I'm an aspiring writer with a strong interest in history, fantasy, science fiction, and "Pokémon."
For many Pokémon fans, each generation unleashes a new crew of monsters of various designs. Some are clearly inspired by certain animals or mythical beasts (or, for that matter, everyday objects), whereas others have left fans scratching their heads and debating what they most resemble. After writing my previous article, Cats of the Pokémon Series, it only seemed fair to give the dogs a chance in the spotlight!
As with the cats, some of these dogs are definitely confirmed to be canines, but some are much more uncertain. I've therefore compiled a list of Pokémon either officially confirmed to be dog-like, or with very strong canine features. Many of these are up to fans to debate!
I have not included any fox Pokémon—not only because foxes, though they belong to the Canidae mammal grouping along with dogs, are not immediate relatives of dogs, and are properly vulpines, not canines, but because including them here would make the list really long. The fox Pokémon could have their own list altogether! For those interested, though, check out Vulpix, Eevee, Zorua, Fennekin, and many, many more.
Growlithe (#58) and Arcanine (#59)
This Generation I duo makes up the first dogs in the Pokémon series—the untrained eye might think them of some relation to a tiger, given their black stripes on their striking orange fur, but they are confirmed dogs and look it, too. They are both fire types and fairly offensively strong.
Growlithe appears as a puppy, with a name combining the words "growl" and "lithe." It won't evolve unless exposed to a fire stone, at which it becomes the beautiful Arcanine. Arcanine, whose name cleverly combines "arcane" and "canine," is actually listed in the Pokédex as a "Legendary" Pokémon, though it should not be confused with the rare and mythical Pokémon more commonly referred to as "Legendary."
Interestingly, Growlithe's gender ratio is skewed strongly toward masculinity, with a 75% rate of males and only a 25% rate of females, which can make breeding it difficult without the help of a Ditto.
Snubbull (#209) and Granbull (#210)
If pink, clown-like bipedal bulldogs are your thing, fear not, there is a Pokémon for you. Snubbull is a Generation II Pokémon, though was one of the very first revealed for its cameo in Pikachu's Vacation, the first Pikachu short film before the very first Pokémon movie, Mewtwo Strikes Back.
Its cuteness, I suppose, is a matter of opinion, with its gaping bulldog-like underbite, polka-dot dress, and perpetual glare, but its Pokédex data frequently states that despite its scary appearance, it is friendly and affectionate, and assures us that many women find it cute. Train Snubbull to level 23, and you'll get a Granbull. Though it retains its pink color, it loses the dress and gains a more ferocious appearance, with longer teeth and wider jaw—but its personality is apparently quite timid.
Opposite of Growlithe and Arcanine, the gender ratio of Snubbull and Granbul is skewed 75% female. Both Snubbull and Granbull were Normal type Pokémon until Generation VI, which designated them as members of the brand new Fairy type.
Houndour (#228) and Houndoom (#229)
These Generation II dogs, whose names come right from the word "hound," are also Fire types, but additionally are members of the then-debuted Dark family. Don't they look it, too—Houndour's Japanese name was literally "Devil" and Houndoom's was "Hellgar," and seem to play on mythological associations of dogs and the underworld, such as the legends of Cerberus.
For those who prefer something a little more badass looking, this duo ranks among the best in the entire series. Houndour, with its skull and bone-like design, is said to live in packs. By level 24, it will evolve into Houndoom, growing a pair of horns and a devil-like tail. Generation VI, which introduced the concept of Mega Stones that allow for temporary, in-battle bonus evolutions, allow Houndoom to become Mega Houndoom, an even more terrifying hell-hound. It also makes Houndoom quite a competitive Pokémon, even in the latest generations.
After the scary badassness of Houndour and its brethren, let's take a step back again into more dopey dogs. Smeargle is a beagle-like Normal Pokémon, with its tongue lolling out of its mouth and a paintbrush-like tail. This tail is perhaps what makes Smeargle a memorable and well-discussed Pokémon, even though it has been around since Generation II. It gives Smeargle the iconic move Sketch, which teaches Smeargle whatever move its opponent last used.
It isn't a Ditto, which resets back at the end of the battle—it retains these moves. This means Smeargle can learn virtually any move legitimately. Though it itself is not a very strong Pokémon, what makes it useful is that, when bred, it can pass some of the moves it has learned to its offspring, creating the potential for various Egg Moves within its group that might be otherwise difficult to obtain. Its name is probably a combination of "smear" (referencing painting) and "beagle."
As a Legendary Pokémon in Generation II, Suicune is a member of the "Legendary Beast" trio, as they are popularly referred. In fact, this trio is often referred to as either the "Legendary Dogs" or the "Legendary Cats," depending on who you ask (and trust me, it is very easy to see either cat or dog-like qualities in all three of them!) In my Cats of the Pokémon Series article, I listed another member, Raikou, as a possible feline, as it has the distinct appearance of a saber-tooth tiger.
For the sake of fairness, I'll mention here the member I think most resembles something canine, which is the possibly wolf-inspired Suicune. Suicune is a Water type Pokémon, and the mascot of the Pokémon Crystal game. Being a Legendary, the Pokémon universe assigns it various mythical elements, such as the ability to purify and walk on water. Its name uses the Japanese words for water, sui (水) and ruler, kun (君).
Poochyena (#261) and Mightyena (#262)
A hyena alone might not qualify as dog Pokémon, but not many would debate the canine cred of this guy. Generation III introduced Poochyena, another Dark type puppy. Its name comes from "pooch," referencing dogs, and "hyena." Its grey fur, yellow eyes, and rough appearance don't make it look particularly friendly, and its Pokédex data confirms that it is the bite first, ask questions later type.
At level 18, Poochyena salutes Darwin and takes its evolutionary journey to Mightyena. Its fur is longer, and it gains a more striped, even elegant appearance, though it certainly looks just as threatening. Though ferocious, the Pokédex assures us that it will never disobey a skilled trainer.
Electrike (#309) and Manectric (#310)
Fire and Dark types, move over, we've finally got an Electric canine! Generation III contained Electrike, a rather stubby-legged pooch with green fur and a hard, elongated head with a yellow blaze. Its name probably comes from the words "Electric" and "Strike." According to the Pokédex, it stores static electricity in all of that fur and can literally supercharge its leg muscles for speed.
At level 26, it becomes Manectric, gaining height, blue fur, and a tall yellow helmet of spiky fur... at least, I think it's fur. That mane of hair is probably where it gets its name: "mane" and "electric." It is said to make its nest wherever lightning strikes. Generation VI gave Manectric a boost by letting it Mega Evolve. Mega Manectric has almost been engulfed in spiky yellow fur and has a longer, more wolf-like body.
Riolu (#447) and Lucario (#448)
This very popular duo joined the Pokémon series in Generation IV. They are Fighting type Pokémon, making them the first of the type in the canine family. Riolu is a small, bipedal dog-like creature with blue fur and a black mask-like design on its face. On the side of its face, it has what appears to be two long, floppy dog ears, though as it also has small pointed ears on the top of its head, I'm going to assume its hearing is excellent.
Riolu will only evolve to the jackal-like Lucario if it has developed a high friendship with you. Lucario is immensely popular and even made a Super Smash Bros appearance as a playable character, and was featured in the storyline of Pokémon X and Y versions—which also introduced Mega Lucario. Not only fighting, but Lucario is also Steel type and apparently has the ability to read and manipulate auras.
The etymology of the duo's names is a little uncertain. Riolu seems to come from Lucario's name—the first syllable, "lu," is placed at the end of "rio," with the rest cut. Lucario's Anubis-like design might mean part of his name comes from "Cairo."
Lillipup (#506), Herdier (#507), and Stoutland (#508)
Debuting in Generation V, this group is Normal type. Lillipup is pure cuteness, looking like a Yorkshire terrier with a super fluffy face (that apparently gives it radar abilities... the Pokédex's words, not mine!). At level 16, it becomes Herdier, who looks rather more dignified with his dark cloak and beard-like facial hair. Its name probably comes from "herd" and "terrier," which surprises no one.
It won't become Stoutland until level 32, at which point its face-hair flies behind it freely like a scarf, and its poofy dark-furred body encompasses its little brown limbs. It is certainly "stout," as the name implies.
You've been begging for a poodle-like Pokémon whom you could give haircuts to and customize the appearance of, and Generation VI finally gave in! The world of Kalos, which as a distinctly French feel, introduces fashion and customizable appearances for your own human character, so it feels somewhat appropriate that the fluffy Furfrou can be given haircuts in the swanky Paris-like capital city.
Though "haircuts" have been around since the second generation as a way to increase friendship with your Pokémon, for Furfrou, it changes its actual appearance and sprite, with nine different color and style variations—but after about five days, Furfrou's hair will grow out and it will return to its default look. Its name comes from fur (obviously) and frou-frou, a fitting phrase meaning "excessively fancy."
What Do You Think?
Just as I mentioned in the article about the cats, many Pokémon are very ambiguous-looking mammals. Some have physical features that greatly resemble dogs, or cats, or other animals. This leads to a lot of fan discussion on what exactly certain Pokémon are and allows some fans to see dogs in certain Pokémon even where others don't.
The group of "maybes" is long. I already mentioned why I did not include foxes on this list, though many dog-lovers are certainly happy to rank them among the canines for being close enough. In researching what other fans thought as I was writing this article, some of the most popular suggestions for dogs included Absol (who I actually put on my cat list), the "Legendary Beasts" (even Raikou, who I thought was definitely a cat, but especially Entei, who looks like a lion to some, a mastiff dog to others) and the "Sky Forme" of Shaymin. The list of evolutions of the fox-like Eevee is also ambiguous—I listed its psychic form Espeon as a cat, though several of the other forms have certain canine qualities.
Do you think any other Pokémon should be on this list? Tell me in the comments!
Keira the pokemon lover on September 05, 2020:
I love ROCKRUFF because its cute
Ash on August 24, 2020:
This article was made in August of 2015... Sun and Moon came out in 2016 and Sword and Shield obviously later.. so yeah, that’s why there is no Rockruff or Yamper lines. Also I can’t wrap my head around Riolu and Lucario being dog Pokémon.
Ninetails on August 04, 2020:
i love ninetails and arcanine
Hello on July 21, 2020:
For those who are saying “yamper got left out” or “where’s Lycanroc and rockruff”. This article was probably posted before Pokémon sun/moon and sword/shield came out, just saying
Rishona on July 20, 2020:
Houndour is the best of em' all!, I would love if it was a choice in the starter Pokemon.
YamperDoggopokekid! on June 08, 2020:
What about YAMPER??!!!
tycoon on June 04, 2020:
What about Lycanroc?
Dylarceus on June 04, 2020:
Aww, Rockruff is the cutest!
Ozzie Bennett on June 04, 2020:
This defenetly doesn't have all the dogs, what happened to Entei and Raikou or Lycanrock
protoborg on May 30, 2020:
You left out several from the current generation; Zigzagoon, for example.
Thievul and Nickit (?)
Those just some of the pokemon you left out. As I haven't seen many in the region, there may be others to add tot he list.
SpeedyYamper222 on May 29, 2020:
??? on May 16, 2020:
growlithe is the cutest
Icey WOF on May 12, 2020:
boltudd? anyone? no? okAy ;-;
Ndog Pokerox on May 09, 2020:
Why isn’t rockruff and Lycanroc on here?
Emma on April 28, 2020:
I like boltund
Caitlin on March 23, 2020:
Lycanroc dusk is my fav pokemon.and i also like rockruff.and i like zamazenta and zaician.
hello on March 11, 2020:
i like rockruff
Hi on February 21, 2020:
There is a dog pokemon names Rockruff and Lycanroc......Lol
Ananamyse on January 08, 2020:
Lycanroc Midday Form
landon on January 08, 2020:
you could add lycanroc midnight form
N/A on December 21, 2019:
Other because you didn’t add Suicune to the poll
dad on December 11, 2019:
whyubullinmeh on December 09, 2019:
Yamper, Lucario and Lycanroc for the win!
J on December 07, 2019:
Yamper and Bolthund are my new fave
dhfcgfhgfhgfhgfhtdghfhfgjhgjhgjgfugfgfuyfuygiygjgvjgvugfytfyfcyfcyrcyrcyfvygvjgvvgu on December 07, 2019:
Don’t forget Rockruff!
William on November 09, 2019:
My favorite dog Pokemon is Yamper
random peppl on August 31, 2019:
Lycanrock any form is a wolf so well probs not however many of these dogs are naturally wild like mightyena, but rockruff should guaranteed be here...
JD on August 01, 2019:
What happened to rockruff and lycanroc
Where is rockruff? on July 28, 2019:
WHERE IS ROCKRUFF YALL! IN A HIDDEN WORLD?????
Chilil on July 15, 2019:
Zoua is a fox
Dragonartist on June 28, 2019:
Manectric is here
Anobody on June 16, 2019:
Manectric is a dog, he deserves to be here too.
LIkenrock on May 19, 2019:
Likenrock isn't in here
Chronos on May 03, 2019:
is zorua a cat or dog
Matthew Covarrubias on March 04, 2019:
I think lycanroc is the best
lolol on February 01, 2019:
Rockruff isn't there. '0'
Nightfury on January 26, 2019:
I love likenrock dusk form the most.
DracoWolfy on January 07, 2019:
Why not add Rockruff its basically the growlithe of alola, along with Lycanroc Midday and Dusk forms not Midnight tho bc that form is based on a werewolf not a dog or dog-like creature (such as wolves cyotes, and jackals)
Bob on December 08, 2018:
Where’s Rockruff and Lycanroc?
Shiny_Umbreon_Man on November 18, 2018:
actually eevee is both a mixture a fox and a cat thats why some of the evolutions look like a cat and others look like a fox
Eevee is a fox on October 21, 2018:
eevee and vulpix are not dog pokemon please theyre foxes
me on October 11, 2018:
hey your mom, are you saying that cats aren't intelligent?
Jack on September 19, 2018:
Duff Man on August 29, 2018:
Smeargle is the best, since it can copy abilities.
your mom on August 18, 2018:
Absol is a dog like pokemon I would say. It is very intelligent, and it warns people of disaster. A cat would never do that. Although it has a feline face, it really isn't that clear. It could easily be a short snouted dog. Also, if you look at its feet, you can see that it's foot is more dog like. Also, if you look at the mane, you can see that it doesn't loop all the way around like a lion's. Last of all, the tail. It doesn't have that irritating long tail of a cat. It's very straight, and has a nice angle.
Cats3 on August 08, 2018:
Lycanroc Dusk form and Lucario and Hounddoom.
Red on July 22, 2018:
Growlithe looks like a dog but Arcanine looks like a Tiger. I would have voted for Ninetales but had to choose Lucario.
sdafrfgfedsg on July 13, 2018:
LUCARIO IS OBVIOUSLY THE BEST COME ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sapphire on July 10, 2018:
Lycanroc are my fav dog type (Midday form)
Silveral on May 31, 2018:
Awnser on May 05, 2018:
Lyanroc or rockruff
WildDoge77 on April 30, 2018:
You forgot rockruff and Lycanroc! My fav. pokemon!
REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeVEE on April 16, 2018:
Funtime foxy on April 06, 2018:
DUDE SHINX IS A CAT
Gray Mudkip on April 04, 2018:
Aren't Shinx, Luxio, and Luxray dogs? They act like dogs more and, in my opinion, have more dog-like features.
Oaksplash on March 30, 2018:
Rioul is 50% Cat and 50% Percent dogg
King on March 16, 2018:
Go lucario we all kings me lucario and that it
TirusR on March 08, 2018:
I love how people are making comments about Rockruff when this article is almost 3 years old, a year before sun and moon came out.
atharv on March 06, 2018:
Beazt on March 06, 2018:
Bb bell on February 28, 2018:
I love pokemon
Donttouchmyfood on February 26, 2018:
Absol is technically a dog Pokémon. Don’t get why people think it’s feline.
??? on February 20, 2018:
Is Absol not a dog?
??? on February 15, 2018:
Zygarde 10%, or Lycanroc/Rockruff.
??? on February 05, 2018:
Amazed at how many people don't realize that Smeargle's name literally comes from 'smear' and 'beagle'...
Tyler on January 26, 2018:
You forgot to include Rockruff
?? on January 14, 2018:
Yeah, Rockruff is awesome. I evolved mine to DUSK FORM Lycanroc and am training two others to become Day and Midnight Forms, but Dusk is the best! (Wait, Zygarde10% is a dog?!)
pufflepuff89 on January 08, 2018:
I like how all the people who don't realize this was made before gen 7 are calling for rockruff, but not for zygarde 10%. Did you forget about him?
ISuck on January 07, 2018:
smeargle is more goat-like
Absol Best Pokemon on January 04, 2018:
Absol is also a canine based heavily on a mythical wolf though some say it is more feline
Riolu and Lucario on January 02, 2018:
Those "floppy things" a Riolu and Lucario has aren't ears but are called Aura Sensors.
Eevee Lover on December 16, 2017:
Eevee is a huge mixture of animals. A fox, a cat, a tanuki, and I think one other but I forget...
Eevee Is Technically a Dog on December 16, 2017:
EEVEE IS MY FAVORITE.
Little cute ANGRY PERSON on December 03, 2017:
This was probably made BEFORE sun and moon, you people stupidly calling for him
waffle on November 09, 2017:
rockruff where u be at m8?
moon moon on November 01, 2017:
i wish they would make a wolf pokemon
lyncaroc lover34 on October 26, 2017:
WHERE IS LYNCAROC
Damn on October 08, 2017:
Don't y'all get this was made before gen 7?
Jimmothy on October 02, 2017:
Unicorn on September 02, 2017:
Rock ruff were are u ?
Jayvee on August 30, 2017:
How about Rockruff
Dogside on August 29, 2017:
Lucario and Riolu are my favorite's
Jadewolf on August 24, 2017:
Poochyean is so cute
Rachael on August 17, 2017:
Lillipup is the cutest!
Pink ninja on August 10, 2017:
I love lily pup
Random on August 10, 2017:
Espeon isn't just a cat. It has traits of caracals, sphynx cats, lynxes, and due to its large ears, fennec foxes. Eevee is a fox and it cant envolve into just a cat.
Diamond on August 07, 2017:
You forgot rockruff !!!!!!!!
Dante on August 04, 2017:
Eevee is a dog Pokémon definitely!
mudkip on July 31, 2017:
Luna on July 28, 2017:
My fav dog poké is rockruff and lycanroc from sun/moon
Sasha on July 26, 2017:
kelly brown on July 05, 2017:
oh pokemon are so cute well not the rock or ground pokemon
john on June 26, 2017:
I loved this, I did it so I can name my dog!
White Fang12 on June 25, 2017:
Umbreon, Rockruff and Lycanroc
Hayley on June 20, 2017:
Just a note for some of these replies... Absol is based off Bai Ze which is considered bovine and feline, it also represents the superstition of Black cats, Luxray and its evolution line are felines, they're based off Lynx. You need to add some gen 7 like Rockruff and I think most of the Eeveelutions should be included since they're fox-like with the exception of Espeon who is based off a Cat Goblin. Nice list, I'm making some theme teams
MeepMorp on June 11, 2017:
Mine are Rockruff and the two forms of Lycanroc
Zeppy on June 05, 2017:
idk how smeargle is a dog but? ok. also u forgot absol what in the heck,
Dominick on May 22, 2017:
Eevee and the Eeveelutions are all foxes. Fennekin and family are foxes, as are Vulpix and Ninetails. Smeargle is a beagle, as the name implies. Zorua and Zoroark are also foxes. Oddly enough, Swirlix and Slurpuff are based on a bichon frise. And, from the new Sun and Moon, Rockruff and its evolutions are wolves.
Source for Slurpuff and Swirlix
elijah gillingham on May 18, 2017:
i think riolu and lucario are top number one of the dogs of pokemon
Kelsey Shay on May 04, 2017:
What about Eevee? It's a puppy pokemon.