Sad dog movies have the power to make us cry tears of sadness, weep with emotion, and feel genuine sorrow for both the pups and their human owners.
From the keen loss felt by the Akita in Hachi: A Dog’s Tale to the frightening antics of Cruella De Vil in 101 Dalmatians, there are many movies about dogs that have left their mark on both our culture and our emotions!
But we don’t just watch these movies to cry; the best dog movies are also inspiring. They take us on an incredible journey, and they reinforce the bond that humans feel between themselves and their real-life dogs.
Keep reading as we countdown the most emotional sad dog movies ever filmed.
Top 9 sad dog movies
The following movies are guaranteed to make you shed a few tears, so keep the tissues close to hand. These movies are perfect for watching while cuddled up with your pooch on the couch, so set up the bed ramp for dogs so they can join you.
Here are the top 9 saddest dog movies of all time.
#1 Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Lady and the Tramp might have first been released in 1955, but this is one movie that has stood the test of time well. This classic Disney movie is a timeless animation that portrays the budding romance between Lady, a sheltered Cocker Spaniel, and a Mutt, better known as the Tramp.
Lady and the Tramp is a love story between two dogs, but you’ll have to watch it to find out what happens. The movie is best known for the infamous spaghetti scene, which has been replayed repeatedly since its release. Disney recently brought out an updated animated version of the story in 2019, but we prefer the old version!
#2 101 Dalmatians (1961)
Released in 1961, the animated Disney movie 101 Dalmatians is still a classic, 60 years on. This is one movie we’ve all seen, and you may well have watched the later live-action version and sequel, too.
101 Dalmatians introduced the world to the evil character Cruella de Vil, who intends to turn dalmatians into fur coats. Spoiler alert, this is a kid’s cartoon, so the dogs aren’t turned into coats (that would not be child friendly!), but they do undertake an epic journey in order to escape the clutches of evil Cruella.
#3 The Fox and the Hound (1981)
The Fox and the Hound is a 1981 Disney classic that’s staple viewing when you’re growing up. But this animated animal movie is one dog movie that you’ll watch time after time (yes, even when you’re an adult!), and not just because it’s a moving portrayal of the at odds friendship between a fox and a hound.
The two protagonists form a unique bond, but those around them shun their friendship. After all, why would a fox and a hound be friends? It’s a fascinating insight into the expectations and preconceptions we hold, not just in the animal kingdom but in the human world, too.
#4 Turner & Hooch (1989)
Turner and Hooch features Tom Hanks (who plays Turner) in his younger days, hanging out with his best pal Hooch, an enormous Dogue de Bordeaux that abruptly enters his life.
Turner is a cop, and Hooch is a slobbering misfit, but the two unlikely characters join forces to take down criminals and solve a murder. It sounds silly (and it is!), but even though Turner & Hooch is a comedy, it’s incredibly emotional.
You’ll laugh your way at this cop comedy dog movie, but the ending will bring a flood of tears and emotion.
#5 All Dogs Go To Heaven (1989)
Can dogs see TV? They might not be able to make out cartoons, but they’ll still recognize your emotion when this animated movie starts to bring on the tears.
Featuring the voice of the legendary actor Burt Reynolds, All Dogs Go To Heaven follows the curious plot of a German Shepherd who returns to earth to seek out revenge against their murderer.
It’s an exciting premise, but one that brings with it buckets of emotion, heart-wrenching scenes, and the ultimate question: do all dogs go to heaven?
#6 My Dog Skip (2000)
My Dog Skip is a beautiful dog movie that’s made more inspiring because it’s based on a true story. My Dog Skip follows the adventures of a Jack Russel named Skip, who forms a deep friendship with his owner, Willie, a 9-year-old boy who struggles to make friends and fit in.
Long story short, Skip is the best friend that Willie has ever had, and Skip quickly changes Willie’s life for the better. Set in the 1940s, although made in 2000, the movie also looks back at darker elements of American life, such as segregation, through the eyes of the dog Skip.
#7 Marley and Me (2008)
Marley and Me was an instant success when it was released in 2008, and the movie has torn more than one heartstring since. Marley is a fun-loving Labrador Retriever who changes the lives of a newlywed couple forever.
The newlyweds, played by Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson, take on Marley as a pup to see if they are ready to have a baby. Marley proves to be a handful, and the movie follows his (mis)adventures from a puppy right through to the tear-jerking end of his life.
It’s a beautiful dog movie to watch and a movie that will make you want to raise a Labrador!
#8 Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale is one of the most gut-wrenching, tear-jerking dog movies you could ever watch. Keep the tissues close, for this one, because this movie follows the real-life story of Hachiko (Hachi), a famously loyal Akita who waits for a decade at the train station for his owner to return.
Hachi’s owner has passed away, though, and the dog is left waiting patiently for a return that will never happen. It’s sad, it’s sorrowful, but it’s also wonderfully inspiring. Hachi truly does reveal the innate loyalty and devotion that our dogs have for humans.
#9 Isle of Dogs (2018)
The most recent contender on our list of sad dog movies is already destined to be a favorite for many more years to come. Isle of Dogs is a stop motion animation. The incredible A-list cast that voices the characters (human and dog) includes Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, and Scarlett Johansson, to name a few.
This is a Wes Anderson film, so that you can expect quirkiness and intrigue the whole way through. The film centers around the outbreak of canine flu, which results in all dogs being deported to a small island. We’ll let you watch the movie, to find out what happens!
Sad dog movies: get the tissues ready
All of our top 9 sad dog movies are real tearjerkers, so make sure you’ve got the tissues to hand when you press play. These are some of the most emotional sad movies on Netflix or wherever you choose to watch your films, and you’ll need an emotional support dog to get you through!
It’s not all about the tears, though, because these movies really help you appreciate the special bond between humans and dogs. You’ll be showering your dog with affection after going through this sad dog movies list, and they’ll love you for it.
Why not bookmark our guide to sad dog movies that make you cry so that you can get emotional with your pooch?