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The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals

Updated July 30, 2019 565 votes 63 voters 2.8k views25 items

List RulesVote up the best shows on television of all time that have an animal as the lead or one of the main cast members.

Actors work hard to bring characters to life. However, there are numerous live-action TV shows where the standout character isn't a human at all. In many cases, the humans get upstaged by an adorable animal that went through extensive training to perform the role well. From actual, expressive animals to puppets, many animals have graced the small screen over the years, and this is the time to honor the best of the best. Shows starring dogs, cats, horses, and much more have gone on the air and captured the hearts of millions. 

All kinds of shows starring animals have been made. Comedies will often use talking animals to get a good laugh out of the audience. Dramas will incorporate animals and pets to humanize certain characters. Children's shows will educate kids about animals And there are shows that use animals in an outside-of-the-box way that is totally unique. 

All of these shows feature animals in either a lead role or in the primary supporting cast. These shows have all come out in different eras, so people of all ages will find TV shows they/ve watched and enjoyed. These are the best shows that star animals of all time and you have the power to vote on your favorites. 

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  • 1
    Wishbone
    28
    16

    Wishbone

    Amy Acker, Melissa Archer

    Premiered1995

    Genres (Tv)Children's television series

    Animal: Wishbone, played by Soccer; also Slugger, Shiner, Phoebe, and Bear.

  • 2
    Mister Ed
    17
    7

    Mister Ed

    Allan Lane, Alan Young

    Premiered1961

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Animal: Mister Ed, played by Bamboo Harvester. 

  • 3
    Lassie
    18
    10

    Lassie

    June Lockhart, Andy Clyde

    Premiered1954

    Genres (Tv)Action/Adventure, Drama, Children's television series, Adventure film, Action

    Animal: Lassie, played by Pal.

  • 4
    The Lone Ranger
    17
    10

    The Lone Ranger

    Jay Silverheels, Clayton Moore

    Premiered1966

    Genres (Tv)Western, Action/Adventure

    Animal: Silver, the horse, played by White Cloud.

  • 5
    Sabrina, the Teenage Witch
    16
    10

    Sabrina, the Teenage Witch

    Melissa Joan Hart, Caroline Rhea

    Premiered1996

    Genres (Tv)Supernatural, Sitcom, Children's television series, Comedy, Fantasy television

    Animal: Salem Saberhagen, played by a puppet and voiced by Nick Bakay. 

  • 6
    Flipper
    20
    16

    Flipper

    Luke Halpin, Tommy Norden

    Premiered1964

    Genres (Tv)Action/Adventure, Children's television series

    Animal: Flipper, played by Kathy, the bottlenose dolphin.

  • 7
    Green Acres
    14
    9

    Green Acres

    Eddie Albert, Eva Gabor

    Premiered1965

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Animal: Mignon, played by two different dogs. 

  • 8
    Married... with Children
    13
    9

    Married... with Children

    Ed O'Neill, Christina Applegate

    Premiered1987

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Animal: Buck, played by a Briard of the same name. 

  • 9
    The Addams Family
    14
    10

    The Addams Family

    John Astin, Carolyn Jones

    Premiered1964

    Genres (Tv)Black comedy, Sitcom, Comedy, Fantasy

    Animal: Kitty-Cat, a lion, played by Zamba. 

  • 10
    The Beverly Hillbillies
    13
    10

    The Beverly Hillbillies

    Buddy Ebsen, Donna Douglas

    Premiered1962

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Animal: Duke, played by Stretch. 

  • 11
    The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin
    13
    11

    The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin

    Lee Aaker, James Brown

    Premiered1954

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Children's television series

    Animal: Rin Tin Tin, played by a German Shepherd of the same name. 

  • 12
    Frasier
    11
    11

    Frasier

    Kelsey Grammer, Jane Leeves

    Premiered1993

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom

    Animal: Eddie, played by Moose.

  • 13
    Miami Vice
    9
    9

    Miami Vice

    Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas

    Premiered1984

    Genres (Tv)Crime Fiction, Police procedural, Drama

    Animal: Elvis, played by the alligator of the same name.

  • 14
    Lost
    10
    12

    Lost

    Naveen Andrews, Emilie de Ravin

    Premiered2004

    Genres (Tv)Supernatural drama, Science fiction, Mystery

    Animal: Bpo Bpo, played by a Shar Pei.

  • 15
    7th Heaven
    9
    10

    7th Heaven

    Stephen Collins, Catherine Hicks

    Premiered1996

    Genres (Tv)Teen drama, Drama

    Animal: Happy, played by the dog of the same name. 

  • 16
    Gentle Ben
    9
    10

    Gentle Ben

    Burt Reynolds, Ron Howard

    Premiered1967

    Genres (Tv)Action/Adventure, Children's television series

    Animal: Ben, played by Bruno the Bear.

  • 17
    Dog With a Blog
    10
    13

    Dog With a Blog

    G. Hannelius, Blake Michael

    Premiered2012

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom

    Animal: Stan, played by Kuma von Clifford.

  • 18
    Inspector Rex
    6
    7

    Inspector Rex

    Tobias Moretti, Karl Markovics

    Premiered1994

    Genres (Tv)Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Drama, Adventure film, Comedy

    Animal: Rex, played by Beejay; also Rhett Butler, Henry, and Nicky.

  • 19
    B. J. and the Bear
    6
    9

    B. J. and the Bear

    Greg Evigan, Eric Server

    Premiered1979

    Genres (Tv)Action/Adventure, Television comedy, Drama, Comedy-drama, Comedy

    Animal: Bear, played by the chimp of the same name. 

  • 20
    Annie Oakley
    6
    11

    Annie Oakley

    Gail Davis, Brad Johnson

    Premiered1954

    Genres (Tv)Western, Drama

    Animal: Target, the horse, played by Trigger.

  • 21
    Baretta
    5
    10

    Baretta

    Robert Blake, Tom Ewell

    Premiered1975

    Genres (Tv)Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Police procedural, Drama, Adventure film

    Animal: Fred, played by the cockatoo of the same name. 

  • 22
    Modern Family
    6
    13

    Modern Family

    Ed O'Neill, Sofía Vergara

    Premiered2009

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Mockumentary, Family, Comedy, Family Film

    Animal: Stella, played by Brigitte.

  • 23
    The Littlest Hobo

    Animal: Hobo, played by London.

  • 24
    Mad About You
    2
    10

    Mad About You

    Paul Reiser, Helen Hunt

    Premiered1992

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Animal: Murray, played by Maui. 

  • 25
    Scrubs
    2
    21

    Scrubs

    Zach Braff, Donald Faison

    Premiered2001

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Medical drama

    Animal: Rowdy, played by a taxidermied labrador retriever dog.