1. Togo (2019). It recently came out on Disney’s new streaming service and was met with rave reviews among audiences and critics alike. Willem Dafoe plays Leonhard Seppala, who leads his sled dogs through the treacherous serum run in 1925. It’s a true story that goes back and forth between the heroic run and the early years of the titular Togo, who was originally seen as too small and weak to lead the sled. Dafoe’s performance incredibly injects heart into the movie as he has a tumultuous relationship with the dogs – something many of us can relate to. It’s everything a dog movie should be… hopelessly adorable, adventuresome, beautiful and tragic.
2. A Dog’s Purpose (2017). This touching movie, based on a book by W. Bruce Cameron, is guaranteed to bring you to tears while taking you on the journey of a dog’s reincarnations, showing everyone what his true purpose in life is.
3. Marley & Me (2008). Telling a story about family through the lens of a dog is not a new concept in movies. In fact, Hollywood has pursued the relationship between man’s best friend for just as long as cinema has been a medium – such as famed German Shepherd Rin-Tin-Tin dating back to 1922. But for many modern audiences, it was Marley & Me that reminded us how the story of dog ownership could break our hearts. Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston star in the memoir adaptation about 13 years spent with their at first uncontrollable Lab as they get married, have kids and such. It walks the line between hilarious moments and tear-jerking scenes not easily forgotten.
4. Isle of Dogs (2018). For the past 25 years, Wes Anderson’s unique style on cinema has dazzled audiences. Among his off-color filmmaking, he delved into stop-motion with 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox which starred a slew of big names and became a critical hit. Almost a decade later after hits such as Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson ventured back to the medium for Isle of Dogs. Set in Japan, the artsy movie is about a boy’s journey to find his lost dog in a dystopian world where puppers are banished due to the “canine flu”. With the voice talents of Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, Greta Gerwig and Tilda Swinton, Isle of Dogs is an imaginative take on a dog’s story.
5. Eight Below (2006). The Disney film tells a sweet “based on a true story” rescue tale about eight sled dogs who must survive the harsh temperatures and danger of Antartica with an injured professor (played by Bruce Greenwood) as Walker’s character tries to get back to all of them. Eight Below is a thrilling adventure film in the unforgiving cold, an emotional survival tale and it has a beautiful message about friendship between dogs and humans.
6. Dog Days (2018). This romantic comedy starring Nina Dobrev, Vanessa Hudgens, and Eva Longoria was just released this past summer, showcasing a bunch of dog owners whose lives end up intertwined thanks to their pups.
7. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009). Oh, also get ready to weep at this beautiful tale of devotion and love. Hachi (an akita) is led to a professor who adopts the dog initially out of necessity and then of course learns to love him like a family member. It’s full of feelings.
8. A Dog’s Journey (2019). For the last few years, Universal has had some luck adapting W. Bruce Cameron’s novels centered on dogs starting with 2017’s A Dog’s Purpose. The first film introduced the concept of human stories being told through the inner monologues of pups. A dog named Bailey (voiced by Josh Gad) lives and dies as multiple dogs with different owners across decades but finds his way back to his first best friend Ethan (later played by Dennis Quaid). However, it’s the 2019 sequel that really delivers on the concept as Ethan’s estranged granddaughter (CJ) grows up with a form of Bailey and he goes on a mission to reunite her with him, along with delivering on an adorable love story between young actors Kathryn Prescott and Henry Lau.