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10 Top Dog Movies

Updated on October 30, 2021
Kenna McHugh profile image

I work in modeling and film production and like to share insights into both businesses.

Movies with Dogs

Kids and adults love movies about dogs because they are so unpredictable. Some of us grew up with Clifford the Big Red Dog movies and Hallmark dog movies. We watched them over and over again.

Dog movies are endearing to watch. We don't know what is going to happen in the end. The endings are either sad or happy. The tragic endings, like My Dog Skip, teach a lesson. We watch them over and over because we know what happens in the movie. Even if it is sad, we still watch it again.

Dog movies are stressful because the dogs get stolen or lost but are returned or found at the end of each film. The dog gets hurt, and there is an emotional reunion between the owner and the dog. Most of the time, the dog lives after being injured with a happy ending.

An interesting point, not many dog movies are about girl dogs. Girl dog movies are rare because of discrimination. What is wrong with a girl dog movie?

Enough said, now, let us take a look at some incredible dog movies.

1. "My Dog Skip"

Based on a well-known writer’s memoirs, My Dog Skip takes place during WWII and stars two great talents, Kevin Bacon and Diane Lane. The dog doesn’t’ get stolen, but Willie and Skip are fast friends as they turn bullies into friends, tangle with ill-fated moonshiners, who threaten to kill the dog. A pretty girl shows an interest in Skip, who brings her and Willie together.

The conflict of the movie is about Willie’s dad, who thinks he should have real friends instead of a dog. But, Willie overcomes that as he grows up.

The most stressful scene is near the end when Skip runs away because Willie’s temper flares up, and he kicks Skip. He apologizes for his behavior, and Skip forgives him. All in all, a beautifully told story. Here is the ending where you grab a tissue.

2. "Beethoven"

Beethoven is a classic dog movie with several sequels following the original. Kids should first see the original film because the movie stars Charles Gordon and the late Dean Jones. Both actors are brilliant. Gordon plays the father who brings the lovable dog home and soon finds Beethoven growing way too big for his liking. Jones cast against type makes his scenes entertaining. He is an evil Vet and tries to kidnap the dog. Bonnie Hunt plays Gordon’s wife and mother of their adorable kids.

Watch the movie, and you will notice several up-and-coming actors of the time, including Stanley Tucci, Oliver Platt, and David Duchovny.

A hilarious scene is where Beethoven comes in from playing in the mud. Gordon holds his own in the scene, but the dog steals the show. Another funny scene is where George (Gordon) hits the vet (Jones.) Watching that scene makes seeing the movie worth it.

3. "Hachi: A Dog's Tale"

Hachi is not like other dog movies. Hachi doesn't go missing or get kidnapped. The film comes from a true story about a dog's devotion to his master.

The story is about a dog's loyalty to his master. Richard Gere stars as the owner of Hachi. Joan Allen plays Gere's wife, and Jason Alexander (Seinfeld) plays Carl, the store owner.

The movie answers the question, "Why are dog movies so sad?" It is because the story is so good.

I don't want to say too much about the movie because it is a simple tale but powerful. Make sure you have a box of tissue because the story is a tearjerker and heartwarming.

4. "Air Bud"

Air Bud is your basic dog story, but he doesn’t get stolen. He runs away from the original owner because he abused him. Bud is a golden retriever and has a knack for playing basketball well. He brightens up a high schooler named Josh because he helps him play better basketball.

The best scene in the movie is when Bud has to choose between the original owner and Josh. It’s a long scene where Josh is going, “Come here, Buddy.” Will Bud go back to the abusive owner or stay with Josh? Enjoy the trailer. I love the line, “Mom, remember when I had a hamster?”

5. "101 Dalmatians"

Here is one of the few girl dog movies. I know I am pushing the envelope when I say it is a girl dog movie, but Perdita, the wife of Pongo, plays an important role, the mother of the stolen dalmatians. Even though the Disney cartoon characters seemed entertaining, the movie was very stressful.

Cruella De Vil decides to steal the puppies for their fur. The clip shows wanting to buy the puppies. When I first watched the movie as a kid, I truly believed that an animal network existed where all animals could talk to each other around the world and help each other that way.

With that, take a look at the bumbling criminals. They are funny in this clip.

101 Dalmatians Scene

6. "Show Dogs"

Max is a Rottweiler police dog, voiced by Ludacris. His latest assignment is going undercover as a show dog in one of the top dog shows in the world. His human partner Frank, played by Will Arnett, tries to stop a disaster in the dog show. The cast includes Stanley Tucci, Shaquille O'Neal, Jordin Sparks, Natasha Lyonne, Gabriel Iglesias, and Omar Chaparro.

The movie is filled with owners and their adorable dogs.
The movie is filled with owners and their adorable dogs.

7. "Dog Days"

Dog Days is a movie for those who like to see personal relationships with dogs motivate the union. It touches on the theory of how dogs look like their owners. The film is worth seeing because it's filled with vignettes of owners and their dogs. The story meanders as the characters intermingle and romance ensues.

Here is a cute and adorable story for the whole family.
Here is a cute and adorable story for the whole family.

8. "A Dog's Way Home"

Charles Martin Smith directed this happy tale, based on the book by W. Bruce Cameron called A Dog’s Way Home. The heartfelt story is as sensitive and genuine as Bella, voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard, her adventure—a dog embarked on a 400-mile journey home after being separated from her deeply loved human, played by Jonah Hauer-King.

Bailey, voiced by Josh Gad, he also voiced Olaf in the "Frozen" movies.
Bailey, voiced by Josh Gad, he also voiced Olaf in the "Frozen" movies.

9. "A Dog's Journey"

Director Gail Mancuso creates a movie about friendships transcending through lifetimes. A Dog’s Journey, the sequel to the popular film A Dog’s Purpose, follows Bailey. He finds his new fate and develops a permanent bond driving him by unconditional love and friendships. Thus opens an adventure through multiple lives packed with enjoyment, friendship, and devotion.

During an interview with Mancuso, she mentioned that all talent and crew had dogs, except the editor, Robert Komatsu.

The movie stars Willem Dafoe as a man in a race against time and the elements.
The movie stars Willem Dafoe as a man in a race against time and the elements.

10. "Togo"

Ericson Core was formerly a cinematographer but directed the Disney movie from the screenplay by Tom Flynn, based on a true story. Togo follows a sled dog, Togo, in 1925, led a serum run. People viewed the dog as too weak and small to lead a dog sled during an emergency race to save the lives of children.

The movie leaves you feeling appreciative and happy about life and allows an underdog to prove their worth.

Dog Movies for Family

Dog movies are great family movies because the stories are real, even though some dogs play basketball or talk. The story can be distressing, but the stress adds to the excitement of the movie, making the happy ending even more enjoyable.

Most of the time, the dog steals the limelight because they are so cute, cuddly, and innocent, validating the fact we watch these dog movies over and over again.

© 2017 Kenna McHugh


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