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man's best friend

What Breed of Dog Actor Guarantees the Best Movie? A Vulture Investigation

Two of this year's critically acclaimed movies — The Artist and Beginners, which both received a first wave of awards love this week — feature notable performances by Jack Russell Terriers. Arthur, played by noted dog actor Cosmo (Hotel for Dogs), wisely counsels Ewan McGregor in Beginners; The Artist's nameless sidekick (Uggie) performs his "Bang Bang" trick with a sadness that suggests maturity beyond his (dog) years. Both movies would have suffered without these canine star turns, which got Vulture wondering: Are Jack Russell Terriers actually the best kind of movie dog? Or is there some other breed that might correspond to a better movie-going experience? To find out, we undertook a highly scientific inquiry, pitting German Shepherds against Poodles in search of the perfect canine thespian. A few notes on methodology: Scores were determined by averaging the Rotten Tomatoes rating for each movie in consideration; only real, live dog actors were in contention; and only memorable performances made the cut (sorry, random Great Dane wandering through the background of Diner). Herewith, our findings.