Dogs of the Pokémon Series

Updated on August 9, 2015
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For many Pokémon fans, each generation unleashes a new crew of monsters of various designs. Some are clearly inspired from 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)

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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)

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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)

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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.

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Smeargle (#235)

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".

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Suicune (#245)

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 word for water, sui (水) and ruler, kun (君).

Poochyena (#261) and Mightyena (#262)

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A hyena alone might not qualify as dog Pokémon, but not many would debate the canine cred of this guy. Generation III introduce 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)

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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)

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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 black mask-like design on its face. On the side of its face, it has what appear 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 jackel-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, Lucario is Steel type as well, 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 syllabel, "lu", is place 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)

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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.

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Furfrou (#676)

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 distinct 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.

Favorite Dog Pokémon?

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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 as a lion to some, a mastiff dog to others) and the "Sky Forme" of Shaymin. The list of evolutions of the fox-like Eevee also are 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!

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Bob 

        4 days ago

        Where’s Rockruff and Lycanroc?

      • profile image

        Shiny_Umbreon_Man 

        3 weeks ago

        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

      • profile image

        Eevee is a fox 

        7 weeks ago

        eevee and vulpix are not dog pokemon please theyre foxes

      • profile image

        me 

        2 months ago

        hey your mom, are you saying that cats aren't intelligent?

      • profile image

        Jack 

        2 months ago

        Rock ruff

      • profile image

        Duff Man 

        3 months ago

        Smeargle is the best, since it can copy abilities.

      • profile image

        your mom 

        3 months ago

        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.

      • profile image

        Cats3 

        4 months ago

        Lycanroc Dusk form and Lucario and Hounddoom.

      • profile image

        Red 

        4 months ago

        Growlithe looks like a dog but Arcanine looks like a Tiger. I would have voted for Ninetales but had to choose Lucario.

      • profile image

        sdafrfgfedsg 

        5 months ago

        LUCARIO IS OBVIOUSLY THE BEST COME ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • profile image

        Sapphire 

        5 months ago

        Lycanroc are my fav dog type (Midday form)

      • profile image

        Silveral 

        6 months ago

        Enti

      • profile image

        Awnser 

        7 months ago

        Lyanroc or rockruff

      • profile image

        WildDoge77 

        7 months ago

        You forgot rockruff and Lycanroc! My fav. pokemon!

      • profile image

        REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeVEE 

        8 months ago

        EEVEE

      • profile image

        Funtime foxy 

        8 months ago

        DUDE SHINX IS A CAT

      • profile image

        Gray Mudkip 

        8 months ago

        Aren't Shinx, Luxio, and Luxray dogs? They act like dogs more and, in my opinion, have more dog-like features.

      • profile image

        Oaksplash 

        8 months ago

        Rioul is 50% Cat and 50% Percent dogg

      • profile image

        King 

        9 months ago

        Go lucario we all kings me lucario and that it

      • profile image

        TirusR 

        9 months ago

        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.

      • profile image

        atharv 

        9 months ago

        rockruff lycanroc

      • profile image

        Beazt 

        9 months ago

        10% Zygarde

      • profile image

        Bb bell 

        9 months ago

        I love pokemon

      • profile image

        Donttouchmyfood 

        9 months ago

        Absol is technically a dog Pokémon. Don’t get why people think it’s feline.

      • profile image

        ??? 

        9 months ago

        Is Absol not a dog?

      • profile image

        ??? 

        10 months ago

        Zygarde 10%, or Lycanroc/Rockruff.

      • profile image

        ??? 

        10 months ago

        Amazed at how many people don't realize that Smeargle's name literally comes from 'smear' and 'beagle'...

      • profile image

        Tyler 

        10 months ago

        You forgot to include Rockruff

      • profile image

        ?? 

        11 months ago

        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?!)

      • profile image

        pufflepuff89 

        11 months ago

        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?

      • profile image

        ISuck 

        11 months ago

        smeargle is more goat-like

      • profile image

        Absol Best Pokemon 

        11 months ago

        Absol is also a canine based heavily on a mythical wolf though some say it is more feline

      • profile image

        Riolu and Lucario 

        11 months ago

        Those "floppy things" a Riolu and Lucario has aren't ears but are called Aura Sensors.

      • profile image

        Eevee Lover 

        12 months ago

        Eevee is a huge mixture of animals. A fox, a cat, a tanuki, and I think one other but I forget...

      • profile image

        Eevee Is Technically a Dog 

        12 months ago

        EEVEE IS MY FAVORITE.

      • profile image

        Little cute ANGRY PERSON 

        12 months ago

        This was probably made BEFORE sun and moon, you people stupidly calling for him

      • profile image

        waffle 

        13 months ago

        rockruff where u be at m8?

      • profile image

        moon moon 

        13 months ago

        i wish they would make a wolf pokemon

      • profile image

        lyncaroc lover34 

        13 months ago

        WHERE IS LYNCAROC

      • profile image

        Damn 

        14 months ago

        Don't y'all get this was made before gen 7?

      • profile image

        Jimmothy 

        14 months ago

        Lycanrock?????

      • profile image

        Unicorn 

        15 months ago

        Rock ruff were are u ?

      • profile image

        Jayvee 

        15 months ago

        How about Rockruff

      • profile image

        Dogside 

        15 months ago

        Lucario and Riolu are my favorite's

      • profile image

        Jadewolf 

        15 months ago

        Poochyean is so cute

      • profile image

        Rachael 

        16 months ago

        Lillipup is the cutest!

      • profile image

        Pink ninja 

        16 months ago

        I love lily pup

      • profile image

        Random 

        16 months ago

        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.

      • profile image

        Diamond 

        16 months ago

        You forgot rockruff !!!!!!!!

      • profile image

        Dante 

        16 months ago

        Eevee is a dog Pokémon definitely!

      • profile image

        mudkip 

        16 months ago

        rockruff

      • profile image

        Luna 

        16 months ago

        My fav dog poké is rockruff and lycanroc from sun/moon

      • profile image

        Sasha 

        16 months ago

        Wow!!

      • profile image

        kelly brown 

        17 months ago

        oh pokemon are so cute well not the rock or ground pokemon

      • profile image

        john 

        17 months ago

        I loved this, I did it so I can name my dog!

      • profile image

        White Fang12 

        17 months ago

        Umbreon, Rockruff and Lycanroc

      • profile image

        Hayley 

        18 months ago

        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

      • profile image

        MeepMorp 

        18 months ago

        Mine are Rockruff and the two forms of Lycanroc

      • profile image

        Zeppy 

        18 months ago

        idk how smeargle is a dog but? ok. also u forgot absol what in the heck,

      • profile image

        Dominick 

        18 months ago

        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.

        http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Slurpuff_(P...

        Source for Slurpuff and Swirlix

      • profile image

        elijah gillingham 

        19 months ago

        i think riolu and lucario are top number one of the dogs of pokemon

      • profile image

        Kelsey Shay 

        19 months ago

        What about Eevee? It's a puppy pokemon.

      • profile image

        Trinity 

        19 months ago

        i like dog and cat pokemon there the best pls dont hate if ya like fish bird and etc its just that dog and cats are my fav so dont hate thxs

      • profile image

        Lilya 

        20 months ago

        My other favorite dog pokemon are eevee, vulpix.

      • profile image

        Longbow2008 

        20 months ago

        C'MON!!! SMEARGLE IS A COW!!!!!! (these people do NOT know what animal pokemon are)

      • profile image

        Lps girl 

        20 months ago

        Lollipop is so cute

      • profile image

        20 months ago

        Shaymin in sky form!

      • profile image

        Shiny Ampharos 

        22 months ago

        Rockruff and Lycanroc midday form are my favorite dog Pokémon! ❤️

      • profile image

        Thalia 

        23 months ago

        I would like to have other dog Pokemon because there might be other types of dog Pokemon, plus dogs are my favorite animals!

      • profile image

        ryan 

        23 months ago

        why does evrybody hate fourfro

      • profile image

        DanDW0lf 

        24 months ago

        All of them are awesome but my favorite would be Rockruff/Lycanroc, technically wolves/werewolves but still canine =)

      • profile image

        2 years ago

        Zygarde 10 percent and Rockruff's evolutionary line.

      • profile image

        Rocky 

        2 years ago

        What about luxray??

      • profile image

        Lvirden 

        2 years ago

        Next 70ish pokemon available. .. time for updates!

        Great job on these lists

      • profile image

        Animaljamtohailto 

        2 years ago

        Well I have no idea, but I'm just going to say that cats like Mew are more cute!

      • profile image

        Bloop 

        2 years ago

        Zygarde 10%?

      • profile image

        wolfz rulez 

        2 years ago

        i love dogs and the coolest one is ofcourse what i picked

      • profile image

        # lucario girl 

        2 years ago

        I voted lucario because I have that Pokemon on Pokemon Y

      • profile image

        STEVE 

        2 years ago

        DUDE AMAZING (i just wish you had every single dog)

      • profile image

        Weaasel 

        2 years ago

        You forgot Absol

      • profile image

        SinnohFirefly 

        2 years ago

        I think the list you wrote is complete and amazing! You are correct, this is a list of dog Pokemon not canine Pokemon (so no foxes, bears, seals, otters, or other canine-like creatures).

      • profile image

        Randall 

        2 years ago

        My Favorite Dog Pokemon is Rockruff's Midday Form Evolution

      • profile image

        Shadowclaw 

        2 years ago

        Lmao Suicune is a cat.

        The artist based them 3 of jungle cats.

      • profile image

        harry 

        2 years ago

        definetely eevee's a dog. alos there's a new one called rockruff

      • profile image

        Why isn't umbreon in Pokemon go 

        2 years ago

        Well umbreon cause I guess you could call him a dog cause he is a dog/cat/fox

      • profile image

        HellHound 

        2 years ago

        I loved it! And I love Houndour and Houndoom !!! There should be more dog based pokemon though.

      • profile image

        Scarlett 

        2 years ago

        Sylvion or just Eevee

      • profile image

        boss 

        2 years ago

        if u carry on with more of dog pokemon from other gens it would be sick

      • profile image

        Crystalanne 

        2 years ago

        Ninetails/vulpix are also canine's. Foxes are part of that family.

      • profile image

        FennekinFreek 

        3 years ago

        What is your favorite Pokemon mines fennekin as u can see my name above

      • aliasis profile imageAUTHOR

        aliasis 

        3 years ago from United States

        It would be fun to write (or read!) more of these! It seems to me like people are generally most interested in either the cats or the dogs, but there are loads of other fun "categories" that can be done. Foxes or rodents had crossed my mind before, too.

      • TristanDoes profile image

        Tristan 

        3 years ago from Indiana

        Awesome! Will you make more of these? You could really make a series for this: Cats, squirrels, dragons, fish, etc.

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