Hollywood names, big budgets and special effects aren’t always the big draw for movies. Sometimes, it’s the animals that steal the show—and for good reason.
Here are 15 of the most famous cats and dogs who stole the limelight from their human co-actors.
The 1992 classic Beethoven follows the antics of giant Saint Bernard as he navigates life with his new family. With the exception of the father, George, the family fall in love with the slobbery giant and chaos ensues when an evil veterinarian tries to kill Beethoven for his latest experiment. A total of eight movies were made in the Beethoven series.
Animal actor Max McCarter was five years old when he auditioned for the role of Milo in the 1994 movie The Mask. The Jack Russell Terrier nearly lost out to a Corgi and a Scottie, but finally won the role to star alongside Jim Carry for a fee of $2,000 a week.
Moonie became a Hollywood star after he appeared alongside Reese Witherspoon in the 2001 movie Legally Blonde as Bruiser Woods. In real life, he lived with another chihuahua called Gidget, famous for appearing in Taco Bell commercials.
Marley & Me
Few people can get through Marley & Me without shedding a tear or two. The movie follows the life of newlyweds John and Jenny Grogan (Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston) and their destructive but cute labrador retriever, Marley. Because the movie covers 14 years in the life of the dog, 22 different yellow labradors played the part of the dog.
Wizard of Oz
The role of Toto was played by Terry, a female Cairn Terrier who was born in 1933 and lived to 1945. She was actually the mother of another movie star dog, Rommy, who appeared in Reap the Wild Wind in 1942 and Air Force in 1943.
Fat Louie, who was actually Anne Hathaway’s pet, starred in the Princess Diaries as Mia Thermopolis’ chubby cat. Four different cats played the role for the film, including one who allowed people to carry it, one who could sit still and another who would jump.
Baxter is Ron Burgundy’s beloved pet dog and confidante, with whom he has enlightening conversations with at home. Towards the end of the movie, Baxter returns to save Ron and Veronica from being attacked by bears.
Uggie, who sadly died at the grand age of 18 in 2015, was a trained Parson Russell Terrier famous for his roles in Water for Elephants and The Artist. He was rejected by at least his first two owners as being too out of control and was about to be sent to a pound, but was adopted by animal trainer Omar Von Muller after his friends alerted him to the dog. His memoir Uggie, My Story was published in October 2012.
The 1993 childhood favourite Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey follows a group of pets left behind while their owners go on a holiday. Thinking they have been abandoned, the pets embark on a journey to California to be reunited with them.
The fictional female Rough Collie dog Lassie was originally featured in a short story by Eric Knight, which was expanded to a full-length novel in 1940. The book sparked movie and TV series featuring the dog, making it arguably one of the most famous pets in history.
Turner & Hooch
The 1989 American buddy cop comedy movie stars Tom Hanks and Beasley the Dog, a Dogue de Bordeaux. He was owned and trained by Clint Rowe who makes a brief appearance in Turner and Hooch as an ASPCA officer.
The James Bond series
Ernst Stavro Blofeld, a villain from the James Bond series of novels and films, sparked the well-known trope of the evil character with a cat. His trademark white, long-haired cat is a Persian breed, but doesn’t have a name.
The Harry Potter series
Mrs Norris was the pet cat of Argus Filch, the widely disliked caretaker of Hogwarts. The feline was described as having a strong connection with her master, alerting him to any students misbehaving inside the school castle so they could be rounded up and punished.
Spoiler alert: Jonesy the cat is one of two characters who lives to the end of the 1979 science fiction horror movie Alien. While the cat’s official job was to control mice and rats on board the ship, he was also much loved by the crew.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Cat, the orange tabby who appeared in the 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, was played by the male cat Orangey. He had a long career in film and television in the 1950s and early 1960s and was the only cat to win two PATSY Awards (Picture Animal Top Star of the Year). He also appeared in the movie adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank as the family pet Butch.