15 Best Dog Movies for Canine Lovers

Jeff

Jeff

Pennsylvania's Jeff is a seasoned streaming technology expert at WatchTVAbroad. His expertise spans global legal streaming services, particularly for sports like MMA and boxing, TV shows, and movies. His knowledge, born from a late-teen passion for media, is extensive and highly respected.

Everyone loves a good dog movie, and movies that focus on our furry friends are usually funny, relaxed, family films, where a family adopts a stray dog, or a dog goes on an incredible journey, or something of the sort.

However, after getting in the mood to see some dog movies, I also noticed that many of them tend to be sad.

In some of them, the dog even sadly dies in the end. So, while compiling the following list, I tried to keep a balance between the two categories. Even so, if you are a dog lover, consider yourself warned.

Still, I believe that the list does a decent job at rounding up some of the best dog movies of all time, with all kinds of scenarios. From a heartwarming story to an unlikely friendship, and even a Disney movie, you will see it all. So, let’s start.

Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)

We all heard stories of dogs so loyal that they kept going to their human’s grave every day after the owner died. Well, in Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, we get a chance to see it, and shed quite a few tears, more than once.

The film starts when a young boy, Ronnie, tells a story about a dog named Hachi, who is his personal hero. The story begins when Ronnie’s grandfather finds a small abandoned puppy (an Akita) at the train station and decides to take the puppy with him.

At first, he is trying to find the dog’s owner, but after failing to do so, and falling in love with Hachi, he decides to keep him.

Hachi became the beloved dog of the entire neighborhood, and each day, he would wait for his owner to come home from work and exit the train station, until someday, the owner did not show up.

The film stars Richard Gere, Jan Allen, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, and others.

Red Dog (2011)

Red Dog is one of the best dog movies of all time. The movie is about a dog literally named Red Dog, whose owner died in a traffic accident, leading Red to become an Australian legend.

After spending days, and then weeks waiting for his owner to return, the dog starts looking for him, first throughout the town, visiting his owner’s favorite places, then throughout Australia, and then even in other countries, according to some stories the locals are telling.

Eventually, without managing to find his owner, he returns to the hometown, where he grows old, only to one day walk out and die on his owner’s grave.

This is a story of a dog that went on epic adventures, and the whole community of the small town of Dampier grew to love him, to the point where they eventually decided to scrap the plans to erect the town founder’s statue, and dedicate it to Red Dog, instead.

The film stars Josh Lucas, John Batchelor, Rachel Taylor, Luke Ford, and others.

Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Lady and the Tramp is a classic Disney movie that has been one of the biggest and most beautiful dog movies for over 60 years now. Featuring a pampered cocker spaniel (Lady) who loses the attention of her owners after they had a baby.

Losing her comfortable life, a series of events leads to her ending up loose on the street.

Facing danger, she was protected by a tough shaggy dog, a stray called Tramp. While showing her the beauties of freedom and the outside world, the two end up in a cute puppy romance.

However, even in the best dog movies, things tend to go wrong, and the love that the two dogs share is threatened by drama at Lady’s household.

Lady and the Tramp is one of the best family-friendly movies involving dogs, and it even has a happy ending, so it is definitely THE dog movie for family viewing.

The film stars Barbara Luddy, Larry Roberts, Peggy Lee, Hamilton Luske, Bill Baucom, and others.

The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

Next, we have The Secret Life of Pets, a perfect film for a fun family movie night. The film features Max, a spoiled terrier who is the most popular dog in his neighborhood.

However, his life gets turned upside down when his owner decides to adopt another dog, Duke. Duke is giant, fluffy, and slightly hyperactive, but he and Max manage to make things work.

That is, until they run into a group of ferocious alley cats during a walk, and end up caught and sent to the pound.

Fortunately, they never arrive there, as the truck gets hit by a maniacal white bunny called Snowball, who rescued the imprisoned animals. He then invites the two to stay with him and his gang, but only if they turn on dog owners and take control of their own existence.

This is one of the more popular recent cartoon dog movies for kids, neither sad nor tragic, it is a great choice if you want to watch dog movies on Amazon prime.

The film stars Kevin Hart, Louis C.K., Chris Renaud, Jenny Slate, Lake Bell, Eric Stonestreet, and others.

Isle of Dogs (2018)

Next, we have Isle of Dogs, another interesting movie for dog lovers where, by executive decree, all dogs residing in Megasaki City end up exiled to a massive garbage dump, popularly known as Trash Island.

However, this is not acceptable to young man called Atari, a 12-year-old who sets off alone to find his bodyguard dog, Spots.

From there on, he ends up going on an epic journey with the aid of his new canine friends.

Isle of Dogs shows what a strong bond a dog owner can have with their dog, and I bet that all pet owners understand that feeling.

All in all, it is a must-watch movie for the whole family, and everyone else, assuming that they love dogs.

The film stars Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Bryan Cranston, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, and others.

All Dogs Go To Heaven (1989)

Next, we have an animated film called All Dogs Go To Heaven. The film starts with a murder of a dog called Charlie, a German Shepherd casino owner. He was killed by one of the gamblers, Carface.

However, upon reaching heaven, he receives a magical, rewindable watch that allows him to return to Earth.

After that, Charlie sets out to take his revenge, and he teams up with an orphan girl, Anne-Marie to do it. The film has its plot twists, and it is not exactly a movie about a relationship between a dog and a beloved owner, but it is still one of the great dog movies that everyone should watch.

It starts as a classic story about revenge, but it eventually grows into something else, and I, personally, quite liked it.

The film stars Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Judith Barsi, Charles Nelson Reilly, Melba Moore, and others.

Benji (1974)

One of the oldest concepts regarding dog movies is that of a dog that comes to the rescue of a human and becomes their own pup. This is what happens in Benji, where two kids, a brother and a sister, stumble into some serious danger.

Fortunately, the two kidnapped children get rescued by Benji, an ordinary dog, but one determined to see the kids safe.

From there on, he become their devoted dog, and even helps heal their broken family.

However, keep in mind that Benji is still a sad movie, featuring a dead father, a working mother, rather intense bad guys, and some sad dog scenes that are not for everyone to watch, including one where the dog “dies.”

Benji was among the first films to feature a canine character, and the dog that actually appears in the movie lived to be 19 years old, while his offspring later appeared in subsequent productions.

The film stars Huggins, Brandon Camp, Cynthia Smith, Allen Fiuzat, and others.

101 Dalmatians (1961)

Continuing with our theme of the best dog movies and legendary films of canine cinema, we have 101 Dalmatians. This is the original, animated version of the story, which came out more than 60 years ago now.

It starts with a man and his Dalmatian, Pongo. One day, during the walk, they see a woman walking a female Dalmatian, Perdita.

The two Dalmatians manage to get their owners tangled up, and both the humans and the dogs fall in love.

After a while, the couple gets married, and the canines ends up with a litter of 15 Dalmatian puppies.

However, the trouble starts when the couple is visited by Cruella De Vil, who decides that a fur coat in Dalmatian colors would look really good on her.

The movie is a classic for a reason, and luckily, it has a happy ending, as most people likely already know. But, if you never saw it, or you wish to watch it again, this is easily one of the oldest animated, and best dog movies of all time.

The film stars Betty Lou Gerson, Rod Taylor, Cate Bauer, and others.

Eight Below (2006)

Moving on, we have Eight Below, which is a film based on a true story, involving a Japanese Antarctic expedition from 1958. The film itself came out in 2006.

Taking place in Antarctica, the film starts with three members of a scientific expedition, led by Jerry Shepard. He and his two companions suffer a devastating accident, and just as the weather starts getting worse, they decide to leave their eight sled dogs behind and save themselves.

However, after getting to safety, Shepard remembers that the dogs were left chained outside in the cold, and decides to risk his life to try to save them.

While each sled dog was a Siberian husky, the conditions they were left in were still too harsh for any dog, days and days with no food, until they managed to free themselves. Even so, not all of them managed to survive the six months that Shephard needed to return to them.

The best description of the situation came from The Independent Critic, saying “Eight Below beautifully balances the exploration of Jerry’s relationship to the dogs and his battle to get back to save these dogs who, in fact, have saved him and others along with the dogs’ own fight for survival against nearly impossible odds.”

The film stars Paul Walker, Moon Bloodgood, Bruce Greenwood, Jason Biggs, Wendy Crewson, and others.

Balto (1995)

Speaking of dog movies and cold climates, we have an animated film taking place in Alaska, where the remote town of Nome suffers from a deadly epidemic while the closest medicine is hundreds of miles away.

With no other choice, the locals decide to send a sled-dog team to get the medicine, and Balto, a half-wolf ignored by everyone, is chosen to lead them. However, another dog, Steele, interferes with the decision, and replaces Balto.

As the dogs departed, they eventually got lost in the snow, which is when Balto decided to risk his life to save both the other dogs, and deliver the medicine to their hometown.

The film stars Kevin Bacon, Bridget Fonda, Phil Collins, Jim Cummings, Bob Hoskins, and others.

White God (2014)

White God is a story about stray dogs, but not one that you might expect. In this one, an abandoned dog tries desperately to find his owner, but after failing to do so, he eventually decides to seek out a canine companion.

He then joins a dog-led revolt, which is starting a revolution against humans who abused them.

Sadly, dog abuse is something that can be found way too easily in real life, and this movie allows us to see animal abusers get what they deserve. After all, an army of 250 angry dogs is a powerful sight.

On the plus side, the filmmakers have confirmed that no dogs were harmed during filming, despite rather realistic scenes. What’s more, all of them were adopted.

The film stars Zsofia Psotta, Kornel Mundruczo, Lili Horvat, Sandor Zsoter, Kata Weber, and others,

Bolt (2008)

Speaking of dog actors, we have a funny, family-friendly animated movie that features just that.

Bolt, the dog of the same name as the movie, is a superstar, whose days are filled with danger, intrigue, powers, and excitement. That is, until the cameras are on. However, Bolt doesn’t know that he is a dog actor in a TV show, and he believes that all of his powers are real.

When he gets accidentally shipped from Hollywood to the streets of New York, he is still convinced that he has all the same powers as he does on the show.

With these delusions, he takes off accompanied by a hamster and a cat, determined to find his owner.

The film stars John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Cloe Grace Moretz, Susie Essman, and others.

A Dog’s Journey (2019)

A Dog’s Journey is a second film featuring a dog called Bailey, coming after A Dog’s Purpose. In the movies, Bailey continues to reincarnate in order to stay with his young boy, Ethan. In A Dog’s Purpose, and in this one, both Ethan and Bailey are old, with Ethan even having a 2-year-old granddaughter, CJ.

However, as Bailey’s final days approach, CJ’s mother decides to take the little girl away from the Michigan-based farm where they were all living together.

As he was preparing to depart from this world, Bailey promises Ethan that he will find CJ and protect her. From there on, he continues to search for the girl through many lives, filled with love, friendship, and devotion.

The film stars Henry Lau, Kathryn Prescott, Dennis Quaid, Betty Gilpin, Abby Ryder Fortson, and others.

The Fox and The Hound (1981)

Nearing the end of the list, we have The Fox and The Hound. This is a movie about Todd, a fox who was taken in by a kind widow, after his mother was killed.

However, Todd soon becomes close friends with a neighbor’s hound dog, Copper. While the two are inseparable, their masters eventually end their friendship, as they are supposed to be natural enemies.

The two best friends are forced to grow apart from one another, and to someday meet again as foes.

Copper becomes a strong hunting dog, while Todd becomes a wild fox. When they do meet once again, the pair will have to overcome their differences, as well as everything they were taught and made to believe about the world, and rebuild their former friendship.

The film has its harsh moments, but it teaches a valuable lesson, that hatred is taught, but also that it can be overcome.

The film stars Kurt Russel, Mickey Rooney, Pat Buttram, Corey Feldman, and others.

White Fang (1991)

The last on our list is White Fang, which is a story where a loyal wolfdog’s curiosity leads him on an adventure of a lifetime, eventually having him serve three distinctly different masters.

It is a story about a wolfdog that gets rescued from a very brutal owner, only to eventually become domesticated thanks to patience, love, and kindness of his new owner.

White Fang is not based on a true story, as some may believe, but on a novel by Jack London. Even so, it is a story that has both brutal and heartwarming elements, and it is definitely worth the watch.

The film stars Ethan Hawke, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Pius Savage, Seymour Cassel, Susan Hogan, and others,

Conclusion

The list above offers dog films of all kinds, but it is by no means the end of the road. There are countless other movies that we simply couldn’t mention, such as Air Bud, with its legendary basketball-playing golden retriever, or Lassie, the beloved collie known around the world.

Some other honorable mentions include films such as Because of Winn-Dixie, Old Yeller, My Dog Skip, My Dog Tulip, and many others.

So, definitely don’t stop here. Watch Oliver & Company, where a group of dogs adopts an orphaned kitten, or Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, where several dogs and a cat are trying to make their way back home to their owners in San Francisco.

Dog movies are a great way to spend time with your family, bond with your pets, and remind yourself that they have just as much heart and soul as any human, and often more.

Which is your favorite on the list, or did I miss it out? I would love to know, so please drop me a comment below.

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