The Best Onscreen Dogs
Cruella de Vil might hate dogs, but we love them. We’ve rounded up our favorite four-legged friends — 30 of them, to be exact.
Chance and Shadow, Homeward Bound
Not only will they cross hundreds of miles — and risk their lives — to find their owners, but their journey will be filled with the kind of witty banter only possible between two old friends. (And yeah, there’s a cat that helps them too.)
All the Dalmatians, 101 Dalmatians
Talk about having a big support system. These pups know what family is all about, and they’re willing to fight any evil woman who stands in their way.
Frank, Men In Black
Frank might be an alien on the inside, but on the outside, he’s just an adorable pug with a love for Gloria Gaynor songs. Plus, he’s so skilled that they eventually promote him to Agent F, and then, he gets to wear a suit. So basically, he can sing and save the world.
Clue, The Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley
Young detectives Mary-Kate and Ashley were nothing without their dog Clue. The Basset Hound served as a sidekick to the two pioneering private eyes, trotting along as they solved any crime by dinnertime.
If it weren’t for Lassie, Timmy would 100 percent still be in that well.
Milo, The Mask
It takes a certain type of dog to accept an owner who’s wearing a scary mask that completely alters his personality. And it takes a dog like Milo to wear the mask himself and completely pull it off.
It takes a lot of kibble to stand beside a clumsy, unpopular preteen and not hang your head in shame with his every social gaffe, but loyal Porkchop (what a name!) kept his master sane and his igloo chilled. Doug Funnie’s species-less dog imbued the cherished Nicktoon with anthropomorphized wisdom and physical comedy. Hell, Porkchop was so important they even let him bark in the theme song.
He’s a talking dog! And sure, he’s not the only talking dog on this list, but his quirky personality, love of squirrels, and inability to take no for an answer make him stand out from the rest.
Santa's Little Helper, The Simpsons
Better known by his legal name Santos L. Halper, the lean greyhound fits in perfectly with his dysfunctional family by the very virtue of his shared senselessness. Santa’s Little Helper is nevertheless responsible for setting the bar for emotional weight in The Simpsons, launching the series’ first episode with a tug of the heartstrings when Homer and Bart adopt him at a race track. He’s been a beloved member of the family — perhaps the dumbest, but still — ever since.
Pluto, The Chain Gang, etc.
First and foremost, if Mickey Mouse loves Pluto, the entire world should love Pluto. But you also have to give Pluto credit for really breaking the mold and accepting himself, no matter the Hollywood standards. After all, he was the only member of the Sensational Six not to dress up in human clothes. Keep doing you, Pluto. We love you.
Sirius Black a.k.a. Padfoot a.k.a. Snuffles, Harry Potter
Considering the importance of Sirius Black as Harry Potter’s godfather, it’s unjust not to award that same respect for Black’s Animagus form: a shaggy black dog affectionately code-named Snuffles. In truth, hardly enough time is spent exploring the life of Sirius during his dog phases, but we imagine there was a lot of “Accio squeeze toy!” going on.
Spike was there. Were it not for the put-upon, overburdened, underpraised hero of the Pickles family, the babies of Rugrats may have fallen victim to any number of non-baby-proofed dangers during their tenure in the pen. But lo, Spike was always there. Lurking in the shadows, offering his protection, keeping Tommy and company safe between bouts of spooning with his French poodle love Fifi. Spike was there.
Toto, The Wizard of Oz
Toto was nothing if not loyal. Not many dogs would follow their owner through a tornado, and then continue to stick by her side through talking scarecrows, flying monkeys, and multiple musical numbers.
Jack, The Artist
Far less impressive than the silent-film dog Jack is his portrayer, Uggie, the dashing Jack Russell terrier who captivated a nation and nicely filled out a tuxedo. R.I.P.
There is no Charlie Brown without Snoopy. Every little bald boy needs a best friend (with excellent taste in dog-house decor).
Buddy, Air Bud
HE COULD PLAY BASKETBALL.
Bruiser, Legally Blonde
Bruiser will fetch your mail, accompany you to the nail salon, and support your newfound desire to go to Harvard Law (should that be an issue for you). And all the while, Bruiser will look, well, fabulous.
Dino, The Flintstones
Yes, he’s a dinosaur — a Snorkasaurus, to be precise — but to say that this scene-stealer can’t identify as a dog is absolutely prehistoric.
Slink, Toy Story
You think Woody and Buzz could constantly help their friends if it weren’t for Slink’s flexibility (and can-do attitude)? Think again.
Beethoven didn’t need to talk or solve crimes. Beethoven simply needed to be lovable and soft, and create adorable puppies.
Astro, The Jetsons
Even in the distant future, there exists a world where the dog steals the show. Lovable Astro — who winningly charmed his way into the Jetson family by beating out an electronic impostor — kept his family happy by serving as an emotional punching bag for George and a loyal buddy to Elroy. And if you ruv Scooby-Doo, you must ruv Astro: the dogs share a voice actor in Don Messick.
Rocco, The Drop
I mean, do you have eyes?
Clifford, Clifford the Big Red Dog
The biggest of big dogs, Clifford’s physical size only makes him more endearing. Clifford is full of love, he’s incredibly loyal, and he’s basically the dog-horse hybrid you’ve been waiting for. Who needs a car when you have a huge dog?
Hercules, The Sandlot
He’s big. He’s slobbery. He loves nothing more a good baseball. And let’s face it: He’s probably the best cuddle partner you could ever imagine.
Scooby-Doo, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, etc.
Scooby-Doo gets you. He understands when you’re scared of ghosts. He understands when you feel like you’re going to die if you don’t get your hands on some fruit snacks. He knows what it’s like to solve a crime. He gets. it.
The Boxer From Good Boy!
When given opportunity, this dog ran with it. After all, why ask for one cookie when you can ask for 20 cookies?! That sort of ambition demands respect.
When an adorable pig dreams of becoming a sheep dog, he needs a little guidance. That’s where Fly, Babe’s “mother,” comes in. She stood by his side and never doubted that he could be great, all the while looking like a Pantene commercial with that gorgeous fur.
A real-life hero, Balto was responsible for leading his team of sled dogs through a bitter winter in Alaska to transport a serum that would help combat the outbreak of a disease. The annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race? Yeah, that’s to commemorate Balto’s run. He’s a hero.
Comet, Full House
Played by Buddy of Air Bud fame, Comet was an integral part of the Tanner family. The adorable golden retriever grew up alongside D.J., Stephanie, and Michelle, and even got his own episode with the season eight debut of “Comet’s Excellent Adventure.”
Tock, Phantom Tollbooth
Look, let’s be frank: Every other dog on this list has been lauded for his loyalty or all-around generic family dog-ness. But Tock is something else. Tock is a leading man and a voice of reason, a wise watchdog of esteem, patience, friendship, and clockwork mechanics. Of all the fantastical characters Milo meets in his journey through the Lands Beyond, Tock remains the most memorably magical.