Kids' and Family Movies for Dog Lovers

Live-Action Movies Starring Dogs

Most kids love dogs, and some are just crazy about anything canine related. Here are some great live-action Blu-rays/DVDs for those little puppy lovers. Many of the movies have at least one sequel, so if your child really likes one franchise, there may be more available. Also check out our list of animated movies about dogs and puppies.

Based on the book by Lois Duncan, kids love Hotel for Dogs both because of the dogs and the because of the "kids save the day" plot. When their new guardians forbid 16-year-old Andi (Emma Roberts) and her younger brother, Bruce (Jake T. Austin) to have a pet, they have to find a new home for their beloved dog, Friday. Having learned to be resourceful from their time in foster care, the kids use their street smarts and talents to turn an abandoned hotel into the ultimate doggy destination for Friday, and many others. Despite the risk to their own tentative situation, the kids' love of dogs won't let them abandon their furry friends.(PG)

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Marmaduke (2010)

Marmaduke
Photo © 20th Century Fox

, the iconic comic strip dog, bounded onto the big screen in 2010 in a live action family comedy. In the movie, the teenage Great Dane moves with his human family to Orange County, CA. Adjusting to life in a new place is hard for any teenager, but Marmaduke handles is with a certain flair. (Rated PG)

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Beverly Hills Chihuahua

Beverly Hills Chihuahua
Photo © Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua (rated PG) is a live-action movie starring Drew Barrymore (as the voice of Chihuahua, Chloe), Piper Perabo, Manolo Cardona, Jamie Lee Curtis, and many more big names. The story follows Chloe's adventure as she is lost in Mexico and struggles to find her way home. Kids will enjoy the countless number of canines in the movie, and little girls will especially enjoy all of Chloe's little designer outfits. Disney has also released two more direct-to-DVD movies in the franchise.

Playing on the stereotypical clash of cats and dogs, this animal action movie finds the dogs -- man's best friend -- trying to save humankind from a meniacal cat plan to take over the world. Then along came the 2010 sequel, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. The sequel goes even further down the road of a canine/feline action flick with a James Bond style film that finds cats and dogs forced to work together to thwart the crazy Kitty Galore. Both movies are rated PG.

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101 Dalmatians

101 Dalmatians
Photo © Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
In this updated, live-action version of the classic animated 101 Dalmatians movie, Glenn Close brings Cruella De Vil's creepy character to life. Kids will enjoy watching the movie with real dogs playing the familiar Dalmatian characters. The sequel to the movie, , continues the story. Cruella remains the villain, but the puppies are the stars. Both movies are rated G.
12-year-old Josh Framm has lost his father and his life as he knew it. Along with his mother and sister, Josh has moved to a new town, and he doesn't have any friends -- until he finds Buddy. A lost golden retriever, Buddy becomes Josh's new best friend. But, that's not all: Josh discovers that Buddy can play basketball! (Rated PG).
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Air Buddies (2006)

Air Buddies
Photo © Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Air Buddies is just one DVD in the Air Bud DVD series. The DVDs follow the famous sports dog Air Bud and his lovable pups, the Buddies. The DVDs are great for kids who love dogs and sports, and the adorable Air Buddies will capture the heart of both boys and girls. Other Buddies DVDs are also available: , another story in the saga of the adventurous pups in which they get to mush with an Alaskan husky; , which follows the Buddies on a trip to the moon; and , a Christmas Buddies special. A spinoff movie of the Christmas special, , was later released. Air Buddieso is rated PG; the other Buddies movies are rated G.

08
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Marley & Me: The Puppy Years

Marley & Me: The Puppy Years
Photo © 20th Century Fox

Based on the "world's worst dog" from the original drama (not a kids' movie), The Puppy Years is a kid-friendly spin-off comedy about a summer adventure the talking puppy Marley has while staying with a family member, Bodie, and his grandpa. Bodie tries to prove he is responsible caring for Marley in the hopes that his mom will let him get a dog of his own. While staing with Grandpa, Bodie enters Marley and a coule of doggy pals into a dog show. The movie conveys an overall lesson about responsibility and sportsmanship. (Rated PG)

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Eight Below (2006)

Eight Below
Photo © Disney. All rights reserved.

Three members of a scientific expedition: Jerry Shepard (Paul Walker), his best friend, Cooper (Jason Biggs), and a rugged American geologist (Bruce Greenwood), are forced to leave behind their team of beloved sled dogs due to a sudden accident and perilous weather conditions in Antarctica. The dogs are left to survive on their own for over 6 months in the harsh frozen wilderness. The film is inspired by the events of a 1958 Japanese Antarctic Expedition, which also inspired the Japanese film Nankyoku Monogatari (1983) a.k.a. Antarctica. The fact that the film is inspired by a true story makes it that much more interesting for kids. Rated PG, for some peril and brief mild language.

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Because of Winn-Dixie (DVD - 2005)

Because of Winn-Dixie
Photo © 20th Century Fox
Starring Annasophia Robb as "Opal," Because of Winn-Dixie tells the story of Opal's struggle to make friends, and how a stray dog led her to find true meaning in people and friendships. Rated PG.

The Beethoven movie series (Compare Prices) features a large and lovable St. Bernard named Beethoven who is always causing big trouble. This movie doesn't continue the story of the original franchise, but is a re-imagination of the story with an all-new twist. In Beethoven's Big Break, a father and son find a new family of friends, and Beethoven gets his big break in a Hollywood movie. Kids will love the big St. Bernard, his adorable puppies, and all of the chaos they cause.

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Firehouse Dog

Firehouse Dog
Photo © 20th Century Fox
Rex may be a canine, but he is also a Hollywood superstar. His acting has won him fame, fortune, and a very pampered life. But, when Rex gets lost during a shoot, he is left to fend for himself in a city where nobody appreciates who he is. A firefighter's son, Shane, finds Rex and the two get a chance to help each other find the heroes inside themselves. Rated PG, for sequences of action peril, some mild crude humor and language.
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Underdog (2007)

Underdog DVD
Photo © Disney. All Rights Reserved.
The original Underdog cartoon series actually began in 1960 as a cartoon created to sell breakfast cereal. The show caught on and became an actual cartoon series that ran through 1973. In 2007, Disney boldly released a live-action movie featuring the flying, rhyming superhero canine. The movie throws a bone to adults who loved the cartoon series, but it is obviously primarily geared toward children. PG, for rude humor, mild language and action.
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Snow Dogs (2002)

Snow Dogs
Photo © Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Cuba Gooding Jr. stars as Ted, a dentist from Miami who must travel to Alaska unexpectedly. He finds himself the new owner of seven Siberian huskies and a border collie. He learns about dog sledding, and he also learns a few things about life from the beautiful dogs and his experiences with them. Rated PG, for mild crude humor.
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The Shaggy Dog

The Shaggy Dog
Photo © Disney. All rights reserved.
A remake of the 1959 film, The Shaggy Dog relates the story of lawyer Dave Douglas (Tim Allen), who is turned into a dog by accident. In his struggle to become human again, Dave is forced to see life from a new perspective, and he his surprised to learn what he's been missing. With a whole new understanding of life and his family, Dave sets out to make things right, starting with an attempt to stop the evil forces who developed the serum that turned him into a canine in the first place. Rated PG, for some mild rude humor.
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Sounder (2003)

Disney's Sounder
Photo © Disney. All rights reserved.
I remember watching this story back in elementary school. This DVD is the newer Disney version of the film, the original is also available on DVD. The movie tells the story of a family's struggle to survive during the Depression, and of course, there is a courageous canine hero. Rated PG.
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Where the Red Fern Grows (2003)

Where the Red Fern Grows
Photo © Disney. All rights reserved.
Another classic from our school days, Where the Red Fern Grows is required reading for many kids. This version of the movie, released by Disney in 2003, stars Joseph Ashton and singer Dave Matthews. The story of a boy and his beloved dogs is a sad one, but it also teaches important values that kids can learn from. Rated PG for thematic elements.
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Old Yeller (DVD - 2002)

Old Yeller
Photo © Disney. All rights reserved.
Old Yeller tells the story of a poor 1860s Texas family and the dog who changes a young boy named Travis as the two become best friends. The COMPARE PRICES button leads to a DVD set that also includes the sequel, Savage Sam. Old Yeller is rated G, and Savage Sam is not rated.
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Homeward Bound - The Incredible Journey (1993)

Homeward Bound
Photo © Disney. All rights reserved.

Chance, a playful American bulldog, has recently been adopted by a happy family and their pets - Sassy the Himalayan cat and Shadow the retriever. But when their owners Peter, Hope and Jamie take a short out-of-town trip, Chance, Sassy and Shadow think they've been left behind. The three animals set out on a journey across the Sierra Nevadas in search of their family. Rated G.

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Benji (1974)

The first Benji film , which was produced in Texas, didn't get much attention at first. But, when people fell in love with the canine main character and his brave loyalty, movie studios started to get interested. Since the first movie came out in the '70s, many sequels have been made. A search for Benji DVDs on PriceGrabber will bring up the available Benji titles.