Snow Dogs

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Snow Dogs Movie Poster Image
Comic action, appealing hero, splendid dogs; some scares.
  • PG
  • 2002
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Set in Alaska, the movie shows natural beauty and the unique identity of the environment and people.

Positive Messages

Encourages being open to new and different ideas, cultures, and people. Reinforces benefit of strong family ties. Values honesty, follow-through, and open-mindedness.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Hero is a sunny character who prides himself on his professionalism, honesty, and devotion to his family. Although he learns a great deal from his adventures, his humanness and optimism remain intact. Very diverse cast of characters.

Violence & Scariness

Extensive slapstick cartoon action, coupled with some moments of real suspense. Leading character has numerous encounters with a snarling, seemingly ferocious dog and must escape from an angry bear. Many scenes show him in jeopardy, most of it obvious and comic. He slips, skids, falls, gets lost, is dragged over snow and ice, is socked in the face, nearly falls to his death when his sled goes over the side of a mountain, finds himself trapped on a frozen lake with breaking ice, is chased and bitten (on padded pants) by a dog, crashes through a window, and has a couple of close calls in an airplane. A block of frozen Gatorade is "poured" on a man, who is knocked out.

Sexy Stuff

Women on a beach wear bikinis. Brief, mild sexual innuendo. Leading characters fall in love and kiss a few times.


Hero yells at his dogs, vehemently tells them to "shut up." A dog pees on a tree.


Visual and/or spoken references to many products, including Crest, Wild Turkey, North Face, Sharper Image, Kawasaki, Ogilvie Flour, TRM Copy Centers, WestJet Air, and others.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters are seen consuming alcoholic beverages in a bar. A character takes a drink from a flask.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Snow Dogs is a farcical "fish-out-of-water" story that finds its hero, a Miami dentist, on an Alaskan adventure filled with exuberant racing dogs, an array of eccentric characters, and extensive amounts of cartoon jeopardy and pratfalls. Kids who watch this movie should be comfortable with the distinction between real and cartoonish danger, as some suspenseful scenes (a possibly tragic fall from a mountain road, then a character being suspended in midair) may be too intense for young or sensitive viewers. The hero is confronted by an angry bear and has numerous face-offs with Demon, who may or may not be a ferocious dog. In addition, there are countless falls, crashes, and scenes in which he is dragged behind a sled. A sweet love story makes its way through this comic mayhem. And, early in the story, it's revealed that, unbeknownst to him, the hero is an adopted child; fallout from this fact continues through the film. There's occasionally some mildly coarse humor (a dog pees on a tree), and product placement is profuse.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJanannis September 6, 2018

Great feel good movie

This movie is simple, engaging. This is an excellent family movie sort of in the vein of Home Alone which my daughter couldn't get enough of when she was...
Adult Written bybsingnyc January 28, 2018

Dog lovers movie with excitment

Exciting and funny. Good for dog lovers.
Teen, 15 years old Written bycoasterjay03 November 5, 2018

Amazing comedy featuring Cuba Gooding Jr. is all bark and frost-bite.

I've been watching this movie, ever since I could walk. This film is awesome, I love it. Although there is some adult humor in here but the kids aren'... Continue reading

What's the story?

In SNOW DOGS, Miami dentist Ted Brooks (an affable Cuba Gooding Jr.) is stunned to find out he's the heir of a recently deceased Alaskan woman he's never heard of. He's even more shocked to find out that the woman was his biological mother. Ted didn't even know he was adopted; he's been ecstatically happy with the folks who raised him. More surprises are in store for Ted when he arrives in Tolketna to claim his inheritance. First of all, he couldn't have imagined how cold it would be. And an inheritance made up of a cabin and a pack of sled dogs? Lucky for Ted, he's shown up just a short time before the Arctic Challenge, a dog-sled race touted by the residents as second only to the Iditarod. Between the eccentric characters who live in the city, a beautiful young woman who befriends him, a cantankerous old husky expert, and the upcoming race, Ted is up to his neck in snow, magnificent dogs, and an outrageous adventure.

Is it any good?

Don't expect clever or witty. Don't expect subtlety or nuance. Don't even expect polished filmmaking and performances. It's a slapstick comedy from beginning to end. Everyone plays it broad and one-dimensional. And, especially if you're a kid, it's very funny. Kids will get all the jokes, laugh at all the pratfalls. Some may ask questions about one live mom and one dead mom or be surprised that an African-American man has a white dad he didn't know about or wonder why Ted had to fall in love in what was otherwise a perfect trip to Alaska, but they will enjoy the movie. Dog lovers will not be disappointed either.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the term "fish-out-of-water." Find out what it means. Why do you think "fish-out-of-water" stories and movies are so appealing? Think of some other movies you've liked that use this concept.

  • At what age do you think you were able to tell the difference between real violence and cartoon violence? Use the example of Ted and Thunder Jack going over the cliff, and talk about why you knew or suspected they were going to survive. 

  • All stories need conflict or discord. Since there are no true villains in this movie, what provides the conflict? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dogs

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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