For dog lovers, it can be really difficult to watch dog movies, live-action or animated, where something sad happens to the animal characters (even if we know they’re just films). It’s a truly unpleasant surprise to think you’re in for a fun family film only to find yourself sobbing uncontrollably to Marley & Me or Old Yeller.
So, what’s a dog lover to do? For some of us, enduring the sadness is out of the question. The solution? Throw away your tissue box and check out this list of the 10 best dog movies that won’t make you cry.Â
1. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993) (G)
As one of the most heartwarming dog movies of all time, this film is about a trio of pets embarking on a quest to find their way home. The story follows a bulldog pup, golden retriever, and Himalayan cat who all think their family has left them after they go on vacation. They journey across the land to find their family. This movie earned a score of 6.9/10 on IMDb.
Fun fact: The canine and feline actors didn’t know each other before filming, but they were able to develop affections for each other as well as their human cast mates.
2. Beethoven (1992) (PG)
Beethoven is a fun family film about a St. Bernard dog named, you guessed it, Beethoven. Adopted as a tiny puppy by the Newton family, he grows in a loving environment. All seems well until Dr. Varnick, the veterinarian with a sinister secret, sets his sights on Beethoven. It’s then up to the giant bundle of love to outsmart the dastardly doctor. This film was given a score of 5.7/10 on IMDb and has participated in many best dog movies lists.Â
Fun fact: The dog that was cast to play Beethoven, was actually named Beethoven! He may have thought they were making a documentary.
3. The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1986) (G)
Another epic journey story, The Adventures of Milo and Otis, is the tale of a pug named Otis and a Cat named Milo who grow up together but wind up getting separated. These two best friends each take on a semi-perilous quest to be reunited. There are definitely some harrowing moments, but it all comes out right in the end. Audiences gave this dog film a score of 7/10 on IMDb.
4. Air Bud (1997) (PG)
Air Bud is a funny feel-good film about a boy and a dog who are both looking for a best friend. As it turns out, they have something in common: They both love basketball! They work together to charm the people on the school basketball team. This movie earned a score of 5.2/10 on IMDb.
Fun fact: It is actually based on a true story! There was a real-life Buddy who could play basketball.Â
5. Bolt (2008) (PG)
This sweet Disney animated film surrounds the story of an action star pup, Bolt. He is accidentally separated from the studio and has to find his way through the real world to get back. Bolt believes that his co-star, voiced by Miley Cyrus, needs his superpowers to rescue her. The only hiccup? It turns out he doesn’t really have any superpowers! This cute cartoon movie received a score of 6.8/10 on IMDb.Â
Fun fact: The address that appears on Bolt’s collar is the real address of Disney’s feature animation building.
6. Best in Show (2000) (PG-13)
Best in Show, referring to a dog show, is a satirical “mockumentary” that will have dog parents everywhere laughing. It’s a film with a comedic look at the various dogs and dog owners that travel far and wide to take part in dog shows. IMDb gave Best in Show 7.5/10 stars.
Fun fact: The French word for bloodhound is “Saint Hubert” and the bloodhound that appears in the film is in fact named Hubert.
7. Cats and Dogs (2001) (PG)
If you are in the mood for a funny and imaginative dog movie that the whole family can enjoy together (canine members included!), then you should check out Cats and Dogs. As one of the most thrilling and hilarious dog films, the story involves a young pup named Lou trying to be a successful secret agent to take down the evil cats from obstructing the discovery of the cure for human allergies to dogs.
Fun fact: The Beagle that played Lou, named Prada, also played Porthos in Star Trek: Enterprise.
8. Snow Dogs (2002) (PG)
This one is for the husky lovers out there. Snow Dogs is the comedic tale of a Miami dentist who goes to Alaska and discovers that his late mother has left him a unique inheritance: a pack of sled dogs! He decides to enter the dogs in a local race to beat a man who is trying to take the dogs for himself. Anyone that has gone through the difficulties of dog training will appreciate the struggle of preparing the huskies for the race.Â
Fun fact: Many of the dogs in this movie went on to star in Eight Below (2006).
9. Benji (1974) (G)
Benji is one of the most classic heartwarming dog movies of all time. The story is about a famous stray dog going on a mission to rescue his two favorite human children from the kidnapper.Â The best part? Everyone loved Benji so much that it led to a string of movies starring the adorable leading pooch! An iconic film in the realm of dog movies, must be seen at least once! Benji received a score of 6.2/10 stars on IMDb.
10. Lady and the Tramp (1955) (G)
In the world of best dog movies, this is an oldie, but a goodie. Lady and the Tramp will steal your heart and make you crave spaghetti. This love story about a pampered cocker spaniel and a stray schnauzer mix from the wrong side of the tracks has been into a live-action film in 2019. This film earned a score of 7.3/10 stars on IMDb.
Fun fact: Walt Disney originally didn’t want to include the now-iconic spaghetti eating scene.
There are some honorable mentions such as Secret Life of Pets and 101 Dalmatians if you’re searching for more tearless content. Curl up next to your pup or another dog lover and start any of these movies tonight.
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