Two Paws Up: Top 10 Movies for Dog Lovers
Dogs have this uncanny ability to entertain, captivate our hearts, and keep us laughing until we cry. It’s no wonder, then, that dogs are the stars of some of our favorite films. Looking for a dog-centric movie? Grab the popcorn (and some Bil-Jac dog treats) and get ready to cuddle up with your furry friend this winter. From animated classics to timeless favorites and even recent flicks, here are some of the best movies to watch with your dog.
1. A Dog’s Purpose (2017)
From the director of Hachiko: A Dog’s Story, this movie follows a dog who discovers his purpose in life after passing through the hands of both villains and heroes through multiple lifetimes. It is, at times, a story of harrowing survival and, at others, an uplifting story of the unique bond between dogs and humans. The dog goes through several incarnations as a pet and a police dog, and bears names ranging from Ellie to “Bailey, Bailey, Bailey, Bailey, Bailey.” In the end, we learn that a dog’s purpose is a surprisingly human one.
(Love this movie? Watch the sequel, A Dog’s Journey!)
2. Marley & Me (2008)
In Marley & Me, starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, a dog seems determined to be named the “worst dog in the world.” That is, until he starts teaching his pet parents valuable life lessons. Based on a memoir about a man and his dog, Marley & Me is a funny, yet bittersweet look at all the lovable and frustrating behaviors dogs’ exhibit. Marley’s own bad acts range from tearing up cushions to sniffing guests a little too closely to swallowing a gold necklace. Follow along as Marley moves from middle age into “retirement.” Additional note: Clyde, who portrays Marley, received Bil-Jac dog food and treats on set as a special reward for all his Oscar-worthy acting.
3. A Dog’s Way Home (2019)
From the director who brought us A Dog’s Purpose and Air Bud, a socially awkward protagonist adopts a Pit Bull named Bella in a town where the breed is outlawed. Forced into a painful separation, Bella makes a desperate attempt to reunite with her pet parent. And so, Bella embarks on an epic 400-mile trek, where she befriends a cougar and fends off a pack of wolves more than once. Keep a box of tissues close, as A Dog’s Way Home is sure to pull at any dog lover’s heartstrings.
4. A Dog’s Life (2013)
More than one movie bears the title “A Dog’s Life,” so be sure you look for the Canadian documentary. This film presents research into how dogs are different from humans and how we are similar. It answers a number of compelling questions, like how do dogs perceive time? Can they grasp numbers? Do they see colors? And do they prefer people over other dogs? It’s a close look at how things appear from a dog’s point of view and offers surprising insights into dog behavior and emotions.
5. All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989)
In this animated classic, a dog returns from heaven to seek revenge on his killer. A note of caution: this film does contain animated dogs involved in violence, death, drinking, smoking, and gambling. Set in New Orleans in 1939, the film begins with dogs Charlie and Itchy escaping a dog pound and returning to a bayou riverboat casino. With a little help from an orphan girl who can talk to animals, Charlie eventually earns a place in heaven. Drawing its inspiration from a number of movies, including It’s a Wonderful Life and Little Miss Marker, All Dogs Go to Heaven teaches that no matter who they are, people can always change for the better.
6. Bolt (2008)
We’ve seen dogs as stars in movies like the ones listed above, but what about the actual dog actor in the movie? This computer-animated film follows Bolt, a White Shepherd puppy, who stars as a superhero in a hit television series bearing his name. That is, until he’s cast outside of Hollywood, finding himself forced to navigate the “real world” for the first time. Follow Bolt on one of the most revered Disney tales as a loyal dog undertakes an incredible journey to be reunited with his pet parent.
7. Benji (2018)
Benji, the scruffy, adorable pup of the 1970s flick, is back in this Netflix film remake. In the film, a young boy and his sister strike up a friendship with a stray puppy named Benji. Balancing suspense with sentimentality, Benji, once again, finds himself trying to rescue kidnapped children, only this time there are some clever new twists. Sometimes sappy and at other times a little scary (especially for younger children), Benji is a movie that can be enjoyed by the entire family.
8. Hotel for Dogs (2009)
Children and dogs are two words that have the innate ability to bring magic to any movie. In this adorable film, the movie imagines a world of caring children, clueless grown-ups, and an insatiably hungry Jack Russell terrier named Friday. Follow two orphaned siblings on their mission to rescue all the stray pooches in the city―and all the silly dog (and human) tricks and shenanigans that ensue along the way.
9. Because of Winn-Dixie (2005)
Old-fashioned and heartwarming, this movie follows a lonely young girl who finds companionship in a mischievous dog she meets in a supermarket. The bond between the girl and her furry friend is something special, as it brings together the people in a small Southern town, while healing the strained relationship with her father. A PG-rated movie, Because of Winn-Dixie does include mild profanity and adult discussions about alcohol.
10. 101 Dalmatians (1996)
Another dog film where Bil-Jac food and treats played a starring role keeping all those Dalmatians happy and healthy. Starring Glenn Close as the villainous Cruella de Vil in a Golden Globe-nominated performance, 101 Dalmatians keeps viewers on their toes trying to figure out how on Earth these dogs will escape Cruella’s clutches and avoid being made into furs coats! If you love this, you might enjoy the sequel 102 Dalmatians.
More Dog Movies You’ll Love
Finished this list? Don’t worry, there are plenty more dog movies you can watch. Check out Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, Tom Hanks in Turner & Hooch, Tim Allen in The Shaggy Dog, cold weather flicks Snow Dogs and Eight Below, and classics Old Yeller and Homeward Bound.
In between your movie marathons, be sure to join our Best Friends Club. Each month you’ll receive fun training tips, information to care for your fur friends, and discounts on Bil-Jac products!