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'Arthur the King' and Other Great Family Dog Tales

, | March 19, 2024 | By

A third of dog movies makes me weep and another third makes me grumpy, with depressing and/or cheesy plots. If you resonate with any part of that sentence, here are five non-sad, non-grumpifying dog movies, for any family who enjoyed border collie Messi’s recent appearance at the Oscars.

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)

Disney+ presents a fun kids flick about a wise old golden retriever, a goofy young American bulldog, and a sarcastic cat, left to be pet-sit several hundred miles from their family.

After quickly deciding they’re better off with their family, they take off on a sweeping Western adventure to be reunited with their beloved humans. On their way, they encounter everyone from lost kids to animal hunters.

Voiced by Michael J. Fox, Don Ameche, and Sally Field, their fun dynamic reminds me of my siblings. They almost certainly have better navigation skills than we do.


The Shaggy Dog (1959)

Wilby, a dorky, wannabe-inventor boy, is cursed with becoming a sheepdog at random. His efforts to improve his relationship with his dad are further complicated by his father’s deep hatred of dogs.

He personally doesn’t seem too upset that he’s a dog, but it does make asking out the cute neighbor girl, played by a young Annette Funicello, difficult. Available on Disney+.


All Creatures Great and Small (Ongoing, PBS)

In this delightful show, “Tricki Woo [the Pekingese] used to go flop-bot.” Anglophiles and book lovers will enjoy episodes based on James Herriot’s novels of the same name, about the adventures of a veterinarian in the 1930s English countryside.

Besides the many farm animals featured, Tricki Woo the dog is a beloved character, and the show follows the antics of her, her mistress, and the many animal owners of the Yorkshire Dales.

PBS just released Season 4 in February, and are planning for Seasons 5 and 6.


Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Kids will enjoy the animated Disney movie “Lady and the Tramp,” about the naïve cocker spaniel Lady, who enjoys much love and pampering by her aristocratic family, but gets kicked out when their relatives’ awful cats come to stay.

While wandering the streets of Edwardian London, she meets and falls in love with Tramp, a good-hearted mutt from the wrong side of the tracks.

Featuring a fantastic jazzy number in the London Pound, it has the signature almost-silly beauty of a Disney soundtrack, and complex animal characters with sass and gumption. Available on Disney+.


Arthur the King (2024)

Mark Wahlberg, Catholic actor, stars in Arthur the King, the story of an adventure racer who gains an unlikely teammate — a stray dog.

He’s never succeeded in winning any of his races, but in a final desperate effort cheered on by his family, he finds a team and embarks on the 435-mile race in Ecuador.

When he shares his meal with a stray dog, portrayed by canine actor Ukai, the stray adds surprisingly regal confidence to the team, and earns himself the name “Arthur the King.”

Due to action and some language, it is appropriate for older kids and adults, and is currently showing in theaters.


Image: Simu Liu as Leo, Nathalie Emmanuel as Olivia, Mark Wahlberg as Michael and Ali Suliman as Chik in Arthur The King. Photo Credit: Carlos Rodriguez/ © 2023 Lionsgate

Sophia Sariego is a Los Angeles native working in the pro-life movement.  She loves Eucharistic Adoration, making music, and hitting the beaches in her spare time.

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