Disney Plus (stylized as Disney+) is finally here and it is overwhelmingly full of content. There are so many shows and movies to choose from that it seems almost impossible to choose what to watch. First, Disney is known for its wholesome content, both animated and live-action, which often involves animals. Where do you go from there? Narrow it down to canine-centered films, of course. This list is here to help you make that crucial streaming decision with a carefully curated list of the best dog movies on Disney Plus.
Lady and the Tramp (1955)
A Cocker Spaniel and a mixed breed dog came together, ate some spaghetti, and gave the world an enduring love story that looks past class. The proper Lady’s life is turned upside down when her human’s cat-loving aunt comes to visit the family’s new baby. Her two scheming cats frame Lady, who is muzzled and punished. Terrified of the punishment, Lady runs into the streets of London and meets Tramp. They travel the city together and slowly fall in love. A 2019 remake cast live dogs in the starring roles.
Old Yeller (1957)
It’s a rite of passage to watch Old Yeller as a child and be forever traumatized by it. Old Yeller is among the most well-known classic dog movies, telling the story of a boy and his dog. Young Travis lives in rural Texas with his family after the end of the Civil War. One day, he finds a stray yellow Labrador Retriever running amok in the family’s cornfield. While he’s a nuisance at first, Old Yeller and Travis quickly develop a strong bond. It is a film that unfortunately ends in tragedy, but still proves the power of love between a boy and his dog.
101 Dalmatians (1961)
It’s true that one dog cannot possibly give birth to 101 puppies, but that doesn’t make the animated film 101 Dalmatians any less adorable. Dalmatians Pongo and Perdita, as well as their humans Roger and Anita, meet in a London park and fall in love. What follows love? Lots of puppies, it seems—15 to be precise. However, their black and white spotted coats draw the attention of Cruella de Vil, Anita’s former classmate. She wants to buy them all to make a fur coat. But when Roger denies her request, she opts to steal the puppies instead. Pongo and Perdita must try to find their babies and save the rest of the 84 puppies that de Vil has stolen in the name of fashion.
Greyfriars Bobby (1961)
One of the more endearing classic dog movies, this film is based on a true story of a dog’s loyalty. Bobby is a Skye Terrier who loves an old shepherd named Auld Jock. Even after Jock’s death, Bobby sleeps by his grave, showcasing the never-ending love that dogs are capable of. While some may not like this “stray” dog wandering around, the townsfolk band together to protect Bobby.
The Ugly Dachshund (1966)
While The Ugly Dachshund is among the lesser-known dog movies, its premise has earned it a place on this list. The titular ugly Dachshund is actually a Great Dane named Brutus. Married couple Fran and Mark are the proud owners of a prize-winning, and rather pregnant, Dachshund named Danke. She gives birth to three female puppies but Fran and Mark pick up an extra puppy while at the vet. Their veterinarian convinces them to take a Great Dane puppy whose mother doesn’t have enough milk to feed him. So the puppies grow up together, but Brutus the Great Dane gets much, much bigger. Canine hijinks ensue as the Dachshund puppies lead Brutus through a series of silly endeavors.
The Biscuit Eater (1972)
In this Disney film, two young boys come together to train a rambunctious German Wirehaired Pointer named Moreover to be a bird dog. The Biscuit Eater is about the love between boy and dog, as well as the power of friendship between two young boys. Unique among dog movies, the film also showcases the process of training a birding dog and gives viewers an appreciation for the sport. Besides the GWP, an Irish Setter and English Setter make appearances, as well.
The Fox and The Hound (1981)
Friendship knows no bounds in The Fox and The Hound. An orphaned fox, Tod, and a hound puppy, Copper, who should be sworn enemies, actually become best friends. They run through the woods, laughing and playing without a care in the world. But Copper’s owner doesn’t like that and confines Copper, trying to force him to be a hunting dog. As the two grow up, they must realize their place in nature and their bond is challenged. It is a heartbreaking story about fighting back against societal expectations in the name of friendship.
Oliver & Company (1988)
Who says dog movies can’t include cats? Oliver is a lost kitten in the big city. He wanders the streets and comes across a ragtag group of dogs, led by Dodger (Billy Joel). Each dog has a quirky personality that helps them to survive. There’s a Shakespeare- reciting Bulldog, a spoiled Poodle, and a technology-loving Chihuahua. It is a film that combines amazing music with charming characters that showcases the vibrant and gorgeous side of New York City.
Turner & Hooch (1989)
Turner & Hooch brings Tom Hanks and a Dogue de Bordeaux together as an unexpected crime-fighting duo. Hanks is Scott Turner, a grumpy detective who begrudgingly inherits his friend’s dog, Hooch, after the friend is murdered. Turner isn’t thrilled by the big dog who seems to drool everywhere. But, then Turner realizes that Hooch could help solve the case.
White Fang (1991)
The 1991 adaptation of White Fang is based on Jack London’s novel with the same name. White Fang is a wolfdog who becomes the loyal companion to a young explorer named Jack Conroy (Ethan Hawke). Conroy has come to the Klondike to search for gold. But he finds more than the shiny yellow mineral. He finds danger, intrigue, and a lifelong canine friend who protects him as he journeys through the wilderness.
101 Dalmatians (1996)
The 1996 live-action adaptation of 101 Dalmatians lacks talking dogs, but does have an amazingly evil performance by Glenn Close as Cruella de Vil. It leans more heavily into slapstick comedy, especially with the henchmen Jasper (Hugh Laurie) and Horace (Mark Williams). This version of 101 Dalmatians also showcases the talent of their canine stars, who perform their own stunts.
How Dogs Got Their Shapes (2016)
This interesting and informative National Geographic documentary is the kind of content we can really get behind. As one of the most unique species on earth, dogs exist in countless breeds and variations, with everything from tails to coats to ears serving a unique purpose. How Dogs Got Their Shapes examines the ways in which distinct dog breeds came to be, and how and why each breed came to look the way they do today.
During the 1925 Nome Serum Run, Siberian Husky sled dog teams traversed 674 miles in just over five days to deliver a lifesaving serum following a diphtheria outbreak in remote Alaska. Balto received much of the glory as the lead dog of the final leg of the relay, but Leonhard Seppala and his lead dog Togo completed by far the longest and most difficult leg of the journey. Disney seeks to set the record straight in this film, starring Willem Dafoe as Seppala and one of Togo’s own descendants as the namesake Siberian.