Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The 5 Best And 5 Worst Dogs In Gaming

There's a reason why dogs are called "man's best friend." These loyal animals can easily bring people together with their cuteness and unconditional love. Any game with a notable amount of dogs will stir up fan curiosity about how interactive they may be. There's even a Twitter and Steam curator page dedicated to compiling all the games featuring pettable dogs. 


It's rarer that games employ dogs as playable companions or major enemies that go beyond the scope of average NPCs, but that's become more common over the years. Some dogs play larger roles in the games they appear in — and they're not always good boys. Sure, many of them appear as trusty allies or mascots. But sometimes, they serve as monstrous bosses to overcome or just general pains in the butt. 

Either way, for good or ill, players have taken notice of some of the more notable dogs in video games. Here are some of the best and worst dogs in gaming.

BEST: Cerberus from Hades

Cerberus can't help but melt hearts, even if you're familiar with his reputation as an Underworld guard dog. His floppy-tongued smile cancels out any menacing quality that three heads, blood-red fur, and skull collars might possibly give off. He's actually quite loving — at least, to a certain Underworld prince and his father. In fact, the "Hades" development team at Supergiant specifically made it so that players could pet this Clifford-sized canine every time you encounter him. 


Well, you can only pet one head. As Supergiant's Greg Kasavin explained to Kotaku, not all of Cerberus' heads like pets. Even so, the internet seems to appreciate this level of interactivity.

Many would agree that Cerberus is indeed a good boy, and he almost exclusively helps Zagreus in the House of Hades. However, he's not always on his best behavior. After all, he did rip up the lounge — but he just did it because he missed Zagreus so much, like any good boy would. At another point later in the game, Cerberus actually appears to block the prince's path. Thankfully, Zagreus doesn't actually need to fight him, though he appears as a type of "boss."

WORST: Cerberus from God of War 3

This isn't your cute, "Hades" kind of Cerberus. Replace those friendly tongue-dangling smiles with razor teeth and ominously glowing orifices and you have Cerberus from the "God of War" series. "God of War" typically plays it relatively straight with its inspirations from Greek mythology, so the killer hellhounds from the old tales unfortunately stayed that way. 


Cerberus appears as a beast race throughout the series, attacking in multiple different variations. They could be standard enemies that spawn along the journey, or boss monsters that need a little bit more finesse to defeat. For example, Kratos has to slay this three-headed beast in a mini-boss fight during "God of War 3." 

Of course, multiple other games have featured a bad Cerberus, including the "Devil May Cry" series, "Kingdom Hearts," and "Assassin's Creed Odyssey." Similar to the "God of War" iteration, these versions appear as mean-spirited, three-headed hellhounds with an urge to kill.

BEST: Dogmeat from Fallout

Which Dogmeat, you may ask? Well, all of them. Every "Fallout" game has a different dog named Dogmeat, and these fighting-ready pups often help the protagonist take down enemies and carry out missions.


Some believe that the first Dogmeat, an optional companion in "Fallout" and "Fallout 2," was an Australian Cattle Dog. More specifically, he might be a Blue Heeler. The third Dogmeat in "Fallout 3" also appears to be a cattle dog. However, the most recent Dogmeat from "Fallout 4" is a German Shepherd, based on a lovable real life dog named River. All of these dogs apparently existed separately in various time periods in the canon, so it's unlikely that they're directly related. The protagonists who owned Dogmeats 1-4 also didn't seem to have much connection to each other. 

To get to the bottom of this, one Redditor started a thread asking "Are all Dogmeat(s) connected by canon?" The general consensus is no, and that it's just a name carried on throughout the games. Some grimly joked that maybe "Dogmeat" isn't that strange of a name in an apocalyptic setting, considering that many might resort to eating their canine companions. But why would you do that when Dogmeat is such a sweetheart?


WORST: Roc from NieR Replicant

Roc serves as a boss character in "NieR RepliCant" and "NieR Gestalt." In the world of "NieR," monsters called Shades can take on any form. In this case, Roc appears as a dog or, more specifically, a wolf. He supposedly lived as a wolf before he became possessed by a Shade and lost an owner he looked up to as a father. After this, Roc joined a pack of desert wolves and became their leader.


From his first appearance, Roc comes off as a cruel antagonist who clashes with the heroes. Therefore, to put it lightly, he's a bad dog. Roc's tragic backstory adds a bit of moral ambiguity into the story, but it seems the internet doesn't sympathize too much. 

"Roc isn't so much meant to make you feel bad for him as to definitively show that the shades aren't that different from anyone else," one Redditor wrote. The commenter also explained how Roc illustrates that conflict is often "perpetuated by those that believe themselves righteous." So, while the heroes might have been in the wrong in some ways, the wolves might not be particularly in the clear, either. Therefore, Roc still definitely falls in the bad dog camp.


BEST: Boomer from Far Cry 5

Boomer from "Far Cry 5" is the first dog to aid the protagonist in the series as an ally. After saving Boomer in the quest "Man's Best Friend," he joins the Deputy's party. Boomer can mark enemies, steal weapons, and even attack as needed. Character designers apparently based his design on an Australian Cattle Dog, though he's canonically mixed-breed, with his blue-speckled fur and black patches bearing a resemblance to the breed that inspired his look. 


There's no question that Boomer is one of the best pups in games. Even his character trailer calls him a "good boy" and highlights that he "fights for you." It also translates his intentions to bite the "bad ones," bring you their "loud sticks," and receive lots of pets.

Keeping in tradition with "Far Cry 5," Game Informer reports "Far Cry 6" will give the protagonist the option to pick between a wiener dog or an alligator as their next companion. Chorizo, the aptly-named weiner dog, apparently excels at stealth missions and appreciates some loving pets behind battlefield scenes. Chorizo's got some big paws to fill.

WORST: Dog from Duck Hunt

"Duck Hunt" doesn't seem like a complicated game. All you need to do is shoot ducks. However, if players couldn't figure out the game or were too busy fooling around with the gun, a dog would pop out of the grass and mock them with a distinct guffaw. The Dog, sometimes called the Laughing Dog, smugly pokes fun at the player for missing shots. What makes it sting even more is that the dog appears as your sidekick in the intro, meaning he's not only rude — he's a traitor.


Understandably, some players have felt compelled to shoot the dog in retaliation. The Ringer reported that players couldn't shoot the dog in the NES version, but the arcade version let vindictive players shoot at the dog during a bonus round in which he hopped in and out of the grass. If you landed the hit, the Dog reappeared with a burnt black face and crutches at the end of the level. He shouts "Ouch!! Shoot the ducks, not me!!" while waving around a crutch. 

To be fair, when players did successfully shoot at ducks, the Dog cheered instead of jeered. Even so, this is one dog that has inspired a lot of anger in gaming fans over the years.

BEST: DD from Metal Gear Solid 5

Diamond Dog (a.k.a. "DD") is Venom Snake's one-eyed canine companion. Snake found DD as a pup during a mission in Afghanistan. He had Fulton Recovery carry the pup to the Diamond Dogs' Mother Base, after which Ocelot trained him to be an attack dog. One of DD's signature traits is his missing eye on the right side, which matches his master's. As a result, both DD and Snake both wear an eyepatch on the right side of their face. 


DD joins Snake in missions using the buddy system, which allows him to retrieve items, attack enemies, and fulfill other commands. In that sense, he functions like other companion dogs in games like "Fallout" and "Far Cry 5." DD appeared in "Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain," the only game to feature an animal ally in the "Metal Gear Solid" series. 

It's unclear if "MGS" will even continue because of company Konami and director Hideo Kojima's messy split, which likewise puts the future adventures of DD in jeopardy. Still, he remains one of the best boys for many dog-loving gamers.

WORST: Cujo from Die Young

"Cujo," Stephen King's horrific tale of a good-natured St. Bernard transforming into a murderous animal, has inspired numerous movies and media, including video games. "Die Young," a survival indie game published and developed by IndieGala, features a dog named Cujo as one of its early bosses. Instead of a St. Bernard, this dog appears to be closer to a mastiff breed. It has a similarly wrinkly face and stocky body, but also has short black fur and pointed ears. 


The original Cujo from King's story suffered a rabies infection that warped its personality. Meanwhile, Cujo from "Die Young" appears to be naturally aggressive. Daphne, the protagonist, must lure Cujo to an electric fence and dodge out of the way multiple times to electrocute him to death. 

You might feel conflicted about killing him, but he won't feel conflicted about killing you. In fact, if you throw severed arms at him as a distraction, he'll literally pick them up and start chewing on them. He has a taste for human flesh, including yours.

BEST: Lesser Dog from Undertale

"Undertale" features a bunch of guard dog NPCs, including Doggo, Greater Dog, and Dogamy and Dogaressa. All of them are endearing enough to convince softhearted gamers to spare them in battle and pet them. However, Lesser Dog deserves a shoutout because he's literally too good for this world. If you pet him enough during a battle, he goes "where no dog has gone before."


Players have found out, to varying degrees of dismay, that his head extends with each pet. If you don't stop, his head (or neck?) rises through the height of the clouds, then back around and across the screen, eventually stretching past the text box. Players have reported that Lesser Dog can receive up to 54 pets before he goes to the place of (almost) no return. You won't kill him from petting him so much, thankfully, but the pure elation he feels at your attention is worth calling out.

WORST: Annoying Dog from Undertale

Annoying Dog, like its name might suggest, causes mischief throughout the "Undertale" world. Whether it's gnawing on Papyrus' bones or pulling some other prank, it seems happy to bug each of the monster world's inhabitants. It appears as a little pointy-eared creature with an unshakable smile on its face. "Undertale" developer Toby Fox uses Annoying Dog as a personification of himself both in the game and on social media. 


Players can find the Annoying Dog's room in the game and discover multiple references to its creator. An item that looks strikingly similar to "Undertale" itself appears in the back left corner of the room, too. Apparently, the Annoying Dog "accidentally programmed" an entire game by barking with text-to-speech on. Text-to-speech also apparently allows the Annoying Dog to make "bad posts" on social media. If you try to fight the dog, the game says you can't. The game then explains that the holes in the dog's blanket need a "patch" before he can be fought.

While players might find Annoying Dog funny or even endearing, he still causes trouble for the player. After all, Annoying Dog steals your treasure. That's not cool.