Weekend Roundtable: Favorite Movie Dogs

The month of August is affectionately known as the “dog days of summer.” Allegedly, this has nothing to do with actual dogs. Theory has it that the term was coined in relation to the star Sirius (the “Dog Star”) reaching its closest proximity to Earth. Nonetheless, this puts me in mind of famous movie dogs, which have been a source of both drama and comedic hijinks since the birth of cinema. For today’s Roundtable, we’ll give you our picks for filmdom’s greatest canines.

Mike Attebery

He’s a shameless ham, the star of several completely extraneous scenes involving Jack Nicholson playing piano, and my god does he ever eat too much bacon, but I still love Verdell, Greg Kinear’s dog in ‘As Good as It Gets‘. With his seemingly always-dirty face and his over-the-top cuteness, that dog has me wrapped around his little paw. During the scene in which his owner is attacked and beaten within an inch of his life, Verdell’s terrified, true-to-life reactions really tug at my dog-adoring heart strings.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

My all-time favorite cinematic canine would have to be Rowlf the Dog from the various ‘Muppet‘ movies. C’mon, Rowlf has a terrifically dry sense of humor. He hardly ever loses his cool despite all the havoc being wrought around him, and he’s a heck of a pianist. Show me another dog that can belt out a barbershop quartet rendition of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and maybe I’ll change my answer. Until then, Rowlf gets my vote.

M. Enois Duarte

By stupidly placing more thought on contemporary movies rather than classics, I somehow almost forgot my all-time favorite canine. I’m a dog-lover, through and through, and my favorite breed is the American Pit Bull Terrier, the same that my idol Humphrey Bogart loved. I fell in love with the breed because of “Pete the Pup,” the famous Pit Bull with the ring around his eye from the classic comedy short-film series ‘Our Gang‘. Pete was known for working well with the kids. He could do several awesome tricks for the screen, and was responsible for much of the humor in any episode that featured his beautiful mug. Pete was the best dog ever, and it’s his fault I won’t ever buy another breed.

Luke Hickman

I’m not an animal lover. That’s not to say that I’m a hunter or anything like that. I simply want nothing to do with 99% of the animals in existence. Having said that, I’ve liked two dogs in recent cinema, one animated and one live-action. Both were enjoyable for the same reason: the dogs were humanized. Which dogs? Snowy from ‘The Adventures of Tintin‘ (a.k.a. Milou, if you know the comics) and Uggie from ‘The Artist‘. Give me humanized side-character canines and I’m happy. Make me watch ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua’ or ‘Marley & Me’, and I’m an unhappy camper.

Brian Hoss

I finally gave in and watched ‘Best in Show‘ after hearing various bits of the movie repeatedly played on the ‘Tony Kornheiser Show’. The movie is hilarious, and full of funny-because-it’s-true ridiculous and realistic dog owners. “Beatrice” is a Weimaraner whose owners are so neurotic that they continually treat the impassive dog as though she were an emotional time bomb. The movie begins with the owners supposing that Beatrice has become emotionally unstuck as a result of having witnessed them attempt something from the ‘Kama Sutra’. Later, the couple nearly come to blows after losing what they feel is Beatrice’s only lifeline, a toy called Busy Bee. As an animal lover and a pet owner, I can’t help but pity the pet of crazed owners.

Josh Zyber

I’m not a dog person. I’ve always been a cat person. This Roundtable is unfortunately timed. I sent out the topic to staff last weekend. In the meantime, my cat Max unexpected passed away on Wednesday. I’m not really in the mood to think too much about dogs at the moment.

Since my first pick of Uggie from ‘The Artist’ was already mentioned above, I’ll throw out some honorable mentions to Einstein from ‘Back to the Future‘ (the world’s first time traveler!) and Baxter from ‘Anchorman‘ (he can talk to bears!). The banner image on top of this post is Samantha from ‘I Am Legend‘, who is another good choice.

Go ahead and tell us your about favorite movie mutts in the Comments.

R.I.P. Maxwell. You were a troublemaker to the end, but we love you.


  1. M. Enois Duarte

    I’m sorry to hear that Josh. It really f**cking sucks losing a beloved pet, which are usually a big part of the family.

    My beautiful red-head Pit, Nina Hagen, is already 11 years old. My wife and I talk lots about what we’re going to do when her time comes — she’s been with us since she was a pup. I can only imagine what you and Ms. Zyber must be going through. I’m sorry.

    • Josh Zyber

      Our other cat is 14. If she had passed, it would have been very sad but not unexpected. Max was about 8 and seemingly in good health. Even just minutes earlier, he had been his normal playful self. His sudden death makes no damn sense at all.

      • Shayne Blakeley

        Oh man, I’m so sorry to hear that Josh. I don’t know what I would do if either of my cats (Poofles and Dib, short for El Diablo Con Queso) were to go. I try to pretend that will never happen.

        In other news, a red-headed pit named Nina Hagen? Holy shit that is awesome.

        • M. Enois Duarte

          yeah, we’re an old school household.


          • Scott H

            Sorry for your loss Josh, I know how you feel. I had to have my cat put down due to kidney failure at the age of 24. I had her since she was three I think after my sister had discovered her on a cold Chicago night. As far as movie animals go, I would have to choose the cat and dog from the 1989 movie Milo and Otis. For an animated dog, I’d have to choose Fry’s dog from Futurama. As for animated cat, the one from Inspector Gadget.

      • Alex

        Very sorry to hear about Max, Josh. I didn’t grow up with siblings around so my dog was the closest thing I had to a brother. Pets truly are part of the family, oftentimes even more than people. Their loyalty, kindness, and unconditional affection (this goes for both cats and dogs) are attributes we should all aspire to.

  2. JM

    I have a soft spot for Shithead in ‘The Jerk.’

    Charlie Chaplin’s dog Scraps was practically a movie star.

    Karenin held his own in ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being.’

    Frank the Pug was money in ‘Men in Black.’

    Arthur emoted well in ‘Beginners.’

  3. Shayne Blakeley

    My favorite movie dog is the dog they DIDN’T use in Cabin Fever. There’s a special feature about the dog they initially wanted to cast but he was way too sweet and they couldn’t get him to act scary, pretty hilarious. They eventually had to cast an attack dog that required people to wear protective gear.

  4. EM

    Let me express my sincere condolences for Josh’s loss and my sincere wish that my canine candidate does not aggravate the pain. That choice is Old Yeller.

    That said, Luke’s picks were my first two thoughts.

    I also very much like the dog from the beginning of John Carpenter’s The Thing. I should clarify that I am speaking more of the animal performer (Jed), not so much the fictional character.

  5. As someone that’s had dachshunds since childhood I’ve always enjoyed Disney’s The Ugly Dachshund even though the ‘main’ dog Brutus is a the Great Dane.

    Other K9 favorites in my home are Baxter from Anchorman, Snot from Christmas Vacation, Verdell from As Good as it Gets, and of course everyone’s favorite serial killer pooch Precious from The Silence of the Lambs.

  6. EM

    Is that a tournament of Movie Mutt Madness I see just over the horizon (beyond Monster Madness, of course)?

  7. Alex

    I know this is outside of the movie realm, but I’ve always liked Moose, who played Eddie on Frasier. Any dog who can win a staring contest with Kelsey Grammar is tops in my book.

    As far as movies go, Turner & Hooch was one of my favorite movies growing up, and as ugly as that little mutt was, boy was he adorable.

    “This is not your room!”