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Top 10 Dog Movies (Since 1970)

Updated on July 12, 2011

Top 10 Dog Movies from 1970- to the Present

Over the years, there have been many “modern” dog movies. Many, however, still conform to the tried and true formula of as child and his or her dog. Dog movies continue to be about the close attachment between a person and their companion. Dog movies explore this bond, trying to express its dimensions. There are also dog movies that look at issues such as dog fighting, dog abuse and the spoiling of dogs. Some are light-hearted comedies, others are tear jerkers. Below, you will find the top 10 for this period.

Benji

1. Benji (1974)

This is the story of a loveable mutt. It is one in a series of movies featuring a cute dog named Benji. In the movie, Benji is a stray. He wanders about his hometown making friends. Two special friends of his are two of the children in town. They lavish attention and affection on him in spite of their parents’ objections.

Benji also has a certain fondness for another stray dog, Tiffany. The movie focuses on his relationship with the townspeople and Tiffany and his search for a home and his use of his skills to help free the 2 children when they are kidnapped.

Benji, in real life, was Higgins, an animal shelter rescue. The famous dog trainer, Frank Inns, brought him home from the Burbank Animal Shelter.

2. Homeward Bound: the Incredible Journey (1993)

This is a remake of the 1963 classic film. Amazingly enough, this new version does not fall flat. It opens children to the classic tale of 3 animals: a cat and 2 dogs, who embark on a treacherous journey to return home. In an attempt to reunite with their family, the Burnford-Seavers, the animals set out across the treacherous terrain of the Rocky Mountains. Shadow is the older dog, a Golden Retriever while Chance is the younger animal, an American Bull Dog. The cat is Sassy, a Himalayan.

The animals talk throughout the movie with the help of Michael J. Fox (Chance), Don Ameche (Shadow) and Sally Field (Sassy). Chance is played by Rattler, Ben plays Shadow and Tiki is Sassy.

3. Best In Show (2000)

Christopher Guest directs this send-up of dog shows and the people who try to win them. This mocumentary look at the world of show dogs and their people focuses in various unique-neurotic characters. All hope to win the ultimate goal in their world - “Best in Show.” Among these quirky characters is Buck Laughlin. He is a sports announcer given the job of providing the commentary on something about which he is totally clueless – the Mayflower Kennel Dog Show. The result is funny and some excellent one-liners.

The animals, an integral part of this movie, range from Hubert the Bloodhound (Ch. Quiet Creeks Stand By Me) to Winky the Norwich Terrier (Can. Champion Urchin’s Bryllo) to Beatrice the Weimaraner (Can. Ch. Arokat’s Echobar Take Me Dancing.

Best In Show

4. The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1989)

This is a movie about the friendship between a pug puppy and an orange tabby kitten. Otis is the dog and Milo the kitten. They live on a farm. One day, while wandering around in the countryside, Milo sets sail in a wooden box on a raging river.

After seeing him being swept away by the current, Otis takes a chance, and runs after him. This is the start of a series of adventures for the duo. They include encounters with bears, foxes and racoons, falling into holes. This Westernized and shortened Japanese film featured not one but several animals playing Milo and Otis over the 4 years it took to make it. Dudley Moore is the narrator.

5. A Boy and His Dog (1975)

Take a trip into the future. The year is 2024. An adolescent boy, Vic, (Don Johnson) and his telepathic dog, Blood, are wandering the post apocalyptic world. They come across a community of women who wish to increase their population. The boy (Don Johnson) is all for this life, while the dog is hesitant. Eventually, the Boy decides revolts against the method used to procreate.

A Boy and His dog is based on a short story/novella by Harlan Ellison. This is a cult favorite. It inspired the Mad Max/War Warrior series. Blood is played by Tiger. Tiger is a cross between a Bearded Collie and a West Highland Terrier. Tiger had been a regular on the Television series The Brady Bunch.

Air Bud

6. Air Bud (1997)

Josh is a loner, a misfit in his hometown and school. Buddy is a Golden Retriever who wanders onto the playing field of Josh’s life. The two become fast companions, buddies. The story is a simple dog meets boy story with a twist. Josh discovers Buddy has a unique talent. He can shoot hoops.

Buddy plays Buddy in this, his first and last movie venture. Although several sequels followed, the dogs were not Buddy. Buddy died of cancer shortly after completing the film.

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7. My Dog Skip (1999)

In 1940s Mississippi, Willie is an only child. Willie’s father is overprotective and tries to block a wish of his son – to get a puppy. On his 9th birthday, however, Willie is given a Jack Russell Terrier puppy, Skip. This movie develops the story of a boy and his dog as they move through various changes in both their lives. The two learn valuable lessons about friendship, trust and life from each other.

The human actors are good in this film, but the dog, Skip, is better. Skip is played by the well-known dog actor, the late Moose of Frasier fame. Moose plays old Skip while his son, Enzo plays the young Skip.

 

8. Beethoven (1992)

The Newtons take in a stray St. Bernard puppy. They are unaware it has been dognapped. Beethoven, an adorable pup, grows up quickly into a large hairy dog. He wreaks havoc in various aspects of the family’s life. Meanwhile, an evil Vet, Dr. Vamick, conspires to steal the dog for medical experiments. Another plot in this comedy has Brad and Brie, a yuppy couple, scheming to take over the Newton’s business.

The star of the show is the St. Bernard, Beethoven played ideally by Chris. Beethoven romps from one near catastrophe to the next with glee taking the audience with him.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua

9. Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008)

This is a film that has truly gone to the dogs. This is a talking dog movie featuring mainly Chihuahuas but with a few star turns by other dogs. Chloe (Drew Barrymore voicing) is a spoiled Chihuahua from the right side of the tracks.

She is a dress and bootie wearing pampered pet who becomes lost, then dognapped in Mexico due to the careless of her human dog sitter. This is a movie in which good dogs, bad dogs and criminals of all stripes abound. There are chase scenes with El Diablo, an evil Doberman, trying to obtain Chloe, fight scenes between El Diablo and the heroes Papi (a Chihuahua) and Delgado (a German Shepard).

Along the way, Chloe grows up. There are comments on dog fights, the treatment of dogs and the friendship of dogs. There is also a priceless commentary by a group of wild fighting Chihuahuas on their treatment as toys. Take that Paris Hilton.

10. Marley and Me (2008)

The movie is based on the best seller by journalist John Grogan. The dog, a Yellow Labrador Retriever, arrives as a puppy.

Rambunctious, out-of-control and totally loveable, Marley charges head first through life, dragging his people with him. This is a wild comedic romp from start to almost the finish. Marley grows up, ages but never really matures. He becomes a senior making the movie end on a predictable, but true note.

In all, 18 dogs acted in the movie. Marley is played by both shelter and trained dogs. Three specific animals are noted in the cast: Clyde (Adult Marley), Jonah and Woodson (puppy).

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