Long before A Dog's Way Home (2019), we had Fred M. Wilcox’s Lassie Come Home. Set in the era of the Great Depression, the film follows a collie named Lassie, sold by the impoverished Carraclough family to the Duke of Rudling. Unaccepting of him, she trudges from Scotland to Yorkshire, back to young Joe Carraclough, her sole companion.
The Roger Spottiswoode directorial is a buddy cop comedy, about a police investigator Turner (Tom Hanks) who adopts a drooly hound (Beasley the Dog) named Hooch because Hooch is the only witness to a murder. In their search for the killer, Turner and Hooch go from foes to friends. Hanks had to familiarise himself with dogs before beginning to shoot this film, to ensure that their bond was reflected on-screen.
Beethoven, directed by Brian Levant, is an allegory for the circle of life. A puppy escapes his abductors and seeks shelter in George and Alice Newton’s (Charles Grodin and Bonnie Hunt) home, only to be abducted again as an adult dog.
Streaming on: Netflix
The film’s poster may have had Madhuri Dixit and Salman Khan, but the real hero of this family drama is Bollywood’s most iconic doggo, Tuffy. Ostensibly, writer-director Sooraj Barjatya’s film is about Nisha (Dixit) and Prem (Khan) navigating past happenstance and tragedy to find their way to one another.
Directed by Santosh Sivan, the film is one of the earliest and most compelling ‘adopt, don’t shop’ campaigns. Usually, a film’s puppy-shaped void is filled by pedigreed dogs, but the dappled, black-and-white star of Halo was an adorable indie pupper.
Directed by Charles Martin Smith, Air Bud stars the same Golden Retriever who played Comet in the Jeff Franklin sitcom Full House. This movie marked the hound’s second venture with Bill Cobbs (who plays Coach Arthur Chaney).
Marley and Me follows John (Owen Wilson) and Jenny’s (Jennifer Aniston) journey, an indispensable part of which is Marley, their Labrador Retriever. Of the 22 dogs who played Marley, a puppy and an adult dog were specifically trained to chomp on things and spit them out without ingesting anything.
Based on the 2010 eponymous novel by W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog’s Purpose was also directed by Lasse Hallström. The film follows a dog’s quest over the course of lifetimes. From a Red Retriever to a German Shepherd to a Corgi to a St. Bernard/Australian Shepherd mix, we see Bailey’s many incarnations until he reunites with Ethan (Dennis Quaid), the man he met when Ethan was a mere boy of eight.
Directed by Simon Curtis, The Art of Racing in the Rain begins at the end. Enzo (Parker), a Golden Retriever, is on his deathbed with his best friend, Denny (Milo Ventimiglia), by his side. In his final moments, Enzo looks back on life and thus propels us into a two-hour-long heartwrenching flashback.
This film is based on the eponymous children’s book series by Norman Bridwell. Unlike in Clifford The Big Red Dog (1988, 2000 and 2019), the big red dog in the 2021 movie version does not speak. Instead, Emily, the 12-year-old who adopts the dog, is the one who has plenty to say.