Films featuring Jack Russells including The Secret Life Of Pets, have raked in £700m3 min read

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And the Oscar for Hollywood’s top-earning dog goes to… Jack Russell: Films featuring the breed, including The Secret Life Of Pets, have raked in £700m (but cats are a bigger box office draw)

  • Jack Russell’s are followed by Golden retrievers in the list of top-earning pups
  • Scooby-Doo contributed to £410m taken in by movies featuring Great Danes
  • Beethoven movies put St Bernard at number six, earning £275m at the box office
  • Petlandia says it was a ‘big surprise’ that the Jack Russell landed the top spot

Never mind Jaws – it’s paws that rule at the cinema.

A slightly barking study of blockbuster movies of the past 50 years has revealed which breeds translate to box office success when they appear on screen. And, perhaps surprisingly, Jack Russells have the biggest earning power.

Films featuring the breed have taken in no less than £700 million, thanks to offerings such as the animated family favourite The Secret Life Of Pets, which revolves around a terrier called Max.

Next come golden retrievers, which got their paws on £600 million, helped by another cartoon, Up. The Scooby-Doo movies have made a large contribution to the £410 million taken in by movies featuring Great Danes.

The live action version of 101 Dalmatians from 1996, along with its sequel 102 Dalmatians four years later – both starring Glenn Close as the wicked Cruella De Vil – contribute to a total of £385 million for the breed.

But the figures exclude the original 1961 cartoon version, which was made before the 50-year window. Adjusted for inflation, that Disney classic took £685 million in today’s money.

While breeds associated with cartoons dominate the list, there are also live-action canine stars.

The Beethoven family films help to put the lovable St Bernard at number six, earning £275 million at the box office. And the 1997 comedy hit As Good As It Gets gives the Brussels griffon £240 million in takings. 

This was the breed of Verdell, the dog foisted upon the misanthropic Melvin, played by Jack Nicholson.

Scooby Doo movies (pictured) have made a large contribution to the £410 million taken in by movies featuring Great Danes

Scooby Doo movies (pictured) have made a large contribution to the £410 million taken in by movies featuring Great Danes

But the study, commissioned by gift company Petlandia, found that, overall, cats are bigger box office than dogs, taking £6 billion against £5 billion for canines.

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Chief executive Ian Chambers said: ‘We were expecting the Great Dane, St Bernard or the Dalmatian to take the No 1 spot because if you ask someone to name a popular dog movie, you’re of course going to hear Scooby-Doo, Beethoven or 101 Dalmatians.  

Marmaduke (pictured) revolves around a fun-loving and troublesome Great Dane. It was a 'big surprise' that the dog breed did not land the top spot, according to Chief executive Ian Chambers of Petlandia

Marmaduke (pictured) revolves around a fun-loving and troublesome Great Dane. It was a ‘big surprise’ that the dog breed did not land the top spot, according to Chief executive Ian Chambers of Petlandia

‘The fact that our top dog is the Jack Russell terrier is a big surprise, suggesting this particular breed is more popular than we imagined.’

Mr Chambers said the growing popularity of the Jack Russell could be traced back to 2015, when the Kennel Club recognised it as a pedigree breed.

‘Perhaps there’s something in having a smaller, everyman-style dog that cinema audiences are drawn to,’ he added.    

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