The 10 Saddest Dog Movies, Ranked

The 10 Saddest Dog Movies, Ranked

Sometimes we all need a movie that will bring us back to reality, touch our hearts, and even let a tear drop down our faces. Movies with dogs are serious tear-jerkers that will make you appreciate the little things in life like hugging and walking your dog, they remind you to slow down and smell the roses.

There are many movies about dogs, most of them will make you burst into tears multiple times like Marley & Me, A Dog’s Purpose, and Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. These sad dog movies will not disappoint if you’re looking for a good cry, or to just simply feel closer to your pet or animals in general.

Updated on March 29, 2023, by Hannah Saab:

Movies about dogs aren’t going anywhere, as proven by the highly-anticipated upcoming comedy film, Strays (premiering on June 9). Directed by Josh Greenbaum, the film will star Will Ferrell and Jamie Foxx as stray dogs who work together to seek revenge against Doug (Will Forte), a neglectful owner who never cared about his pet. While this looks more like a comedy than a potential tear-jerker, there’s no telling where their misadventures will take them. For now, audiences looking for sad movies about dogs will be pleasantly surprised to learn there are more than a few to choose from.



10 ‘Turner & Hooch’ (1989)

Image via Buena Vista Pictures

An underrated and comedic Tom Hanks movie, Turner & Hooch is a buddy cop film where the buddy is a dog named Hooch. Detective Scott Turner (Hanks) is initially hesitant and disappointed to be working with the mischievous and slobbery dog, but soon discovers that Hooch’s skills and surprising intelligence can help him catch a killer at large.

It may be a comedy film, but audiences will find themselves becoming increasingly invested in the touching bond that develops between the two protagonists. As they continue to work the case together, they become inseparable. Of course, this all leads to an emotional ending that highlights how far Hooch will go to protect his owner from harm.

Watch on Disney+

9 ‘Max’ (2015)

Max - Max with Late Handler in Battle
Max – Max with Late Handler in Battle

Max is an adventure drama movie released in 2015 about a military dog called Max. Max helps American Marines in Afghanistan with his owner. After his handler died in the field Max is adopted by his family. Max is a loyal dog that needs patience to trust, and finds it in his late handler’s little brother.

This heartfelt movie shows the highs and lows of gaining a loyal, but scared dog’s trust. This movie was directed by Boaz Yakin. It breaks you into tears at the grief this dog experiences from the death of his handler, but puts a smile on your face as you see Max move on and learn to love again. It uniquely shows a dog’s side of working in the military.

8 ‘Lassie’ (2005)

Lassie - Lassie and Kid in the Grass
Lassie – Lassie and Kid in the Grass

Lassie is a family adventure movie released in 2005. It is about a dog, Lassie, who is reluctantly sold by her family. This heartbroken pup is moved hundreds of miles away from her family, however, she makes it her mission to find them against all odds. It is heartbreaking watching this confused pup try to find her way home, but thankfully has a happy ending, as our hearts couldn’t have taken a sad one.

Lassie was directed by Charles Sturridge and introduces many friends that Lassie meets along the way, including the actor Peter Dinklage from Game of Thrones. This movie also includes many beautiful scenic shots that will take your breath away. It is an all-around amazing movie, as long as you’re able to hold in the tears long enough to see it.

7 ‘A Dog’s Way Home’ (2019)

A Dogs Way Home - Owner Cuddling Dog
A Dogs Way Home – Owner Cuddling Dog

A Dog’s Way Home is an adventure drama released in 2019. It is very similar to the story of Lassie, except the dog (Shelby) can speak to viewers. She is sent miles away from her owner, who is supposed to meet her there soon after. However, Shelby does not know this and escapes to find her hometown and owner again.

This movie is extremely emotional from the start showing her desperate travels to find her owner, but it has a happy ending that will leave you appreciating a dog’s love and loyalty. A Dog’s Way Home was directed by Charles Martin Smith and is a soul-hugging movie to watch with family and friends.

Watch on Starz

6 ‘Marley & Me’ (2008)

Owen Wilson and Marley in Marley & Me
Image via 20th Century Studios

Marley & Me is a romantic comedy released in 2008. To categorize this movie as a family comedy is very deceiving as it will leave you with swollen eyes. You will have many laughs throughout this movie, but you should be prepared for the film’s notoriously heartbreaking ending. This movie stars Owen Wilson who brings a dog home to his wife, Jennifer Aniston, in hopes to stall time for having children. Little did they know this adorable, yet naughty and neurotic puppy will cause more havoc than any child.

Fans watch Marley grow into a senior dog, developing an emotional bond with the pup, which all comes crashing down once he gets sick. This movie shows viewers what unconditional love truly is in its most beautiful form. It shows the stresses and problems in a family, but replaces the children with a fluffy four-legged mischief. Be prepared for a good cry, but it does guarantee a newly built appreciation for your pets.

Watch on HBO Max

5 ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ (2017)

A Dogs Purpose - Owner and Dog Looking At Eachother
A Dogs Purpose – Owner and Dog Looking At Eachother

This movie series will have you wailing a cycle of tears every 10 minutes. It has a happy ending all in all, but it’s a journey to get there. A Dog’s Purpose follows a dog called Bailey going through many lifetimes and owners. This movie starring K.J. Apa allows you to hear what Bailey is thinking throughout the movie, which only breaks your heart more.

The second movie is called A Dog’s Journey, both endings are happy and heartfelt, but you need to be strong to make it to the end. The best part about this movie series is seeing the different dogs’ and owners’ lives. Both movies follow the same loyal dog in all his contrasting, exotic lives. These movies will make you want the best life for your pup, filled with adventures, love, and snacks.

4 ‘Red Dog’ (2011)

Red Dog sitting in the sun on red dirt

A sad dog movie based on an unbelievable true story, Red Dog is a moving Australian drama about the titular character, a friendly and loyal dog who’s adopted by the residents of a local mining town. Over time, Red Dog forms a special bond with the community, and becomes a staple figure – up until he gets sick.

Red Dog’s incredible story will make audiences feel a deep connection with the endearing canine, who reminds everyone around him why dogs are such beloved creatures. Its unforgettable conclusion further emphasizes the remarkable loyalty dogs can have for their owners, and viewers can expect to be crying real tears as Red Dog demonstrates this level of love and devotion.

Watch on Starz

3 ‘Eight Below’ (2006)

A Husky Dog helping a man in Eight Below
Image Via Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Set in the unforgiving chilly landscape of Antarctica, Eight Below is an adventure drama film centered on a group of dogs who are left behind by their owners because of a sudden storm. The dogs are left to fend for themselves against the harsh winter long enough for their owner Jerry Shepard (played by Paul Walker) to come back and save them.

If that entire ordeal sounds stressful, it’s because it is. Viewers will be holding their breath as this emotional rollercoaster showcases the dogs’ fight for survival. Its depiction of the unique bond between a dog and its owner makes it a classic in the genre, and is a must-see for audiences who want to be moved, inspired, and reminded to keep their dogs where it’s warm and comfortable.

Watch on Disney+

2 ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’ (2019)

The Art Of Racing In The Rain - Dog and Owner In The Car
The Art Of Racing In The Rain – Dog and Owner In The Car

The Art of Racing in the Rain is a romance drama released in 2019 starring Milo Ventimiglia and Amanda Seyfried. This movie follows the life of a dog called Enzo who was taken in as a puppy by an aspiring Formula One driver. This golden retriever believes he was born to be a race car driver and can see the techniques used on the track should also be used in life’s journey.

The Art of Racing in the Rain directed by Simon Curtis uses the dog to tell the story in a voice-over from Kevin Costner. This is a unique movie involving both adorable puppies and action thrilled race car driving. It will make you laugh and cry all in one and will leave you with an important message that you should achieve your dreams no matter what stands in your way.

Watch on Disney+

1 ‘Hachi: A Dog’s Tale’ (2008)

Richard Gere and Hachi in Hachi A Dog's Tale
Image via Sony Pictures Entertainment

Hachi: A Dog’s Tale is a drama made in 2008 that starts as a beautiful story of a newly-became owner and an abandoned dog creating a beautiful bond but soon ends in a heart-wrenching tragedy. It is based on a true story of an Akita dog who is extremely loyal to his owner. The dog ends up waiting at a Tokyo train station every day for his owner to come back from work. Even after the owner’s death, the devoted dog still waits for nine years at the train station every day until he eventually passes.

This tear-jerking story resembles another story of a dog called Greyfriars Bobby who now has a statue in Scotland. This movie reminds audiences of the unique and beautiful loyalty dogs have for people without any other intention, but will break your heart into a million pieces.

Watch on Netflix

NEXT: The Best Movies Where the Dog Doesn’t Die