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Dog Movies

Movies About Rescue Dogs

The Rescue Dogs Behind The Scenes

We put together 18 movies to focus on rescue dogs and their stories. You can take a look at the dogs behind the scenes. And somethings you may not even know about these furry little stars.

Most of the Stars are Rescue Dogs from Local Animal Shelters. Retrained they go from rags to riches overnight. Some as little as 3 months. Consequently in real life, it’s always a happy ending!

Rescue Dog Featured In Lady And The Tramp -To Be Released On November 12, 2019

Featured on Fox 17 News

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Monte, a two-year-old terrier mix a rescue dog from Phoenix, Arizona is reportedly starring as “Tramp” in Disney’s live-action remake of “Lady and the Tramp.”Source: CNN

Monte was transferred to the HALO Animal Rescue shelter in Phoenix from another shelter in Las Cruces N.M, Halo Animal Rescue has rescued over 3800 dogs in 2018, and now they have been able to provide this special dog rags to riches life. Monte was friendly and very outgoing. Obviously perfect for the part. Actor Justin Theroux will provide the character’s voice. Tessa Thompson will be the voice of Lady.

In 1937, Disney writer Joe Grant showed Walt Disney some sketches he had done of his Springer Spaniel, Lady. In fact, He had surprised his wife with her and the story revolves around his experience. Walt was impressed that he had Joe create a full storyboard.

This was one of my favorite Disney movies growing up. The movie is celebrating its 64th Birthday. It even makes it better knowing that this movie helped a rescue dog and based on real-life dogs. November 12 the movie will be streaming and available to watch. I honestly can say I am excited about this new Disney remake!

There is no way to know the background of a rescue dog. Fortunately, this movie proves that all dogs have the potential. In Fact, No matter what their circumstances, each one is special in their own way. And all they want is a job and to be loved!

Other Great Movies If You Love Dogs! Behind the Scenes

A Dog’s Purpose

This was a great movie I enjoyed- A Dog’s Purpose
Link to purchase the movie a dog's purpose on Amazon.

These two movies are great to watch. Especially if you need some comfort from losing your best friend. It offers hope that will make you smile and cry at the same time! However, there was a scene in the clip that involved a German Shepard that appears to have been forced into turbulent water. The filmmakers Immediately dismissed the clip, claiming that it had been edited to look like the dog was in more danger than in reality. Still, Amblin released a statement saying it would continue reviewing footage of the incident.

Meanwhile, in an effort to avoid a further public relations nightmare, Universal Pictures — which is distributing “A Dog’s Purpose”  canceled the film’s red carpet premiere. A photoshoot that The Times had scheduled with the movie’s canine stars was also scrapped by the studio. You can read the details on the outcome of the investigation on the American Humane Website.

A Dog’s Journey

The second part to a Dog’s Purpose- A must-see if you want to know what happens to Bailey when he comes back again
Link picture of A dogs journey you can purchase on Amazon.

As the sequel to A Dog’s Purpose, it is a good storyline. Max wasn’t the only character played by a rescue dog. The dog who played Big Dog is also a rescue dog. Clicker Training and the Focus command were used in training. There are no terrifying scenes that can be misleading. I actually found both of them a great watch. It again will depend on your discretion due to the reviews that have been given on the original movie.


An Image link to purchase the movie Marmaduke on Amazon

Marmaduke is another one of my favorites. This dog is exactly how our dog was when we first brought her home. Big and into everything. Brad Anderson, the cartoonist who created Marmaduke the original comic about a mischievous but lovable Great Dane, died on Aug. 30, 2015, in The Woodlands, Tex. He was 91.

Behind The Scenes of Marmaduke

Have you ever wondered how they trained and did the animations in Marmaduke? Below is a clip of behind the scenes and how they were able to capture all those funny moments to create the movie:

A look at how they trained the dog that played Marmaduke


An Image link to purchase Max on DVD on Amazon.

Max is a great way to see what a military dog has to go through. They can suffer PTSD as much as we humans can. Break out the Kleenex but it’s worth watching. Yakin knew his fictional tale of a military service dog in war-torn Afghanistan, despondent after the death of his Marine handler, would ring true with the highly intelligent Belgian Malinois breed increasingly used by the military and police. It is a great movie and helps us understand what they and their families go through. We remember these heroes and their trusted companions every November 11 at 11:00 am.


Based on a True Story – One of my favorites
An Image link to purchase Hachi on DVD on Amazon.

Hachi is based on the true story based on the real Japanese Akita dog Hachiko, who was born in Ōdate, Japan, in 1923. After the death of his owner, Ueno Hidesaburō in 1925, Hachiko returned to the Shibuya train station the next day and every day after that for the next nine years until he died in March 1935.

A Dog’s Way Home

An Image link to purchase dogs way home on DVD on Amazon.

Filmmakers discovered Shelby in a dog shelter after she was saved from a filthy, parasite-ridden existence in a Tennessee garbage dump.  Megan Buhler, an animal control officer, noticed the then-puppy inside a trash dump in Cheatham County, Tennessee. Then Buhler gently coaxed the scared pooch out from the landfill and took her to the Cheatham County Animal Shelter. The movie is not a true story but another star of the show was a rescued dog. It was mainly filmed in Vancouver, B.C. The good news is Shelby is alive and currently employed as a service dog, doing very well.

Milo and Otis

Milo and Otis
An Image link to purchase Milo and Otis on DVD on Amazon.

30 cats played Milo, for instance.  If you don’t know anything about it, the film was Japanese-made and took more than 4 painstaking years to shoot and edit. The director is also a zoologist and bred all the animals himself on a farm.

Marley And Me

Marley and Me will make you feel so warm and fuzzy inside
An Image link to purchase Marley and Me on DVD on Amazon.

In Marley and Me, the filmmakers had to employ a total of 22 dogs to play Marley at various stages of his life, and six of them were rescued dogs. Jennifer Anniston is also a dog lover and rescued a few of her own. She also named one of her dogs Dolly after Dolly Parton. When she told Dolly Parton she replied to Jennifer that she had never heard of a dog called Jenifer.

Old Yeller

Classic Old Yeller
An Image link to purchase Old Yeller on DVD on Amazon.

Old Yeller may be one of Disney’s saddest movies, but the backstory of its canine star spike is anything but who played the title role, Spike was adopted from a Van Nuys, California shelter when he was still a puppy by animal trainer Frank Weatherwax for a fee of just $3. Another reason I do like this classic, however, does get the tissues out.

101 Dalmations

Old classic 100 Dalmations – Filmmakers said the hardest part was training 200 puppies.
An Image link to purchase 101 Dalmations on DVD on Amazon.

Dalmatian puppies grow so fast that each puppy only got to act for two weeks before being replaced by a younger pup. The director said that the hardest part about making this movie was finding 200 puppies and also training them!

All Dogs Go To Heaven

Classic – All Dogs Go To Heaven
An Image link to purchase All dogs go to heaven on DVD on Amazon.

The actress’s name was Judith Eva Barsi, and she was shot and killed by her own father at the tragic age of 10. … “All Dogs Go To Heaven” wasn’t completed until 2 years after Judith’s death and the song that was used in the credits, “Love Survives”, was dedicated to her as a final farewell from the film’s cast and crew. If you have recently lost a pet you can read our article on Losing a pet.

My Dog Skip

An Image link to purchase My Dog Skip on DVD on Amazon.

Based on a true story by the late Willie Morris, about a boy named Will who gets a dog for his ninth birthday. They become best friends. The cute little dog helps Will get through the struggles of his childhood and they learn a lot from each other. There are two separate scenes where it looks as though the dog is being hit. First by the young boy with his hand and another time by a man who lifts a shovel to hit the dog. Don’t worry, a stuffed dog stood in for our canine star. Afterward, the real dog was put on his mark by the trainer and the rest of the scene was filmed. 

Turner And Hooch

An Image link to purchase Turner and Hooch on DVD on Amazon.

Beasley died in 1992, 3 Years after Turner & Hooch was released, He was 14 when he died. The filmmakers settled on the Dogue de Bordeaux. There were less than 300 of the breed were in the United States when the film first came out.

A 17-month-old pup played Hooch. He only had five months to prepare. His stunt double was name was Igor. They also did clicker training in teaching the dogs what they needed them to do. Tom Hanks the clicker and he would practice the Focus command before each filming. They used Chicken soup for the beer in the film as well.

The Art Of Racing In The Rain

A Great Movie- The Art Of Racing In The Rain
An Image link to purchase The Art Of Racing on DVD on Amazon.

Enzo’s quest to master humanity comes from a Mongolian burial tradition for dogs that suggests some dogs will return as humans. It’s true that in Mongolia a traditional belief of the reincarnation process. Dogs are the form that comes before humans during reincarnation. A special burial practice involves a dog’s owner whispering to their pet that they wish the dog will return in life as a human,  Enzo is based on a real dog, too, an Airedale that Stein owned as a kid. In the film, Enzo is played by a dog named Parker who appears to be a golden retriever or yellow lab. A number of puppies played the part of Enzo Here is a great video on Parker behind the scenes.

Meet Parker Behind The Scenes

Beverly Hills Chihuahua 

An Image link to purchase Beverley Hills Chihuahua on DVD on Amazon.

Papi didn’t always live the glamorous life. this part chihuahua, part mutt, whose off-screen name is Rusco. He was rescued from ‘doggy death row’ in a Los Angeles animal shelter just months before landing the role of Papi in the Disney film. Rusco was scheduled to be put down after he was found wandering the streets of Moreno valley and no one came to claim him. Mike Alexander saw him and decided he was perfect for the role of Papi in the film.

The Red Dog

The Red Dog is based on a true story
An Image link to purchase Red Dog on DVD on Amazon.

Red Dog was born in the mining town of Paraburdoo in 1971 and became a much-loved member of the Pilbara community. He had many adventures, several owners, and died in 1979. Known simply as Red Dog. The red kelpie was known for stopping cars on the road by walking right in the path of the oncoming vehicle until it stopped. He would hop in and travel to wherever the car’s driver was going. Red Dog took bus rides as well. When a new driver booted him off her bus, the passengers began to protest. The award-winning “Red Dog: True Blue” was released in 2016.

Air Bud

Air Bud is based on a true story
An Image link to purchase Air Bud on DVD on Amazon.

America was also fascinated with the story of the real Buddy, who was homeless until he was adopted by writer Kevin DiCicco. Buddy was found by Kevin DiCicco as a stray dog in the Sierra Nevada in the summer of 1989. DiCicco adopted the Golden Retriever and brought him home to San Diego, where he trained him in the sports of basketball, baseball, football, soccer, and hockey. Buddy’s most eagerly awaited sport was basketball. He was known as the Michael Jordan of dogs Based on a True Story.

We hope you enjoyed our article on 18 Movies about rescue dogs. You can also read our story on Famous Movie Cats.

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  • Thanks for these. I’ve only seen about 5. They look like lovely feel good films.

  • Wow this is so cool! I have so many movies I need to watch now! thank you for the suggestions!

  • Wow, didn’t know that there were rescues in the Lady and the Tramp film. It can be easy to forget how amazing it is that the dogs on the screen are real dogs that had to jump through all those hoops.

    • Thank you so much, Grace, Lady and the Tramp is one of our dog’s favorite movies. (And ours too) I think the story behind the rescue dog as tramp made us even love the movie more. I am so glad you enjoyed the post!