The Top 7… Canine companions

Dogs may be known to some as simple leg-humping bastards that like to lick your face after chomping on their own feces. But even the most ardent members from the anti-canine camp can’t deny the powerful comfort provided by a dog’s unwavering loyalty and the charm of its waggling tail.

We like to post stories that matter to serious gamers. So when our editors were forced to decide between running some leaked concept art for Gears of War 3 or a list of memorable dogs from games we liked, it was a no-brainer. Behold our ultimate list of gaming’s greatest canine companions, the sidekicks who did so much more for us than simply sit, beg, and not poop on our carpet.

The game: Duck Hunt
The master: An anonymous duck hunter with no respect for the daily bag limits outlined in his/her hunting license.
How he served: Whenever you downed a duck, your faithful pal would fetch it for you. If you missed, it would laugh. We like to think that your dog was laughing with you and not at you.

Trivia: In VS. Duck Hunt - the arcade version - you could actually shoot your dog if you timed it just right. But why would you ever want to blast your best friend in the face?

Above: Who’s laughing now? See the Duck Hunt dog get a face full of lead

The game: Samurai Shodown
The master: Galford
How he served: Ryu had his Hadouken and Guile had his Sonic Boom. But Samurai Shodown’s Galford had Poppy, one of the most memorable projectile attacks in the history of fighting games. Poppy never left Galford’s side as he dashed across the screen with his Justice Blade. Even if your opponent managed to disarm you with a flurry of attacks, you could always count on Poppy to stick by your side, waiting for the order to pounce.

Rant: Galford and Poppy made quite a pair, but dogs should never have to fight in real life. When American football player Michael Vic confessed to participating in an illegal dogfighting ring in 2007, the cruel nature of the bloody sport was brought back into the spotlight with gruesome details about how dogs were killed by drowning and hanging if they didn’t perform well.


The game: Dead to Rights
The master: Officer Jack Slate
How he served: Officer Jack Slate doled out delicious bowls of steaming justice with Shadow, his trusty canine partner. Besides sniffing out bombs and pushing buttons for you, Shadow also attacked criminals on command. Best of all, he fetched ammo and guns from mauled victims to help you restock on supplies.

Non sequitur: K-9: P.I., starring James Belushi, was the best film that was ever made.

The game: Shadow Dancer
The master: Hayate
How he served: In addition to his katana, ninja stars, and the typical special powers you’d expect an ultimate ninja to carry, Hayate also had Yamato, a loyal pup who helped his master slay bad guys and save civilian hostages from their captors. In Shadow Dancer, Hayate could order Yamato to charge at enemies with no fear. When damaged, Yamato would shrink from his fearsome form into an adorable puppy. Responsible ninjas quickly learned that it was best to not pit Yamato against stronger enemies who took multiple hits to kill.

Theory: Ever wonder why ninjas almost always wear black in movies and videogames? One theory is that the origin of the ninja’s all-black uniform came from Japanese thespians. Kabuki puppet masters covered themselves in black garb to signify that they were invisible to the audience. When kabuki plays began depicting ninjas, the puppets were dressed in similar costumes to emphasize their elusive nature.

Above: You can charge Yamato's doggy meter at the bottom of the screen to unleash his rush attack

Above: Yamato can’t kill with cute looks when prancing in his puppy form


Top 7


  • D4V1D - August 25, 2010 9:42 p.m.

    Uhm, excuse me, when the fuck did DOG from Hal-Life 2 die? Did you not play Half-Life 2 Episode 2? Dog's in the ending, right there, next to Alyx while she cries beside her deceased father. Did you not play Episode 2 or were you just looking away during that crucial cutscene?
  • olio - March 8, 2010 9:08 a.m.

    I'm kinda sad that Dogmeat didn't make the list. Man, I loved that dog. And Huey from Haunting Ground was a great companion! Fiona was totally crippled without him!!
  • Gameguy94 - February 22, 2010 2:27 a.m.

    What? no Dogmeat from the Fallout games? you disappoint me GR.
  • trejos4000 - December 7, 2008 1:41 a.m.

    your just angry that your not good at that game
  • Super_gamer73 - November 13, 2008 3:50 a.m.

  • nightcrawler31 - September 7, 2008 6:30 a.m.

    lol. i laughed my arse right off at 1:25
  • infestedandy - September 6, 2008 5:28 p.m.

    What happened to Interceptor, Shadow's dog from Final Fantasy VI?
  • FancyRat - September 4, 2008 11:32 p.m.

    Assballs, someone beat me to it. I've had this page open since last night...
  • Nessrox - September 2, 2008 11:48 p.m.

    A hate that laughing dog!
  • DanAmrich - September 2, 2008 10:18 p.m.

    Fallout 3's Dogmeat vs the pooch from Fable II...that's the next round.
  • Revenant - September 2, 2008 8:04 p.m.

    The thing that all the other dogs don't have in common with DOG is that you can control them in some way.
  • DaNtHeManIsHeRe - September 2, 2008 4:36 p.m.

    Is everyone forgetting the awesome dog from fable 2? To be honest I think it piawould be the one to jump to the top of the list in october.
  • gaseoussnake - September 2, 2008 4:15 p.m.

    aw. i thought for sure rush was going to be #1.
  • ClusterShart - September 2, 2008 3:45 p.m.

    Shane was a dog when he ************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************ I thought that would be #1
  • twishart - September 2, 2008 4:49 a.m.

    What about Shadow's dog from FF6, Interceptor? "The dog eats strangers."
  • infinite doo - September 2, 2008 3:55 a.m.

    man that BigDog looks awesome. could you imagine like 50 of those things in a caravan carrying supplies? or you could put guns on them and they would look like the walking tanks from MGS4 only with 4 legs.
  • sharkins - September 2, 2008 1:56 a.m.

    i am just wondering how dogmeat from Fallout 2 didnt make the list. But hey its ur list and i like.
  • hud4567 - September 2, 2008 1:12 a.m.

  • Predator428 - September 2, 2008 12:12 a.m.

    I never realized that Dog actually died at the end of E:2. He was one of the best AI companions I ever played with, poor guy...
  • Nin10DOH - September 1, 2008 11:51 p.m.

    The Laughing dog was awesome, i would always get angry ay him and try shoot him in the face

Showing 1-20 of 94 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000