The Best Dog Movies to Watch for Family Movie Nights

Dog movies have endured as a beloved genre, tugging at our heartstrings and providing comfort through tales of friendship, adventure, and devotion between dogs and their humans. From classics to recent hits, here are some of the best dog movies for your next family movie night

A Look Back at Classic Dog Movie Favorites

Who doesn’t love the classic dog movies we grew up with? It just doesn’t feel like family movie night without including some of these nostalgic favorites:

  • Lassie Come Home – This 1943 film about a brave collie trying to reunite with her family started it all. Keep an eye out for a young Elizabeth Taylor!

  • 101 Dalmatians – Choose between the 1961 animated original or the 1996 live-action remake starring Glenn Close as the villainous Cruella de Vil.

  • Lady and the Tramp – Fall in love with this 1955 Disney romance between a cocker spaniel and a stray mutt. The spaghetti scene is pawsitively iconic.

  • Benji – This lovable mixed-breed dog is the star of numerous heartwarming adventures, like the 1974 original and the 2018 reboot.

  • Old Yeller – Fair warning, this 1957 coming-of-age story about a frontier family and their stray dog will require a tissue box.

  • Animated favorites like BoltAll Dogs Go to Heaven, and Balto will please both kids and adults.

Recent Big Hits and Tearjerkers

Some newer dog movies have already secured their status as classics in the making:

  • Marley & Me – Get ready to laugh, cry, and fall in love with “the world’s worst dog” in this 2008 Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson comedy.
  • A Dog’s Purpose – Follow one devoted dog’s journey through multiple lives to protect the humans he loves in this 2017 tearjerker.
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain – Experience a racecar driver’s turbulent life through the eyes of his loyal Golden Retriever in this 2019 adaptation.
  • Hachi: A Dog’s Tale will tug at your heartstrings with its story of a college professor and the Akita who waited years for him at the train station after his death.
  • Stop-motion animation fans will delight in Wes Anderson’s quirky Isle of Dogs from 2018.
  • Togo stars Willem Dafoe as the real-life Leonhard Seppala who raced across the Alaskan tundra with his lead sled dog to stop a diphtheria outbreak in 1925.
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Funny and Quirky Dog Movies

When you need some laughs, these funny dog movies deliver:

  • Best in Show – Eugene Levy and Jane Lynch are among the colorful characters competing at a prestigious dog show in this hilarious 2000 mockumentary.
  • As Good As It Gets – Jack Nicholson’s curmudgeonly character experiences big personality changes after dog-sitting for his neighbor in this 1997 rom-com.
  • Where the Red Fern Grows and Because of Winn-Dixie are literary adaptations with plenty of heart and humor.

Family-Friendly Picks

For a family-friendly movie night, you can never go wrong with these classics:

  • The Shaggy Dog – Tim Allen steps into Fred MacMurray’s paw prints in this silly 2006 remake about a man who turns into a sheepdog.
  • Let the kids laugh at the talking dogs in the Hotel for Dogs and Air Bud franchises.
  • Beethoven frolics his way into a family’s home and hearts in this 1992 comedy about a rambunctious St. Bernard.
  • Scooby-Doo and the gang always deliver all-ages mysteries and laughs.

Live-Action and Animated Selections

Dog movies come in both live-action and animated styles to entertain viewers of all ages:

  • Disney charms with animated hits like Fox and the HoundLady and the TrampBolt, and 101 Dalmatians.
  • Balto animates the real-life 1925 serum run tale with nostalgic 2D animation.
  • Sing along to musical numbers in All Dogs Go to Heaven.
  • Homeward Bound switches perspectives, following two dogs and a cat on a journey to find their family.
  • Turner & Hooch pairs Tom Hanks with a slobbery French mastiff to solve crimes in this 1989 buddy-cop comedy.
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Beloved Dog Stars

Certain canine performers have become just as iconic as any human celebrity over the years:

  • Lassie – This classic collie first warmed hearts in the 1943 movie before starring in various television shows.
  • Benji charmed audiences in films throughout the 1970s and a 2018 reboot.
  • Beethoven slobbered his way into viewers’ affections in this big-hearted St. Bernard franchise.
  • Scooby-Doo – This Great Dane has been entertaining kids and adults since 1969 with his mystery-solving gang.

Streaming for Dog Movie Nights

Thanks to streaming, you can easily find both timeless classics and new dog movies for your next family movie night:

  • Disney+ is the go-to for dog-focused Disney movies, Turner & HoochTogo, and more.
  • Find Benji films, A Dog’s PurposeIsle of Dogs, and other hits on HBO Max.
  • Check Netflix for family favorites like Hotel for DogsBecause of Winn-Dixie, and animated picks.
  • Prime Video offers a deep catalog including Marley & MeHachiBeethoven and adaptations like Where the Red Fern Grows.

With so many great dog movies to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect flick for your next family movie night whether you want fun, heartwarming, nostalgic, or just plain silly! Snuggle up with some popcorn and enjoy doggone good storytelling.


What was the biggest dog movie of all time?

2005’s comedy Marley & Me starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston as a couple adopting a rambunctious Labrador is currently the highest grossing dog-centric film in history, earning over $244 million worldwide.

Are any dog movies based on true stories?

Many dog movies take inspiration from real-life events and animals. Some examples are Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, Togo, Balto, Greyfriars Bobby, and Red Dog. Even Lassie Come Home was loosely based on the story of a collie named Lassie Jr.

What was the first animated dog movie?

Walt Disney’s 1955 classic Lady and the Tramp was the first fully animated feature film to star dogs as the main characters. However, the comic strip turned 1930’s film series Snookums featured animated dogs in a hybrid live-action world years earlier.

What are the saddest dog movies?

Prepare those tissues! The dogs movies widely considered to be the saddest and most likely to make you cry include Old Yeller, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, Marley & Me, Where the Red Fern Grows, Turner & Hooch, and My Dog Skip.

In Conclusion

Over the decades, dog movies have made us laugh, cry, cheer for underdogs, and shown the amazing bonds between humans and their canine best friends. Whether you love animated animal adventures, funny pet stories, heartwarming dramas, or just a good pup, the best dog movies offer something for every viewer. So grab some popcorn and snuggle up with your own furry friend for a doggone good movie night.

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