Much like in real life, dogs often serve an important purpose in video games. They help fight enemies, recover items, provide companionship, and add a small amount of levity that benefits even the most grimdark games out there.
They span genres, appearing in everything from first-person shooters to pixelated adventure games. And, while all dogs in games are very good boys and girls, these ten are the ones who went above and beyond to be the very best.
Koromaru (Persona 3, Persona Q: Dancing All Night)
Koromaru is a good Shiba Inu boy based on the real-life dog Hachiko, who was so loyal to his owner that he returned to greet his owner after his commute home from work long after the owner’s premature death. Koromaru is a faithful, devoted companion who wears a specially-made evoker and does his best to help his friends and the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad.
Shiba Inu (Silent Hill 2)
One of the endings in Silent Hill 2 takes protagonist James into a room where he encounters a very good Shiba Inu pulling levers and wearing a headset. It’s then that James realizes this devious little pup was the one pulling the strings all along. The best part? We’re treated to this jaunty tune over the end credits.
PaRappa (PaRappa the Rapper)
PaRappa was the positive rapping force for good Will Smith aspired to be during the mid-’90s. He’s polite, wholesome, and has a pretty sick sense of rhythm. We love you, PaRappa.
Sif, the Great Gray Wolf (Dark Souls)
Sif is a good, sword-wielding pup with a tragic backstory and a deadly set of moves. The companion Artorias the Abysswalker, Sif is a good puppy who guards Artorias’ grave after he was consumed by the Abyss itself. We wish we didn’t have to fight such a good, protective pup…but Dark Souls is a bleak game full of hard decisions.
Barbas (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)
There’s more to meets the eye with Barbas, as he’s the companion to the Daedric Prince Clavicus Vile and recruits the main player’s help in locating his “master.” He’s the only dog in Skyrim that can talk, and a big choice at the end of his side quest can even make him a potentially invincible companion to take with you across the Northlands of Tamriel.
Dog (Fable II)
The dog is easily one of the very best parts in Fable II. They’re your constant, most loyal companion, always following behind you, warning you of trouble, helping you in a fight, and alerting you to buried treasure scattered around the world. What’s more, they sacrifice themselves at the end to protect the player. A good, good pup indeed.
Boomer (Far Cry 5)
Boomer is the perfect companion to help you combat a zealous cult in the Montana wilderness. He’ll alert you to enemies, can slip past their detection with ease, and offers a lot of adorable idle animations to enjoy. He’s a good, all-American pup who, in the game’s own words, will “watch your back better than any man could.”
D-Dog (Metal Gear Solid V)
D-Dog is one of the few dogs in games whose progression from puppy to grizzled combatant is seen on-screen. He’s a good boy with easily the most swagger of any pup on this list, thanks to the distinguished eye patch he wears and the high-action stunts he’s able to pull off with ease. If ever there was a worthy companion to Snake, it’s D-Dog.
Caesar is a brilliant war strategist, snazzy dresser, and majestic good boy in the Cherrystone army. He’s the companion and best friend of Queen Mercia, and one of the only playable dogs included on this list. Aside from being regal and smart, Caesar’s best attribute is his ability to inspire his troops and give them the fortitude they need to succeed on the battlefield.
Dogmeat (Fallout 4)
The wasteland is a terrifying, stressful place. Everything is potentially fatal, and there are very few friends to be made in its expanse. That’s why Dogmeat’s presence in Fallout 4 is so special. Sure, there could be several Super Mutants and a Deathclaw hunting you in a bombed-out ghost town, but at any moment, you can look down and see a German shepard wearing a bandana and doggles at your side, ready to help. The best part? He’s immortal, meaning you’ll never have to stress about making sure your dog friend makes it out alive.
Cassidee is IGN’s social editor and the biggest of dog people. You can chat with her about puppies and geek stuff on Twitter.