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The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals 

Ranker TV
Updated July 30, 2019 404 votes 60 voters 2.3k views 25 items

List Rules Vote 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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list ordered by
1
Wishbone is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
Wishbone Amy Acker, Melissa Archer, Shelley Duvall

Premiered: 1995

Genres (Tv): Children's television series

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

Wishbone is a half-hour children's television show that aired from 1995 to 1998 in the United States on PBS. The show's title character is a Jack Russell Terrier. Wishbone lives with his owner ...more
2
Mister Ed is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
Allan Lane, Alan Young, Connie Hines

Premiered: 1961

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Animal: Mister Ed, played by Bamboo Harvester. 

Mister Ed is an American television situation comedy produced by Filmways that first aired in syndication from January 5 to July 2, 1961, and then on CBS from October 1, 1961, to February 6, ...more
3
Lassie is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
June Lockhart, Andy Clyde, Pamelyn Ferdin

Premiered: 1954

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

Animal: Lassie, played by Pal.

Lassie is an American television series that follows the adventures of a female Rough Collie dog named Lassie and her companions, both human and animal. The show was the creation of producer ...more
4
Flipper is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
Luke Halpin, Tommy Norden, Brian Kelly

Premiered: 1964

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

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

Flipper, from Ivan Tors Films in association with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Television, is an American television program first broadcast on NBC from September 19, 1964, until April 15, 1967. Flipper, ...more
5
The Lone Ranger is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
Jay Silverheels, Clayton Moore, John Hart

Premiered: 1966

Genres (Tv): Western, Action/Adventure

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

The Lone Ranger is the central character of an American animated television series that ran 26 episodes on CBS from September 10, 1966, to September 6, 1969. The series was produced by Herb ...more
6
Green Acres is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
Eddie Albert, Eva Gabor, Tom Lester

Premiered: 1965

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Animal: Mignon, played by two different dogs. 

Green Acres is an American sitcom starring Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor as a couple who move from New York City to a rural country farm. Produced by Filmways as a sister show to Petticoat ...more
7
Sabrina, the Teenage Wit... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
Melissa Joan Hart, Caroline Rhea, Beth Broderick

Premiered: 1996

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

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

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch is an American sitcom based on the Archie comic book series of the same name. The show premiered on September 27, 1996, on ABC to over 17 million viewers in its ...more
8
The Addams Family is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
John Astin, Carolyn Jones, Ted Cassidy

Premiered: 1964

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

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

The Addams Family is an American television series based on the characters in Charles Addams' New Yorker cartoons. The 30-minute series was shot in black-and-white and aired for two seasons on ...more
9
Married... with Children... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
Ed O'Neill, Christina Applegate, Katey Sagal

Premiered: 1987

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

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

Married... with Children is an American sitcom that aired for 11 seasons. It featured a dysfunctional family living in a fictional Chicago suburb. The series, notable for being the first ...more
10
The Beverly Hillbillies ... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
Buddy Ebsen, Donna Douglas, Irene Ryan

Premiered: 1962

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Animal: Duke, played by Stretch. 

The Beverly Hillbillies is an American sitcom originally broadcast for nine seasons on CBS from September 26, 1962 to March 23, 1971, starring Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, and Max ...more
11
The Adventures of Rin Ti... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
Lee Aaker, James Brown, Rin Tin Tin II

Premiered: 1954

Genres (Tv): Drama, Children's television series

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

The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin is an American children's television program. Beginning in October 1954 until May 1959, 166 episodes originally aired on ABC television network. It starred child ...more
12
Frasier is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
Kelsey Grammer, Jane Leeves, David Hyde Pierce

Premiered: 1993

Genres (Tv): Sitcom

Animal: Eddie, played by Moose.

Frasier (NBC, 1993) is an American sitcom television series created by David Angell, Peter Casey, and David Lee, and a spinoff of Cheers. After his divorce, psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane ...more
13
Lost is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
Naveen Andrews, Emilie de Ravin, Matthew Fox Jorge Garcia

Premiered: 2004

Genres (Tv): Supernatural drama, Science fiction, Mystery

Animal: Bpo Bpo, played by a Shar Pei.

Lost (ABC, 2004) is an American drama television series created by Jeffrey Lieber, J. J. Abrams, and Damon Lindelof. After a horrific plane crash, a group of strangers are forced to work ...more
14
7th Heaven is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
Stephen Collins, Catherine Hicks, Jessica Biel

Premiered: 1996

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Drama

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

7th Heaven is an American family drama television series, created and produced by Brenda Hampton. The series premiered on August 26, 1996, on The WB, the first time that the network aired Monday ...more
15
Miami Vice is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas, Saundra Santiago

Premiered: 1984

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Police procedural, Drama

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

Miami Vice is an American television drama series created by Anthony Yerkovich and produced by Michael Mann for NBC. The series starred Don Johnson as James "Sonny" Crockett and Philip ...more
16
Dog With a Blog is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
G. Hannelius, Blake Michael, Francesca Capaldi

Premiered: 2012

Genres (Tv): Sitcom

Animal: Stan, played by Kuma von Clifford.

Dog with a Blog is an American television sitcom that premiered on Disney Channel on October 12, 2012. It stars G. Hannelius, Blake Michael, Francesca Capaldi, Stephen Full, Regan Burns, and ...more
17
Inspector Rex is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
Tobias Moretti, Karl Markovics, Gedeon Burkhard

Premiered: 1994

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

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

Kommissar Rex is a German-Austrian police procedural drama originally made in Austria and aired from 1994 to 2004. In 2008 the series was revived under Austrian-Italian production, and has since ...more
18
Gentle Ben is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
Burt Reynolds, Ron Howard, Clint Howard

Premiered: 1967

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

Animal: Ben, played by Bruno the Bear.

Gentle Ben was a 1967 TV series based on the book Gentle Ben by Walt Morey.
19
The Littlest Hobo is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals

Premiered: 1979

Genres (Tv): Melodrama, Children's television series

Animal: Hobo, played by London.

The Littlest Hobo is a Canadian television series based upon a 1958 American film of the same name directed by Charles R. Rondeau. The series first aired from 1963 to 1965 in syndication, and ...more
20
B. J. and the Bear is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
Greg Evigan, Eric Server, Linda McCullough

Premiered: 1979

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

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

B. J. and the Bear is an American comedy series which aired on NBC from 1979 to 1981. Created by Glen A. Larson and Christopher Crowe, the series stars Greg Evigan and Claude Akins. The theme ...more
21
Modern Family is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
Ed O'Neill, Sofía Vergara, Julie Bowen

Premiered: 2009

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

Animal: Stella, played by Brigitte.

Modern Family (ABC, 2009) is an American comedy television sitcom created by Francisco Bobadilla. Three different but related families face trials and tribulations in their own unique way from ...more
22
Annie Oakley is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
Gail Davis, Brad Johnson, Jimmy Hawkins

Premiered: 1954

Genres (Tv): Western, Drama

Animal: Target, the horse, played by Trigger.

Annie Oakley is an American Western television series that fictionalized the life of famous sharpshooter Annie Oakley. It ran from January 1954 to February 1957 in syndication, for a total of 81 ...more
23
Baretta is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
Robert Blake, Tom Ewell, Michael D. Roberts

Premiered: 1975

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

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

Baretta is an American detective television series which ran on ABC from 1975 to 1978. The show was a milder version of a successful 1973–74 ABC series, Toma, starring Tony Musante as ...more
24
Mad About You is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
Paul Reiser, Helen Hunt, John Pankow

Premiered: 1992

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Animal: Murray, played by Maui. 

Mad About You is an American sitcom that aired on NBC from September 23, 1992, to May 24, 1999. The show starred Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt as a newly married couple in New York City.
25
Scrubs is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Live-Action TV Shows Starring Animals
Zach Braff, Donald Faison, Sarah Chalke

Premiered: 2001

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Medical drama

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

Scrubs (NBC, 2001) is an American medical comedy-drama television series created by Bill Lawrence. In the unreal world of Sacred Heart Hospital, intern John "J.D." Dorian (Zach Braff) ...more