Whatever your taste in movies, no one can resist a good dog film. Films about the treasured relationship between human and dog have always been, and will always be, popular.
Whether it’s beloved pets or lovable strays, dog films have something for everyone, from laughing at their mischievous antics, to tears over the precious bond between man and man’s best friend.
In this article, Petplan takes a look at some of the most famous dogs on the big screen…
1. Toto – The Wizard of Oz
When heroine Dorothy finds herself transported to a strange new world, she and her loyal companion Toto the dog must embark upon a long journey to return home.
Figure 1: The Wizard of Oz | Wikimedia Commons | NBC Television Network
In the 1939 movie starring Judy Garland, Toto was actually played by a female dog whose real name was Terry.
After becoming fond of her canine companion during filming, Judy Garland asked if she could adopt Terry when the film wrapped, but Terry’s owner and trainer Carl Spitz said no.
Toto’s breed has been subject to debate – while the dog who played him in the famous 1939 film was a Cairn Terrier, many others believe that Toto is actually a Yorkshire Terrier.
The film even coined the famous phrase: “I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!”
2. Beethoven – Beethoven
The 1992 family comedy “Beethoven” is one of the most popular and highest-earning dog-themed films to date.
Although most people only remember the first two films, Beethoven actually had a total of eight films made about his adventures!
Figure 2: Beethoven | Universal Pictures
The star behind this lovable Saint Bernard was a dog called Chris, who sadly passed away after filming Beethoven 2.
In the other films, there were three specialist doggy actors for specific tasks. Benz was used for tricks, Dolly worked well with puppies and children, and Boomer had a set of rather unusual skills, including drooling!
In a poll in 2010, Beethoven won the title of favourite film dog, cementing his place as a much-loved canine star.
3. Lady - Lady and the Tramp
Disney produced several famous dog films, but among the most popular is the 1955 animated feature Lady and the Tramp. The tale follows Lady, a spoilt Cocker Spaniel who finds herself an outcast after the arrival of a new baby in the family.
Lady is befriended by a stray named Tramp – who shows her a world totally different to the sheltered life she knows.
Figure 3: Lady and the Tramp | Metro
The most iconic moment in the film is without a doubt the romantic spaghetti-sharing scene. However, it almost didn’t make the cut, as Walt Disney thought that two dogs sharing a meal was too human! Luckily, in the end he was persuaded to keep it.
It has been announced that a much-anticipated live action version of the film is coming out next year.
4. Marley - Marley and Me
Adapted from the 2005 book ‘Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog’, in this film from 2008, John and Jenny Grogan adopt a yellow Labrador puppy as practice for having a baby.
However, much to their surprise, their new puppy Marley turns out to be more than they can handle!
Figure 4: Marley and Me | Amazon
The film explores the themes of loss, love, loyalty and family, and is well-known for being a tear-jerker.
Marley was played by a total of 22 dogs in the film, but the canine star who appeared in the most scenes was a yellow Labrador retriever called Clyde, who was three years old at the time of filming.
John Grogan, who wrote the original book, said himself that Clyde definitely embodied the spirit of Marley!
5. Scooby Doo
There’s no doubt that this pooch is one of the most famous dogs on screen – Scooby Doo, the crime-solving, snack-loving Great Dane!
Scooby, full name Scoobert-Doo, has been around since 1969, along with his loyal friends Shaggy, Fred, Daphne and Velma and their psychedelic van: The Mystery Machine.
Figure 5: Scooby Do and Mystery Inc | Scoobypedia
Scooby Doo was originally meant to be called ‘Too Much’, however after hearing Frank Sinatra’s ‘Strangers in the Night’, one of the producers changed his name to Scooby Doo!
Scooby Doo is so popular that in California, a woman called Sharon Kay Truman decorated her minivan to look just like the Mystery Machine! She even led police on a high-speed chase, not dissimilar to common chase scenes from the cartoon!
With a highly successful cartoon series, several films, multiple comic books, a range of merchandise, and an impressive total of 392 villains unmasked, Scooby Doo has certainly earned his place as one of the best-loved dogs in the spotlight.
Who is your favourite famous dog? Let us know in the comments below!