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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

30 of the Best Dog Movies to Watch Right Now

Get your tails wagging! Here's our roundup of the best dog movies to watch with your family—including the pups, of course.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

Dog Movies Openerrd.com, Getty Images, Via streaming sites (6)

Dog movies you will pawsitively love

It’s no secret that dogs are the stars of our everyday lives. The adorable expressions, the sweet and mischievous antics, the wet kisses when you need them most—they’re all scene-stealing moves that make our lives richer. It only makes sense that they take the spotlight on the big screen, too. In movies, dogs typically have life-defining adventures or play the role of man’s most loyal friend as their caretakers navigate their own escapades.  In some classic family movies, the dog plays a central role in learning a life lesson. No matter which way they appear, the pups in dog movies always make us feel something, whether it’s humor, happiness, or pure appreciation.

Sounds like great entertainment, right? If you’re ready to get your fill of canine flicks, we have a list of the best dog movies to watch. They range from funny movies about lovable big dogs to moving movies about family dogs that tug at your heartstrings. We just know these dogs would do Toto from The Wizard of Oz proud. Snuggle up with your pooch and get to streaming!

Fox And The Hound movievia amazon.com

The Fox and the Hound

Released: 1981

Rated: G

Why it’s a great dog movie:  Disney’s classic entertains and shares enduring lessons about loyalty and friendship.

This vintage cartoon movie about born rivals remains one of the best dog movies to watch with the family. Adults will appreciate the voice work from Mickey Rooney and Kurt Russell as the fox and hound, and kiddos will love the rollicking friendship of the two pups. Once the pair grow up, you can expect conflict—foxes and hounds usually aren’t best buds.

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101 Dalmatians movievia amazon.com

101 Dalmations

Released: 1961

Rated: G

Why it’s a great dog movie: Dogs fighting back against a diabolical socialite show how strong a pack is.

The classic love story between Pongo and Perdita (and the one between their owners!) makes for one of the all-time best dog movies. This cartoon movie proves that the evil Cruella De Vil and her hapless henchmen are no match for the army of canines who band together to protect 101 adorable fur babies. Disney’s animated adventure is a fun frolic for dog lovers of every age.

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Milo And Otis movievia amazon.com

The Adventures of Milo and Otis

Released: 1986

Rated: G

Why it’s a great dog movie: It shows that dogs and cats can be best buds. How sweet is that?

The live-action footage of fellow canines makes this a good movie to share with your furry pal. The family-friendly adventure follows cute kitten Milo, who meets a pug puppy named Otis. Soon after, the adventures begin. Milo floats downstream in a box and Otis follows, helping the kitty as they interact with various woodland creatures. Bonus: Stick around at the end of the movie for a flash forward of the little kitten and pup once they’re all grown up!

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Eight Below movievia amazon.com

Eight Below

Released: 2006

Rated: PG

Why it’s a great dog movie:  It’s gripping, suspenseful, and highlights dogs’ strong bonds in a battle against the elements.

Fans of Siberian Huskies will love this movie. Based on a true story, this epic adventure follows eight fearless sled dogs who are left behind in Antarctica after their human companions evacuate under harrowing conditions. Paul Walker stars as the guide who mounts a rescue mission to find the courageous canines. Left on their own, the huskies must survive in grueling weather and fend for survival.

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All Dogs Go To Heaven MovieVia Hulu.com

All Dogs Go to Heaven

Released: 1989

Rated: G

Why it’s a great dog movie: The afterlife + hijinks = a memorable pup movie.

Burt Reynolds voices Charlie, a German shepherd (one of the classic German dog breeds) in heaven who sneaks back to Earth to hang with his dog bestie (voiced by Dom DeLuise) and get revenge on the dog who murdered him. When he meets an orphan girl, he ends up learning learning an important lesson about love and kindness instead.

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Beethoven movievia amazon.com

Beethoven

Released: 1992

Rated: PG

Why it’s a great dog movie: The antics of this scene-stealing St. Bernard will put you in stitches.

You should watch this comedic romp with the pup who has a starring role in your life. It’s one of the best dog movies about a rambunctious family pooch and the humans who love him. Charle Grodin stars as the grumpy dad who slowly warms to the energetic pup, Beethoven. Fun fact: The dog earns his name when he barks along to the famous composer’s Fifth Symphony. Woof-woof-woof-woooof.

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Air Bud movie stillvia amazon.com

Air Bud

Released: 1997

Rated: PG

Why it’s a great dog movie: It shows pups can do anything they set their minds to—even on the basketball court.

This beloved dog movie stars Air Buddy, a real-life dog who became famous in the ’90s for shooting baskets on the Late Show with David Letterman. The story follows a kid trying out for the basketball team who comes across a smart and adorable pooch that has the uncanny ability to shoot hoops.

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Homeward Bound the movievia amazon.com

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey

Released: 1993

Rated: G

Why it’s a great dog movie: Seeing how far pets will go to reunite with their families will break your heart and then fill it back up again.

Three kids have to leave behind their two dogs (and a cat) when their mom remarries and relocates to the big city. The pet trio have other things in mind, though, and embark on an incredible journey home. This is not only a great family movie—PetMD named it one of the top movies to watch with your dog.

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Old Yeller the movievia amazon.com

Old Yeller

Released: 1957

Rated: G

Why it’s a great dog movie: Old Yeller’s dedication to his family throughout the film is heartwarming.

This vintage western features a faithful dog that’ll do anything for his homestead family alone on the prairie. The little brother takes to the rascally yellow dog, while the older one keeps his distance. When Old Yeller gets the boys out of a dangerous scrap more than once, he ends up winning the hearts of everyone (including yours) through his loyalty and courage.

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A Dog's Purpose movievia amazon.com

A Dog’s Purpose

Released: 2017

Rated: PG

Why it’s a great dog movie: The film celebrates the tender relationship between dogs and their human besties. Keep the tissues close.

If you’re in the mood to have your heartstrings pulled, this is the dog movie for you. Follow a dog as he makes his way into the lives of various humans, teaching them valuable lessons while also learning his own. Josh Gad (also the snowman Olaf in Frozen) voices the multiple incarnations of the dog Bailey with warmth and verve. Dennis Quaid also stars.

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Hachi: A Dog's Tale movievia amazon.com

Hachi: A Dog’s Tale

Released: 2009

Rated: G

Why it’s a great dog movie: You’ll be deeply moved by the loyalty and deep bonds between a man and his pooch.

The true story about an Akita dog named Hachikō will have you and your pup hooked on the screen. Richard Gere stars in this adaptation of the original Japanese film. This one can be a real tearjerker, so hug your pup and give him a smooch.

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101 Dalmatians live-action movievia amazon.com

101 Dalmatians (live-action)

Released: 1996

Rated: G

Why it’s a great dog movie: It brings the classic animated dog flick to life—and Glenn Close plays an excellent Cruella De Vil.

Glenn Close sparkles with villainy in this live-action version of the beloved animated tale. Relive all the best moments from the cartoon, and fall in love with pooches galore, including all those rambunctious, adorable black-and-white Dalmatians.

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Lady And The Tramp movievia amazon.com

Lady and the Tramp

Released: 1955

Rated: G

Why it’s a great dog movie: You’ll laugh, smile, and say “aww” as two pups from different worlds fall for one another.

He’s a tramp, but she loves him! If you’re looking for a little puppy love, watch Lady, the uptown girl doggo, flirt with Tramp, the pup who hails from the wrong side of the tracks. It also includes one of the all-time best iconic romantic movie scenes—the lovebird pooches sharing a plate of pasta. That’s amore! Who’s to say what dogs are worth?

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Isle Of Dogs movievia amazon.com

Isle of Dogs

Released: 2018

Rated: PG-13

Why it’s a great dog movie: Wes Anderson’s quirky stop-motion animation adventure is beautiful.

Isle of Dogs takes place in a dystopian future, where a band of canines helps a little boy find his dog that was sent to a terrible island. The voice talent includes Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Scarlett Johansson, and Yoko Ono, to name just a few. Grab the popcorn and start streaming!

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Hotel For Dogsvia amazon.com

Hotel for Dogs 

Released: 2009

Rated: PG

Why it’s a great dog movie: The sweet movie shows the great lengths kids will go to protect animals.

What’s better than one dog? A hotel full of dogs! When siblings Andi and Bruce land in a foster home that forbids pets, they look for suitable shelter for their beloved pet. When they find an abandoned hotel, they transform it into a happy home for all of the town’s strays. But when the neighbors get suspicious, Andi and Bruce must figure out how protect the pooch paradise.

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The Secret Life Of Pets 2via amazon.com

The Secret Life of Pets 2

Released: 2019

Rated: PG

Why it’s a great dog movie: It’s answers the question: What are pets really up to when you’re not there?

Adjusting to changes in family life takes a toll not only on humans, but dogs too! But you face your fears and learn to love and protect new family and friends—something we can learn from family dogs Max and Duke. This charming refresh expands on the original, introducing new characters and locations, and Harrison Ford is excellent as Rooster, the wizened old farm dog. If you haven’t seen the first, we recommend it as well.

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Think Like A Dog movievia amazon.com

Think Like a Dog

Released: 2020

Rated: PG

Why it’s a great dog movie: You learn what it’s like to read a dog’s mind—and it’s just as interesting as you think it is.

You and your pup will surely be jealous of this connection. In this sci-fi comedy with a star-studded lineup (including Megan Fox and Josh Duhamel), a science experiment goes wrong, creating a telepathic connection between owner and dog. We would advise you to not try this experiment at home, though, so cover your eyes and enjoy the ride.

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Marmaduke movievia amazon.com

Marmaduke

Released: 2010

Rated: PG

Why it’s a great dog movie: You get to experience life’s biggest transitions through the lens of a dog.

If you and your furry friend have experienced a move, you’ll relate to Marmaduke and his family as they pack up their bags and adjust to their new life in sunny Orange County, California. We’re wondering who will relate more: you or your pooch?

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Dog Days Movie Via Amazon.com

Dog Days

Released: 2018

Rated: PG

Why it’s a great dog movie: It’s relatable, heartwarming, and a gut punch (in a good way) to realize what an influence our pups have on our lives.

Romance is in the air with this romantic comedy of five disconnected people in Los Angeles whose lives come together in funny and unexpected ways. How do they connect? Though their canine counterparts, of course. The life-affirming film unfolds around how the love and care they show their dogs influences their careers, friendships, and romantic relationships—for the better. 

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Bolt the movievia amazon.com

Bolt

Released: 2008

Rated: PG

Why it’s a great dog movie: It’s an inspiring story of a pup making his way home and learning valuable lessons along the way.

Looking for your inner superhero? You and your pup can find it together—alongside Bolt, of course! After spending years on a movie set, Bolt believes he has superpowers and goes on a cross-country mission to help his owner, Penny, with the help of a few friends he meets along the way. Join the animated adventure to get Bolt back to Penny.

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The Call Of The Wild MovieVia Amazon.com

Call of the Wild

Released: 2020

Rated: PG

Why it’s a great dog movie: Buck’s strength, determination, and loyalty is inspiring to watch.

Based on the classic novel of the same name, Call of the Wild stars Harrison Ford as a man who befriends Buck, a Bernese Mountain Dog trying to adjust to life in Yukon, Alaska, as a sled dog. Buck’s trying to find his place in the pack, and along the way, he finds out what it means to be a leader—and man’s best friend.

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Best In Show MovieVia Amazon.com

Best in Show

Released: 2000

Rated: PG-13

Why it’s a great dog movie: The hilarious mockumentary shows just how far dog owners will go to prove that their pup is the best of the best.

Best in Show is a funny flick about the highly competitive world of dog shows. The featured pups are smart and adorable, and the owners…well, they’re something else. The star-studded cast (including another pairing of Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara, pre–Schitt’s Creek) perfectly bring their chaotic characters to life.

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Clifford The Big Red Dog MovieVia Amazon.com

Clifford The Big Red Dog

Released: 2021

Rated: PG

Why it’s a great dog movie: The beloved children’s character is just as compelling on the big screen.

Based on the beloved children’s booksClifford The Big Red Dog is about a young girl who gets drawn into massive adventures after adopting a little red puppy that turns into a giant dog. Seriously, we’re talking 10 feet tall! See the gentle giant and his friend Emily Elizabeth take the Big Apple by the tail.

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Marley And Me MovieVia Amazon.com

Marley & Me

Released: 2008

Rated: PG

Why it’s a great dog movie: You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be reminded that every second with your beloved pup is precious.

Have the tissues handy while watching this one; it’s easily one of the best, but saddest, dog movies. Marley & Me is the story of a newlywed couple (excellently played by Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston) who adopt a naughty pup when they move to Florida. Sure, Marley is a handful, but he’s the perfect addition to their growing family. Fun fact: It’s based off John Grogan’s 2005 memoir of the same name. Start streaming now to experience Marley’s adorable misadventures.

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Because Of Winn Dixie MovieVia Amazon.com

Because of Winn Dixie

Released: 2005

Rated: PG

Why it’s a great dog movie: It reminds us that as long as we have a dog, we’ll always have a friend.

Because of Winn Dixie is a about a young girl (AnnaSophia Robb) who moves to a new town to live with her father (Jeff Daniels). She struggles to make friends until she meets a rambunctious dog she names Winn Dixie (yep, after the grocery store). Her beloved pup helps her find a place among a warm community of characters. How sweet!

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The Art Of Dancing In The Rain MovieVia Amazon.com

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Released: 2019

Rated: PG

Why it’s a great dog movie: Race cars, love, and unwavering loyalty—what’s not to love?

The Art of Racing in the Rain is narrated by a dog named Enzo (voiced by Kevin Costner), who learns lots of valuable life lessons from his owner and best friend, Denny (Milo Ventimiglia), a race car driver. Follow Denny and Enzo’s adventures through life, love, and family. Dogs, love, race cars—there’s a little bit of something for everyone. But be forewarned: It’s a tearjerker.

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Snow Dogs MovieVia Amazon.com

Snow Dogs

Released: 2002

Rated: PG

Why it’s a great dog movie: The fish-out-of-water story shows that no matter where you’re from, you can still be part of a pup’s pack.

This is one of those dog movies that’s funny, inspiring, and leaves you smiling at the end. Cuba Gooding Jr. stars as a well-off dentist who inherits a team of champion sled dogs in Alaska. Now, he must make a choice: Give up the dogs and a possible new life in Alaska, or leave his life in Miami.

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Benji MovieVia Netflix.com

Benji

Released: 2018

Rated: PG

Why it’s a great dog movie: There’s just something about a scruffy dog doing whatever it takes to keep his loved ones safe.

Benji, a remake of the 1974 film, will have the whole family hooked from the beginning. Two children befriend a stray and soon take him in. Benji gets the mission of his life, though, when the kids are kidnapped. Now, it’s up to him to find them and bring them home—just like they did for him. Pup to the rescue!

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Turner And Hooch MovieVia Amazon.com

Turner and Hooch

Released: 1989

Rated: PG

Why it’s a great dog movie: Dogs make the best detectives!

Tom Hanks stars in this dog-buddy-cop comedy as an uptight detective who reluctantly adopts a chaotic dog named Hooch after his owner is killed. He realizes that Hooch has some decent skills, and he may even help solve his owner’s murder. Watch these reluctant partners become family while working the case.

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Patrick MovieVia Netflix.com

Patrick 

Released: 2019

Rated: TV-PG

Why it’s a great dog movie: It’s a great reminder that dogs make everything and everyone better.

In this British film, a teacher’s messy life gets even messier when she inherits her grandmother’s pugnacious pug, Patrick. She tries to get rid of him, but his naughtiness might be just what she needs.

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Molly Pennington, PhD
Molly is a writer and collage artist with a PhD in film and cultural studies from the University of Pittsburgh. Her professional astrology services and artwork are available at Baroque Moon Astrology. She covers the zodiac, books, movies, TV and culture for Reader’s Digest, and loves to talk about all the ways we make meaning.
Kelly Kuehn
Kelly Kuehn is an associate editor for Reader’s Digest covering entertainment, trivia and history. When she’s not writing you can find her watching the latest and greatest movies, listening to a true crime podcast (or two), blasting ‘90s music and hiking with her dog, Ryker, throughout the Finger Lakes.