Dogs are the closest we can get to Pokémon in real life. They’re lifelong companions meant to support you. They can even attack on command with the proper training. The Pokémon series is home to many canine-like creatures to serve as your battle companions. We honor our favorites from the first generation to the newest releases on Nintendo Switch. Here’s our list of the best dog Pokémon.
Note: This list will include Pokémon based on domesticated dog breeds, not other dog-adjacent animals like foxes and wolves.
Houndoom Is the Coolest Devil Dog
Houndoom is hands down one of the coolest-designed Pokémon there is. It’s covered in bones and has a devil’s tail and horns. In addition, it has a similar body shape to a Doberman Pinscher. Perhaps the zombified Pinschers in Resident Evil inspired Houndoom’s design. Not to mention it has one of the best names in Pokémon.
They travel in packs, and the one with the sharpest horns pointing backward is the leader. It’s a well-respected predator in the wild.
Suicune Is a Majestic Pokémon From Gen Ii
Suicine has the most canine-looking face of Generation II’s three roaming dog Pokémon. Its majestic design is fitting as a legendary Pokémon. It resembles a mythical creature from an old fairy tale that a hero would ride. A giant crown-like structure sits atop its head while its purple mane reminisces an aurora borealis.
It can purify any waters it touches. It’s said to embody the compassion of a pure spring of water.
One of the Most Recognizable Pokémon Is Lucario
Not many dog Pokémon are as recognizable as Lucario. As one of the best dog Pokémon, it evolves after fostering a friendship with a Riolu. Its design is largely based on Anubis, an Egyptian deity with the head of a jackal or golden wolf. The appendages on its head can read and manipulate aura, a type of life force that only Lucario can detect.
Lucario has appeared as a playable fighter in Pokken Tournament and the Super Smash Bros. series.
Arcanine, a Fan Favorite and One of the Best Dog Pokémon
Arcanine is a fan favorite from Generation I. It resembles the shisa, a dog-lion hybrid creature from Okinawa mythology.
According to Pokédex entries, the source of Arcanine’s power is a flame blazing wildly inside its body. It will stash food inside its mane to bring to its young.
Manectric’s Design Is Inspired by Jumper Cables
Everything about Manectric’s design is electric. It has jagged edges like electricity is often visualized as having. Its snout looks like crocodile clips, a tool used for connecting electricity.
Manectric gathers electricity in its mane and discharges it to attack foes. It’s believed to make nests wherever lightning has been struck.
Zacian Is Ready To Play Fetch
It would be a crime not to include the only dog Pokémon holding a sword in its mouth. Legendary Pokémon Zacian looks like a canine companion holding a stick for fetch. It has armor-like fur akin to a royal knight.
Wolves were an important symbol for British noble families during the Middle Ages. That could be one reason why Zacian was the mascot for Pokémon Sword, a game whose region is based in Great Britain.
Corgis Show Up in the Pokémon World as Yamper
It’s not hard to figure out what Yamper is modeled after. It pays homage to the Welsh corgi, a breed of dog that Queen Elizabeth II was known for owning during her reign. As corgis do in real life, Yamper are used to herd the sheep-like Pokémon Wooloo in the Galar region.
Yamper has an organ that helps it produce electricity from the base of its tail. Small sparks emanate from that base as it can’t store that electricity. In the games, its Ball Fetch ability allows it to pick up Poké Balls thrown during an encounter, just like a good boy.
Everything About Dachsbun Is a Play on Words
Dachsbun is a purebred and pure bread dog Pokémon. Its glutenous body parts have characteristics of pretzels, buns, and brioche. It has darker colors than its previous evolution Fidough, which could be a reference to the chemical reaction that causes dough to brown. In addition, its skin will harden when exposed to heat.
Its Pokédex entries from Pokémon Scarlet and Violet state its body has an appetizing aroma, which begs the moral question: Do people eat Dachsbun?
Herdier Is One of the Best Dog Pokémon
Herdier is the most proper and sophisticated entry on this list of best dog Pokémon. Its name comes from the words “herd” and “terrier,” the breed of dog it’s based on. It’s called the “Loyal Dog” Pokémon, and it’s precisely that. It shows its loyalty to its trainer by helping them raise other Pokémon. It won’t obey anyone who disrespects it.
Some Poké historians have theorized it was the first Pokémon to partner with a human based on old cave drawings. According to Bulbapedia, Herdier is the favorite Pokémon of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet art director Mana Ibe.
One of the Most Interesting ‘Mons Is Zygarde (10% Forme)
Zygarde is an interesting Pokémon introduced in the sixth generation of games. It can be changed into multiple forms based on the percentage of its cores and cells gathered together.
The best boy Zygarde form is created when its core combines with only 10 percent of its total Zygarde cells. While in this form, it’s skilled at close-range combat and can run faster than 60mph.
Smeargle Is a Good Boy Who Loves to Paint
While being one of the best dog Pokémon, Smeargle is also one of the most unique. Its sketch ability lets it learn the moves of other Pokémon it faces in battle.
It’s the only dog on this list with floppy ears, as its design and name are based on a beagle. Smeargle’s paintbrush-shaped tail and beret are signs that it’s a student of the arts. It uses fluid from its tale to create works of art that fanatics will pay big money for in the Pokémon world.
While the main list included Pokémon that resemble domesticated dog breeds, a few dog-adjacent creatures in the Pokémon universe still deserve recognition. In other words, here are the best fox and wolf Pokémon.
Lycanroc Has Multiple Forms Based on the Time of Day
Depending on what time of day dog Pokémon Rockruff levels up, it will evolve into some variation of Lycanroc. The midday and dusk forms look like traditional wolves with slight differences in their fur tufts and coloring. The midnight form takes on a bipedal stature and is inspired by a werewolf. The different forms likely reference Okuri-inu, a creature that could switch between a protective and aggressive nature.
One Pokédex entry says the midnight form is the most troublesome to raise.
Ninetales (Alolan) Draws Inspiration From Japanese Folklore
Ninetales is largely based on the kitsune in Japanese folklore. They are said to have many tales and supernatural powers. Alolan Ninetales came to be when Vulpix adapted their evolutionary line to the frigid temperatures of the Alola region. Like the original Ninetales, it evolves from Vulpix after exposure to an evolutionary stone.
Ninetales has a design you’d see in the pages of a fairytale book. It’s covered in whiteish fur like an arctic fox. That fur can produce ice crystals used to defend itself or attack enemies.
Vulpix Is One of the Cutest Pokémon
Vulpix will no doubt make it on any list of the cutest Pokémon. It certainly has a design perfect for merchandising. But don’t let its cute appearance fool you. It can spit out and control fireballs.
It’s All About Witchcraft With Delphox
Delphox, the final evolution of starter Pokémon Fennekin, shares many characteristics with witches. For example, it holds a branch that resembles a magic wand, and its body is shaped like a witch’s robe. Its fire typing may even be a morbid reference to people in history who were burned alive due to the belief that they were witches.
Its fire and psychic powers allow it to trap enemies in a fire vortex reaching up to 5,400 degrees Fahrenheit. It can look into the flame that burns at the tip of its wand to see the future.
Zorua Is a Master of Illusion
Similarly to Vulpix and Ninetales, Zorua is based on the kitsune but even more so. Kitsune can shapeshift in Japanese folklore, and so does Zorua. Pokémon entries state it often turns into a child or other human variations to protect itself from danger. It may also change its shape to trick its foes, earning its aptly-named title of “Tricky Fox Pokémon.”
Dog Pokémon should serve as even more loyal companions than other Pokémon. They are the best form of furry partner and deserve all the treats and pets in the world.
What did you think of our list? Should we have included Snubble or Maschiff? Let us know in the comments.
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