Top Dogs — in the Movies

Posted on January 22, 2009 at 8:00 am

As a tribute to Hotel for Dogs, Yahoo Movies has assembled their list of the greatest movie dogs (and one Dogg). Check out this wonderful compilation of movie pooches from the silent era to the present. Probably the most comprehensive list of movie dogs — with breeds — is on the Fun Times website.dorothy and toto.jpg
Yahoo’s selections and the recent success of Marley & Me and Space Buddies inspired me to create my own list of some of my favorite movie dogs:
1. Most people know him as the answer to innumerable crossword puzzle clues, but before that Asta was a canine co-star who held his own even though he was sharing the screen with mega-stars William Powell and Myrna Loy in The Thin Man series. Asta appeared in the “Topper” films as well.
2. Lady and the Tramp co-starred in one of cinema’s greatest love stories. Who can forget the spaghetti smooch?
3. Probably the all-time best-loved movie dog is Lassie, who has appeared in books, movies, television shows, and even a radio series. One of the best is Lassie Come Home, co-starring Roddy McDowall and a very young Elizabeth Taylor.
4. Has any movie animal inspired more tears than Old Yeller? Yeller sacrifices himself to save the family he loves. But I admit what I remember best in this film is Fess Parker as the understanding father who acknowledges his son’s sense of loss.
5. Elle Woods unforgettably introduces her dog to a group of Harvard Law students: “This is Bruiser Woods and we’re both Gemini vegetarians” in Legally Blonde The tiny Bruiser plays an even more important role in the sequel.
6. 101 Dalmatians has some of the most memorable and adorable puppies ever to appear on screen. It was technology that made it all possible — before the Xerox machine, it would have been impossible to have one animated spotted puppy. With one, they could create more than 100!
AsGoodAsItGets.jpg7. As Good As It Gets featured Verdell, a Brussels Griffon. The scene in which Jack Nicholson and Greg Kinnear both try to get Verdell to come to them is a classic.
8. Christopher Guest’s “mockumentary” Best in Show, about a dog competition, features some quirky characters escorting some magnificent dogs. The judges went in a different direction but for me the real Best in Show was Miss Agnes, the Shih Tzu.
9. Toto is the character who really gets the story going in The Wizard of Oz, whether escaping from Miss Gulch or running away so that Dorothy doesn’t make it into the storm cellar — not to mention making Dorothy miss her ride home.
10. John Travolta and some great 3D animation make Bolt a worth addition to the best movie dogs list. His bravery and dedication remind us of what makes dogs on screen and in our homes such treasured companions.

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