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10 Famous Movie Pets Everyone Loved

From Babe to Benji, these famous movie pets proved once and for all that Hollywood isn't just for humans.

By Nicola P. YoungPublished 6 years ago 4 min read
Top Story - September 2018
Photo via WikiMedia Commons
When I was little, the only movie I wanted to watch was Homeward Bound. With few exceptions, you could only get me to watch anything else by replacing the beloved Shadow, Sassy, and Chance with other famous movie pets. As long as there was a dog on the screen, I was happy.

The beloved pets that star in so many of our favorite movies simply have a way of wriggling their way from the screen to our hearts, often in truly heart-tugging, tear-jerking ways. At the end of the day, there's simply no denying the cultural phenomenon of so many people's love for these famous movie pets.

Perhaps the most famous movie pet of all, Lassie has tugged at the heartstrings of generations of young viewers, from her first adventure in Lassie Come Home in 1943, to her most reason appearance in the 2005 Lassie. These movies have seen overwhelmingly positive reviews, as viewers can't help but be moved by one of the best movie dogs to ever hit the screens. Her impact on our culture has been immense, and the name "Lassie" has become almost a catch-all term to reference any lovable dog. Though different dogs played the iconic pet of young boy Timmy Martin throughout the years, the character has lived on for the better part of a century, and will no doubt live on for many years more.Despite—or perhaps with the help of—the horrendous-yet-delightfully-70s outfits, Benji was an iconic movie for every young dog-lover. There simply couldn't be a better movie dog: a sweet, playful, freedom-loving mixed breed who dished out love and heroism in equal quantities. The Hollywood success of this 1974 classic rocketed the lovable shelter dog who played the role to stardom, making him, in the end, one of the world's most famous shelter dogs and Benji one of the best dog movies of all time. Since the release of that first movie, he has starred in various sequels and spin-offs, TV series, and even multiple documentaries. It's no wonder either—just one look at those expressive, puppy-dog eyes and you'll never be the same.

The amazing thing about Rin-Tin-Tin is not his roles in Hollywood films, but his role as a canine actor in the real world. After being rescued from a battlefield during World War I, Rin-Tin-Tin went on to star in 27 films, quickly earning himself a place in the hearts of the American public. In some of these movies, like The Return of Rin-Tin-Tin, he plays himself. In others, the furry actor takes on the roles of loyal companion, heroic adventurer, and many others. As a result, Rin-Tin-Tin is not only one of the most famous movie pets of all time for his hours on the big screen, but also one of the world's most famous canines in general for his role as a cultural icon and beloved dog.

Although The Princess Diaries and The Princess Diaries 2 don't exactly revolve around Mia's cat, Fat Louie, they certainly wouldn't be the same without him. It's not just the added humor of the rather pampered, lazy cat. Fat Louie stands by Mia's side—or, flops comfortably at least—for every leg of her journey. He's there when Mia's just an invisible high school girl, he's there when she's accepting her crown as Amelia Mignonette Thermopólis Renaldi, and he's there for every misadventure in between, lending two fuzzy ears for every boy problem, moment of self-doubt, and meltdown. Would we even have a Princess of Genovia without Fat Louie?

Okay, so this is a three-in-one, but you can't separate the trio of beloved pets that make up the cast of Homeward Bound. The aptly-named catSassy, the wise old golden retriever Shadow, and the lovably dumb American bulldog Chance make up a team of famous movie pets in one of the greatest films about animals ever made. Homeward Bound understands the relationship between people and their pets as you watch the three try to make their way back to their loved ones, and as their family begins their own desperate search for their beloved pets. The loyalty, enthusiasm, and attitude of our animals is so well reflected in these three furry characters that you just can't help but love them, and feel the emotions that fill every moment of their perilous journey.

If Homeward Bound most accurately captures the love between pets and their people, it's Up that most accurately captures the simplicity of a dog's love and loyalty. Though there are many canine characters in Up, it's Dug who wins your heart with his rock-solid loyalty, unending love, and adorably automated bark-to-English translating collar. In his actions, viewers see their own canine family members, and Dug gives words to match what we feel like our pets would say in real life. It's no surprise his favorites are, "I love you." So as Carl and Russell embark on their adventure through the South American jungle, it's Dug who steals the show, saving the day and tugging at your heartstrings every step of the way.

Bruiser, who appears first in Legally Blonde and reprises his role in a more dog-intensive Legally Blonde 2, quickly grows from punchline to beloved companion. Though his role at first is perhaps to highlight the particular stereotypes that Elle Woods carries with her from California to Harvard, he quickly becomes a loving ear to listen as Elle transforms her stereotypes into success, proving once and for all that pink, Chihuahuas, and high heels are in no way impediments to brains and success. In Legally Blonde 2, it's just that relationship between Bruiser and Elle that brings about the driving plot, as Elle fights to end animal cruelty in the United States.

Most famous movie pets are well-trained dogs, sometimes cats, sometimes horses—you know, normal pets. But Babe showed the world that this isn't a hard and fast rule, offering uniquely adorable pets everywhere a chance by becoming the most well-loved little pig we never knew we needed. When little Babe arrives on the Hoggett farm, he quickly proves himself as valuable as any other animal there, including his new friend Fly, a border collie who teaches him to herd sheep. In both Babe and its sequel, Babe: Pig in the City,the lovable little piglet brings us adventure and heart through his honest, sentimental perspective on the world.

"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." Dorothy's faithful Cairn terrier, Toto, was launched into fame with the 1939 release of what was soon to be one of the world's most famous, and lasting, movies. The story, as you probably know, follows Dorothy and Toto as played by Judy Garland and Terry, as they are swept up by a tornado into a world of magic and witches. The adventures that ensue as they try to find a way home, and make new friends along the way, have become deeply ingrained in our popular culture. It's no surprise that "Toto" has become a household name in the decades that have followed the release of this movie, as the now famous dog makes his way from Hollywood star to cultural legend.

He's a bit slobbery, but he's the best partner a cop could want. Or will, eventually. Though Tom Hanks might be a hesitant partner to the French mastiff at first, the slobbery dope eventually wriggles his way into his heart, and earns himself a place among the most famous movie pets in Hollywood. Played by Beasley the dog, a Dogue de Bordeaux ["French Mastiff" in French], Hooch, becomes a key member of Hanks' crime-solving team when he quite literally barrels his way in. After Hanks' character, Scott, takes the dog (hesitantly), their personalities seem to be entirely in conflict. Hooch's lovability soon wins over the conflict, and he reminds us all of the reasons you just have to love dogs.

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About the Creator

Nicola P. Young

Lover of Books, Saxophone, Blogs, and Dogs. Not necessarily in that order. Book blogger at

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