beethoven movie dog

The Canine Film Festival: The 9 Most Famous Movie Dogs

Most famous dogs of the silver screen: The famous dogs of today like Doug the Pug and Marnie the Dog used social media to climb the social doggie ladder of success.

However, some of the most famous dogs made it the old fashioned way: the silver screen. Many dogs in classic and beloved films feel like they’re our own pets. Some of these dogs brought joy to our hearts, some made us cry, and some made us scared for our lives.

Let’s look at 10 of the most famous movie dogs of all time.


1. Air Bud

air bud dunk

Buddy from the classic “Air Bud” movie is one of the most famous Golden Retrievers that ever graced our screens. And get this: his name was Buddy in real life too!

This guy began life as a stray before his owner found him and gave him a comfortable home. Buddy loved playing sports, especially basketball. He got his big break by playing Comet on Full House before making it to the big time with Air Bud. 

After shooting his first movie, Buddy had to have one of his legs amputated because of cancer. He died shortly after this right before his 10th birthday. But Buddy will always be remembered from his role in Air Bud and from the movie “Air Bud: Golden Receiver” that was dedicated to him.


2. Hooch

turner hooch dog

Tuner and Hooch is one of Tom Hanks funniest films. This buddy cop movie features Tom Hanks and Detective Scott Turner and his dog turned partner Hooch played by Beasley the French Mastiff.

For a funny film, Hooch does earn a few tears at the end (we won’t spoil it if you haven’t seen it yet!). Mr. Beasly the Dog lived to a ripe old age of 14 after working in show biz for all of his life.

3. Beethoven

beethoven dog from movie

Beethoven is the beloved Saint Bernard from the film named after his character. It actually inspired a series of Beethoven films.

The films are family comedy oriented with family fun, laughs, antics, and life lessons all centered around the big lovable Beethoven. Beethoven helps the kids in his family with everything from dealing with bullies to saving one of the kid’s lives.

Beethoven is played by Kris the Saint Bernard. Kris was a big boy at 200 pounds. While he has since passed away, he enjoyed life after filming two Beethoven movies drooling, eating, and lounging around his trainer’s house. 


4. Cujo

cujo movie dog

Going from Beethoven to Cujo is a lot like getting on a plane on the North Pole and flying all the way to the South Pole. (you know… like, polar opposite?) While both dogs in these films were Saint Bernards, that’s where the similarities end.

Cujo features a rabid Saint Bernard who ends up killing multiple people. In actuality, Saint Bernards are gentle giants.

There were five different dogs who played Cujo in this film along with one man in a dog costume and a mechanical evil dog head. Sources say that they often didn’t look scary enough. They had to tie down their tails to keep them from wagging during production!


5. Toto

toto dorothy dog

Oh, Toto! The classic line from The Wizard of Oz brings the cute image of the little terrier always by Dorothy’s side. Toto was played by Terry the Cairn Terrier, and this was hardly her only film.

She appeared in 16 different movies! While she passed a long time ago in 1945, she has a permanent memorial in the Hollywood Forever Cemetary that people visit from all over the world.


6. Bruiser 

bruiser chihuahua legally blonde

Who doesn’t remember the iconic little Chihuahua from Reese Witherspoon’s iconic film Legally Blonde? Played by Moonie the Chihuahua, little Bruiser accompanied Elle Woods to Harvard Law, into the courtroom, and provided laughs and fun to an amazing iconic movie.

Moonie lived to be 18 years old, with an entire fandom (and Ms. Witherspoon herself!), mourning the loss in 2016.

7. Odie

odie garfield movie 2004 dog

Garfield is a famously grumpy, lasagna-loving cat. What’s a cat doing on this list of famous dogs, you might ask? Well, the Garfield movie from 2004 featured the antics that arise when a dog and a cat live together.

Little Odie arrives on the scene and changes Garfield’s whole world. Garfield tried everything to get the attention back on himself, including messing up his owner’s entire house and making himself dirty (sounds like his owner needed to learn more about cat car, right?). 

Little Odie was played by two different dachshund mixes named Chloe and Tyler.

8. Old Yeller

Don’t try this at home!

We’ve avoided some of the sadder dog movies so far (dogs dying in movies seem worse and sadder than people dying in movies, are we right?). 

Old Yeller is the original tearjerker. It contains all the magic of a Disney movie: a boy, Travis, and his dog (Old Yeller) becoming best friends, working on the farm, and dealing with problems together.

However, one night, Old Yeller saves the family from a rabid wolf. He becomes infected by rabies, and Travis has to put him out of his misery before he attacks the family.

Old Yeller was played by Spike, a 170-pound yellow labrador and mastiff mix. Similar to the problem from Cujo, Spike almost wasn’t cast because he was such a kind and loving dog that they were afraid it wouldn’t be believable that he fought off bears and wolves. 

Spike appeared in several other films and was known to be a goofy lovebug. 

Famous Movie Dogs That Will Always Be Remembered

Each of these famous movie dogs feels like they could’ve been our own beloved pooches. There’s something about movie dogs that help people connect and feel things that sometimes people can’t get us to feel.

Still curious about other famous pets? Check out this article about one celebrity’s beloved pet who we’re sure gets Hollywood treatment.

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