 Dalmatians are fun to watch and enjoy.
The plots of many family dog movies involve a dog whom a family adopts and grow to love their newest family. What is interesting about this film is that the human, not the dog that gets a character development. George Newton is a workaholic father reluctant to adopt a Saint Bernard (who escaped from thieves), but his family eventually convinces him to accept the dog whom they name Beethoven. Beethoven proves himself to a loyal and lovable pet, which unfortunately causes George to be jealous of him. George gets rid of Beethoven, but he eventually realizes that for better or worse, the dog is part of his family.
The lesson that George learns is that there are more important things that work and that a good and loyal dog is invaluable. This movie is a great recommendation for those who like to watch family-themed films and big adorable dogs. Because of the movie’s success, another eight films and an animated TV show followed the first Beethoven movie.
#9. Marley & Me
This movie is based on New York Times columnist John Grogan’s memoirs, and it is one the sad dog movies in cinema. John and his wife Jenny adopt Marley, a puppy as a practice for rearing children. Marley’s unruly behavior sorely tests the couple’s patience. But in the end, Marley is a loyal and affectionate dog as he shares the couples as well as their kids’ ups and downs of life.
The film has lessons of accepting and living with another’s person’s flaws. Marley proves to a handful to the couple, but eventually becomes the pet that a family wants to have. The film has its light-hearted moments, but the ending is heart-wrenching. Nonetheless, the film will make you appreciate your pet and the time that both of you spend together.
#10. Eight Below
Family dog movies usually have their protagonist and narrative centering solely on the dog. The movie Eight Below focuses half on canine characters and half on the human characters while uniting the overall narrative. Jerry Shepard is a guide at a research base in Antarctica who is pressed by a scientist to take the latter via dog sled to Mount Melbourne. Due to weather conditions, Jerry and the other humans evacuate leaving the dog team behind. Jerry thinks that he will come back for the dogs in few days. Unfortunately, it took much longer.
Jerry refuses to abandon his dog team even if it uncertain if they still survive. In spite of losing two of their team, the dogs for wait for Jerry knowing that he will come for them. The film shows a lesson in true friendship and how real friends are willing to do what it takes to help.
#11. Lady and the Tramp
What’s better than a romantic movie. Why an animated romantic movie about dogs of course! This film is one of the best dog movies by Disney, and even today lots of TV series as well as other films make a reference to it. Lady is an American Cocker Spaniel belonging to a Midwestern couple and Tramp is a stray mutt. Due to series of misunderstandings and troubles that are not her fault, Lady decides to run away, but Tramp rescues and helps her return to her home. Lady for her part is falling in love with Tramp and vice-versa.
This classic animated movie deals with the love of two dogs for different strata of society. The film shows how two different people can sometimes be together. The film contains one of the most memorable date scene that is both funny and romantic. Family and kids will enjoy this film. Ditto for couples on a date night.
#12. Old Yeller
More than 50 years later, Old Yeller still tugs the heartstrings of anyone who watches this movie. This film is one of the best sad dog movies that will touch your heart. In Texas during the late 1800s, a farm boy Travis finds a Labrador Retriever/Mastiff mix dog. At first, Travis treats the dog coldly, but after the canine saves Travis’ younger brother, he eventually warms up to him. Travis names his “Old Yeller.” Old Yeller proves his worth as dog companion and is the best friend of Travis. Unfortunately, a rabies outbreak brings a tragic end to the boy and dog’s relationship.
The movie shows us the highs and lows of having a pet that we love. The joy, the responsibility, the pain of loss and the memories that a pet leaves behind are some lessons that one can learn. For his part, Travis moves on with the memories of his friends. Just make sure to have tissues on hand since some of the scenes can be sad.
In a small in Texas lives a dog named Benji who is a stray mutt. Despite being a stray dog, Benji, befriends many of the town’s people. Benji’s favorite people are the Chapmans and their two kids who feed him. The dog lives a pretty normal life until someone kidnaps the Chapman children Paul and Cindy. Despite not being their pet dog, Benji sets out to rescue the kids and along the way finds his own family.
Benji is a dog movie for family and children who enjoy watching the story through the eyes of this lovable canine. Because of the Chapman kids showing kindness to Benji, the dog reciprocates them by risking his own life for them. In turn, the movie teaches us the nature of kindness. Due to the success of the film, Benji has four more movies after this one.
Two different animals a fox (Tod) and hound (Copper) become friends with each other despite their differences. But as they grow older the people around states that can never be friends due to their differences. As the tensions grow, the two friends will eventually decide on whether to remain as friends or become enemies.
A dog movie for family and kids explores prejudices and how society plays a role in a person hating another person is not only entertaining but is insightful as well. The film also raises the question of whether societies are wrong when it comes to not co-existing with different people.
#15. White Fang
Some of the best dog movies are adaptations from novels, and the movie White Fang is one of these kinds of movie. White Fang is originally a novel by Jack London who is famous for his other work The Call of the Wild. Unlike some of the best dog movies, the main canine character is not a pure dog, but a wolfdog. The setting of the film is in Alaska during the late 19th century. Jack Conroy arrives from San Francisco to search for his late father’s claim. Jack meets Wild Fang who is territorial and vicious by nature. Eventually both human and wolfdog develop a close bond with each other.
Jack’s perseverance to befriend and tame White Fang is a remarkable feat. The two are so close to each other that Jack decides not to return to San Francisco and remain in the Yukon. For Jack has finally realized that he belongs in the Yukon (something his father wanted) and that his friend White Fang important too. The lesson that one learns is the willingness to give up things for the sake of something important like a real friend. This film is a heartwarming experience to watch.
Whether you love adventure, comedy or drama in a doggie movie, this list of the best dog movies will be worth watching. So grab some popcorn, drinks and invite your family and friends to watch some of these family dog movies. Oh and ah don’t forget to include your dog. Your canine pet may enjoy watching these doggie movies along with you.
Last update on 2019-08-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API