Fact: There’s Nothing More Wholesome (or Lowkey Sad) Than a Dog Movie

Fact: There’s Nothing More Wholesome (or Lowkey Sad) Than a Dog Movie

Sometimes, Friday night rolls around and you realize there’s nothing you’d rather do than stay in with some snacks, a glass of wine, and a good movie. I totally feel you. Thanks to streaming services, you’ve basically got unlimited options when it comes to movies. You can enjoy a lighthearted rom-com, psych yourself out with a psychological thriller, go back to your awkward high school days, or get in touch with your feelings with a tearjerker film. But if you really want to feel all the feels—from belly laughs to a good cry, we’ve got a list of the best dog movies that you can stream now.

Friends come and go, family can be complicated, but you know who’s really always there for you? Dogs, of course. Whether you’ve got a pup of your own or not, everyone can appreciate a movie about dogs. Like the dogs they’re about, these movies are multi-faceted and more complex than they get credit for, so this list has more than just feel-good dog movies. It also has funny dog movies, animated dog movies, and, of course, sad dog movies — because dogs are there when you need to feel better and they’re also there when all you really need is a good cry.

1. A Dog’s Purpose

A lovable, devoted dog discovers the meaning of life as he’s reincarnated as a different pup over and over during the course of five decades. He teaches all his owners to laugh and to love, including one special little boy named Ethan. Many years later, as the dog is reincarnated once again, he and Ethan find a way back to one another. Prepare to C-R-Y.

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2. Max

After U.S. Marine Kyle Wincott is killed while fighting in Afghanistan, his highly-trained service dog Max is too traumatized to continue serving. Kyle’s family adopts the dog, but his younger brother Justin is initially reluctant to bond with Max, as he’s struggling with problems of his own. But their connection is cemented when Max comes to the rescue during a terrifying ordeal.

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3. Patrick

Between romantic failings and a challenging teaching job, Sarah’s life is kind of a mess. And it gets even messier when her grandmother leaves her a spoiled, mischievous pug named Patrick.

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4. Marley and Me

Just to make good on that whole “there are sad dog movies in this list” promise, let’s make sure to include Marley & Me. Warning: the ending will absolutely wreck you and is not for the faint of heart.

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5. K-9

San Diego police detective Michael Dooley is being hunted by international drug dealers. He refuses to take on a partner, and instead opts to get a police dog. He’s assigned a German Shepherd named Jerry Lee, and let’s just say Jerry is *not* man’s best friend. At least not immediately.

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6. Because of Winn-Dixie

A young girl named Opal finds herself feeling lonely after she and her father move to a small town in Florida. And then, a rambunctious dog comes into her life. She names him Winn-Dixie after the grocery store where she finds him, and he becomes her lifeline in this strange new town.

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7. Beethoven

If you never got around to seeing this classic, wyd?? Beethoven is a lovable but slobbery St. Bernard puppy who grows up to be a giant dog. He catches the attention of a veterinarian who wants to kidnap Beethoven to run experiments on him. Beethoven’s family begins to get suspicious, and finds that the vet has been taking other dogs captive as well.

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8. Where the Red Fern Grows

A classic movie about a boy and his dogs. Billy, a 12-year-old boy, is interested in hunting raccoons, but his family can’t afford to buy hunting dogs during the Great Depression. He works and saves until he’s able to afford two puppies, which he names Little Ann and Old Dan. Though they’re hard to train at first, they soon become some of the best raccoon hunters in town. And if you need a happy ending, you should stop watching there.

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9. Bolt

This movie’s plot is delightfully ridiculous, even by animated film standards. Literally, it’s about a tween TV star who plays an action hero on TV opposite her real-life pet dog, Bolt. The weirdly-method director of the series is convinced that Bolt really believing he’s a super-powered dog is the key to the show’s success and therefore all the stunts are staged to happen in real-time around Bolt. Which is cool—until Bolt gets lost in the real world and realizes he’s just a normal doggo whose main superpowers are cuteness and puppy dog eyes.

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10. Best in Show

Think you love dogs? It’s nothing compared to the love that the doggiest of dog people (aka dog show people) feel. Not only is this movie hilarious and chock full of furbabies, but it also happens to be a mockumentary classic, if you care about that kind of thing.

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11. Isle of Dogs

Prefer your dog movies quirky and with some cool, indie flare? Then Wes Anderson’s stop-motion, dystopian dog movie, Isle of Dogs, is the dog movie for you.

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12. Old Yeller

This is pretty much the most classic “sad dog movie” and on a scale of “one glistening tear” to “sobbing” it’s the loudly crying emoji, at least.

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13. Sounder

Sounder, based on the Newbery Medal-winning novel of the same name, tells the story of the Morgans, a family of Black sharecroppers in the South during the Depression who search for food with the help of their hunting dog, Sounder. When the Morgan patriarch, Nathan, is arrested and imprisoned for stealing food to feed the family, Sounder accompanies Nathan’s son, David, on a difficult, life-changing journey.

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14. Lady and the Tramp

The movie that proves dogs aren’t just better and nicer and funnier than humans, but they’re more romantic too. If you haven’t at least thought about trying to recreate the iconic spaghetti scene with someone, you’re lying.

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15. Homeward Bound — The Incredible Journey

We love our pets, but sometimes we wonder if it’s possible that they really love us back or if we’re just fooling ourselves. Homeward Bound is the movie that reaffirms your belief that your pets do love you back—and that they would do literally anything to be with you.

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16. As Good as It Gets

If you need a movie that will remind you about the life-changing power of dogs, you don’t need to look any further than As Good as It Gets. Jack Nicholson won an Oscar for his role as a novelist suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder whose world is turned upside down (in a good way) when he has to care for his neighbor’s dog.

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17. 101 Dalmatians

You might remember this cartoon as the movie that totally skewed your perception of puppy litter sizes and set you up for disappointment in the real world. Or you might just remember it as a fun, classic Disney movie. Either way, it holds up.

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18. The Art of Racing in the Rain

A cute dog and Milo Ventimiglia? Honestly, could you want anything more from a movie? Because we sure couldn’t.

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19. Frankenweenie

This dog movie comes from the reliably-weird brain of Tim Burton so it’s very “dogs, but make it creepy.” The plot revolves around a young science wiz uses his skills to reanimate his best friend—a Bull Terrier named Sparky.

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20. Togo

Disney+ wasted no time getting into the original dog movie game. One of the streaming app’s earlier original movies, Togo, is a biopic about Leonhard Seppala, who led a team of sled dogs across the harsh Alaskan tundra in 1925.

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21. Up

Oh, did you think Up was about a lonely old widower bonding with a lonely young boy while on an adventure in a flying house? Then you clearly forgot that the film’s main antagonist is an explorer who has spent years developing collars that allow dogs to speak in robotic, human voices. And that Dug is the most quintessential dog who has ever dogged in all of cinema. We’re calling it: Up is a dog movie.

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22. The Fox and the Hound

Dogs are known as man’s best friend, but they’re also great BFFs for pretty much any species. Just watch “Best of Friends” montage from this movie over and over and feel your body flood with warm fuzzies.

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23. Zeus and Roxanne

Dogs aren’t just great friends for humans and foxes. They also make great friends for dolphins and Steve Guttenbergs, as this sweet movie clearly proves.

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24. Balto

Movie dogs are heroes, but real-life dogs are also heroes. Sometimes, real-life dogs are such heroes that they then become movie dogs. You probably didn’t realize this when you saw the movie as a kid, but Balto is loosely based on the true story of a real dog named Balto, who made a heroic run to Nome, Alaska to deliver life-saving serum to children infected with diphtheria.

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25. I Am Legend

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26. Alpha

If you’ve ever looked at a dog and thought, “how did a wolf become this adorable fluff monster?” then check out Alpha. The 2018 movie sets out to answer that question with the fictional tale of a young man who befriends an injured wolf during the last ice age, ushering in the beginning of the ever-important Dog Age.

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27. My Dog Skip

When it comes to “just a boy and his dog” stories, My Dog Skip is a pretty classic pick. This movie exists in the middle of the Venn-Diagram of “heartwarming coming-of-age movies” and “sad dog movies,” so prepare for literally all of the feels.

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28. The Secret Life of Pets

If you ever watched Toy Story and thought “this is good, but it would be even better if all the toys were urban house pets,” then this movie was tailor-made for you. And if you never had that thought, but like silly set pieces about dogs (and cats and even some bunnies), then watch it anyway.

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29. Dog Days

If you watched movies like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day and thought “good, but needs more dogs,” then Dog Days, which tells the stories of the intertwining lives of several seemingly-unrelated dogs and their owners, is going to be your jam.

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30. Must Love Dogs

If you’ve ever swiped right on someone primarily for the chance to meet their dog, then a dog-themed rom-com is probably right up your alley. And Must Love Dogs is the quintessential dog-themed rom-com.

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31. Benji

Plenty of movies have explored the healing power of a dog on a stressed family, but Benji did it so well it’s endured as a family favorite for decades and even spawned a Netflix remake in 2018.

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32. Beverly Hills Chihuahua

This family movie about talking dogs stars the voice talents of George Lopez, Andy Garcia, and Drew Barrymore and centers on a lady Chihuahua named Chloe who gets dognapped in Mexico and has to escape with the help of Delgado, a German Shepherd, and Papi, a spazzy little male Chihuahua with a big crush on Chloe.

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