Tired of seeing advertisements for Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever? Dog lovers know that even the best feline-focused film can’t quite match a canine entry when it comes to holiday joy. What’s your favorite seasonal entry featuring four-legged friends?
Here are seven of our favorite live action and animated movies, plus a special holiday treat.
7. Lady and the Tramp
Let’s start with a movie that begins, and ends, on Christmas. It doesn’t get much more romantic than the tale of a rich cocker spaniel who meets a streetwise mutt, caught up in a series of adventures that cause sparks to fly and tails to wag, warming hearts until the dramatic Christmas climax. Their candlelit dinner kiss has been recreated in endless movies since.
6. The 12 Dogs of Christmas
Dancing may have been outlawed in Footloose, but in this film it’s dogs that are banned from the town in a story set during the Great Depression. A young girl goes to great lengths to change people’s hearts and minds and set up an orphanage for dogs. Watching this film, you might just want to foster one yourself.
5. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Move over Rudolph! Christmas has a new show stealer in Zero, the ghostly dog who accompanies Jack Skellington in this dark (but family-friendly) musical holiday film. Not only does our dearly-departed but devoted dog play fetch with one of Jack’s ribs, he comforts the Halloween King when he’s depressed, even guiding the ghastly sleigh when they attempt to give Christmas a face lift.
4. A Dog Named Christmas
Hallmark has given us a syrupy but adorable entry in the holiday genre with this story of the McCray family, who foster a golden lab for the holidays. Their developmentally challenged son forms a special bond with his pooch pal, whom he names Christmas. He encourages more dog adoptions in the town, and veteran actor Bruce Greenwood lends acting gravitas as the boy’s skeptical father.
3. A Charlie Brown Christmas
Okay, this is a bit of a cheat: I’d recommend both the classic Charlie Brown Christmas special and the follow-up feature I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown. While the latter entry is more beagle-focused and spotlights both Snoopy and his brother Spike, the original special features the Snoopy dance that always brings a smile.
2. The Grinch
You’ll notice we’ve been dancing a bit between live action and animation, but with the Grinch you can have it both ways, with dog lovers focused on his trusty sidekick Max. Even while his master’s heart is extremely undersized, Max remains by the Grinch’s side until he sees the light. Isn’t that what we hope our dogs will do when we’re going through a bad patch in life? Even if we dress them up as a reindeer…
1. Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure
The lovable Saint Bernard from the popular Beethoven series of films has a holiday entry that’s great for the whole family. An elf, a magic toy, greedy crooks, and saving Christmas are all par for the course with this lovable Saint Bernard. It’s definitely a film for kids, since the dog talks—all thanks to the help of CGI and the voice of Tom Arnold. The famously comedic John Cleese of Monty Python fame also stars.
BONUS: A Guilty Pleasure
Okay, so Will Ferrell’s movie Elf didn’t have much to do with dogs, but The Pet Collective has a great 2-minute version of the film featuring an adorable pug. Get a refresher on this hilarious film while the mugging pug puppy makes you hope you find one of your own under the Christmas tree.
As you can see, a holiday is always better when it goes to the dogs. Whether it’s these offerings or other dog-centric movies this year, cuddle up with your cocoa or enjoy your egg nog and have yourself a very canine Christmas.
If we missed your favorite entry in the annals of dog holiday films, be sure to share it with us!