|Best in Show: Cinema's Top Dogs|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Friday, 13 March 2009 13:00|
Let it never be said that I don't love animals. Maybe not in that way, but I challenge you to find anyone who watched Free Willy more times than me when I was a kid. I loved that whale. I even bought Free Willy 2 on VHS. It was rubbish. But one animal I love more than most others is the dog - they're attentive, funny, bouncy. And they drool. What's not to love? (I used to ask my parents upon repeated refusals to get a family dog.) And so, with Marley and Me released - the latest in a line of recent canine capers - it seems the time is ripe for a dutiful Top Ten of Cinema's Best Friend...
10. Winky the Norwich Terrier / Beatrice the Weimaraner / Hubert the Bloodhound / Rhapsody in White the Poodle / Miss Agnes the Shih Tzu - Best in Show (2000)
9. Copper the Bloodhound - The Fox and the Hound (1981)
8. Bruiser the Chihuahua - Legally Blonde (2001)
Lassie's been separated from his family (the Carracloughs) due to financial hardship and sent away to Scotland? That's nothing for this border collie: making her way back home to little Joe Carraclough, she is faithful to last, braving dog poachers, and even a storm. Good, girl, Lassie. Awww. With this black-and-white version of Eric Knight's novel, MGM knew they were on to a classic. So much so they made 7 Lassie films altogether. Undoubtedly one of cinema's most iconic canines - where did Bolt's formula come from, huh? Huh?
6. Shadow the Golden Retriever / Chance the America Bulldog - Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)
5. Lady the Cocker Spaniel / Tramp the Mutt - The Lady and the Tramp (1955)
4. Toto the Cairn Terrier - The Wizard of Oz (1939)
3. Beethoven the St Bernard - Beethoven (1992)
2. The Dalmatians - 101 Dalmatians (1961)
Disney's best friends (dogs, in case you hadn't got the theme by now) return once again to the big screen with this legendary tale of a ton of tearaway tail-waggers. It all starts with Pongo and Perdita, who produce a litter of 15 gorgeous spotty puppies. So gorgeous Cruella De Vil (inspired name) wants her filthy mutts on them, to turn them into a coat (this is civilised fashion, darling, we don't eat dogs in America). She steals them, but the dogs get away, joining ranks with a host of other Dalmatians targeted by De Vil, thus making up the titular number. A horde of unwanted dogs? Hiding in an old building? Who end up adopted in a happy-ever-after ending? Hotel for Dogs was original, wasn't it? At the age of 14, I had the chance to re-watch Disney's Dalmatian fest on a boat between England and Spain. A teenage boy passing up the wind and the waves for 79 minutes of spotted goodness? Yes, it is that good.
1. Baxter the Jack Russell Terrier - Anchorman (2004)
Baxter is perhaps the wisest dog of all time. He's so wise, he's like a miniature Buddha covered in hair. He can walk with the animals, talk with the animals (including bears), and once ate a whole wheel of cheese. You may scoff at this choice of Cinema's Top Dog, but Ron's best friend is everyone's best friend. And if your best friend was drop-kicked off a bridge in San Francisco, I bet you'd end up in a glass case of emotion too. Even a very small one.