Dog Pokémon: Ranking All The Best Canines In The Entire Franchise

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There are tons of weird dog creatures in the Pokémon universe. They’re man’s best friend since time immemorial, after all.

And the Pokémon world isn’t so different from ours – except for the fact that their animals are much more fun and they fight and have super powers and stuff.

Whether you’ve always been a fan of Arcanine and want to keep up with the Pokémon universe’s special canine population, or you’re a new fan looking for a companion on your adventures, this list is here to help you pin down the perfect dog-style monster for your party.

I’ve made this nifty guide to all dog-like Pokémon available for trainers worldwide and ranked them all based on skills, power, rarity, and my general opinions. Just bear in mind that when dealing with Pokémon, the definition of “dog” may become a little… stretched, to say the least.

32. Smeargle

Smeargle from the anime

This first entry here is a favorite among artists in the Pokémon universe. And I know what you’re thinking: no way this guy is a dog.

Hear me out.

Smeargle, known as the Painter Pokémon, is a cartoonish bipedal doggy based creature with the ability to paint beautiful works of art with its tail. They paint using a fluid excreted naturally by their tail as a means to mark their territory, and each one has a different color depending on the individual Smeargle. Much better than peeing everywhere!

Now why is this ranked in a list of dog monsters?

Well the name origin includes an interesting translation history and many foreign names reference this guy as a dog. The Mandarin name for this guy literally translates to “drawing dog”.

If you’re an art lover this guy is for you.

31. Electrike

Electrike electric dog in Pokemon anime

Sometimes the designers over at Game Freak just… run out of ideas.

I’m guessing that’s what happened back in gen 3 when they added Electrike, the ugliest pooch ever to grace my GBA screen.

That shade of green is just terrible(or incredible if you love it, but no in-betweens here).

Still, I’ve grown to love many ugly dogs in my life, and perhaps you can too.

You’ll have to be careful with this one, however, because it stores electricity in its hair and is liable to accidentally discharge it all on you if you startle it.

30. Manectric

Manectric from the anime

The same warning applies to Electrike’s only evolution Manectric.

It may be older and in control of its abilities, but I suspect there’s a reason why they call it the discharge Pokémon.

While the ugly green was replaced by a nice shade of blue – which goes to show they knew it was awful – the design on this creature is still pretty odd. Why so spiky?

Then again, there must be people that like Manectric or GF wouldn’t have given it a mega evolution… with even more spikes…

29. Poochyena

Poochyena in Pokemon anime

I noticed that gen 3 saw the addition of many new dogs, perhaps the most famous is Poochyena.

This little guy loves to bite and has a tendency to use it on unsuspecting prey, just like a small hyena would. It’s the only reason it has such large fangs while being so small.

Still, this pooch is much less vulgar than its real-world counterpart and could make a great companion if you raise it from this young age.

Despite being a bit scaredy, it’s playful and will eat whatever you throw at it. No complications!

28. Mightyena

Mightyena Pokemon anime screenshot

Once you’ve spent enough time together, Poochyena will evolve into Mightyena and go from the cute little pup that made your life brighter to a bigger and stronger creature that’ll make you feel pretty darn safe.

Mightyena’s Intimidate ability will drop any foe’s attack stat right when it hits the field, keeping danger at bay.

The ability is especially useful in Pokémon battles because Mightyena’s stats aren’t all that stellar to be honest.

In the wild these guys solve the weakness problem by traveling and hunting in packs. This pack-mentality is what leads it to only follow Trainers that prove to be good leaders.

27. Zigzagoon

Zigzagoon from the anime

Yes, Karen, I know Zigzagoon are supposed to be raccoons!

That said, this guy doesn’t give me a single raccoon vibe. They don’t destroy trashcans in search of food or act viciously at all.

Zigzagoon are rather peaceful, curious creatures added to populate the tall grass around Hoenn. And, while not great in battle, they’ve become an endearing feature of the entire franchise.

Despite probably needing some Adderall with how easily they get distracted, they’re also liable to pick stuff up while roaming thanks to their Pickup ability. So keeping one around in your party may net you some interesting trinkets.

26. Snubbul

Snubbul Johto bulldog Pokemon, anime screenshot

The addition of Snubbul back in generation II had me a little confused because, despite being called the fairy Pokémon by the Pokédex, it’s essentially just a pink dog.

However I came to appreciate this guy in time, especially after they changed its typing to Fairy in the newer versions. This really sets it apart from normal dogs just a bit.

Like many other pups on this list, Snubbul’s ill-mannered appearance is just a facade hiding a timid soul in need of love and attention.

In fact, it’s one of those dogs that get bullied at the playground by the rest. Treasure yours with as much love as you can muster.

25. Granbull

Granbull evolution in the anime

Everyone loves a good comeback story and Granbull is the lovable underdog in this one.

Perhaps it’s the natural progression of its biology, or it just wanted to stop getting bullied.

In any case, Snubbul becomes a big menacing beast once it evolves. This evolution is the kinda dog nobody would dare to mess with.

In combat, this translates to a very useful Intimidate ability.

However despite the rough and tough look, deep inside dwells the same gentle Pokémon, liable to get scared if a situation becomes difficult.

Maybe don’t get it as a watchdog, or if you do I’d suggest getting two of these guys.

24. Furfrou

Furfrou Pokemon in the anime

On the opposite side of the spectrum we have Furfrou, a normal-type doggy with much more strength than meets the eye.

Despite this poodl-y designed monster looking like… well, a Poodle, Furfrou is far from the jumpy and hypoallergenic things we keep in our homes.

It’s a warrior, said to have guarded the King of Kalos back in medieval times.

Nowadays they’re entered into contests to compete on which Furfrou has the prettiest haircut and the most elegant nature. But if things get rough it’ll harden its fur and protect its trainer from harm.

23. Houndour

Houndour in the Pokemon anime

So you’re that one guy in the neighborhood who dresses in all-black and wears an upside-down cross everywhere just to scare old conservative ladies?

Well I’ve got something to show you.

Houndour is the Dark/Fire-type Pokémon of a motorcycle gang leader’s dreams.

Not only is it the most metal of all Pokémon, it’s also a great guard dog thanks to its Early Bird skill keeping it from falling asleep.

22. Houndoom

Houndoom in the Pokemon anime

Now if Houndour isn’t dark enough for you, just give it a little while until it evolves into Houndoom.

This hound looks straight up vicious, and it has the skills to prove it.

Not only are its offensive capabilities and speed amazing, it also has a mega evolution that takes the badass to the next level.

This dog creature seems made to guard evil lairs, as we noticed with Team Rocket’s adoration in gen 2.

And its eerie howling has long been associated with death. Nobody would dare to wander where Houndoom are heard.

Did I mention it spits out boiling poison? There’s a lot to love about this guy.

21. Entei

Entei legendary fire dog Pokemon from the anime

Majestic, calm, and distinguished as it may be, Entei doesn’t cease being a good boy in my heart.

This fire-type legendary dog from generation II is described as “Embodying the passion of magma”, whatever that means. And several cultures around the Pokémon world believe a volcano erupts every time Entei roars.

In combat this canine force of nature will destroy its foes with pummeling attack and high-speed movements.

It is a legendary, after all.

20. Fennekin

Fennekin in Pokemon anime

Another fire-type entry into our list is Fennekin, one of the starters for generation VI’s Kalos region.

While Fennekin is more of a fox than a dog, I’ll gladly inform you that foxes belong to the Canidae family and (in my humble opinion) count as pups.

While a bit temperamental and liable to set things on fire, this cute critter is easy to keep fed as it likes munching on twigs in the wild.

19. Braixen

Braixen bipedal dog creature in Pokemon anime

My favorite part of the Fennekin evolutionary line lies in the middle.

Not quite dog, yet not quite a person, Braixen stands on the edge looking adorable. It’s the best design of the three no doubt.

It no longer eats twigs like Fennekin, but it does carry one around for emergencies. Talk about being prepared!

18. Nickit

Nickit new dog creature in Galar

Yes, I insist on counting a few of these foxes as dogs.

Introduced in generation 8 to make the forests and grass patches of the Galarian region come to life, Nickit is designed to look more like European foxes in contrast with other Pokémon fashioned after the Japanese varieties.

This dark-type creature is perfect for people who like peace and quiet since the soft pads on its feel let it move around without making a sound.

Regrettably, they often use this skill to steal food. And with this guy being so new to the series he may not get as much attention as the more “classic” dog monsters.

17. Thievul

Thievul gen8 dog Pokemon

If you manage to avoid the neighborhood association kicking you and your Nickit out for theft long enough, it’ll evolve into a Thievul.

While its kleptomaniac tendencies remain undisturbed, the experience helps it execute cleaner heists that can’t be traced back to your home.

In competitive play, Thievul is interesting for its Stakeout ability which makes it stronger against enemies who’ve just switched in. This creates a strong deterrent against many strategies relying on changing monsters in the middle of battle.

16. Suicune

Suicune legendary dog creature

Suicune was the first of the legendary dogs I even got a chance to see.

After all, it’s on the cover of the first game I ever played: Pokémon Crystal.

Chasing it around Johto was an incredible experience.

It was a bit annoying at the time, but after I learned Suicune wanders the world in search of pure water and purifying any contaminated pond it finds, I gained a newfound appreciation for the elegant dog.

It may be a compassionate Pokémon with stats focused on defense, but mess with it and you’ll find out it’s also equipped to return the favor.

15. Galarian Zigzagoon

Galarian Zigzagoon racoon and dog monster

OK you caught me, I only included Zigzagoon as a dog so I could give its Galarian variety the love it deserves.

While you may still have some reservations on Zigzagoon being more than a raccoon, its Galarian cousin’s personality leaves no doubt.

This dark/normal-type is a curious rascal for sure.

And despite always trying to pick fights with people, it’s so cute that most people end up playing with it. Doesn’t that sound like a dog?

It may look like it belongs at a Kiss concert but that doesn’t keep Galarian Zigzagoon from being one of the cutest Pokémon ever designed.

14. Vulpix

Vulpix regular from anime

Now you’re happy I included foxes, aren’t you?

Well you definitely are if you’ve been playing the games ever since the first generation.

This OG fire-type Pokémon seemed to be everybody’s favorite back in the day.

Cuddling your Vulpix will keep you warm in the Winter, and brushing its beautiful tail is a Zen-like experience.

13. Lillipup

Lillipup puppy Pokemon from the anime

If you’re looking for a puppy in the Pokémon universe there’s nothing quite as straightforward as Lillipup.

It’s a Yorkshire Terrier puppy!

This normal-type addition to the gen 5 roster has the bravery to face strong opponents despite its small size, but also the smarts to run away if it’s in serious danger.

Like many other dog-like Pokémon, Lillipup will occasionally bring you gifts it found while walking around thanks to its Pickup ability.

It’s like playing fetch, but without throwing anything.

12. Herdier

Herdier dog from Pokemon anime

For people who want a more “serious” dog instead of a puppy, Herdier is also a great choice.

As its name suggests, it’s a popular herding dog in the Kalos region.

It’s also known as the Loyal Dog Pokémon because of its relationship with humans, which has existed since times immemorial.

It may be a bit troublesome to keep its black fur in order, but this Terrier is worth the effort to train.

11. Stoutland

Stoutland Pokemon dog

Tired of being a common knock-off of a real species, Herdier eventually evolves into Stoutland which is just a brilliant creature.

With a magnificent mustache and a dignified demeanor, this dog will intimidate any lesser foes with ease.

According to Pokémon lore, other than its tanky stats and nice physical Attack, this doggo was very much appreciated in colder regions before there was electric heating because of its long, thick fur.

Its ability to help rescue humans in colder mountainous areas is also akin to our real-world St. Bernards.

10. Boltund

Boltund Galar dog Pokemon

The quintessential good boy in the Galar region is Boltund.

Not only does it have a strong bite to protect its trainer, but it’s also able to run incredibly long distances without tiring by channeling electricity to its legs.

In a fight, it’s this great Speed that will keep it afloat. The electric typing is newer too since we haven’t seen as many strong electric dog-themed monsters so far.

9. Yamper

Yamper from Pokemon anime

Before there is Boltund, there must be Yamper.

Despite being less developed than Boltund and essentially useless in a fight, Yamper has the charm of a thousand puppies brought together in one short-legged package.

Its design is a nod to Queen Elizabeth’s famous band of royal Corgis, which is awfully fitting in the UK-influenced Galar.

Other than being too cute for words, this electric-type can also retrieve failed Pokéballs thanks to its Ball Fetch ability, saving you a lot of trouble, time, and money early in the game.

8. Zamazenta

Zamazenta Galarian Pokemon

There’s a legend in Galar that tells of a powerful heroic Pokémon that worked with the King of Galar to save the Realm from an unnamed threat.

In Pokémon Shield, this Hero of a Thousand Battles takes the form of Zamazenta: a regal wolf-like creature that slept for ages in statue form until the present day.

This dual fighting/steel-type beast has incredible stats focused on defense, and its Dauntless Shield ability raises this defensive advantage even further.

It’s the shield that guards the realms of people and Pokémon. And it could turn out to be your favorite shield… in dog form.

7. Zacian

Zacian dog-style Pokemon

Some say the best defense is a good offense, and in the case of Zacian I must agree.

This fairy/steel-type wolf is known as the Warrior Pokémon, and it’s the Crowned Sword form of the Hero of a Thousand Battles.

Just like Zamazenta, it has stellar stats, but this one is focused on the offensive.

Zacian bears a striking similarity to Sif, a boss in the Dark Souls franchise who’s also a wolf holding a sword. There’s no doubt this critter will garner it a lot of popularity.

6. Alolan Vulpix

Alolan Vulpix from Pokemon anime

Vulpix may have been all the rage back in the first game, but both old and new fans know there’s a new kid on the block.

The Alolan variety of Vulpix used to be known as Keokeo by the islanders.

They live in communities to keep themselves cold in the tropical weather and can exhale air and -60 degrees Fahrenheit.

In other words, it’s a white ice-type Vulpix with a lot of charm. I’d love one as a house pet.

5. Zorua

Zorua from the anime

Another very interesting foxy/doggy creature is Zorua.

True to its title, this dark-type Pokémon has a tendency to play pranks on people and disguise itself as other things, like children. Or even to pretend to be the last Pokémon in your party when a battle starts.

In that way it’s a lot like Loki, the Norse God of Mischief.

Despite having such a questionable nature, its beauty and cuteness make it appealing to all kinds of trainers.

4. Zoroark

Zoroark in the anime

Known as the Illusion Fox Pokémon, Zorua’s evolution takes the mischief to the next level.

No longer satisfied with small pranks, Zoroark has moved on to large-scale deception with the aid of its illusions.

Stay with one long enough and you’ll eventually stop telling the difference between reality and trick.

This skill is very useful to Zoroark in the wild, as it allows them to protect their nests from wandering eyes.

If that fails, their great special attack and speed will help them take care of any situation easily.

3. Growlithe

Growlithe in the Pokemon anime

Despite so many fans of Vulpix, it’s clear what the best canine evolutionary line was back in the days of Red and Blue.

This OG fire-type creature won the heart of many Trainers with its courageous nature and cool design.

Now it’s just one of the many puppy-styled monsters. But back in the 90s Growlithe was in a league of its own.

Thanks to their loyalty and great sense of smell, Growlithe are bred and trained to become police dogs in the Pokémon universe.

2. Arcanine

Arcanine in the anime

Of course, a lot of Growlithe’s popularity came from just how strong Arcanine is in battle.

If you’re raising and fighting with a Growlithe then you probably plan to eventually use a fire stone on that little dude.

With incredible offensive capabilities and solid stats overall, Arcanine is the big doggo of the bunch. And it was one of the big names in the competitive scene when it first started.

In the Pokémon world Arcanine are not just official police dogs, but also considered to be warriors said to participate in many wars throughout history.

1. Rockruff

Rockruff anime dog Pokemon

Something of a mix between a classic Japanese fox and the spitz breed of dogs brings us Rockruff.

This guy is just plain adorable. I never thought I could rank anything much higher than Growlithe, yet here we are.

Rockruff is the kinda pup I’d want just for looks. He may not be the strongest dog out of any of the games(in fact I know he’s not). But just on looks, design, cry, and novelty alone I have to rank him up here in position one.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.