If you’re looking for drool-worthy movies that let you celebrate everything you adore about dogs, look no further than our Top Ten list of movies for dog lovers. From animated classics to soon-to-be timeless favorites, here are our top picks, in no particular order. Most are family-friendly but be sure to check the ratings. Just heartwarming canine films you’ll want to grab at least one box of tissues to watch.
1. Homeward Bound (1993)
Homeward Bound unites two dogs and a cat as they make their way back home from a California ranch where they’ve been left when the family has to move and downsize. This Disney classic has plenty of humor, touching moments and surprising twists and turns. The animals encounter challenges ranging from strange forest animals to whitewater dangers and a temporary separation. Follow Chance, Sassy and Shadow as they travel cross-country, working together for the long-awaited family reunion. Fun for the whole family.
2. Marley & Me (2008)
In Marley & Me, starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, a dog seems set on being named the “worst dog in the world.” Until he starts teaching his pet parents valuable life lessons. Based on a memoir about a man and his dog, Marley & Me is a funny, yet bittersweet look at all the lovable and frustrating behaviors dogs’ exhibit. Marley’s own bad acts range from tearing up cushions to sniffing guests a little too closely to swallowing a gold necklace. Follow along as Marley moves from middle age into “retirement.” Additional note: Clyde who portrays Marley received Bil-Jac food and treats on set as a special reward for all his Oscar-worthy acting.
3. A Dog’s Purpose (2017)
This movie follows a dog who discovers his purpose in life after passing through the hands of both villains and heroes through multiple lifetimes. It is at times a story of harrowing survival and at others an uplifting story of the unique dog/human bond. The dog goes through several incarnations as a pet and a police dog, and bears names ranging from Ellie to “Bailey, Bailey, Bailey, Bailey, Bailey.” In the end, we learn that a dog’s purpose is a surprisingly human one.
4. 101 Dalmatians (1996)
Another dog film where Bil-Jac food and treats played a starring role keeping all those Dalmatians happy and healthy. Starring Glenn Close as the villainous Cruella de Vil in a Golden Globe-nominated performance, 101 Dalmatians keeps viewers on their toes trying to figure out how on earth these dogs will escape Cruella’s clutches and avoid being made into furs coats! If you love this, you might enjoy the sequel 102 Dalmatians.
5. Best in Show (2000)
This Christopher Guest Mockumentary (think Spinal Tap) is a satirical look at the dog-eat-dog world of competitive dog shows. A word of caution: from the very beginning, this one is for mature audiences only. A cast of colorful characters—from a wise-cracking television host to a put-upon hotel owner to neurotic dog parents and handlers—dots the comedic landscape and carry the plot through to its conclusion with the final awarding of Best in Show.
6. My Dog Skip (2000)
Set in small-town Mississippi in the 1940s, My Dog Skip explores the friendship and bonds of loyalty between dogs and humans as a shy boy named Willie (Frankie Muniz) and his Jack Russell terrier grow up side-by-side. Also stars Luke Wilson, Diane Lane and Kevin Bacon,
Through the lens of the segregated south, lessons imparted in this dog lover’s film include those on fidelity, patriotism, stereotypes and more. PG-rated for a few off-color remarks, My Dog Skip is still an old-fashioned dog/boy story the whole family can enjoy.
7. Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Another timeless Disney classic, Lady and the Tramp is a rom-com musical that proves opposites do attract. Lady is a pampered cocker spaniel while Tramp is a mutt with a heart of gold. This full-length Disney animation follows the entitled Lady as she makes her way to the wrong side of the tracks and meets Tramp. After a time, Lady is able to see beyond the superficial to find the best in Tramp and they fall in love. And the spaghetti eating scene is still one of the sweetest romantic scenes in any animated film.
8. All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989)
In this animated classic, a dog returns from heaven to seek revenge on his killer. A note of caution: this film does contain the animated dogs involved in violence, death, drinking, smoking, and gambling. Lead dog voices are provided by the comedic team of Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise. Set in New Orleans in 1939, the film begins with dogs Charlie and Itchy escaping a dog pound and returning to a bayou riverboat casino. With a little help from an orphan girl who can talk to animals, Charlie eventually earns a place in heaven. Drawing its inspiration from a number of movies, including It’s a Wonderful Life and Little Miss Marker, All Dogs Go to Heaven teaches that no matter who they are, people can always change for the better.
9. Old Yeller (1957)
No list of top dog movies would be complete without this classic about a troublesome stray dog that comes to be beloved by a teenage boy. Dad is away on a cattle drive while the son, his brother and his mom tend to their Texas farm. Keep the tissues handy. Without adding a spoiler (in case you haven’t seen it), Old Yeller comes down with an illness that threatens his life.
10. A Dog’s Life (2013)
More than one movie bears the title A Dog’s Life, so be sure you look for the Canadian documentary. This film follows research into how dogs are different from humans and how we are similar. It answers a number of compelling questions, like how do dogs perceive time? Can they grasp numbers? Do they see colors? And do they prefer people over other dogs? It’s a close look at how things appear from a dog’s point of view and offers surprising insights into dog behavior and emotions. Find it on Netflix.
What’s your favorite dog movie and why? Please share with us below!