Truly, dog is man’s best friend. Is there any other kind of companion that can show up in a game that elicits more joy than one of the canine variety? Though sometimes they are enemies, like when infected by the T-Virus or behind the controls of the most horrifying town in America, most of the time they are lovable, huggable, and combat ready.
In honor of the Year of the Dog, the top 10 dogs in gaming will be counted down from good to goodest, ranked on their loyalty, capabilities, and huggable floofiness. And yes, wolves count. Things start off with a dog who is everyone’s best friend and coolest dog around.
#10: K.K. SLIDER from “ANIMAL CROSSING”
Though many different animals can set up shop and residence in the towns of Animal Crossing, there are none cooler than the king of acoustic groove, K.K. Slider. This white pup comes into town simply to play his jams for the happy folks.
The only reason he’s so low on this list is he doesn’t fit the usual mold for companion dog. He’s a free thinker, a wanderer, and somewhat of a loner. You might be able to get a hug out of him, but it’s doubtful he’d appreciate a pat on the head. He doesn’t do much for you, just comes by to play his music, but at least the music is smooth.
#9: WOLF LINK from “TWILIGHT PRINCESS”
Dark and fierce, Link’s wolf form is a force to be reckoned with, and one we wouldn’t mind playing as for the whole game, if it were designed as such. Though he’s not a companion to the player, he is a close friend of Midna, and if his wolf form is anything like his Hylian form, he’s loyal and courageous. Probably the most courageous dog on this list.
Sadly he doesn’t have the full dog mentality, as it is really just Link in a wolf’s body. Therefore, he likely wouldn’t take kindly to excessive petting and being told what a good boy he is. The villagers are also somewhat afraid of him, as he is a wolf after all, though we all know he wouldn’t hurt a fly (unless that fly was promised to drop some rupees or open up a locked door).
#8: DOGMEANT from “FALLOUT” series
This furry survivor shows up as far as back as the first Fallout game, and has appeared in each mainline title since. “Dogmeat” is a name shared across several canines, carrying with it the legend of a vault dweller’s best friend. It wasn’t until Fallout 4 that he was given a lot more abilities to work with, though most players opted to bring along companions of the bipedal variety.
As good as his intentions are, Dogmeat suffers from typical Bethesda game AI. More often than not, he gets himself into trouble and brings it right back to you, offering little in the way of solutions beside the occasional throat rip. He means well, but this dog needs a few more semesters at dog obedience school.
#7: NINTENDOG from “NINTENDOGS” series
Here’s a collection of pooches that are designed from the ground up to be as lifelike as the dog you saw in the window (the one with the waggily tail). You can pet ‘em, feed ‘em, care of ‘em, but sadly you don’t get the wet nose kisses and fluffy hugs of a real dog. Still, they’re pretty darn cute.
There are plenty of variety of doggies in the Nintendogs series, each just as lovable as the last. After playing games like Pokemon and Digimon, though, it’s hard not to want a little more out of your pet training than just some tricks and commands.
#6: FABLE DOG from “FABLE” series
Here’s a companion that was shoved in the face of the player from minute one of Fable II and III. Though forced upon you, much like Dogmeat, he’s no less lovable for it. He helps out in combat, finds treasure, and will even take a bullet for his master, whether that master deserves it or not.
There were plenty of times when the fabled pupper got in the way. Yes, I know there’s buried treasure there. No, I’m not going to stop to dig it up, because it’s probably just some tofu, and that’s gross. Let it go, dog!
#5: RUSH from “MEGAMAN” series
While other dogs help you fight, this dog helps its master reach new heights. With hoverboard, jump pad, and more functionalities, Rush is an indispensable member of the Megaman crew. Later one he would even be able to fuse with his blue master to offer up even greater power.
Though he doesn’t follow behind Megaman through his whole journey, he’s always available at Rock’s beck and call, ready to lend a paw, spring, submarine, or even jet to the mega-cause.
#4: AMATERASU from “OKAMI”
Sure she’s not technically a dog, or even technically a wolf, but we won’t hold that against her. Amaterasu is the Sun Goddess of Japan, and protector of its people. Brave and loyal, and not at all afraid to speak her mind, this ivory doggo is gorgeous, elegant, and extremely capable.
With her Celestial Brush to aid her, the people of Nippon couldn’t ask for a better protector than Amaterasu. She might not make the best companion dog, as she’s fiercely independent and on her own quest, the people she meets certainly enjoy her company, short lived though it may be.
#3: GROWLITHE from “POKEMON SERIES”
This spot came down to two choices, Growlithe and Stoutland. In the end, the winner was Growlithe, though as you can see by the cover, Stoutland was given his honorable mention. There are many different kinds of dog Pokemon in the Pokeworld, but none better fit the bill of “good boy” than Growlithe.
According to this Pokedex entries, Growlithe is loyal and brave, willing to take on opponents many times its size in the name of protecting its master. Catching one might be tough, as they are also incredibly territorial, and known to bite those who get too close. However, they would never attack their master.
#2: D-DOG from “METAL GEAR SOLID V”
More games should allow you to raise a dog from pupper to doggo. Like its master, D-Dog is missing an eye, but the eyepatch it gets makes it look so damn cool that the loss of depth perception is almost worth it.
D-Dog helps Snake out in many ways, from alerting him to enemies, distracting guards, and even pouncing on foes and tearing them apart. We’re just glad he’s on our side.
#1: SIF from “DARK SOULS”
There is no dog more loyal, and no master more deserving of said loyalty, than Sif, companion wolf to Abyss Walker Artorias. Protected by its master’s greatshield, Sif sadly lost Artorias during his last great quest. Even so, the great grey wolf keeps a silent vigil by his grave, guarding it from travelers who would disturb the soil.
By far the biggest dog on this list, Sif is also by far the most powerful, wielding her master’s sword in her mouth with as much skill as Artorias did with one hand. Players who play through the DLC before meeting Sif in the base game will get a special cutscene where she seems to recognize the hero who once showed her kindness, but she must still do combat with to protect her fallen master.
What did you think of the list? Are there any other video game dogs out there that you think should have made the cut? Please let us know in the comments section down below, and as always: thanks for reading!