People love dogs for many reasons: they’re cuddly, loyal, and protective. Video game canines run the gamut from lovable to ferocious, to alien and able to wield ninja kunai. Here’s our list of some of the best video game canines.

Blanca – Shadow Hearts: Covenant  

Without Blanca, Yuri and his entourage’s adventure would have ended prematurely in a dungeon. Luckily for Yuri – and for gamers looking for more than a game centered on rotting away in a dungeon – the snow-colored wolf is a powerful member of the group. Not only great in battle, this pooch utilizes Solid Snake levels of sneakiness to traverse a prison. 

Repede – Tales of Vesperia 

Health issues aside, it's hard to ignore the allure of a fancy pipe (just ask The Hobbit’s Gandalf). Put one in a blue dog’s mouth, and add a Harry Potter worthy scar across one side of his face, and watch as Vesperia's pooch oozes cool. He also equips ninja daggers, and ninjas are the ultimate warrior. 

Dog – Dragon Age: Origins

Dog, otherwise known as Barkspawn in The Darkspawn Chronicles downloadable content, is a Mabari war hound. Bred for war, insanely intelligent, and a faithful companion, Dog welcomes belly rubs as much as tearing out a Darkspawn throat. Dog is a full-fledged teammate, and many of his interactions with characters – especially dog-hating mage Morrigan – make for some of the funniest scenes in the game. 

Your dog – Fable II

Humans are limited in how they shape their furry friends. Some people like to dress their pooch up, but Fable II takes it one step further: Not only does your character’s appearance change as you mold his morality, but so does your lovable dog’s. Well, perhaps not so lovable if you’re running around smiting townsfolk. Then he becomes the stuff of nightmares. 

Dogmeat – Fallout series

Dogs have the title of man’s best friend for a reason, and Dogmeat, featured throughout the Fallout series, is the perfect example. Loyalty and fighting to the death are two things Dogmeat provides players during their trek through the wasteland. The only downside is, much like a real dog, Dogmeat won’t come back if defeated on your wasteland-trekking adventure.

Lupus – Jet Force Gemini

Lupus is an instrumental squad member. Able to hover and shoot lasers from a gun mounted onto the back of his spacefaring suit, this alien dog may be the toughest in the video game world.