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Ah, the story of A Boy And His Dog, what could be more wonderful? Why, making the dog a sports prodigy, of course!
Twelve-year-old Josh Framm is having to deal with moving to a new town, while mourning the death of his father. He meets Buddy, a golden retriever who has managed to escape his abusive owner, an alcoholic clown named Norman Snively. The pair become friends and eventually, Josh's mother allows the dog to stay. In the process, Josh discovers that Buddy can play basketball, and the pair end up joining the basketball team, with Buddy as the team's mascot. During a televised game, Snively sees Buddy's talent on the court and manages to get him back from the Framms. Josh, however, manages to rescue the dog, and the pair of them get back to the school, just in time for Buddy to win the game, by means of the Animal Athlete Loophole.
The Air Bud series began in 1997, when Air Bud premiered in theaters. It was an huge success and has spawned four direct sequels and a spin-off franchise in the form of the Air Buddies movies, which focus on Bud's puppies.
The Air Bud films each feature Buddy playing a different sport, and follow roughly the same pattern as the original movie: Buddy shows skill at a sport, he is then kidnapped because of his skill at said sport, his family rescues him, and he returns just in time to win the final match for his team.
The Air Buddies films focus on Buddy's puppies and are more family-oriented. These films have different foci and genres.
Air Bud movies:
- Air Bud (1997)
- Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998)
- Air Bud: World Pup (2000)
- Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch (2002)
- Air Bud: Spikes Back (2003)
For tropes specific to individual installments, visit their respective work pages.
- A Boy And His Dog
- Animal Athlete Loophole: In the originals, he often went on to play with a professional team.
- Animal Talk: Implemented in the Air Buddies movies.
- Continuity Reboot: The Air Buddies series.
- In World Pup, Buddy and his mate Molly have a set of puppies, who inherit his sports abilities. They receive a Plot-Relevant Age-Up for Seventh Inning Fetch, but are nowhere to be seen Spikes Back. Then, Air Buddies rolls around, and they're puppies again. Or it's a brand new set of puppies; it's never really clear.
- Also, the movies move from having merely Amplified Animals, to implementing Animal Talk in the Air Buddies series.
- Disney Dog Fight: The climax of the first movie.
- Down to the Last Play: Standard plot for the originals.
- Heroic Pet Story: The movie combines this genre with Sports Story. Instead of saving lives, the titular dog helps a basketball team win a game.
- Lego Genetics: Plays a significant role in Seventh Inning Fetch, as Buddy and his (grown) pups are kidnapped by a scientist who want to study the "Super-Sports gene" that they all possess.
- Let Him Choose: Invoked at the end of the first movie.
- Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Between World Pup and Seventh Inning Fetch, Buddy's kids grow from puppies to adult dogs, but considering that they're dogs and age faster than humans, this is a rare Justified example.
- Recycled in Space: Later sequels.
- Spin Offspring: The Air Buddies series.