When Mark (Dean Jones) and Fran's (Suzanne Pleshette) Dachshund has three puppies, the vet (Charlie Ruggles) suggests that the new mother also nurse a hungry Great Dane runt along with her own pups. The Great Dane thrives, and since Fran is obssessed with her Dachshund girls, Mark is thrilled to have a large, manly dog.
Mark names the Great Dane Brutus, and Brutus is generally a well-behaved dog, but he seems to believe he's a Dachshund like Mark and Fran's other dogs! Brutus's mistaken sense of identity is hard on the household furniture, and somehow Brutus always seems to be blamed for the Dachshunds' mischievous behavior. An exasperated Fran threatens to send Brutus to live with the vet, but eventually Brutus proves his worth, in surprising ways.
Dean Jones and Suzanne Pleshette are a compatible team who later worked together on Disney's BLACKBEARD'S GHOST (1968) and THE SHAGGY D.A. (1976). Their characters' constant conflict over their dogs gets a bit tiresome, but that's more a fault of the screenwriter than the actors; the plotline becomes quite repetitive. Jones and Pleshette do what they can to keep their characters appealing, despite continual bickering over their pets.
Charlie Ruggles is delightful as the veterinarian. Ruggles had a very long Hollywood career, beginning in silent films in the teens, and he was a veteran of the Disney films THE PARENT TRAP (1961), SON OF FLUBBER (1963), and FOLLOW ME, BOYS! (1966).
Charles Lane also has a good role as a dog show judge. Kelly Thordsen plays a local cop, with Mako playing a caterer.
This movie was directed by longtime Disney director Norman Tokar. Albert Aley's script was based on a book by G.B. Stern. It runs 93 minutes.
THE UGLY DACHSHUND is available in a very nice widescreen DVD, which can be rented from Netflix. It was previously released on VHS.
This movie is also available for streaming via Amazon Instant Video.
THE UGLY DACHSHUND is just middling Disney, but it's pleasant company thanks to the three lead actors.