Typically, man’s best friend adheres to a certain set of characteristics: fluffy fur, wagging tail, good sense of smell, and a distinct bark. In the video game world however, dogs have the ability to do a lot more than just roll over and play dead. While they aren’t exactly the same as our real-life companions, we love them all the same. Take a look at the top 15 video game dogs on the planet, including a mix of helpful canines, powerful wolves, and even dog-like gods.
Game(s): Yoshi Story, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, Tetris Attack
Description: Besides being one of the weirdest looking dogs in existence, Poochy is noteworthy as one of the most faithful dogs on this list. Running at top speeds, this tank of a dog traverses lava, spikes, and other hazardous terrain with Yoshi on his back. Not to mention acting as a canine boat, Poochy carries Yoshi across open channels of water and even sniffs out hidden treasure. I’m all for love but Yoshi better be paying because Poochy, just saying.
Game: Resident Evil 4
Description: Leon Kennedy has been through it all since the Raccoon City incident. Zombies, genetically modified monsters, parasites, and crazy bioterrorists are all part of a day’s work for the American cop turned secret service member. With all that he’s been through, a little help goes a long way. After being released from a bear trap by Kennedy, this lone wolf returned the favor by helping him best El Gigante, a colossal mutated giant. Though he doesn’t have a name or an owner, this mutt was definitely more helpful than the President’s daughter Ashley in just about every sense of the word.
Game: Red Dead Redemption
Description: Besides rounding up bandidos, capturing forts, and crossing the desolate landscape of the South West, one of the most entertaining activities in Red Dead Redemption would have to be hunting animals. As one of the four legendary animals, Lobo the Wolf, is the epitome of a fearsome predator. Sporting a solid black coat and glowing yellow eyes, besting Lobo is not for the faint of heart. Those that do challenge the king of the wolf kingdom are rewarded handsomely with sellable provisions and are one step closer to the Master Hunter Challenge. Not too shabby.
Game: Fallout series
Description: Dogmeat is one of the several possible companions able to join the Lone Wanderer in his/her journey across the Capital wasteland and definitely the cutest. While he doesn’t carry a giant minigun like Fawkes or wear power armor like Paladin Cross, this scrapyard pooch has all he needs to take down mutated animals, bandits, and more. Not to mention he has a pretty awesome name.
Game: Duck Hunt
Description: Duck Hunt is one of the most iconic titles on the NES and for good reason. Perhaps the most recognized symbol of the fast-paced, aim-and-shoot game is none other than the laughing dog. This mischievous yet useful bloodhound tracks and retrieves the ducks successfully hit in the trial, but miss even one target, and that helpful little pooch quickly becomes the biggest jerk on the planet. Why do we love him even though he repeatedly laughs in our faces? Well, it’s rare to find such a mean-spirited animal and even rarer to have the opportunity to deliver swift payback. In bonus modes, all is fair game and players have the opportunity to aim and hit the dog rather than pursuing the prescribed targets. Though it ends the round, failure is a small price to pay for retribution.
Game: Black and White 2
Description: The typical dog ranges from pocket-size to a stature larger than an average man but none quite compare to the wolf in Black and White 2. Players assume the role of a god who can gain new followers peacefully by completing miracles or forcefully by leading armies in conquest. If every man’s best friend is a dog, than every god’s best friend is a giant, super powered wolf. This beast is massive in size, and has a multitude of powers including: shooting fireballs and lightning, healing the sick, helping to construct buildings, and even watering a village’s crops. He is truly a jack of all trades and definitely one of the most hard working entrants on this list.
Game: Final Fantasy VIII
Description: Sant’ Angelo di Roma or Angelo for short, is Rinoa’s longtime companion and battle buddy in Final Fantasy VIII. In a series that has an obsession with giant swords, gunblades, and ridiculously oversized weapons, it’s amazing that this Australian Shepherd lookalike can hold her own. Functioning as Rinoa’s limit break, Angelo can perform multiple “tricks” in battle. My dog knows how to sit and shake, Angelo knows how to rip a guys face off. Nice.
Game: Mega Man series
Description: Rush is Mega Man’s faithful robotic dog, created by Dr. Light to assist Mega Man in his travels. In simple terms, he is the Swiss army knife of the dog kingdom. Originally able to transform into a coil, a hoverboard, and a submarine; he was outfitted with even more gadgets allowing him to combine with Mega Man to from a super suit, the inclusion of a motorcycle transformation, and even healing abilities. One this is for sure, this robo pet is the only tool you’d ever need.
Game: Dead to Rights series
Description: There is something special about a dog that can not only assist you in combat, but one that can completely dominate, destroy, and wipe out the opposition. Shadow meets and exceeds expectations. In Dead to Rights: Retribution there is a very special achievement called Scrotality that showcases the extent of what Shadow can do. If the name isn’t enough of a hint, this achievement can be attained by performing a groin takedown with the powerful jaws of a trained attack dog. Ouch is an understatement, and a free pass for Shadow into the coolest dogs list.
Game: PaRappa the Rapper
Description: PaRappa isn’t your average dog. If being able to talk isn’t amazing enough, he possesses a lyrical flow unmatched by any other animal, even Donkey Kong’s DK Crew. Rocking a beanie, high top sneakers and of course a mic, Parappa proves that rapping is not exclusively a human art from.
Game: Tales of Vesperia
Description: Anyone who sports a giant scar, an eye patch, and a pipe sounds like one badass dude to me. Repede on the other hand is no man, he’s a dog, a badass tail-wagging super dog. Unlike many of the great video game dogs, Repede is not the picturesque representation of man’s best friend. Though loyal, he isn’t trusting of new people and rejects most who attempt to pet him. A friendly dog is overrated anyway.
Game: Fable series
Description: Every hero needs a sidekick. Why would you have a little boy wearing a green speedo and yellow cape (cough cough Robin) when you could have a fearless fido instead? This loyal hound even takes a bullet for the hero, saving his/her life near the end of the campaign. Players have three options after completing the game: massive amounts of wealth, reviving deceased villagers, or the choice to resurrect your fallen dog. For those that chose money, shame on you.
Game: Final Fantasy VII
Description: What is Red XIII? Some might visualize an orange tattooed wolf, while others picture a red-mane lion. Whatever species you choose to describe the creature, one thing is for certain, Red XIII (or Nanaki which is his real name) is in a league of his own. Possessing incredible longevity, the 48 year old cat dog hybrid is only 15 or 16 years old by his species standards. Unfortunately for his tribe, Red is one of the last members of his kind. Despite the grim future of his species, he fights alongside Cloud and his allies to fulfill his duty to the Planet to defend it as a warrior.
Game: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Description: The renowned fairy boy clad in green has undergone a few transformations over the years, but none quite as drastic as the switch from two legs to four. Besides a new look, Link gains the ability to sprint at top speeds, talk to other animals, and follow scent trails across Hyrule. While he technically is the Twilight Princess’s personal canine chauffeur, Link still maintains the solitary charm of a hero, one that transcends species, human or dog.
Description: The beautiful white wolf with crimson markings, Amaterasu or Ammy for short, may look cute and cuddly, but she harbors a hidden power that most are unable to recognize. Amaterasu is the sun goddess to all of the land of Nippon. Through reincarnation, she inherited the plight of the people suffering at the hands of the evil Orochi. With the use of the celestial brush aka her tail, Ammy is able to battle hordes of demons using powers such as slicing bad guys in two, producing deadly fireballs, cherry bombs, tornados, and many other unique powers. She isn’t just a fighter, Ammy is a lover as well with some brush techniques reflecting the gentler side of a god’s repertoire: the ability to make the sun rise, fix broken objects, and even bring withering plants into bloom. Amaterasu is really the perfect dog; intelligent, loyal, strong, playful, hard working, and adorable, and for those reasons, she graces the number one spot as the best video game dog in existence.
Editor’s Note: I know some may not consider Red XIII a dog/wolf/canine but he has technically been referred to as such on multiple occasions throughout not only Final Fantasy 7, but the whole breadth of franchise installments: Final Fantasy VII, Advent Children and Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-. He’s an awesome character that I absolutely love so hey I threw him on the list with some other awesome video game pooches. One final note, I have a late entrant to the list, Ralph from Rampage!