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Best Picks of Dog Father Movies
Babe While everyone knows this is the one of the two seminal movies about a smart pig so one might wonder what it is doing on this list. Babe, the piglet, not only has aspirations for sheepdogdom, but is coached along by a real Border Collie, Fly. So it has a well-deserved spot here—besides it is also one of the best movies ever made about animals. All the animals are beautifully crafted and fully realized characters, and James Cromwell as Farmer Hoggett puts in a memorable performance especially in the scene when he takes Babe to the herding trial and the pair go on to prove to one and all that you can do just about anything if you put your mind, and snout, to it. As he gently intones to Babe at the film’s end, “That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.”

Old Yeller
Old Yeller This 1957 Disney classic is a coming-of-age tale set in the post-Civil War frontier. His father away on a cattle drive, young Travis must act as the man of the house, watching over his mother and younger brother. He’s initially mistrusting of a yellow stray dog who wreaks havoc and steals food, but the dog wins his affections and proves his loyalty by battling bears and boars to protect his new family. The tragic conclusion has overwhelmed generations of viewers, and the themes of love and loss resonate as clearly today as they did on the film’s first release.

My Dog Skip
My Dog Skip Based upon a memoir by Willie Morris, one time editor of Harper’s magazine, My Dog Skip takes place in 1942. Young Willie has few friends and the prospect of a lonely summer, until his mother decides her son needs a dog. Skip changes Willie’s life forever. Best friend, talented performer, endearing dog-about-town … Skip introduces Willie to new worlds, new friends, seemingly the whole town. Moose (Eddie from Fraser) steals the film with his lively portrayal of Skip.

Rin Tin Tin
Where North Begins (Rin Tin Tin) Considered to be the first film starring Rin Tin Tin, this 1923 silent black and white reel has a the young German Shepherd puppy adopted by a wolf pack after being lost in transport across Alaska. As a grown “wolf-dog,” Rin Tin Tin comes to the rescue of a young trapper, Gabriel Dupré, who is attacked while transporting furs and left for dead. The young man and dog become fast friends, and Rin Tin Tin again proves his bravery by saving Dupré’s sweetheart when her life is threatened.  Surprisingly realistic given the early age of cinema and the demanding feats asked of its canine star.

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Submitted by Gaby | June 14 2012 |

You left the recent Australian movie "Red Dog" based on the true story of
a Kelpie/cattle dog cross that was well known for his travels through Western Australia's Pilbara region.

Submitted by Bridget | June 15 2012 |

Gosh, how can you forget the most 1970s touching animal draama movie Bim Black Ear ?

I see the writer has a slavic family name, and still she left this out .


Submitted by Lyn Honzel | June 15 2012 |

I hate that Old Yeller was included in your recommended Dog Father movies! This movie traumatized me as a child, to this day I will not see a movie or read a book with a dog or a horse in it because the animal usually ends up in a perilous situation that I just cannot tolerate. I have never forgiven Walt Disney for presenting this as a children's movie and I don't care how "classic" the story is considered, it is just HORRIBLE!!!!!!!

Submitted by Nina L. | June 15 2012 |

Great List. I love many of those films and just recently re-viewed "Because of Winn Dixie" and was moved by how tender and kind Jeff Daniels character is despite all the hardship - the thunderstorm scene is a lovely surprise.
Discovered a little treasure while perusing the library stacks - Bombón: El Perro - about a 54 year old man who has lost everything and when all is lost, his unexpected introduction to the world of siring and dog shows. He receives a beautiful Dogo Argentino and life begins to get interesting. Funny, touching and humane.

Submitted by Leslie | June 15 2012 |

You forgot "Up" (Pixar). In this animated feature, the old grump Mr. Fredrickson becomes a stand-in father figure to Russell thanks mostly to the hard work of the surprisingly realistic efforts of the golden retreiver "Dug"

In the original animated version of "101 Dalmations" (Disney) Pongo is the moving force that rescues his own family puppies when they are kidnapped, but also takes fatherhood to a whole new level and adopts the entire group of pups bringing his family count up to 101. His wife, Mrs. Pongo is basically a supporting character while Pongo is the brains behind the whole rescue.

Submitted by Amy Frazer | June 15 2012 |

There is a lovely movie (2008) with Sam Neill, Peter O'Toole, and Jeremy Northam called "Dean Spanley" that I highly recommend.