9 Netflix movies that animal lovers will adore

9 Netflix movies that animal lovers will adore
Air Bud: Golden Receiver, about a basketball playing dog turning to American football, is perhaps one of the most preposterous options (Picture: Disney)

Think of Old Yeller, Turner & Hooch, or Marley & Me and you’ll see a similar trend.

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While most animal movies look cute and cuddly on the outside, their tendency to kill off their central mutt, moggy or mare can often make them a harrowing, blub-inducing experience.

But if you want to watch an animal movie safe in the knowledge that you won’t be traumatised by the time the end credits roll, then Netflix has got you covered.

Here’s a look at nine live-action animal-based titles currently available on the streaming service which are far more ‘awww’ than ‘aaaagh.’

Hotel For Dogs


Long before she became typecast as the relentlessly bitchy scream queen, a more innocent Emma Roberts played one of two orphans who transform a vacant hotel into a dog paradise to house the little pooch banished by their miserly new foster parents.

Sure, Hotel For Dogs can be sickly sentimental at times, but there’s fun to be had watching its cute canines of all shapes and sizes running amok and putting the adult baddies (played by Lisa Kudrow and Kevin Dillon) firmly in their place.

Air Bud: Golden Receiver


There are five entries on Netflix from one of the most surprisingly enduring film franchises of recent years, and although they all pretty much follow the same formula, we’ve opted for the most preposterous.

This 1998 sequel sees the heroic Golden Retriever swap basketball for American football while attempting to thwart a villainous Russian circus owner and help his tween boy owner get over his father’s death.

Max 2: White House Hero


This direct-to-DVD sequel is possibly even more flag-waving than the original, a surprise US box office hit in 2015.

This time around the loveable hero saves the day again when he gets assigned to the White House and thwarts an attempt to kidnap the President’s son.

The Black Stallion


One of the most acclaimed animal movies ever, The Black Stallion received nominations at the Oscars, Golden Globes and BAFTAs, and spawned both a 1983 sequel (also available on Netflix) and an early ’90s TV series.

The equine tale stars a then-11-year-old Kelly Reno as a shipwreck survivor stranded on a desert island with only an Arabian horse for company. But it’s when they get back to civilisation and take on the world of horse racing that their adventure truly begins.



The tale of an eccentric chicken farmer who trains a Maremma sheepdog to protect his hometown’s penguin population, this 2015 Aussie flick sounds like pure fantasy, but is actually based on a true story.

In fact, the real Oddball made headlines earlier this year when he passed away at the relatively old age of 15, and this charming crowd-pleaser serves as an affectionate tribute to the unlikely hero.

Albion: The Enchanted Stallion


John Cleese, Debra Messing and Stephen Dorff head up the surprisingly star-studded cast of this 2016 fantasy adventure.

Here, the titular enchanted stallion leads a 12-year-old girl into Albion, a magical world she’s tasked with saving from the clutches of an evil general.

Russell Madness


If a football-playing Golden Retriever isn’t far-fetched enough for you, then how about a wrestling Jack Russell terrier?

Yes, that is the actual premise of Russell Madness, an unashamedly nonsensical kids comedy which also happens to feature a Segway-riding monkey manager possessed by the spirit of his late owner.

How To Steal A Dog


Based on the same-named novel by Barbara O’Connor, How To Steal A Dog is a little more melancholic than the rest of the family-friendly offerings here.

As its title suggests, this South Korean flick centres on an impoverished young girl who naively believes that stealing a rich dog owner’s pride and joy will lead to a reward great enough to buy her family a new house.

Mouse Hunt


Despite the fact that Lee Evans and Nathan Lane spend almost the entirety the film trying to kill a lovable mouse, this classic mid-90s comedy is still a safe watch for any rodent lover.

Indeed, the mouse outwits the hapless string factory owners at every turn in a well-crafted caper packed full of unashamedly silly slapstick.

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