Harrison Ford is starting off the new year with the most recent adaptation of the 1903 novel by Jack London, The Call of the Wild. As John Thornton, he makes friends with Buck, a CGI St. Bernard/Scotch Collie who was kidnapped from his cush life in California and, eventually, ends up in the Alaskan Yukon during the Gold Rush of the 1890s. In their newfound friendship, we follow Thornton and Buck on a grand adventure as they trek across the unforgiving landscape.
Any movie that includes our furry friends is guaranteed to tug on the heart strings, and we often find ourselves building stronger attachments to these pups over their human counterparts. So to commemorate the dogs on screen that have brought us tremendous joy, incredible grief, and maybe a laugh or two, we have put together a list of the top movie dogs of all time (in no particular order)!
Shadow and Chance
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)
Chance (voiced by Michael J. Fox), Shadow (voiced by Don Ameche), and Sassy (voiced by Sally Field) in Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)
This tag team of a wise, old golden retriever and a young, clumsy bulldog may have been responsible for some uncontrollable sobbing (at least for us, anyway). Through dog fights, porcupine quills, and the company of a very opinionated cat, these two boys earned their place on our top dog list.
Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Edward Asner) and Dug (voiced by Bob Peterson) in Up (2009)
What is there to say about Dug that he hasn’t already said for himself? This fun-loving dog on a mission shows his morality and loyalty as he chooses to assist Carl and Russell in their endeavors to *SQUIRREL!* save Kevin the bird and serve his new master. Thank you, Dug, for showing us that even a CGI dog can still give us the feelies.
Hercules (The Beast)
The Sandlot (1993)
Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) and The Beast in The Sandlot (1993)
When you’re young, the world and the creatures within seem much more frightening than they actually are. When the man-eating, baseball-stealing monster behind the fence turns out to be a big, slobbery hound, The Beast (real name Hercules) becomes a big lesson in neighborhood folklore.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), Baxter (Quince) and Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
Yes, the human actors of Anchorman were hilarious, but we think it’s safe to say that they were upstaged by this multi-lingual, wheel of cheese-eating, headgear-wearing, little Buddha covered in hair. Who doesn’t love Baxter? (Except maybe the bad man who punted him off a bridge).
There’s Something About Mary (1998)
Speaking of injured dogs . . . poor Puffy. Within 3 minutes, this little Border Terrier is drugged, put in a full nelson, viciously attacks Ben Stiller, and is thrown out of a 4-story window. Rocking a full body cast by the end of the movie, Puffy may be one of the toughest dogs in movie history.
Lady and Tramp
Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Tramp (voiced by Larry Roberts) and Lady (voiced by Barbara Luddy) in Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Leave it to Disney to create one of the most perfect love stories in movie history. When the well-to-do, purebred cocker spaniel falls for a street-smart stray, we follow their tale of forbidden love as they embark on a daring adventure. Lady and the Tramp stole the show with one of Hollywood's most unforgettable romantic scenes, in the back alley of an Italian restaurant no less.
I Am Legend (2007)
Sam (Kona) and Robert Neville (Will Smith) in I Am Legend (2007)
There are few dogs more brave and loyal than a German Shepherd, and those traits shine through in Samantha, Will Smith’s fearless sidekick in I am Legend. We’ll just happily skip over the absolutely gut-wrenching scene that we are all far, far too familiar with.
Best in Show (2000)
Gerry Fleck (Eugene Levy) and Cookie Fleck (Catherine O'Hara) in Best in Show (2000)
Proud wearer of the Best in Show blue ribbon, Winky is the quirky, little terrier that beat out all of those other anxiety-ridden show dogs and their manic owners. Despite his owners having a broken ankle and two left feet, he still managed a flawless performance. You will always be our champion, Winky.
John Wick’s Dog
John Wick (2014)
John Wick (Keanu Reeves) in John Wick (2014)
Though he didn’t get much screen time, we all have this adorable little beagle to thank for the hours of nail-biting carnage that ensued over the course of (now) 3 movies. We are so sorry you had to go the way you did, but thank you for sparking some of the best revenge-fueled action sequences in the genre!
Marley and Me (2008)
Marley (Jonah) in Marley and Me (2008)
All dog owners dread the occasional rooted-through trash can, chewed up slipper, or high-speed chase. With Marley, you come to expect these actions as a bodily function. Greatly countered by overwhelming love for his family, Marley shows us what kind of care and devotion it takes to live with the world’s worst dog.
(left to right) Ted (Christopher Castile), Alice Newton (Bonnie Hunt), Emily (Sarah Rose Karr), Beethoven (Chris), Ryce (Nicholle Tom), and George Newton (Charles Grodin) in Beethoven (1992)
Well before Marley was around to wreak havoc, Beethoven was the slobbering, bumbling St. Bernard of destruction that everyone loved—well, almost everyone. Despite a more sinister plot line with a deranged veterinarian trying to dog nap Beethoven, he survives to push out 7 sequels to the movie!
Air Bud (1997)
Josh Framm (Kevin Zegers) and Buddy in Air Bud (1997)
Dubbed the “Michael Jordan” of dogs, Buddy was famed for being a full-fledged player and mascot for the Fernfield Timberwolves, playing basketball, baseball, football and soccer, to name a few. We just wouldn’t want to be the kids who got cut out from the team by a Golden Retriever.
Isle of Dogs (2018)
Chief (voiced by Bryan Cranston) and Atari (voiced by Koyu Rankin) in Isle of Dogs (2018)
Banished to a dystopian island off the coast of Japan, Chief has a deeply rooted cynicism towards humans. This distrust is tested after a much-needed bath, some treats, and a little love from a young boy who finds himself on the same island. The tried and true formula of boy + dog = heartwarming movie did not escape this latest Wes Anderson piece.
Lassie Come Home (1943)
Joe Carraclough (Roddy McDowall) and Lassie (Pal) in Lassie Come Home (1943)
Lassie was the original movie dog. Brave and loyal with a knack for alerting humans to signs of trouble, it’s no wonder Lassie caught on so quickly as an international icon. Portrayed on-screen in 11 different movies and several TV series, Lassie’s finest moments remain within her debut movie, the classic Lassie Come Home.
Meet the newest pup to make his way onto the big screen when The Call of the Wild sleds into Regal on February 21, 2020!