Old Yeller was a children’s book adapted for the screen by Disney in 1957. The story is about a poor post-civil war family who is very poor. While tending to the livestock one day, the older son (Travis – played by Tommy Kirk) notices a stray dog. He tries to shoo the dog away but the younger son (Arliss – played by Kevin Corcoran) becomes quite attached to the dog. Their mother (Katie – played by Dorothy McGuire) reasons that they could use a good dog around the house. The dog was named “Old Yeller” (yellow) due to his yellowish color. He was played by a mixed breed (yellow lab / mastiff mix) adopted out of the Van Nuys Animal Shelter in Van Nuys, California by trainers Frank and Rudd Weatherwax named “Spike” (he wasn’t credited for the role). Spike also had an uncredited role in the 1957 fantasy-horror film, “The She-Creature”. In the book Old Yeller was a Black Mouth Cur.
In 1989 Tom Hanks starred in the film “Turner and Hooch” (starred by “Beasley the Dog”) where he is an overly neat (OCD?) police officer who ends up having to take care of a dog who may be a witness to a murder. “Hooch” was a Dogue de Bordeaux (a.k.a . French Mastiff). Of course this set sup the conflict between the overly neat human and his excessively messy and destructive canine companion.
They most likely used the Dogue de Bordeax for many reasons – it’s size, it’s dirty look, as well as its “slobberyness”.
Clint Rowe (also an animal (wolf) trainer for “Men In Black“, “The X-Files“, and “Dr. Dolittle 2“) is credited for being Hooch’s owner and Scott Rowe (who has also done work in “True Lies“, “Cats & Dogs“, “Star Trek Enterprise“, and “Beverly Hills Chihuahua“) was credited as being the animal trainer.