Man’s Best Friend: Gaming's Top Canines

by Louis Garcia on Feb 12, 2013 at 09:25 AM

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. 

Peter Puppy – Earthworm Jim 

You don’t want to make Peter Puppy angry; you wouldn’t like Peter Puppy when he’s angry. Well, you wouldn’t like him if he were hurt or scared, either. Normally a purple, tiny puppy, Peter turns into a hulking monster when threatened.

Link’s wolf form – The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

We all know Midna is the star of the show in Twilight Princess. So when Link turns into a wolf when pulled into the Twilight Realm, becoming a deadlier character than he was at the beginning of his journey, he becomes an even cooler sidekick than before. Thankfully he has Midna to ride him – err, guide him – to his destinations. What are a few fleas if you can have fangs? 

Laughing dog – Duck Hunt 

The Duck Hunt dog is rude. Miss a passing duck and he snickers at you with the smuggest face, but he serves you well by fetching the fowl when successfully blasted from the sky. 

Koromaru – Persona 3 

Koromaru is of the Shiba Inu breed which means two things: he’s part of one of the few ancient dog breeds around, and he was bred for hunting. This comes in handy when the world is full of deadly enemies known as Shadows. A natural fighter, Koromaru is unique on this list thanks to his love of “The True Battles of Real Men” TV show. Yes, he watches TV, and even begs you to buy him the show’s box set. 

Shadow – Dead to Rights

Dead to Rights was an average third-person shooter, but it had something going for it: Shadow. The Malamute could be summoned to take down enemies, doing so with a ferociousness usually reserved for mother bears protecting their cubs. Though ruthless in going straight for his adversary’s jugular, Shadow is a loyal dog, risking his life to save his partner, the game’s protagonist, from certain death. 

Pomeranian – Tokyo Jungle

If you think a dog is only a real dog if it can kill you, you’d be wrong. Tokyo Jungle features an array of cute, cuddly, scary, and deadly animals – but none are as important as the Pomeranian. Able to fit into cups, this dog traverses Tokyo with aplomb, battling fat cats on his way to uncovering the game’s story. 

What canines do you think deserve a place on this list? Let me know in the comments!