Who doesn’t love a dog movie? Especially as dog parents, these tearjerkers can really pull at our heartstrings sometimes and get us to want to hold our furry friends closer than ever. These movies are not ranked in order, and some might have made us shed more tears than others…
As we go through each movie, we might outline some of the main concepts and plot points, so SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t seen it. Whether you’re browsing on Netflix on a Friday night, or you finally have some time to yourself to curl up with your pup after a hard day at work, we have a dog movie for you. Let’s go through the list and you can make your own list of ranking for your next movie marathon at home.
View the Best Dog Movies of All Time Below
1. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
I think this is the first dog movie I remember watching in its entirety. Some of us dog people are not very fond of cats. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey will show you the friendship animals are capable of having regardless of breed or species. Three friends, a golden retriever, an American Bulldog, and a Persian Siamese cat go on a vacation with their humans.
They get lost along the way and do everything within an animal’s power to get back to their loving family. It documents their trials and tribulations to get home and all the obstacles they encounter on the way. I won’t spoil the ending in case you haven’t seen it, but I will say this; the hurdles they experience will give you all the highs and lows of emotions.
From laughing at Chance’s (American Bulldog) silliness to Sassy’s (Persian Siamese) efforts to keep up with the pups, and Shadow’s (Golden Retriever) unwavering faith and leadership, this movie is packed with events that will touch even the toughest of hearts.
2. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale has got to be the one that almost made me swear off dog movies for a long while. This tale of loyalty, innocence, and patience is unsurpassed by any other. The dog Hachiko is immortalized by the imprint he left in people’s hearts. The movie starts with a little boy named Ronnie, as he tells the story of why his grandfather’s dog Hachiko is his personal hero.
After this movie, I must admit that Hachi embodies what most of us look for in a best friend, hero, and companion. Sit down with a box of tissues and perhaps a pint of ice cream and give this movie a watch. Hachi will bring a new meaning to the word loyalty, and thoroughly show you a dog’s true capacity for love.
3. Marley & Me
Marley & Me is another tearjerker, so get ready! This movie is different than the ones before it. This is a very relatable movie as it documents the everyday life of dog owners. It starts from when they get Marley as a puppy, all the way up to the end. You are really able to connect with the family and of course Marley as if you have been there through all the major events they document in the movie.
I promise there will be a ton of incidences we as dog owners can relate to. I know I have a pup who’s afraid of thunderstorms just like Marley. When it comes to the very end, I’m sure a lot of us will replace the role of Marley in our head with our own furry best friend. That is what will really get the tears flowing. Have a watch and don’t say I didn’t warn you of the inevitable tears!
4. Old Yeller
Perhaps one of the most famous dog movies out there, Old Yeller is a golden oldie. This movie brings to light the unconditional love between a dog and a child. Old Yeller protects the boys in the movie at all costs and later becomes an indispensable part of the family. An unfortunate event befalls the farm, and later Old Yeller, and then a human is forced to decide between his emotions and logic.
Sometimes it’s tough to do the right thing, and this story might leave you sitting there in anger and hurt, but there is a little silver lining at the end that might hopefully cheer you up. As one of the oldest dog movies, this is definitely a top one on our list.
5. All Dogs Go to Heaven
To put fun and cute spin on things here is a great animated film that really brings forth a dog’s personality. Some old Hollywood A-listers like Burt Reynolds lend their voices to the dogs and bring them to life. All Dogs Go to Heaven is a 30-year old movie and really incorporates human events into the story.
Charlie, the German Shephard is a very cute and likable character that drives the story. He isn’t always set the best example for kids and his loyal sidekick Itchy, a Dachshund, but he tries his best just like most of us do in life. So if you need a break from all the sadness above, this is a great cartoon to lift your spirits!
Benji is a dog movie I remember watching as a child but only in bits and pieces. With such a cute dog and great storyline, this movie spawned many subsequent movies. The first one is about Benji, a mixed stray saving two kidnapped kids. The intelligence exhibited by Benji throughout the movie is incredible.
He has a knack for being in the right place at the right time and often solves problems with incredible mental capacity for a dog. You can imagine the amount of dog training that went into this movie, and that in itself is incredible! Benji will become the hero that rescues humans in distress. He might as well have a little red cape and blue tights!
7. 101 Dalmatians
101 Dalmatians is another fun animated movie from Disney that is suitable for people of all ages. It has a little something for kids and adults. As often portrayed in dog movies, a human is an antagonist in this cartoon as well. Pongo and Perdita show us the love and determination parents of any species have while they go on a journey to save their puppies from being made into puppy coats.
Saving their puppies from becoming nothing more than a mere fashion statement, this pair of furry parents is humanized in our eyes by doing everything we would do to protect our kids. This is a great movie for a night in with the kids, furry or not!
8. Lady and the Tramp
This Disney cartoon is quite a romantic tale. A classic story of the rich girl and the pauper that wins her heart, and dog and cats not getting along, Lady and the Tramp combines many concepts into one story. In the end, this is a love story between two dogs, a Cocker Spaniel named Lady and a mixed breed stray named Tramp. Of course, the love and loyalty to humans dogs are ingrained with is also incorporated into this movie.
The spaghetti-eating scene, which results in an off-guard kiss between the two dogs is a scene that has been recreated many times and become an iconic scene. Give yourself a treat tonight with a plate of spaghetti, your beloved pooch and Lady and the Tramp.
Just typing this title brings a smile to my face. Who doesn’t love a big lumbering lug of a dog that creates mayhem and mischief in his wake? Even though he sends his owner, George Newton through the roof with his antics, he is beloved by the whole family and comes through in the end when the family is in need.
George and Beethoven have a great dynamic that hilariously involves one partner often cleaning up after another that will definitely leave you in fits of laughter. Are you up for a more light-hearted comedy tonight? Give this one a try and tell us what you think!
10. A Dog’s Purpose
Enough of the fun stuff, here is another heart-wrenching story. As the title suggests, this story puts a dog’s purpose of existence into the picture. It takes several reincarnations and lifetimes to discover this, but the journey and experiences this dog-spirit goes through is endearing and uplifting. This spirit possesses all the memories of its past life, well equipped with the necessary experiences that will eventually answer the question we all ask, ‘’What is our purpose?”.
The dog spirit is reincarnated as different breeds in different scenarios with different cards dealt. In the end, the final reincarnation Buddy figures out his purpose in life. Watch A Dog’s Purpose for yourself to find out what exactly that is, and how Buddy convinces his first owner of who he truly is.
11. The Secret Life of Pets
From now on we will change tracks and go into more light-hearted, cute and maybe heart-warming films. The Secret Life of Pets is another cute animation. This story isn’t as dog focused as the ones before it. My favorite character is the evil little bunny. J As you can tell from the name, this story tells us the secret lives our pets lead when we aren’t at home. They also meet up with friends, go about their day at leisure, as we would on a lazy Sunday morning.
But their lives aren’t limited to the immediate vicinity, the pets in this story go on an exciting adventure that takes them all around the concrete jungle of New York City. Did you know there is a pet society all gathered in the sewers consisting of all the pets you’ve flushed down the toilet? The producers come up with the cutest ideas of how our pets really are in secret.
In the end, it depicts the fact that all a pet wants is to be loved by a human. You’re in for an endless bunch of ‘awwwwws’ and ‘how cutes’ when you see the character designs of these pets.
This movie first came out as a short film in 1984, by my favorite director of all time, Tim Burton. Tim Burton is known for quirky, freaky movies and this is no exception. In the 2012 remake, the film takes the idea of the Frankenstein monster but transfers it to a dog, a bull terrier named Sparky.
We all wish a pet that has passed away could be reincarnated. Victor, the main character and the boy who lost his beloved loyal companion is lucky enough to achieve this through a science experiment. Despite his scary appearance, Victor needs to convince everyone that Sparky is still the loyal, loving friend he has always been.
Fancy dressing your pup up as Frankenweenie? Check out these cute Halloween costumes!
13. Cats and Dogs
Cats and Dogs is a movie that addresses the age-old rivalry between canines and felines. This film tells of an espionage rivalry between dogs and cats, all revolving around a serum created by dogs to cure humans of dog-related allergies. As we busy humans go about our daily lives, this war goes on unnoticed.
The Cats hope to sabotage the dogs’ efforts, and the leader of the cat army, Mr. Tinkles, will stop at nothing to make sure every last human on earth is allergic to dogs so cats can take over and be the ultimate pet. Who wins you ask? That is an answer you need to find out for yourself!
Here are some other movie suggestions that are just as amazing! We tried to make it as diverse as possible, introducing all genres of dog films.
14. White Fang
We have not even watched White Fang yet – but it’s number 14 on this list due to the astounding reviews and ratings it’s had. We’ve noticed it frequently gracing reviews all around as an amazing movie for dog owners – we will be watching it along with you!
A classic! Most have heard of Lassie – and if you haven’t we recommend you stop what you’re doing and WATCH THIS MOVIE!
16. Iron Will
We haven’t watched Iron Will yet – but it’s on our list because of the amazing reviews and ratings it’s had. We’ve seen it frequently mentioned as an amazing movie for dog lovers so that is what we are watching next!
17. The Adventures of Milo and Otis
18. Eight Below
A REAL tearjerker. We sort of didn’t want to include it (because it’s so sad!) but it cements the bond we have with our dogs. Eight Below is a tragic but beautiful tale starring 8 fantastically trained huskies and Paul Walker (R.I.P).
19. Turner & Hooch
Turner & Hooch is another classic we just HAD to include in our list. If you haven’t seen it – then you gotta’!
20. Red Dog
Based on a true story, Red Dog is an Australian legend of a Dog that travels all over making peoples lives magical – especially that of a young boy. For anyone that’s ever been separated from their best friend – Red Dog will be especially meaningful for you.
Every single one of these movies shows us why we should all watch more movies centered around pets, whether we are pet owners or not. Each and every one of these movies tackles moral and philosophical questions from different angles that not only gets you thinking but it also tugs are your heartstrings and pulls at your emotions – all at the same time.
If you’ve seen every single one of these movies, don’t fret, as there are a lot more out there just waiting to soften you up. One thing is for sure, after watching any one of these movies about dogs or other ones out there, you’ll want to hold on to your pooch even more tightly and tell them how much you appreciate their unconditional love and loyalty every day.
Did You Know?
Since this article is mushy and emotional, we thought we’d give you some reasons as to why this is a good thing. Here are some benefits of being a dog owner. We can learn another capacity for love, and our pets teach us new meanings of the words love, loyalty, friendship, and trust. Having them in our lives bring us more joy and less stress. They give us better health, as we need to exercise more with them and they make us overall happier and therefore, healthier.
- Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Richard Roxburgh (Actors)
- Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
- Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller (Actors)
- Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
- Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Sophie Skelton (Actors)
- Michael O'Halloran (Producer)
- English, French (Subtitles)