When it comes to films where dogs take center stage, you have a vast array to select from. However, there’s something uniquely heartwarming about animated dog films, with certain ones emerging as the absolute cream of the crop.
There are some animated dog films that have etched themselves into our memories, such as the timeless 101 Dalmatians; All Dogs Go to Heaven, and The Fox and the Hound.
These 15 compelling animated dog films have the knack to draw us in, leaving an enduring impact well after the end credits have scrolled. Whether they elicit tears of happiness or sorrow, it’s hard for us to resist the allure of revisiting these delightful movies over and over.
Most Beloved Animated Dog Movies
From timeless classics like “All Dogs Go to Heaven” and “The Fox and the Hound” to more recent gems like “The Secret Life of Pets” and “Bolt,” there’s an array of animated dog movies that deserve a spot on every dog lover’s watch list.
While I won’t attempt to rank these beloved films, I’ve selected 15 personal favorites that showcase the undeniable heart dogs bring to their respective narratives.
StarDog and TurboCat (2019)
StarDog and TurboCat is a fun-filled animated movie that has garnered attention for its delightful mix of humor, adventure, and heart. Released in 2019, this British computer-animated superhero film delights both children and adults with its tale of unexpected friendship and heroism.
The story follows Buddy, a dog astronaut who gets launched into space in 1969, only to be frozen in his spaceship. Waking up 50 years later, Buddy finds himself in a world where pets are not as welcome as they once were. Confused and alone, he befriends Felix (aka TurboCat), a tech-savvy, gadget-laden superhero cat, who helps him navigate this strange new world.
Rock Dog (2021)
On Snow Mountain, the Tibetan mastiffs live a simple life, guarding a peaceful sheep village from the thuggish wolf Linnux and his rabid pack. Khampa, the mastiff leader, bans all music to prevent distractions.
However, his son Bodi stumbles upon a fallen radio, and a few guitar licks are enough to seal his fate. Bodi dreams of becoming a rock ‘n’ roll star, and sets off to the city to find Angus Scattergood, a legendary musician in need of a new song.
Pets United is an adorable animated dog movie that captivates viewers with its charming characters and engaging narrative. The film, released in 2019, is centered around a group of pampered pets living a luxurious life in a high-tech city. Their world is turned upside down when they’re forced to survive without their owners, showing them a different side of life.
The story revolves around Roger, a self-centered dog who becomes an unlikely hero. Alongside a team of mismatched pets, Roger embarks on an adventure to save their city from an evil mayor and his robotic army. This ragtag group of pets, each with their unique personality traits, brings a lot of humor and fun to the movie.
Arctic Dogs (2019)
Arctic Dogs is a popular animated movie known for its entertaining storyline and endearing canine characters. Released in 2019, the film takes viewers on a snowy adventure in the Arctic.
The story centers around Swifty, an ambitious Arctic fox who dreams of becoming a Top Dog, the Arctic’s star husky couriers. Swifty works in the mailroom of the Arctic Blast Delivery Service but yearns for something more exciting. To prove himself, he commandeers one of the sleds and delivers a mysterious package to a secret location where he stumbles upon a villainous plot to melt the Arctic.
While Swifty is the main character, the movie also features a fun ensemble of dog characters, like the tough but lovable huskies Duke, Dakota, and Dusty, that add depth and humor to the story. They help Swifty in his mission to save their icy home.
DC League of Super-Pets (2022)
The recent DC League of Super-Pets highlights the profound way dogs can change lives, underscoring the myriad forms of animal assistance. Initially, the story spotlights the intense bond between Superman and Krypto the Superdog.
However, when villains capture the human members of the Justice League, it’s up to Krypto to rally a diverse team of superhero pets, including Ace the boxer. These tales illustrate the potential of shelter animals to become heroes, each boasting unique abilities.
Rover Dangerfield, one of the most underappreciated animated dog films, shines with Rodney Dangerfield’s comedic genius in the role of Rover. The movie creatively portrays a Vegas show dog adjusting to farm life, featuring engaging music and a well-constructed storyline. Rover’s uniqueness, shaped significantly by Dangerfield’s persona, makes this film a classic.
While it leans towards adult humor, it maintains its child-friendly appeal. The irreplaceable Rodney Dangerfield ensures that the movie remains a unique piece, making it a must-watch, especially for his fans. Plus, the addition of other canine characters is a fun bonus.
Frankenweenie, a captivating stop-motion creation from Tim Burton, tells a gripping story in stark black and white. The film artfully showcases the invincible bond between a young boy and his loyal dog, a bond that withstands even the toughest challenges a dog lover might face. Sparky, the beloved pet of Victor, is full of life until a heartbreaking accident takes him away too soon.
Fueled by his love for science, Victor obsesses over the daring idea of bringing Sparky back to life, resulting in quirky repercussions for his town. Ultimately, Frankenweenie underscores the enduring friendship between humans and their furry friends, even in the wake of premature loss.
The Secret Life of Pets (2016)
The Secret Life of Pets captivates audiences with its dynamic humor and smooth animation, plunging them into the spirited world of household pets. Nestled in New York City, a small and happy pup named Max thrives on his owner Katie’s love and the camaraderie of his close friends.
Yet, Katie’s introduction of a large dog named Duke turns Max’s world upside down, as he initially sees Duke in a negative light. A subsequent misadventure sends both dogs on a citywide journey where they learn a crucial lesson about unity. Stranded amidst the Big Apple’s vibrant streets, they meet a multitude of intriguing creatures.
Bolt envelops audiences in a heartwarming tale that traces the remarkable journey of a dog resolved to reclaim his life of superpowers. He is unaware that his starring TV show merely crafts a fictional reality, something hidden from him since his puppy days. But a twist of fate sends Bolt far from his Hollywood home, forcing him to face life as an ordinary dog while he searches for his beloved owner, Penny.
On his adventure, Bolt uncovers the simple joys dogs hold dear, like the thrill of sticking their heads out of car windows and their steadfast loyalty to their human friends. In the end, Bolt imparts precious lessons about unwavering devotion and the small joys that make life meaningful for our canine pals.
Oliver and Company
Oliver & Company is a popular animated film from Disney, known for its unique blend of memorable characters, engaging storytelling, and catchy music. Released in 1988, the movie adapts Charles Dickens’ classic “Oliver Twist,” giving it an animal-centric twist set against the backdrop of New York City.
The film follows the adventures of Oliver, an orphaned kitten, who finds an unlikely family in a pack of street-savvy dogs led by a charismatic mongrel named Dodger. With its anthropomorphized animal characters and their life in the city, the movie is particularly beloved for its presentation of dogs in various roles, making it a hit among canine lovers.
The Fox and the Hound (1981)
The Fox and the Hound spins a timeless tale of unexpected friendship, starring Copper, a hound bred for hunting, and Tod, a young fox adopted by a farmer. They quickly form a deep bond, although Tod’s forest family warns against it. As they grow up, their uncomplicated childhood connection entangles with their natural instincts and societal norms.
Nevertheless, they defy these preconceptions and reveal the depth of their friendship, offering a powerful lesson for everyone. This uplifting story highlights the empathetic and kind-hearted qualities of dogs, emphasizing how some canines have the potential to befriend anyone they meet.
Balto revives the riveting tale of a heroic dog, allowing audiences worldwide to re-engage with the incredible true story of a sled dog team’s mission to rescue Nome, Alaska, from a diphtheria outbreak in 1925. The film depicts Balto as a half-wolf, half-dog hero who overcomes his ill reputation to help the team on their crucial quest to deliver medicine.
However, it’s essential to acknowledge that the real Balto was entirely a dog, without any wolf ancestry. Interestingly, the National Park Service informs viewers about the actual facts of the mission. They point out that Togo, a Siberian Husky, led his team through the most dangerous part of the hazardous journey, even though Balto often receives the credit.
All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989)
All Dogs Go to Heaven stands as a treasured animated animal adventure from the ’80s, adored for its engaging narrative. The film presents a glowing and celestial haven as its vision of heaven, where nearly every dog finds peace after leaving the earthly plane. Charlie, a German shepherd, arrives in this heavenly place after an untimely death but soon returns to the earthly realm to settle unresolved matters.
Instead of falling completely into the vicious cycle propagated by Carface, Charlie meets a young girl named Anne-Marie, and they quickly form a bond that mirrors a true family. All Dogs Go to Heaven exemplifies the quick and deep connections kindred spirits can form, especially when a dog is part of the equation.
Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Long before its 2019 remake, the original Lady and the Tramp charmingly depicted a tender love story between its main characters. Lady, a cherished Cocker Spaniel, undergoes a dramatic change when her owners put Aunt Sarah in charge of their home.
A wild run-in with some naughty Siamese cats swiftly sends Lady out into the streets. There, she forms an unshakeable bond with the street-savvy Tramp and can’t help but fall for him. This enduring story, a Disney animated classic, centers around themes of love and steadfast loyalty in all its forms.
One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)
The timeless Disney classic, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, follows the extraordinary journey of Pongo and Perdita, loving parents to a growing brood of adorable puppies. They run from looming disaster, with the notorious villain Cruella de Vil hot on their trail.
Cruella dreams up an evil plan to make luxurious coats from Dalmatian fur and kidnaps Perdita’s first litter of 15 puppies. Determined to save them, Pongo and Perdita launch a brave mission, unexpectedly finding another 84 lively puppies along their path.
Throughout this exciting journey, the film highlights the charming and humorous personalities of numerous canine companions, as they dodge dangers in their pursuit of safety.