The 12 Best Movie Dogs Of All Time, From Air Bud To Lassie

20th Century Studios

With the upcoming live-action adaptation of the classic novel The Call of the Wild, the world of cinema is once again giving us a new heroic pooch to tug at our heartstrings. The movie stars Harrison Ford alongside his CGI-rendered four-legged friend, Buck. The film is at least the fifth big screen adaptation of the story, and it's roughly the millionth movie (give or take) to feature a dog as a main character. But out of all them, which are the best movie dogs of all time?

In order to rank the goodest boys (and girls) of film, one has to first lay out some ground rules to keep the list from becoming too gargantuan. So for this list, we'll be looking at live-action dogs only. There are a lot of movies about cartoon pups out there — 101 Dalmatians, Oliver & Company, Lady & the Tramp, The Fox & the Hound, Bolt... and those are just the Disney ones. But animated dog movies tend to venture into fantasy territory a bit too heavily, making it a tad unfair to compare an animated creation with no limitations to a flesh and blood dog. So with that stipulation out of the way, here are the 12 best movie dogs, ranked.



Marley may have been the "world's worst dog," but that's not the real reason he finds himself at the bottom of this list. Marley, though he was a troublemaker, was a great dog, but any dog that causes this much sadness can't rank any higher than this.



This big ol' Saint Bernard became a '90s stalwart with his own franchise following his titular original film in 1992, but he still isn't that great of a dog compared to some of his cinematic counterparts. He just gets into too much trouble.


Air Bud

Air Bud is a tremendous athlete, no one is taking that away from him. And if this were a ranking of the best canine sports stars, then he would surely come out on top. But it's a ranking of the best dogs, and others on the list just perform their dogly duties better.


Old Yeller

The star of the original tear-jerking dog movie, Old Yeller was a great dog until rabies turned him into a monster. But rabies aside, he's just not as good as some of these other good boys.


Winn Dixie

This shaggy mutt that's named after a southern grocery store chain may look unassuming, but the good ol' dog sure is great at bringing people together.



The most famous Hollywood dog of them all is best remembered for her eponymous 1950s TV show, but her first on-screen appearance was in the 1943 film Lassie Come Home. She's pretty much the Superman of dogs, but is maybe a little too perfect.



The latest Disney pooch is, Togo, a real life sled dog who overcame all obstacles to help bring medicine across the tundra to a desperate Alaskan village. The dog is a hero in history and on the big screen.



At first glance, Hooch is a terrible dog. He's messy, he's dirty, and he's downright destructive. But he's also one of the most loving and loyal movie dogs ever, willing to lay down his life to save another.


Shadow & Chance

The Homeward Bound duo will stop at nothing to reunite with the family they love, displaying the type of loyalty that everyone should hope for in a dog. Plus, they get along great with at least one cat, showing a refreshing level of inter-species acceptance.


White Fang

White Fang is half-wolf, which makes his loyalty and selflessness that much cooler. Who wouldn't want a badass wolfdog that could run with the pack but also wouldn't think twice before rescuing them from a bear?



The most iconic movie mutt is basically everything you could want from a dog. He's loving, he's selfless, he's adorable and he is always willing to spread his infectious goodwill wherever he goes. We should all be lucky enough to know a dog like Benji.



This is it. This is the best dog. Based on an actual pooch from Japan, Hatchi's loyalty to his owner lasted for years after the man's death, inspiring an entire town to try to be as full of love as this wise, furry creature.

To be clear, all movie dogs are good boys, but the 12 listed here are the goodest of them all.