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Air Bud is a movie about man's best friend playing the ultimate 90s sport, basketball. In this 1997 movie, a clever golden retriever named Buddy joins a human team and, of course, takes them to victory.
Who doesn't love John Hughes and big ole fluffy dogs? That and it's pretty solid cast (including Bonnie Hunt, David Duchovny, Stanley Tucci, Oliver Platt and the iconic Charles Grodin) make this 1992 film an .... Ode To Joy. A sweet Saint Bernard plays Beethoven.
Do you love Lethal Weapon?
Do you love dogs?
Then do I have the movie for you. K-9 is the 1989 action comedy extravaganza where a rebellious cop is partnered with an adorable pooch to solve crimes. The precious pooch role is played by a German Shepherd.
Oh Heavenly Dog
More like oh what the heck? This 1980 (amazingly the same year as Chase classic Caddyshack) movie is way too weird to be this mainstream. The movie is basically some madman's idea of combining Heaven Can Wait and Benji the dog. No clue who thought it was a good idea but it stars Chevy Chase as a deceased detective (who of course comes back as a dog). He has to solve his own death.
The cast also stars Jane Seymour and Omar Shariff (from Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago fame). They are astounding in this film. The soundtrack also has a theme by Paul McCartney (wonders never cease) and a track by Elton John.
Honestly while I can’t say this is a particularly GOOD movie, the acting is fabulous and it’s certainly a happy dog movie.
Oliver and Company
Why should you worry or care why this late 1980's animated gem is on this list of happy dog movies? First, it costars none other than Billy "The Piano Man" Joel as the voice of Dodger. It's also a fun, breezy 1988 Disney gem written by the future director of movie classics like Girl Interrupted, Kate and Leapold and Ford V Ferrari. There's a bunch of breeds in Oliver and Company including a Chihuahua, Great Dane and more..
Chevy Chase stars in yet another happy dog movie on this list. This CGI dog oddity flick has THREE academy award connected actors (John Voight, Pat Morita and most recently Simon Rex). The movie involves a dog who knows karate naturally. It talks his human partner into solving a murder.
The legendary Karate Dog himself is played by a Cho Cho.
Dean Koontz, Corey Haim and a telepathic dog, what's not to love? Needless to say this 1988 thriller is definitely a weirder entry but very fun and under watched movie.
Watchers is about a teen who has to save a telepathic Golden Retriever from a sinister beast. It also has a great villain performance from the ever exceptional Michael Ironsides as a sinister agent. But is it a happy dog movie? I'll let you decide.
This 2018 overlooked but happy dog movie is kind of an inverse of dog movies. That's because the traditional lethal accident that befalls dogs in most movies happens in the beginning. However, the strength of the movie is the dog's wound ISN'T lethal and the movie is about the creation of the first human/dog bond. It's a very warm hearted but engaging story about an ancient time with a very modern bond. The CG dog in this gem is a Czechoslovakian Wolf Dog.
This happy movie is a nostalgic childhood classic for many 90's families, including mine. I always remember the strong sense of adventure and K9 comradery in this grand scale adventure movie with a happy ending.
Released in 1992 this Disney classic has been entertaining families for years. Homeward Bound has the lovable combination of an adorable Bulldog and Golden Retriever.
This is a great road trip movie with a broken ex soldier and a scarred combat dog trying to heal. But is this a happy dog movie? Well, no but it's a great uplifting but realistic feeling movie about the road to recovery and a strong bond between man and dog leaving the viewer feeling happy. This recent 2022 dramedy stars Channing Tatum, Ethan Suplee, Kevin Nash, Jane Adams and an odd cameo by a comedy legend. The lovable Lulu is played by a very distinguished Belgium Malinois.
Like Dog, this is another story of two American war heroes. This time it's a tale of a lost soldier finding direction in saving the dog that saved her. The 2017 film showcases a career best performance by Kate Mara as well as a great ensemble with Ramon Rodriguez, Edie Falco, Common, Tom Felton, Will Patton and Bradley Whitford giving great performances. It's a great yet under discussed heartwarming film about how far we'd go for "man's best friend".
The super pooch in Megan Levy is a German Shepherd.