12 DOG MOVIES YOU HAVE TO SEE
by Melody Keilig
As a dog lover, you might think that you’ve seen every dog movie ever made. But besides the classics, there are plenty of hidden gems that will bring a new dog story to movie night. Check out this list to revisit your nostalgic favorites and pick up a fresh title.
1. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
This 1993 film is a classic for anyone who grew up in the ‘90s. We remember Shadow, the fatherly Golde Retriever, Sassy, the backtalking Siamese Cat, and rambunctious Chance the bulldog as they go on a long journey to find their family. This film has adventure, but also a lot of heart with its message of teamwork, love, and being there for your family. We all cried when Chance was attacked by the porcupine, admit it! Even if you’ve seen this film hundreds of times, watch it again for a nostalgic movie night or introduce it to your children. This is a dog film that everyone must see!
Have a dog that’s larger than life? You’ll get a kick out of the 1992 film, Beethoven, which tells the story of a St. Bernard puppy who escapes two pet thieves and finds his way to a family’s home. The Newton family keeps the pup, despite the workaholic father wanting nothing to do with the lovable puppy that the children name “Beethoven.” The newest family member grows with the family, in more ways than one, and helps the kids through life. There’s also an adventure plot within this movie, so be sure to revisit this classic!
3. Isle of Dogs
For a change of pace, you’ve got to check out this 2018 stop-motion film that brings a unique story to the screen. Isle of Dogs tells the story of a city ravaged by an outbreak of canine influenza, which causes the mayor of a fictitious city to ban all dogs to a remote island. When 12-year-old Atari has his dog, Spots, deported to the island, he plots a mission to bring his beloved companion home.
4. The Fox and the Hound
For a tale about an unlikely friendship, check out the 1981 classic, The Fox and the Hound. The charming duo of Tod the fox and Copper the hound warmed our hearts in the ‘80s, but this story truly stands the test of time. We laughed and cried at the ups and downs of Tod and Copper, so it’s due for a rewatch.
5. 101 Dalmations
Here’s another older flick that deserves a much-needed spot in your dog movie night. This 1961 classic tells the story of, well, 101 Dalmations. We all remember Cruella de Vil’s evil plot to make the dalmatian puppies into her dream fur coat and the dogs’ daring escape. This film inspired several live-action remakes, including the latest 2021 creation, Cruella.
6. Because of Winn-Dixie
For a totally underrated film, check out this story inspired by author Kate DiCamillo’s novel of the same name. This 2005 movie centers around 10-year-old India who moves to the small town of Naomi, Florida with her father. While shopping at the Winn-Dixie supermarket, a scruffy and homeless Berger Picard gets in trouble with the manager for hanging around the shop. India intervenes and tells the manager that the dog belongs to her and she takes the gentle dog home. The movie goes through the people and adventures India goes through, all because of Winn-Dixie.
7. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale
Break out the tissues for this 2009 American adaption of the 1987 Japanese film, Hachikō Monogatari. This version tells the story of Parker Wilson, a music professor who finds a lost Akita puppy on the train station platform. He takes the puppy home, planning to return the dog. Parker’s friend, Ken, tells him about the Akita dog breed from Japan and translates the Japanese character for the number eight on the pup’s collar, “Hachi.” The dog and Parker become best friends and walk to the train station together every day until they are separated.
8. Eight Below
Get ready for a heartwarming adventure in the Arctic with this 2006 survival drama starring the late Paul Walker. This movie is about a UCLA professor who travels to Antarctica for research purposes and finds himself trapped in a deadly storm with his team of sled dogs. If you love Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies, this is the all-star team you must watch!
For another animated adventure, check out this 2008 Disney film about a dog who stars in a tv show and believes he has superpowers. When his owner and co-star, Penny, is kidnapped on the show, Bolt embarks on a journey to find her.
10. Oddball and the Penguins
Check out this adorable story of friendship between a Maremma Sheepdog named Oddball and the tiny penguins found off the coast of Victoria, Australia. When foxes hunt the penguins into dwindling numbers, a team of volunteers visits the island to count the penguins and make sure they will survive. Along the way, one volunteer, Emily, has her father’s dog, Oddball, visit the island and form a friendship with the penguins after he scares off a fox. Put this movie on for a fun family adventure and a heartwarming friendship between species.
11. A Dog’s Purpose
For a tear-jerker, check out this 2017 film about the reincarnation of a Golden retriever named Bailey. Every time Bailey passes away, he is reborn as a different dog breed with a new name and family. As he remembers his past life as Bailey, the reborn dog embarks on a journey to relive this previous life.
12. Marley & Me
This lovable story about growing old with a dog broke hearts in 2008. Newlyweds John and Jenny relocate to South Florida and land writing jobs at competing newspapers. When Jenny begins contemplating motherhood, the couple decides to adopt a Labrador Retriever to test their parental abilities. Naming the dog Marley, she guides them through their married life into family life until the very end. Grab a box of tissues and hug your dog extra tight for this flick.
Are you ready for a dog’s only movie night now? Pop some popcorn, get some doggie treats, and enjoy a marathon of these movies every dog lover must watch!