How To Get A Pet Dog In Skyrim

by Matt Miller on Nov 24, 2011 at 11:00 AM

A wife or husband is all well and good, but sometimes you just want the unwavering affection of a canine companion. Skyrim includes a number of wild wolves and foxes, but you have to know just where to look if you want to find one of the hardy and loyal domesticated dogs of the region. We’ll show you the different places you can find a dog, and how to make him into a permanent pet in whatever place you call home.

Apologies in advance for the camera-captured screenshots.

If you plan to keep your dog for the rest of the game, start out by purchasing a house. The easiest and earliest option for most players will be Breezehome in Whiterun. You’ll need to have completed the early part of the main story quest that occurs in Whiterun before the house becomes available, after which you can purchase the abode from Proventus Avenicci, the Jarl’s steward. The house costs 5,000 gold, and you’ll be looking at several hundred more gold to decorate the interior.

Alternately, acquire any other home in the game.

Next, it’s time to pick out your dog. There are three options, but only two of them are regularly available.

The first (and our favorite) option is Meeko. Meeko the dog lives at a place called Meeko’s Shack. You can find the little cabin west of Morthall and south of Solitude, as marked on the map above. Inside the cabin you’ll find a dead Nord, who looks to have died peacefully in his sleep. Unfortunately, he’s left behind a loyal dog named Meeko who now has no master. Meeko will regularly sit and wait by his former master’s bedside, but occasionally will run around in the nearby forest. If he isn’t present when you arrive, just use the wait system for an hour or two, and he should show back up. Talk to Meeko, and he’ll happily accept you as his new human friend.

If the story of Meeko is just too heartrending for you to handle, you should head over to Markarth Stables, marked on the map below. There you’ll find a man named Banning willing to sell you a war dog named Vigilance for 500 gold.

Your third option is less of a sure thing, and you’ll just have to wait for it to happen. Various events in the world will include a character named Stray Dog. In one instance, we ran across a Stray Dog fighting a pair of wolves. If you help out and the dog survives, you can talk to the dog to make him a follower. In another instance, a Stray Dog joined in to help with a dragon attack, and we had him join us after the dragon was dead.

No matter how you get your dog, you now have a choice. You can keep your dog like any other follower in the game, and he will fight at your side until he either dies or you tell him to leave.

Instead, if you’d like to keep your dog as a permanent pet, travel (or fast travel) with your new canine back to your owned house. Enter the house, pick a comfortable spot for your dog to hang out, and ask him to wait there.

Your dog will stay in your house and wait for you for a time, but you’ll eventually get a message that your dog has gone home. However, because you’ve given him a nice warm place to stay (and because we don’t think he can open doors) he’ll consider your house his new home. From then on, when you return to the house, your dog will be waiting for you when you arrive. We tested this option of acquiring your dog as a permanent pet multiple times, and in every instance, the dog would remain in the house no matter how long you were away from home.

Don’t worry. We’re confident that your housecarl feeds him on a regular basis.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Having your dog wait for you at home can regularly result in a bug where you can’t interact with the dog anymore. He’ll remain in the same area of your house where you last told him to wait. This shouldn’t be a problem, but you should make sure and have him wait in a place where he won’t be in your way when you’re passing through.