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17 Most Famous Dog Movies of All Time: Trailers & Info

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 16, 2024 by Dogster Team

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17 Most Famous Dog Movies of All Time: Trailers & Info

Dogs have long had a unique ability to touch anyone on an emotional level, and thanks to Hollywood, even non-owners can invite the magic of canine companionship into their homes through classic canine cinema.

As famous as any actors, iconic dogs have left a lasting mark on the industry and proven their ability to delight audiences through the generations. If you’re a dog lover planning your next movie marathon, we’ll help you with this rundown of the 17 most famous dog movies of all time.

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The 17 Most Famous Dog Movies of All Time

1. Marley & Me

Release Year: 2008
Featured Breeds: Labrador Retriever

Based on the 2005 book of the same name, Marley & Me is the story of a mischievous Labrador Retriever’s frustrating antics, misadventures, and his loving family trying to cope.

Balancing laughs with tears, it’s a modern-day classic on par with the most memorable tearjerkers in Hollywood history.

2. 101 Dalmatians

Release Year: 1961
Featured Breeds: Dalmatian, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Bloodhound

Several breeds appear throughout this 1961 animated Disney flick, but none are as well represented as the spotted dogs that populate the screen. 101 Dalmatians follows an enormous family of dogs as they elude the wicked, fur-loving Cruella De Vil, one of Disney’s most unscrupulous villains.

Proving its enduring popularity, the film spawned several sequels and got the live-action treatment in the 1996 film starring Glenn Close.

3. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey

Release Year: 1993
Featured Breeds: American Pitbull, Golden Retriever

Featuring the voice talents of Michael J. Fox, Sally Field, and Don Ameche, Homeward Bound follows an American Pitbull, a Golden Retriever, and a Himalayan cat as they journey through the Sierra Nevada mountains to reunite with their family.

The movie brings the audience inside the minds of its protagonists, showing us what our pets are really thinking as they go about their day. Although it’s a remake, this updated version of the 1963 Disney movie The Incredible Journey is far more famous than the original, thanks in large part to the added voiceovers.

4. Old Yeller

Release Year: 1957
Featured Breeds: Yellow Mastador (Lab/Mastiff mix)

Disney’s defining classic is inarguably one of the most famous dog movies of all time. There are no spoilers in this tale of a boy and his dog, as even those who haven’t seen it know all about the tragic climax.

As the first Disney live-action film selected for the National Film Registry, Old Yeller is a timeless tale of the genuine joy and heartache inherent in our love for our dogs.

5. Beethoven

Release Year: 1992
Featured Breeds: St. Bernard

Anyone looking forward to owning a St. Bernard can get a quick preview of life with these slobbering gentle giants by watching the 1992 hit Beethoven. The story follows an owner aggravated at the title pup’s unruly ways before succumbing to his endearing character.

Since its release in 1992, Beethoven has spawned countless sequels, though none have come close to matching the popularity of the original.

6. Best in Show

Release Year: 2000
Featured Breeds: Norwich Terrier, Standard Poodle, Bloodhound, Weimaraner, Shih Tzu

Best in Show is another ensemble masterpiece from Christopher Guest and Co. Multiple stories interweave in this mockumentary about a gaggle of offbeat characters and their purebreds as they vie for the top prize at the fictional Mayflower Dog Show.

Coming from the minds behind comedy hits like This Is Spinal Tap and A Mighty Wind, you can rest assured this is one of the funniest dog movies you’ll ever see.

7. Lady and the Tramp

Release Year: 1955
Featured Breeds: Cocker Spaniel, mixed breed

Mixed-breed mutts got the recognition they deserve in Disney’s 1955 flick Lady and the Tramp. Blending memorable songs with vivid animation, this romantic tale of two dogs from different sides of the tracks has stood the test of time as a guaranteed audience pleaser.

In 2019, the movie received a live-action update, bringing the story to a whole new generation.

8. The Fox and the Hound

Release Year: 1981
Featured Breeds: Hound

Nobody makes a touching story of a dog’s friendship like Disney. In The Fox and the Hound, it’s a red-tailed fox that enjoys the companionship of man’s best friend despite being a natural-born enemy.

It’s nostalgic and heartrending, and it’s one Disney favorite we could watch repeatedly.

9. The Secret Life of Pets

Release Year: 2016
Featured Breeds: Jack Russell Terrier, Newfoundland, Pomeranian, Dachshund, Pug, Basset Hound

Have you ever wondered what your dogs do after you leave for work? In The Secret Life of Pets, we see all the insane antics that pets get into behind their owners’ backs.

Following the popularity of the sidesplitting original, a sequel came out in 2019 featuring Harrison Ford as a Welsh Sheepdog.

10. Beverly Hills Chihuahua

Release Year: 2008
Featured Breeds: Chihuahua

The 2008 film Beverly Hills Chihuahua may not have gotten rave reviews, but this family comedy about a spoiled deer-head Chihuahua still won over its fair share of fans.

Drew Barrymore and George Lopez voice the main characters in this first installment, a box office hit that spawned two sequels.

11. Balto

Release Year: 1995
Featured Breeds: Husky

Balto gained fame as the lead sled dog on the final leg of the 1925 Serum Run to Nome, Alaska. The three-year-old Alaskan Husky got the star treatment as the symbol of the effort, culminating in a statue and the 1995 animated dramatization of his role in the run.

Despite Balto’s renown, many knew another dog, Togo, as having the most challenging section of the relay and being the ultimate lynchpin in the operation. Appropriately enough, he received his due credit in the 2019 live-action film Togo starring Willem Dafoe.

12. Turner and Hooch

Release Year: 1989
Featured Breeds: Dogue de Bordeaux

Before becoming an Oscar-winning drama actor, Tom Hanks was a favorite feature of 1980s comedies. With Turner and Hooch, Hanks finds himself in one-half of a buddy cop formula with a slight twist.

Playing the foil to his detective character, a rowdy Dogue de Bordeaux helps our hero catch the baddies and win the girl in this hysterical caper.

13. Air Bud

Release Year: 1997
Featured Breeds: Golden Retriever

Buddy, a Golden Retriever, has excelled in just about every sport imaginable over the years, but no story compares to 1997’s Air Bud. Dog-loving hoops fans got their fill in this famous sports movie featuring a circus canine turned basketball star.

After garnering major success from this first outing, the franchise turned in over a dozen sequels, with later features showcasing the next generation of Air Buddies.

14. All Dogs Go to Heaven

Release Year: 1989
Featured Breeds: German Shepherd

All Dogs Go to Heaven is a beloved 1989 animated musical about a canine who gets a second chance to prove his worth. Although many have retrospectively found this to be one of the darker dog movies ever made, particularly among those with a G rating, that hasn’t changed anyone’s opinion about its poignancy and beautiful storytelling.

15. A Dog’s Purpose

Release Year: 2017
Featured Breeds: Beagle mix, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, St. Bernard-Australian Shepherd mix

One dog’s life-and-death story is sad enough, so you can imagine a movie that crams in several storylines of love and loss will be a surefire tearjerker. Such is the case with A Dog’s Purpose, a 2017 movie based on W. Bruce Cameron’s book about one dog’s journey through multiple reincarnations as he looks for his original owner and his life’s meaning.

Fans of A Dog’s Purpose can get more of the same in A Dog’s Journey, the 2019 sequel continuing the main character’s story. Interestingly, another film based on a W. Bruce Cameron book called A Dog’s Way Home came out that same year. It was a separate story about a dog’s 400-mile journey to reunite with her owner.

16. Scooby Doo

Release Year: 2002
Featured Breeds: Great Dane

It was only a matter of time before one of the most popular children’s cartoons ever got its Hollywood feature. Arriving 33 years after the show first came on TV, the live-action-comedy adventure about an island resort mystery was a box-office success, fueling a 2004 sequel.

17. Bolt

Release Year: 2008
Featured Breeds: White Shepherd dog

The 2008 Disney animated film Bolt became an immediate sensation with its hilarious storyline about a deluded TV star canine who believes he’s a genuine superhero on a mission to rescue his co-star.

Full of laughs, action, and sincere emotional moments, Bolt is a fast-paced adventure the whole family can enjoy.

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Grab a bowl of popcorn and your dog; it’s time for movie night and snuggling with your best friend. Supervising a canine-friendly flick is a relaxing bonding opportunity and an excellent way to renew your appreciation for the special pet in your life. Dig into any of these famous dog movies for a cinematic experience you’ll both be sure to love.

Featured Image Credit: Eugenio Marongiu, Shutterstock

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