It’s weird to think, but we might be in the golden age of dog movies right now. With films like A Dog’s Purpose, A Dog’s Way Home, and Isle of Dogs, it seems like every year for the past five years we have gotten a dog movie or two. This Friday, we get our third dog movie of 2019 with The Art of Racing in the Rain, a movie that is sure to make every theater patron ball their eyes out. So in honor of that, here are my picks for the best movie dogs. These pups were based on importance to their respective movie and their loyalty to their owner.
5 – HERCULES in THE SANDLOT (David Mickey Evans, 1993)
- Hercules is a dog of urban legend. A dog that is said to be so mean, so evil, and so big that it ate an actual child. Any ball hit into Mr. Mertle’s backyard belonged to Hercules, or as the kids referred to him, The Beast. Hercules, a gigantic Mastiff, was made to protect Mr. Mertle’s yard and he did it as good as any dog possibly could. But Hercules is really a giant sweetheart. After a crosstown chase with the boys that ends up with a fence landing on him, Hercules is saved by the Sandlot boys and gives them what feels like hundreds of baseballs. Hercules is a baseball legend.
4 – CHANCE and SHADOW in HOMEWARD BOUND: THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY (Duwayne Dunham, 1993)
- You can’t make this list with just one of these two on it. These two, along with a sassy cat named, well, Sassy, go on a wild journey to be reunited with their owners and learn the power of friendship and the bond of family along the way. After their owners drop the trio off at a friends ranch before they going on vacation, they fear that they have been deserted forever, a pets worst fear. Their determination and motivation to be reunited with their owners, even if they weren’t being left behind, shows the love pets have for their owner. The dynamic between Chance, the wild young American Bulldog, and Shadow, a wise, older Golden Retriever, is terrific, as the two learn from one another and show that they care for each other, along with a cat with an attitude. Only these two incredible dogs could conquer such an incredible journey.
3 – BAXTER in ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY (Adam McKay, 2004)
- Ron Burgundy is San Diego’s top new anchor. Channel 4 has the highest ratings and everyone tunes in when Burgundy is on the air. But for all his accolades and love throughout the city, Burgundy is a relatively lonely guy. Sure, he has his news team, but they can only do so much when it comes to fun. That’s where Baxter comes in, Burgundy’s trusty steed. The adorable Border Terrier is his owners best friend. A dog that rocks pajamas and a retainer and spoons with his owner. When separated from Burgundy after a freak accident, Baxter fought his way back to Ron, persevering through treacherous terrain to return to his owner and save him from a bear. Oh, and did I mentioned he pooped in the refrigerator and ate a whole wheel of cheese? With such a small stature, you can’t be mad, you can only be amazed.
2 – BUDDY in AIR BUD (Charles Martin Smith, 1997)
- Really hard to not have this sharp-shooting dog on the list. In a true underdog (pun?) sports story, Buddy came from nothing to become one of the most legendary movie dogs and movie basketball stars ever. After he’s kicked out by his alcoholic owner, the beautiful Golden Retriever is found by Josh and it was an immediate bond. Josh brings buddy in to his family and gives him a loving home, while Buddy loves and protects Josh, and even boosts his confidence as the new kid in school while helping Josh’s school basketball team embark on a legendary season. Josh and Buddy both saved each other in one way or another, a showcase for the bond between man and dog.
1 – MAX in HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (Ron Howard, 2000)
- The Grinch is an awful, awful person, or Who, or whatever he is. He’s a miserable, almost sociopathic loner who hangs out in a cave plotting an evil scheme against the folks of Whoville. But the Grinch isn’t the only one in that cave. He is accompanied by his trusty dog Max, a dog who defines what loyalty to their owner is. What ever the Grinch needs, Max is there for him. He’ll bring him tools, pretend to be a reindeer, or just listen to the Grinch vent his feelings and emotions. No matter how insane the Grinch might get, Max doesn’t go anywhere and stays with him through everything. Max defines that saying, “Man’s best friend”, as he stays the best friend of someone who is on the verge of an emotional breakdown and always supports them, no questions asked.
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