Dog Movies

Looking For A Fun Dog Film To Watch This Evening? Here Are The Very Best Dog Movies!

From True Stories To Horror Stories, Animated To Live Action, Or Just A Good Old Doggy Classic. There Are Fantastic Dog Movies For Every Occasion.

What do all dog movies have in common? A canine star, of course!

Just like movies about people often make the actors famous, so to do acting dogs in movies often make the whole breed famous.

After all, who wouldn’t want to bring home a loyal Collie after watching “Lassie,” or to select a cuddly Terrier for a canine bestie just like the one Dorothy had in “The Wizard of Oz?”

And lest anyone think the demand for yellow Labrador Retrievers declined after the infamous buddy dog movie “Marley & Me,” just the opposite occurred!

Everyone wanted a lovable Lab puppy just like Marley!

Not only do dogs make the cutest and most memorable film dog stars, but their owners can’t get enough of canine-themed films.

Funny dog movies. Sad dog movies. Good dog movies. Animated dog movies.

With an estimated 78 million pet pups in the United States alone, it is easy to see why we have so many great dog movies to choose from today.

Many of which are on the dog movies list you are about to read!

True dog story movies

Who doesn’t love a top dog movie that is also a true story? Part educational, part inspiring, part simply wonderful storytelling, all three of these true dog story movies deserve to be on your dog movies list!

Marley & Me

Real-life couple John and Jenny Grogan did what so many young couples who want to have kids do – they decided to get a dog to “practice” on.

But with Marley, a rambunctious yellow Labrador Retriever puppy, they got so much more than a dog.

The movie about their life together, based on the best-selling book by the same name, is one of those few five-hanky films you will actually want to see again….

And this will likely be the moment your eyes are dry again.

Rating: 5 stars

Never Cry Wolf

“Never Cry Wolf” is based on the book by the same name by now-deceased acclaimed author Farley Mowat.

 

While the movie version was produced by Disney, this is one of those Disney dog movies that stands its ground.

In offering a serious commentary on just how delicate and misunderstood the natural balance often is between predator and prey.

If you love spectacular scenery (Alaska), true stories about nature, and chances to see the pet dog’s wild ancestors in their native habitat, this will be a win-win film choice for you!

Rating: 4 stars

My Dog Skip

“My Dog Skip” is a movie based on the autobiography by author Willie Morris.

 

He recounts his own challenging childhood and his mom’s choice to get him a dog friend to help him cope.

Skip quickly became his best friend as well as his protector and social coordinator.

For anyone who grew up with a canine bestie (and everyone who missed out on this experience and wonders what it would have been like) this is a must-see buddy dog movie that all age viewers will love.

Rating: 4 stars

Dog movies based on books

When you are watching a great dog film, it is easy to forget that some of the best dog movies were popular books first.

These three eminently watchable dog films are all based on books – some fiction and some non-fiction.

White Fang

“White Fang” is very loosely based on the popular novel by author Jack London.

 

While not a true story, per se, it is easy to see how it could have been.

Back in the early days of the gold rush when striking it rich frequently depended on surviving in wild nature long enough to do any actual prospecting!

This uplifting and inspiring film is family-friendly, save for some simulated animal fight scenes that may be too intense for the youngest set.

Parents, use your own best judgment here!

Rating: 3.5 stars

Where the Red Fern Grows

This movie is also based on a classic novel by the same name – this one written for children by author Wilson Rawls.

The movie centers around a boy’s relationship with his two coonhounds and the trials and challenges they face together as they grow up.

This movie is family-friendly and based on the same character-building themes of friendship, honor and love that made the novel famous.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Hotel for Dogs

This heart-warming film, based on the novel by author Lois Duncan, is the perfect combination of cute canines and caring rescuers.

It also has a healthy dose of really cool human ingenuity thrown in for good measure.

With a great cast, an awesome rescue dogs movie theme, and a predictably happy ending, this is a fab find for family movie night.

Rating: 5 stars

Cop and dog movies

What is better than watching a good cop take down the bad guys?

Watching a good cop with cute canine backup take down the bad guys, of course!

These inspiring working dogs in film give kudos to their real-life canine counterparts as they expertly act the parts of real police and military K-9s in action!

Max

While not precisely a cop and dog movie, the movie “Max” goes you one better.

Max is a military dog of the highest caliber who lost his way and his career when his human partner lost his life during a mission.

How Max integrates into the grieving family the soldier left behind tugs at your heartstrings in a way few stories can – truly a must-watch.

Rating: 5 stars

Turner & Hooch

It’s hard to turn down a chance to watch Tom Hanks act in one of his early films, way back when he looked like a 20-something.

But the real star in this movie is all slobber and bark, despite the oh-so-fancy breed name of Dogue de Bordeaux.

For comedy-drama cop-and-canine cinema, you can’t go wrong choosing “Turner & Hooch.”

But the ending will be a shocker (if you haven’t read any spoilers), and it might be a bit much for the youngest viewers. Parents, use discretion!

Rating: 4 stars

K-9

Sometimes it is worth it to pass on all the high-tech special effects in today’s crime movies and choose instead to see a film based on pure partnership, especially if one partner has fur!

“K-9” stars James Belushi and one very special German Shepherd named Jerry Lee.

After watching this movie, you will understand why there are so many German Shepherds named “Jerry Lee” in the world today!

Rating: 4 stars

Romantic dog movies

Oh, romance…

Some of us get lucky and it lasts for a lifetime.

And for some of us, it comes in fits and spurts that we must string together, like holiday lights that stay up all year long.

If you are currently single, these romantic dog movies will lift your spirits while you wait for the next bright light on your string to arrive.

If you are happily partnered with a fellow dog lover, movie night cuddles will feel even sweeter while watching flicks that feature your favorite species!

Must Love Dogs

Thanks to “Must Love Dogs,” online dating itself evolved to meet the demand this film produced!

 

Today, dog lovers can browse for mates on online dating sites geared specifically to helping people with pets meet other pet lovers.

If a film can accomplish this, it surely is worth a watch!

Rating: 3.5 stars

Unleashed

This movie is absolutely precious. A cat and a dog teach a single gal how to be successful at love.

This movie should be required viewing for all pet lovers who want to have better understanding and deeper relationships with their human lovers too!

Rating: 5 stars

The Truth About Cats & Dogs

This is the kind of film that makes it very hard not to fall in love with its human as well as its canine stars.

 

Because the truth is, even the most confident, successful people can struggle to feel secure enough to open up to love.

But here, with a little help from a lovable and very relatable multi-species cast, those who tend to be shy in love can find the courage to give a new relationship a chance.

Rating: 5 stars

Horror dog movies

For obvious reasons, the horror film genre seems to get quite a bit more popular around Halloween each year.

But then during the rest of the year, horror movie lovers may have to work a little harder than seems fair to find quality flicks to enjoy.

Here’s hoping these three horror dog movies are great finds to add to your year-round movie collection!

Cujo

Now you have one more reason to fear rabies. “Cujo” is classic Stephen King, and as such it won’t disappoint as a bad dogs movie in a class all its own.

But even better, the movie stays largely true to the book by the same name, something not all based-on-a-novel movies can claim.

It will also likely make you check, check, and check again to make sure your own precious pup has had his or her rabies vaccination!

Rating: 4 stars

Frankenweenie

It is awfully hard to resist a so-called canine horror film with a title like “Frankenweenie.”

Not to mention that the so-called Franken-weenie animated star is really quite cute….if you can overlook a few predictably creepy after-life accents.

Tim Burton directs, which also means you can rely on seeing a quirky, creative film about canines that is totally worth an hour and a half of your time.

Rating: 4.5 stars

The Voices

Described as a “dark comedy,” this movie genre tends to be an acquired taste for many viewers.

But if you are in the mood for something different, you just might find this film worth a view.

And of course, for any pet lover who has ever wondered if their non-human sidekicks are taking over their mind, this would be the film to watch (or not, depending on how worried you are about it!).

Rating: 3.5 stars

Show dog movies

Have you ever participated in a professional dog show?

If not, watching these three films will give you an inside look at the funnier parts of the show dog biz.

And if you do show your dogs now or have in the past, you can enjoy these three dog-centric films featuring the human element’s role in presenting all that canine talent!

Best in Show

This classic film about dog shows just never gets less classic.

 

Yes, all of its characters are caricatures (including the canines), each larger than life and very deliberately so.

But that is also what makes “Best in Show” so unforgettably funny!

Rating: 5 stars

Wiener Dog Nationals

How can you go wrong with a movie where the tagline is “And the wiener is….”?

 

 

It’s just too cute to pass up!

But this is also a funny dog movie that has plenty of heart and some good life lessons tucked in as well.

Plus, dachshunds just make us smile.

The long body, the short legs, the funny name…..with this film, count on one hour and 22 minutes of smiles!

Rating: 4.5 stars

Unleashing Mr. Darcy

Consider this movie “Pride & Prejudice,” but with a dog.

The book version was written by an author named Teri Wilson, who penned most of its pages in San Antonio’s charmingly-named Bird Bakery.

Since this is a remake, you can expect a predictable ending (does anyone not know how P&P ends?).

But isn’t it true that sometimes, a movie with a happy ending you can count on (now made even better with the addition of cute and talented canines) is just what the day ordered!

Rating: 4 stars

Cartoon dog movies

Animated cartoon dog movies are great fun. For kids and adults alike.

Bolt

A talking dog movie and a dog cartoon movie all rolled into one, with the kind of eclectic cast Disney movies are well known for, “Bolt” is sure to become a future classic.

Not only is Bolt himself reliably adorable, but the character is voiced by none other than John Travolta.

Add to that winning equation the cutest hamster/ball combination ever, and you have yourself a certified winner!

Rating: 5 stars

Balto

Balto is a simply charming sled dogs movie.

 

This dog movie is based on a true story of a courageous Siberian Husky (the movie changes the breed to a wolf-dog hybrid) who braved a blizzard to deliver medicine to an isolated village during an epidemic.

As a now-classic snow dogs movie, “Balto” has no equal among films.

Rating: 5 stars

The Secret Life of Pets

“The Secret Life of Pets” is the kind of animated dog movie that has had adults lining up right along with their kiddos on opening day.

The question is just too alluring – does your pet have a secret life you know nothing about?

The cast of characters is also memorable and unique, and representative of pretty much every pet on the planet, a feat few films can boast.

Rating: 5 stars

Classic dog movies

There is a reason famous dog movies stay famous for years and even decades.

They are just that good! Even better, some classic dog movies make for great family dog movies for kids and adults.

These three absolute classics paved the way for all future generations of dog films. It is hard to imagine they will ever go out of style!

The Wizard of Oz

Even today, in this fast-paced modern world of high tech digital special effects, it can be challenging to find a person who hasn’t heard of “The Wizard of Oz.”

With its timeless themes of love, courage, friendship, goodness and wisdom, sometimes it feels like Toto, the cute terrier star, is just an extra bonus to make us love the movie even more!

Rating: 5 stars

Lassie

Based on author Eric Knight’s classic tale, “Lassie Come Home,” this is a movie that transcends generations.

It has been remade and retold, and there have been several spin-off films.

But this is still the film that started it all – an old dogs movie that will never grow old or outdated.

Rating: 5 stars

Old Yeller

Author and Newberry award winner Fred Gipson penned “Old Yeller,” and also took part in writing the screenplay.

 

So this is one movie you can trust stays true to the original book.

This is the kind of dog movie you may now remember having seen as a child and may even choose to watch with your own children.

A bit sad for some, it sits just right with others, and only you can decide.

Rating: 4 stars

Dog movies list

So, have you selected which of these films you want to watch first?

Hopefully this list of great dog movies has included plenty of classics plus new dog film finds you can enjoy again or for the first time!

If we missed mentioning any of your absolute favorites, please post a comment to let us know. Maybe we will even feature your favs in a future article here!

Resources

Austen, I., “Farley Mowat, Author, Dies at 92; a Champion of the Far North,” New York Times, 2014.
Wenzl, R., “John Grogan and other dog lovers explain our K9 devotion,” The Wichita Eagle, 2017.
Braswell, S., “How Terry the Rug-Wetting Terrier Became Toto,” Ozy, 2014.
Aversano, E.J, “Balto’s True Story,” History of the 1925 Nome Serum Run, 2014.
Jakle, J., “S.A. novelist’s book becomes TV movie,” San Antonio Express-News, 2015.

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