The 11 Greatest Animated Movie Dogs

Sparky from Frankenweenie

To give some stop-motion representation, there’s no better animated dog out there than Sparky – a Tim Burton creation that started out as a live action short but turned into an animated feature in 2012. And though the film might not be Burton’s best creation, it definitely is one of his most fun and most”Burton-y” productions listed on his filmography.

Frankenweenie tells the story of a little boy (Victor) and his dog, who sadly passes away, leaving a huge open hole in the little boy’s heart. Inspired by the electricity in his town, Victor decides that he can bring Sparky back from the dead – and he succeeds! Unfortunately he has to keep his newly alive pet a secret from everyone around him, which is a struggle as his friends learn the secret and want to bring their pets back too. But even amidst the insanity of this Burton creation, it is the relationship between Victor and Sparky that keeps the film “alive” with emotion and all the mushy feelings in-between. We all want our pets around forever, and Sparky is the embodiment of that, and makes it onto this list as both a symbolism of Burton at his best, but also as a reminder of our childhood love for pets.

Lady and Tramp from Lady and the Tramp

You truly can’t make a list about animated dogs without including one of the greatest couples in all of cinema: Lady and Tramp. Not only has their love story remained iconic for 60-plus years, but they still stand as (arguably) the best romantic pair in Walt Disney Animation history. Why? Because their development is more real  than a majority of love stories any of the Disney Princesses have experienced.

Lady is a purebred Cocker Spaniel, who has been the center of attention in her family since the moment she was brought home. But when her human family is about to bring human a baby, Lady fears that she’ll lose the love of her owners. Enter Tramp, who doesn’t exactly make her feel any better, but instead shows her “what a dogs life can really be” in all his bachelor ways. These two initially can’t stand one another, but through many “dates” (a rarity for a Disney movie), the two gain a relationship built on incredible lessons from start to finish, and a pasta driven kiss to sweeten the deal. But it is the struggles these two go through that make them a must for this list, as they represent the ups and downs of love, and the wanting of comfort in your life.

Charlie from All Dogs Go to Heaven

I’ll admit that for the longest time, I never got the hype that my friends had for All Dogs Go to Heaven. The imagery was too much, the villains were too scary, and the dream sequence about “rejecting entry into heaven” was a sensory overload of emotional heartbreak and demonic elements for this young viewer. But as time has gone on, I’ve come to appreciate the artistic risk it was to make a movie like this in 1989, and maybe without it, movies like Isle of Dogs might not exist – especially with a protagonist as troubling and bizarre as Charlie.

But with such a description, why would Charlie even end up on this list? You see, Charlie laid the groundwork for animated “cute” characters in American Animation to do some pretty disturbing acts of tomfoolery. Sure, Bimbo from the Betty Boop cartoons and any of the Looney Tunes dog characters had done it all and then some, but when it came to “Disney-influenced” animated heroes (which director Don Bluth clearly was, since he had worked under Walt in his teen years) none of those kinds of characters had ever gambled, got incredibly drunk off their paws, or made deals with the devil. But Charlie did. And somehow he ended up being a good guy, that sort of did the right unselfish thing – though it took him a meeting with an over-the-top alligator and the devil to get there.

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