We’ve all seen (or at least heard of) the popular dog-centric movies 101 Dalmatians, Old Yeller, and Homeward Bound, but it should come as no surprise that these are nowhere near the only films out there with a heavy focus on our canine companions. Check out our list of the best 15 movies that wouldn’t be the same without their all-star dog casts.
1) The Adventures of Milo and Otis
This movie tells the tale of a little orange kitten and his pug friend, on an adventure. It’s a cute-overload film that’s perfect for the whole family.
Lassie is a classic—the dog that everyone remembers from their childhood. This movie is the one to watch if you’re looking for the perfect tale of companionship with a pet.
3) Lady and the Tramp
This Disney hit is one of the studio’s most famous, and features characters that are both kept dogs and strays, displaying the importance of all dogs in our lives.
Shifting gears a bit, this Stephen King thriller details the downward spiral of a sick dog who wants to try and protect his family, but goes too far.
5) Best In Show
This hilarious mockumentary details the crazy world that is professional dog shows. Though this one is fictional, it certainly watches like a rag-tag documentary that showcases the truly bizarre aspects of show dog life.
6) All Dogs Go to Heaven
An oldie but a goodie, this film shows us that dogs really are man’s best friend, and why we must treasure them so much.
In this laugh-a-minute series (with a few sequels), you’ll quickly learn who the head honcho of this family is—and it’s not Dad! (Hint: It’s Beethoven, the family’s beloved—and huge—Saint Bernard).
8) Eight Below
This movie shows how two Antarctic explorers leave their team of sled dogs behind in order to fend for their own survival in brutal cold, but fear not—the film is a survival story for the dogs.
9) Turner & Hooch
Starring the inimitable Tom Hanks and described as “the best French Mastiff movie ever,” Turner & Hooch is about a detective who adopts a dead man’s dog to help solve the dead man’s murder.
An adorable Pixar hit, Up features 78-year-old Carl Fredericksen who is taking a trip to Paradise Falls as a tribute to his late wife, getting there by tying hundreds of balloons to his home. What about the dog, you say? Oh, he’s there all right, and he steals the scenes he’s in. You can call him Dug.
11) A Dog’s Life
If you’re into silent films, you may have already seen this Charlie Chaplin classic, but if not, you’ll love this tale of how the Little Tramp adopts a dog—or does the dog adopt Chaplin’s character? Their struggle to survive in the inner city is a heartstring tugger, and since it’s Chaplin, it’s funny, too.
12) It’s a Dog’s Life
Not to be confused with our #11 pick, this 1955 gem follows the life of a bull terrier who lives a life starting out in the streets of the Bowery all the way up to living in the lap of luxury.
13) The Wizard of Oz
No list of movies with famous dog characters would be complete without The Wizard of Oz, which features the cute little cairn terrier troublemaker, Toto. If you somehow haven’t seen this movie, now’s the perfect time to catch up.
14) The Artist
The little pooch in this film stole the show at the Oscars, and Uggie—who played “Jack” the Jack Russell Terrier in the movie—won the Palm Dog Award for best performance by a canine at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
15) Air Bud
Finally, the sleeper hit—Air Bud. Sometimes described as “the saddest movie ever” (just kidding!) is based on a real-life dog, Buddy, and tells the tale of a golden retriever who has the uncanny ability to play basketball.