Known as man’s best friend, dogs are often considered part of the family. The level of joy and comfort they bring can’t be matched by much else. They could be asleep in the lap, laying by the feet or just lending a friendly ear to listen to their human best friend’s biggest dreams, worries and ideas. The love is always present.
Much like being part of the family, cute canines can also be valuable in films. While this list won’t include Cujo or the zombie dogs featured in Resident Evil, it will highlight some memorable pups from past films. These furry friends may not be the main character, but they sure do add entertainment and emotion to the films they appear in. Whether it’s a “legendary” collie or a little pup following their best friend down the yellow brick road, these hounds play important roles.
‘Strange World’ (Legend)
In Disney’s new Strange World, audiences will also get to meet a happy, lovable dog named Legend. He is along for the ride as his adventurous family (including his human parents voiced by Jake Gyllenhaal and Gabrielle Union) explores uncharted territory.
With three legs and a greeting for every stranger he meets, this sheepdog sticks by his family’s side as they navigate through danger. Although he is known to get into some unintentional trouble from time to time, the trip just wouldn’t be the same without him.
‘John Wick’ (Daisy and Bubba)
In the first John Wick film, the heartbroken and outwardly cold ex-assassin completely melts when he bonds with his new beagle puppy, Daisy. John Wick (played by Keanu Reeves) grieves once again when the dog is purposefully killed by enemies. At the end of the movie, he adopts a pitbull that becomes part of the next two installments.
The connection between the dogs and their solemn pal shows a softer side of the man often surrounded by murder. Halle Berry‘s character, Sofia, also has two canines by her side. The Belgian Malinois Shepherds are seen in some impressive and action-packed scenes throughout John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. It sounds like fans will be meeting a new four-legged friend in John Wick: Chapter 4, out in March 2023.
‘The Sandlot’ (Hercules)
The Sandlot is all about some neighborhood boys playing baseball. The summer of 1962 would not have been the same for that crew if one Herculean “beast” hadn’t been involved. While the kids spend part of the movie (unsuccessfully) trying to retrieve a valuable baseball guarded by the giant, they end up meeting the huge hound face-to-face.
It appears that Benny “the jet” Rodriguez is running for his life when the dog gets loose and begins chasing him. Soon after, they save the dog from being crushed to death. He ends up giving the boys sloppy kisses and lots of love. It turns out Hercules is all bark, and he ends up becoming their beloved mascot and biggest fan.
‘Men in Black’ (Frank)
A talking pug? That’s bizarre. An alien posing as an adorable pug to disguise himself? That would seem even stranger. Audiences are introduced to Frank, an extraterrestrial in a pug’s body, for a short time in Men in Black. He’s an informant for Agent J and Agent K (played by Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith), helping them put the pieces of the puzzle together.
The sassy pint-sized pup is back in Men in Black II. A fan favorite from the first movie, he’s now an employee at the headquarters. Frank eventually partners up with Agent K. While he seems to be enjoying himself, he ends up taking on the role of personal assistant to the chief because…there’s a better dental plan offered with the new gig.
‘The Mask’ (Milo)
Like any “good boy,” Milo is loyal to his owner and thinks the world of him. It does, however, take this Jack Russell Terrier a bit to get used to his best buddy’s alter-ego. In The Mask, Stanley Ipkiss (Jim Carrey’s character) becomes cartoon-like, exerting some fierce energy whenever he puts on a special mask.
Eventually, Milo joins in on the fun, and even wears the mask himself a few times to help Stanley. Milo could be wearing the mask and becoming an animated version of himself or just naturally showing off as the cute companion he’s always been. Either way, he certainly adds to the film.
‘The Wizard of Oz’ (Toto)
In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy Gale (and her little dog, too!) go on a colorful quest to get back home. Toto might be tiny, but he’s tough and gruff when needed, supporting his best friend through dangerous and strange lands.
Judy Garland, playing Dorothy, has some important accessories on her unexpected adventure including her sparkly ruby slippers. The red shoes pale in comparison to her cutest and most loyal accessory of all. Toto is a beloved and adorable sidekick.
‘Legally Blonde’ (Bruiser)
In Legally Blonde, Elle Woods takes control of her destiny. Reese Witherspoon‘s character has big plans to become a future trophy wife. After a change of heart, Woods graduates with a Harvard law degree instead. With all the hard work and effort needed to achieve such a difficult task, it’s a good thing she has her Chihuahua, Bruiser, by her side.
The fashionable little dude doesn’t get much camera time in the first movie, usually just shown as his ambitious owner’s companion. In Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, he takes center stage a bit more. When it’s discovered that Bruiser’s mom isn’t being treated well, Elle takes action and fights for animal rights.
‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ (Brandy)
In the movie, the scene-stealing canine is owned by a stuntman named Cliff Booth (played by Pitt). She shows off her obedience and loyalty to her human. While she’s not usually aggressive, Cliff orders her to attack the bad guys. Just like that, the Manson followers are outnumbered and taken out.
‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas!’ (Max)
In How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, the dog and his owner couldn’t be more different. The ever-scheming Grinch spends his time looking for ways to take away anything that represents joy and happiness. Max is an easy-going dog who doesn’t seem to mind Christmas or the Whos down in Whoville.
The two have different opinions about those living in the village at the bottom of the mountain, but Max is forced to help the Grinch execute his evil plan. He wants to take Christmas away from the Whos. In the end, Max is happy to go from antagonist to protagonist as the secret Santas join their new Whoville friends for a Christmas feast.
‘Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy’ (Baxter)
Baxter’s seemingly calm and sensible personality balances out his owner’s lack of awareness and over-the-top ways. In Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Ron’s thoughtless words and actions end up putting his fluffy friend in danger. After Ron, played by Will Ferrell, damages a stranger’s motorcycle, the man kicks Baxter into the water nearby.
Thinking Baxter has not made it after the incident, Burgundy is in a glass case of emotion. Luckily, persistent pup makes his way back to Ron and Veronica just in time to save them from a bear attack. It’s a good thing Baxter and his owner are reunited. Who knows how the news anchor would survive without him.