The 11 Greatest Animated Movie Dogs

Dug from Up

If there is any Pixar character who represents pure and total happiness, it is Dug from Up. He loves everyone unconditionally, and says it with great pride thanks to his technologically advanced collar, that allows him to speak via his thoughts. And when he meets the heroes of our story, he embraces them without a care in the world – even when those new friends are the grumpy Carl and the somewhat too-passionate Russell.

Many people take on pets because they are missing something representing unconditional affection in their lives. They want a cuddly creature that’ll latch onto them and be loyal to a fault, and Dug is that pet in so many heartwarming (and sometimes slightly annoying) ways. And because of that, he’s left his paw prints all over pop culture – including theme shows, mascot characters, merchandise, and even his own Pixar shorts.

Bruno from Cinderella

Alright, it is time to give a big old shoutout to one of the OGs of the animated doggie world – Bruno. Yeah, that’s right, this paw rocking friend of Cinderella’s never gets enough respect on lists like these. Sure, he might sleep all day and sometimes dream too much of catching the evil cat Lucifer, but none of those facts should bump Bruno from getting the love and admiration such an under-appreciated pup deserves!

Everyone has had that pet or friend (or both) that wants to do the best for you, even if you know it might not be the stereotypical “right” thing to do by social standards – and Bruno is the cheerleader of those individuals in your life. All he wants is for the lead protagonist to get her happily ever after, and he’ll do anything possible (including getting rid of Lucifer) so that Cinderella can have her dream come true. Heck, he’ll even willingly get turned into a human footman for Cinderella’s carriage so she can attend the ball. And can we talk about that heroic chase so that the mice can get Cinderella the key? Seriously, Bruno needs more love.

Heen from Howl’s Moving Castle

Most of the dogs on this list are good by nature, but Heen from Studio Ghibli’s Howl’s Moving Castle might not be the stereotypical “good guy” that most animated pups are known to be. In fact, Heen has always been one of those characters that seems just too two-faced for me to ever find any affection towards. But then why include him on this list? Well the reason is quite simple – he’s smart, resourceful, and does provide some of the biggest laughs and important moments in the entirety of Howl‘s running time.

Heen is first introduced in the film when Sophie (the leading lady of the film, now cursed to appear as an older woman) thinks that the dog is Howl (her new wizard friend and crush) in disguise. But it turns out (after an amazing sequence of Sophie, Heen and the evil Witch of the Waste trying to make it up a hilariously large staircase) that this fluffy white and brown dog actually works for Madame Suliman, the King’s Royal Sorcerer, and she’s definitely up to no good. Of course, Heen ends up becoming a much more good-natured individual by the end of the movie, and helps Sophie on her spell breaking quest. He stands as an example of a bad dog turned really good, even if his original master (or madame) ain’t a fan.

Patrasche from The Dog of Flanders 

If Heen wasn’t enough anime for you, let me introduce you all to Patrasche – the four-legged hero of The Dog of Flanders from 1997. Directed by Yoshio Kuroda, and based on both the novel by Ouida and the 1992 anime series that aired on Nippon Television, this specific retelling of the classic (along with countless other anime adaptations) has been beloved by children (and adults) in Japan ever since its release, and continues to make tons of anniversary merchandise to this day. But in the United States, it doesn’t seem to get the recognition it deserves, and it was only thanks to VHS tapes from Pioneer Entertainment that I even know about its existence.

A Dog of Flanders tells the story of a little orphaned boy (Nello) who grows to have a huge interest (and talent) in art. Sadly, Nello’s life is full of struggles, from his poverty, to his aging grandfather, and the harshness of society. Nothing comes easy for the boy. Thankfully, he has his trusty dog Patrasche at his side, and they help each other, even in their darkest hours. And that is simply the reason why Patrasche had to make the list, because of his love and loyalty, even in Nello’s saddest moments. And if you know the tale of The Dog of Flanders, you truly know how downright heartbreaking it can be.

Continue Reading The 11 Best Animated Dogs in Movie History >>

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