Top 10 Must-See Movies That Star Pets

Rita Brhel
by Rita Brhel

Bring on the dog days of summer — and cool escapes from the heat. Sticky summer nights are the perfect time to snuggle up with your pets in air-conditioned comfort and watch any of these classic pet flicks.

Iron Will

1) Iron Will (1994)

Is there a better way to beat the heat than by watching a movie set in wintry Alaska? After his father’s death, Will Stoneman enters a dogsled race to save his family’s farm — but first, he has to befriend his father’s independent Siberian Husky, Gus. The two bond and lean on one another through the grueling 1,000-mile race that nearly takes both their lives to finish.

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey

2) Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)

Here’s a movie you can get lost in! An unfortunate misunderstanding leads to three pets setting off on their own in search of their owners, the Burnford kids. None are exactly trailblazers and all have a lot to learn about surviving the woods. Follow Chance the American Bulldog, Shadow the Golden Retriever, and Sassy the Himalayan cat on their journey home.

Airbud (1997)

3) Airbud (1997)

You might just hit the court with your dog after watching this. Josh Framm is at a new school and need of a friend when he discovers a stray Golden Retriever with a natural talent for shooting hoops. His new pet, Buddy not only helps Josh join the school’s basketball team but also becomes their beloved mascot — that is, until Buddy’s true owner, an abusive clown, comes looking for him.

101 Dalmatians

4) 101 Dalmatians (1996)

One dog is never enough, as everyone in this movie proves. Cruella De Vil can’t get enough spots, and it turns out, neither can Roger and Anita Dearly — for wholly different reasons. When their 15 puppies are stolen by Cruella’s henchmen to be made into fur coats, the Dearly Dalmations, Pongo and Perdita, take it upon themselves to bring them home — and end up with 84 more puppies!

Lassie (1994)

5) Lassie (1994)

It really doesn’t get any more classic than Lassie! When his family moves from the city to the rural countryside, Matt Turner finds his best friend in this stray Collie. The two become inseparable, through thick and thin, even resolving a property dispute with a ruthless neighbor — though it requires a leap into the raging waters certain to end in tragedy, or does it?

Because of Winn-Dixie

6) Because of Winn-Dixie (2005)

Our pets can save us plenty in the cost of therapy. It’s no different for Opal’s new pal, Winn-Dixie the Berger Picard. This mischievous pup helps Opal make new friends who begin to heal her heart left broken by her mother’s abandonment. Her father’s not so sure. In the end, it’s Winn-Dixie’s thunderstorm phobia that leads to a breakthrough in his and his daughter’s relationship. Grab a tissue for this one!

K-9 (1989)

7) K-9 (1989)

Everyone with a German Shepherd will love this movie, and just may relate to the star canine’s antics. Police detective Michael Dooley wants to work alone, but his boss instead assigns him Jerry Lee, a German Shepherd. The two don’t start off on a good note, but they soon settle their differences, just in time to save Michael and solve the case.

Duma (2005)

8) Duma (2005)

Don’t worry, cat lovers, here’s a movie for you, too. An orphaned cheetah, Duma may not be your average house cat, but then again, Xan lives in South Africa. Duma quickly becomes part of the family. However, tragedy strikes, forcing Xan’s family into the city. It soon becomes apparent that Duma is not made for city life. Xan knows what he has to do — set him free. But the journey there will more than test them both.

Beethoven (1992)

9) Beethoven (1992)

Promise that you won’t hate on veterinarians after seeing this flick! The Newton family decides to adopt a Saint Bernard puppy and name him Beethoven. The father, George, isn’t completely on board with this idea. So, he doesn’t require too much persuasion when a crooked veterinarian says Beethoven must be put down for vicious tendencies among large dogs. But just when the story looks bleak for Beethoven, George experiences a change of heart and saves the day.

Shiloh (1996)

10) Shiloh (1996)

Here’s another movie about an abused dog, but don’t give up hope — it has a great ending. Shiloh the Beagle runs away from his abusive home and follows Marty Preston home. At first, Marty’s dad won’t let him keep Shiloh. But even he falls in love with the pup and takes his son’s side. But don’t give up hope on Shiloh’s original owner — his heart is softer than it looks.

Rita Brhel
Rita Brhel

Rita Brhel is a freelance writer with a huge heart for animals that she's passed on to her 3 children. Rita herself has a cat named Tippy (in photo) and 4 finches. Her 3 kids and husband share an additional 3 cats, 3 small parrots, 3 rabbits, 5 pigeons, 8 chickens, and 2 ducks on their acreage near Hastings, Nebraska, USA. She has experience with a lot of different species of pets of her own, has worked a 1-year stint in a vet clinic as part of a hands-on journalism project, and has been a foster pet parent for an animal shelter. Each of her children dream of careers working with animals, and Rita wholeheartedly supports them!

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