Animals have a way with us, don’t they? They pull at our heartstrings both in real life and when we see them on the big screen. And don’t even get me started when a dog dies in a movie – it’s just too much to handle. We love seeing our favorite pets in movies, and you know who loves it even more than we do? The actors who costar with them.
These are all actors who starred alongside animals that by the end of the film, they either took them home or wished they did, but couldn’t! Prepare to say “awww” throughout this list.
This Horse’s name was King Charles, and he got the career break of a lifetime when he was cast in the movie ‘National Velvet’ in 1944 alongside Elizabeth Taylor. You can say he was a lucky horse. And the young Elizabeth, who was only 11 years old at the time, already knew King Charles.
Elizabeth had already been acquainted with the horse from her country club. She was actually the one who suggested that he play her horse called Pie in the movie. And as it turns out, he was pretty stubborn onset, and only listened to her.
Sophie Turner and Her Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
In the show that most of the world became obsessed with, ‘Game of Thrones,’ you might have noticed that each Stark child received a dire wolf. Each one of those “wolves” was played by a Northern Inuit pup.
It was in post-production that these pups were turned into wolves. But it was also in the production phase that Sophie Turner really bonded with the Inuit puppy. And she jumped at the opportunity to take her wolf home for good. She named her Zunni.
If you still can’t say goodbye to your favorite TV show, see some behind the scenes moments from ‘Game of Thrones’ here!
Will Smith and the German Shepherd in ‘I am Legend’
Who here saw ‘I Am Legend’ and didn’t cry at the scene where he had to say goodbye to his dog Sam – the one and only friend he had in the post-apocalyptic world he was living in? Yeah, exactly. Anyways, Will Smith actually bonded with him in real life, too.
The German Shepherd was played by a dog named Abbey, and after filming was over, Smith asked her owners if he could take her home. They declined, however, and he understood. And so do I.
James Gunn and the Raccoon in ‘The Guardians of the Galaxy’
That cute raccoon character Rocket that everyone fell in love with in ‘The Guardians of the Galaxy?’ Well, he was modeled after an actual real-life raccoon. And the director of the film, James Gunn, fell head over heels for the mischievous little creature.
Rocket was modeled after a real raccoon that was named Oreo. Gunn brought him onto the set constantly because the cast loved seeing him. And they even attended the premiere together! What a cute pair. He must give him lots of snacks.
Chris Evans and the Dog in ‘Gifted’
Your favorite ‘Captain America’ actor had his own favorite costar when filming the movie ‘Gifted’ in 2017. Throughout filming, he became really close with the dog Dodger. Chris ended up adopting him after they wrapped up, and the two have been best buds ever since.
‘Gifted’ is a movie about a single father, Frank, who has to raise his child prodigy niece, Mary, who gets drawn into a custody battle with his mother. And by looking at this cute dog, I’m not surprised that he wanted to take him home.
Judy Garland and the Terrier in ‘The Wizard of Oz’
‘The Wizard of Oz’ was full of iconic moments; from the ruby red slippers to the witch to the scarecrow. And one of the most memorable subjects that became synonymous with the film was Dorothy’s terrier, Toto.
When the Cairn Terrier that played the role of Toto got really sick while filming the movie, Judy Garland took him home to help him recover. Later, when filming was over, she tried her best to keep the dog but wasn’t allowed to.
Jennifer Aniston and the Dogs in ‘Marley & Me’
I personally haven’t seen the movie ‘Marley and Me,’ but everyone who talks about this movie says it legitimately one of the saddest movies ever. Which just makes me think that the dog dies, and which also makes me not want to see the movie!
But putting that aside, I’m sure it’s a good film. And regardless of everyone crying in the end, including Jen Aniston, the dogs made a real impact on her. She made a strong connection with all the pups and adult dogs that portrayed Marley.
See where ‘Marley and Me’ is placed in our list of the saddest movies of all time.
Robert Redford and the Horse in ‘The Electric Horseman’
I think anyone who knows Robert Redford or is a fan of his, knows that he loves horses. I mean, pretty much all his films have horses in them. So it’s no secret that Robert has a love for horses. Did you know that owned a ranch?
In fact, Redford owned a whole ranch before even being cast in ‘The Electric Horseman.’ Before the making of the movie was over, he made sure that one of the horses in the film, named Let’s Merge, would join his stables.
Tom Hardy and the Pitbulls in ‘The Drop’
The serious action movie star has a serious love for dogs. When Tom Hardy was asked to play the lead role in the movie ‘The Drop’ that came out in 2014, he said that he mostly agreed to do the movie for one main purpose.
The reason he took the role (for the most part, at least) was that he knew there would be puppies involved. And in the end, he even took one of his co-stars home. His only problem was having to choose which one to take! There were a bunch that played the role of Rocco in the film.
Kim Novak and the Cat in ‘Bell Book and Candle’
What’s a witch without a cat, right? Kim Novak starred in ‘Bell Book and Candle’ in 1958, where she played a modern-day witch living in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Her character had a Siamese cat by her side at all times (obviously).
Novak must have really bonded with her furry and blue-eyed costar because when filming ended, she adopted him. And he really lucked out because the cat became famous being featured in many of her photo shoots.
Brendan Fraser and the Horse in Texas Rising
When Brendan Fraser was on set during the filming of ‘Texas Rising,’ he noticed that some of the horses that were used for the film were picking on one particular horse, Pecas. It must have pushed a sensitive button for Brendan.
Brendan developed a soft spot for Pecas and bonded with him. But not only did the horse become a special part of his life, but he also brought him home, and Pecas formed a special bond with Brendan’s autistic son. The bond between humans and horses is something remarkable, isn’t it?
Tiffany Haddish and the Kitten in ‘Keanu’
Is anyone else a fan of Key and Peele? They are probably some of the funniest guys in the business. They had a sketch comedy show that became so popular, they eventually made a movie that they wrote and starred in together. And the funny thing is it’s an action movie.
Tiffany Haddish, one of the stars of Key and Peele’s ‘Keanu,’ ended up adopting one of the seven kittens that were used to play Keanu. The kitten’s name was Clementine, but it was later changed to Catatonic. The rest of the cats were adopted by professional animal trainers.
Bradley Cooper and the Dog in ‘A Star is Born’
Were you one of the millions that adored the movie ‘A Star is Born?’ Other than falling in love with the human characters played by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, did you fall in love with the dog, too? The characters Ally and Jackson adopt a dog, Charlie.
But Charlie was Bradley Cooper’s real-life dog (who was actually named Charlie). Cooper wanted to be sure that he had real convincing on-screen chemistry with the dog. And I gotta say, he made a good decision.
Viggo Mortensen and the Horse in ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Hidalgo’
It looks like dogs and horses are the stars of this list! Here’s yet another example of how horses really tug at the heartstrings of people. In the making of ‘Lord of the Rings,’ Viggo formed a special bond with the horses.
After ‘Lord of the Rings’ finished filming, he bought two of the horses used in the film. Why two? To keep each other company. He also bought T.J., the horse that starred in the movie ‘Hidalgo,’ which he rode in with to the movie’s premiere!
Ed O’Neil and the French Bulldog in ‘Modern Family’
When Jay Pritchett, played by Ed O’Neill, the hilarious grandfather in ‘Modern Family’ got a French Bulldog named Stella, he instantly fell in love. While the dog wasn’t actually his personal pet, he really cared for her.
On the set of the show, O’Neill made sure the dog, whose real name is Bridgett, was looked after every minute and very well.
Reese Witherspoon and the Dog in ‘Legally Blonde’
Here’s a photo of Reese Witherspoon with the little dog named Moonie, who played Bruiser in ‘Legally Blonde.’ As it turns out (and I can’t say I’m surprised), the two costars became best friends. She decided to take the dog home with her after the movie was over.
Moonie even got to be with her and enjoy the moment when she received her own star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. He’s so little that she probably puts him in her purse wherever she goes. Reese does seem like one of those ladies that like to put their dogs in their purses.
Quvenzhané Wallis and the Dog in ‘Annie’
So the movie ‘Annie’ was remade in 2014, and Quvenzhané Wallis played the lead character, Annie. Another main role in the film was the dog, Sandy. And it looks like Wallis just couldn’t get enough of the dog who played the part.
Little Marti played the part of Sandy. Sources say that Marti got the role because she licked Wallis’ face during the casting call. Years after shooting finished, the two best buds hang out whenever they’re together.
Sir Anthony Hopkins and the Pitbull in ‘Transformers: The Last Night’
As it happens with many dogs, some don’t get claimed by anyone, and they end up going to the pound where they can only hope that someone comes to adopt them. But sadly, not all dogs get adopted. The good news is those movie producers sometimes take dogs in to make their movies.
When nobody came to adopt Freya the pit bull, Hollywood producers took her in and put her to work for the movie ‘Transformers: The Last Night.’ On the set, she formed a strong bond with Sir Anthony Hopkins and the two were apparently inseparable.
Robert Downey Jr. and the Dog in ‘Due Date’
Robert Downey Jr. and Zack Galifianakis starred together in the comedy called ‘Due Date.’ But there was another star of the film, and her name was Sunny. But while Robert Downey Jr. had to pretend that he couldn’t stand Zack’s dog, he truly loved him.
In real life, RDJ just couldn’t get enough of the little pup! Her trainer didn’t agree to give him her dog, but she did promise to help him find a similar dog. We’re not sure if she ever did, but it’s cute to see how attached he was to her.
Ewan McGregor and the Dog in ‘Beginners’
Ewan McGregor was like many other actors on this list who bonded really well with their dog costars. He too wanted to adopt the dog that he fell in love with on the set of the film he was acting in. Ewan really wanted to adopt Cosmo, the dog who played Arthur in the movie ‘Beginners’ in 2010.
But unfortunately, Ewan’s wife was allergic to that breed, so he couldn’t take Cosmo home. But what he did do was research hypo-allergenic dogs and eventually brought home a different pooch. One that wouldn’t make his wife miserable from all the allergic reactions.
Tom Hanks and the Dog in ‘The Burbs’
In the 1989 film ‘The Burbs,’ which was a dark comedy and highly entertaining, Tom Hanks’ character inherits his friend’s large slobbering dog who eventually helps him solve a crime. His name in the movie was Hooch, and he was Hank’s four-legged sidekick.
That sidekick is actually one of the most ancient French breeds of a dog called Dogue de Bordeaux. The French dog is a large mastiff breed. A typical brachycephalic molossoid type breed, the Dogue de Bordeaux is quite powerful with a very muscular body.
Jason Alexander and the Orangutan in ‘Dunston Checks In’
Okay, so most of us haven’t seen this movie, and if you’re anything like me, you can’t really remember Jason Alexander outside of his role as George Costanza from ‘Seinfeld’ other than his supporting role in ‘Pretty Woman.’
But the actor played in the movie ‘Dunston Checks In’ where he got to hang out with an orangutan. And despite all the hilarious antics, the two got into both on and off screen, the movie didn’t do so well. Is anyone even surprised? Really.
Bill Murray and the Elephant in ‘Larger Than Life’
Speaking of another movie that wasn’t as well-received as many who made the film would have hoped, ‘Larger Than Life’ was a movie from 1996 that starred the definitely lovable Bill Murray. And Murray’s costar was larger than life indeed.
The ‘Saturday Night Live’ legend took advantage of a unique opportunity to meet and act alongside an elephant for the movie. The two apparently got along really well. But that actually doesn’t come as a surprise because Murray seems fun to be around!
Robert Downey Jr. and the Dog in ‘The Shaggy Dog’
Yes, Robert Downey Jr. is here yet again. And yes, it’s also because of his love for another dog on the set of a movie he filmed. So I think it’s safe to say that the actor has a love for dogs. Can we all agree on that?
Robert Downey Jr. starred next to this shaggy four-legged creature in the movie ‘The Shaggy Dog’ which came out in 2006. While the dog was referred to as a sheepdog throughout the whole movie, he was actually a Bearded Collie.
Katherine Hepburn and the Leopard in ‘Bringing Up Baby’
Finally! An exotic cat can make an appearance on this list. I can’t think of a cooler animal on the planet than a leopard. So I can honestly say that I totally understand why Katherine Hepburn became attached to this feline beauty.
Hepburn was reportedly fearless when it came to hanging around Nissa, the leopard, on the set of Bringing Up Baby which was made in 1939. Nissa played Baby in the movie. Cary Grant, her other costar, was less thrilled about the leopard’s presence and a double was used whenever he and the leopard had scenes together.
Matt LeBlanc and the Chimpanzee in ‘Ed’
According to Matt LeBlanc, Ed, who played the character of the baseball-playing chimpanzee, was actually just a man wearing a suit with a mechanically-controlled head in the movie ‘Ed’ from 1996. I gotta say, for a movie made more than 20 years ago, they did a pretty good job!
The electronic head was also apparently so loud that every scene that included the chimp had to be re-dubbed. But above all that, Matt had fun on the set with his furry friend, even though his furry friend was actually just a dude in a furry suit.
Jamie Lee Curtis and the Dog in Beverly Hills Chihuahua
Yes, there’s a movie called ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua,’ and no, it didn’t break the Box Office charts. But what did break was the ice when Jamie Lee Curtis met the Chihuahua that was used in the making of the movie.
Curtis as well as the rest of the crew on ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua’ rescued Papi, the leading Chihuahua who played the role. They rescued him just one day before he was supposed to be put down! Talk about going zero to hero.
James Cromwell and the Pig in ‘Babe’
James Cromwell played the role of the farmer who had a great relationship with the pig who played the role of Babe in the movie by the same name. Cromwell was actually nominated for the Oscar in 2005. Incredibly, 48 different pigs were used to make the film, and it’s because pigs happen to grow very quickly.
Cromwell played the part of Arthur Hoggett who won the piglet at a county fair. Hogget decides to show him at the fair and Babe bonds with the Border collie and discovers that he too can herd sheep. Yes, the pig talks to the other animals. It’s a kid’s movie, after all.
Meet Uggie, the Terrier in ‘The Artist’
This Parsons Russell terrier took the world by storm when he starred in the critically acclaimed movie ‘The Artist which was a black and white celebration of the early film era. People say that it was Uggie’s performance that helped the movie win its Oscar.
‘The Artist,’ which came out in 2011, was a movie about an egomaniacal movie star that developed a relationship with a young dancer. And it all occurs against the backdrop of Hollywood’s silent era. If you love old movies, this is one to see.
Michelle Williams and the Collie in ‘Lassie’
So if you think of dogs in movies, what instantly comes to mind? Of course, ‘Lassie’ comes up. It’s one of the most classic dog films in movie history. And the young Michelle Williams played in the remake movie from 1994.
This movie was actually Williams’ film debut. She was lucky to only start a successful movie career, but she also got to star in the film with this adorable Collie who became a real friend to her, both on and offset.
Clint Eastwood and the Orangutan in ‘Every Which Way But Loose’
Clint Eastwood may be the quintessential epitome of a cowboy who is normally seen alongside horses in all his western films, but he can bond with other animals, too. Like in the movie ‘Every Which Way But Loose’ where he co-starred with an orangutan.
Manis, the Orangutan, and Eastwood were the leading men in ‘Every Which Way But Loose.’ The actor had this to say about his primate costar: “One of the most natural actors I ever worked with! But you had to get him on the first take because his boredom level was very limited.”
Nathan Lane and the Mouse in ‘Mouse Hunt’
Okay, yes, most of the movie was made with the assistance of computer animation and CGI. But that doesn’t mean that a real mouse wasn’t used when making the movie ‘Mouse Hunt’ in 1997.
Although some of the scenes were brought to life by computer animation, this little mouse who wreaked havoc on Nathan Lane’s life in the movie was actually a rat. Yuck! I know. The rat was used as a body double during the close-up shots. But he’s kinda cute, no?
Jeff Goldblum and the Dog in ‘Cats and Dogs’
Yes, a movie about cats and dogs received a title none other than ‘Cats and Dogs.’ And it starred the strange but lovable actor Jeff Goldblum. And while there were plenty of other animals who starred next to him, he got attached to one.
The star of ‘Cats and Dogs’ had a great time on set with the dog you see in this photo. His name is Prada, and he got some Hollywood credit. The Beagle who played Lou also starred in ‘Star Trek: Enterprise.’
Matthew Broderick and the Komodo Dragon in ‘The Freshmen’
Matthew Broderick always seemed to play the lovable guy in all his movies. His costar in ‘The Freshman’ wasn’t a human being. He had to spend many shooting days handling a Komodo dragon during the making of the movie.
As you can probably imagine, handling something like that is nothing like dealing with dogs or cats. Training and handling reptiles are far from easy. Broderick only grabbed the animal when he needed to for scenes. Other than that, he stayed away.
Matthew Broderick and the Chimpanzee in ‘Project X’
Matthew Broderick seems to have had his share of animal costars. When he was making the movie ‘Project X,’ he got to share the screen with yet another animal. But this time his costar was a little friendlier.
This time his costar was a chimpanzee. Well, he actually spent time with a bunch of chimpanzees. The group of chimps was well-trained, and Broderick enjoyed working with them. All of the chimp sounds in the movie were later dubbed over with human vocals.
Charlton Heston and the Dog in ‘Call of the Wild’
‘Call of the Wild’ was a movie from 1972 based on Jack London’s novel by the same name. Apparently, Heston wasn’t well-liked by the movie’s leading actor. He said the crew had “no filmmaking talent whatsoever.” Ouch.
But the good news was he got to hang out with an awesome dog the whole time. The book was from 1903, and it was based in Yukon, Canada, during the 1890s’ Klondike Gold Rush. At the time, strong sled dogs were in high demand.
Dennis Quaid and the Dog in ‘A Dog’s Purpose’
There was a lot of controversy surrounding the movie ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ when the footage was leaked that supposedly showed a panicked dog being dunked into the water. But as it turns out, that awful video was fake. Thank goodness.
The truth is that the movie never harmed the dogs and in reality, Dennis Quaid, as well as the rest of the actors, truly enjoyed their time with the Hollywood pooches. I can only imagine how much fun it would be to make movies with dogs!
Elliot Page and the Cat in ‘Ghost Cat’
Okay, so ‘Ghost Cat’ wasn’t the most successful movie that was ever made, and it was definitely not Elliot Page’s blockbuster hit. But regardless, it was a sweet film that he starred in alongside a cat, as you can see in this photo.
The movie was about a young girl and her father who had to move. But they happened to move into a house haunted that was haunted by its previous owner and her cat. So there’s your answer as to why the movie didn’t do so well…
Cuba Gooding Jr. and the Huskies in ‘Snow Dogs’
In the movie ‘Snow Dogs,’ the Huskies they used in the film were absolutely gorgeous. Many of them actually went on to star in another movie featuring Huskies. The next film was ‘Eight Below,’ which came out four years later in 2006.
If you love your Huskies, then you should watch other movies that feature the beautiful dogs, such as ‘Snow Buddies.’
And if you’re more of a cat fan, then you should check out the best cat movies here.
Ethan Hawke and the Wolf-Dog in ‘White Fang’
Ethan Hawke co-starred with an actual wolf-dog hybrid in the movie ‘White Fang,’ a movie based on the Jack London book about interspecies friendships. The dog’s actual name was Jed, and you might even recognize him if you’re a horror movie fan.
Fans of horror movies might remember Jed from John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing.’
There you have it, folks, thanks for joining us and stay tuned for more pet and celebrity adventures.