Morphs [Oak Catalog #]
- Growlithe 
- Arcanine 
Growlithe is a quadrupedal canine Pokémon that grows to 70cm (2'4") tall on average, covered in thick orange-red fur with black stripes. Its mane, muzzle and tail consist of longer cream-coloured fur.
Arcanine is physically similar, but much larger, growing to almost 2 metres (6 feet) tall and bearing a larger creamy mane that covers its entire head and upper chest except for the eyes, a larger tail and additional tufts of fur behind each knee, more pronounced on the hind legs.
Both Growlithe and Arcanine share the red-themed colouring common to Pokémon classified as Fire types, and have the incendiary abilities to match. Unlike the many Fire-types that have an external source of flame or an obviously heated body, Growlithe and Arcanine have a relatively temperate body heat except for a particular throat organ that produces flames to be exhaled through the mouth.
Otherwise, the Growlithe line has few physical traits that are particularly unusual for its line. The species is noted for its great jaw strength and their wide variety of bite-related attacks — Arcanine have been noted to not only use fire-enhanced bites but electrically charged ones — and the great physical ability and considerable intelligence that the line can demonstrate. Arcanine in particular has seen considerable use in competitive leagues due its competence, loyalty and physical prowess in combat.
Unlike many other Pokémon, Growlithe do not evolve into Arcanine through mere age or combat experience. The change is triggered by specific radiation, known to be emitted by isotopes commonly found in volcanoes. As a result it is not uncommon for Growlithe, as individuals or in groups, to make the trek up the slops of active volcanoes to seek out a Fire Stone for evolution. While finding a Fire Stone is difficult and dangerous, and not many survive the journey or are successful in their search, the rewards are great: Arcanine are much more powerful than their previous form, and extremely fast, learning several techniques that take great advantage of their speed. Among human Trainers, Fire Stones are rare and somewhat difficult but not impossible to find. Specialist stores often have them in stock, and they have been known to go for thousands of dollars on online marketplaces.
As an extensively domesticated Pokémon, different regions have bred different varieties of Growlithe, differing greatly in size, colour and temperament. Recent there have been many experiments in cross-breeding different Growlithe lines to create breeds that are particularly suited to domestic life. There are rare examples of Growlithe and Arcanine with luscious, shining golden fur, and it has long been a goal of Pokémon breeders to create a steady line of these, but so far none have been successful.
In the wilds of Kanto, Johto and Sinnoh, Growlithe mainly dwell in hot areas, including grassy plains, savannah and areas with volcanic activity, though they have shown the ability to adapt to a variety of areas. Due to their long history of domestication, feral Growlithe are common in urban and rural districts.
Wild Growlithe and Arcanine are primarily carnivorous and eat smaller Pokémon such as Rattata and Sentret, though they are capable of scavenging kills if necessary. They are also known to hunt in packs to bring down larger prey, even Tauros and Miltank. Due to Arcanine's extreme muscle bulk and the capability of extreme mobility, they are often gone for short periods of time on hunts. They will also thrive on berries known for spicy flavor.
However, many Growlithe Trainers themselves can forget their own Pokémon's natural feeding habits, as domesticated breeds will gladly dine on commercial Pokémon chow, as well as any food scraps the Trainer and their family may drop. Feral Growlithe in urban areas will often subsist on garbage, thriving on the food that humans throw away.
Growlithe and Arcanine have a very strong pack and territorial instinct, which leads to them being very hostile towards anything that threatens their territory or 'pack'. Even domesticated Growlithe are extremely protective of their Trainers or charges, and unless they are approached carefully they may well decide to attack. Even to their own Trainers, they can be dangerous unless trained properly and made to recognise humans as their superiors, else they may accidentally injure their own Trainers. But when properly trained, Growlithe are excellent family pets, and have been known to give their lives to save their masters and their children.
Wild Growlithe packs tend to be wary of humans, but will not hesitate to attack in packs if their territory is violated or their pack is threatened. [Trainer's Note: Capturing a wild Growlithe can often be dangerous as the rest of the pack is likely to show up to defend them. It is recommended to visit a local shelter, as most have many domesticated Growlithe in need of a good home] Feral Growlithe are more familiar with humans and more likely to run from them, but they will attack if cornered, and have been known to form small packs that may include other feral Pokémon.
Feral and wild Growlithe are known to carry a variety of diseases, and if you or your Pokémon are bitten by one it is recommended to visit the nearest hospital and/or Pokémon Center to seek treatment immediately. In additation, all Growlithe and Arcanine are capable of fire attacks that can both inflict severe burns and set fire to the vicinity.
Arcanine generally show all of the above threats, but more so. They are more likely to run from threats outside of their territory, which is aided by their great speed. Both morphs are not only visually imposing, but are capable of powerful vocalisations that can demoralise and intimidate other Pokémon, and even force them to run away, but many humans have been known to ignore these warnings to their peril.
Social Structure, Courting and Childrearing
Growlithe and Arcanine are pack Pokémon, and tend to find mates according to their status in the pack. The strongest male and female will partner up as the Alpha Couple, as will the second strongest pair as the Beta Couple, and so forth. Shortly before mating season there will be a brief period of anarchy as all pack members engage in somewhat friendly fights to determine the new hierarchy. Usually, any Arcanine present will become the new Alpha, and there have been documented examples of Growlithe packs accepting a Pokémon of a different species (but compatible egg group) as their Alpha.
Once the chaos is settled, the females will give birth to five to ten pups, which are raised protectively by both parents. Growlithe and Arcanine are known to be heavily protective of their young, so disturbing the pups is highly discouraged. Pack members in particular are especially protective of the females and pups because the species has a heavily skewed gender ratio, with approximately two-thirds of births being males. As a result, males are more likely to break off from the pack and form bachelor packs of their own, to seek out mates outside their species or a Fire Stone to evolve into Arcanine for greater freedom and independence.
This social structure is heavily ingrained into the Pokémon's instincts, and as a result has made them highly suitable for domestication. Almost all anthropologists agree that Growlithe must have been one of the earliest Pokémon to be tamed en masse and have been constant companions, guardians and partners in work, play and battle to humans for thousands of years. Today, Growlithe are very popular housepets, and heavily used in police and farm work due to their loyalty and intelligence. They can be taught a wide variety of 'tricks' and commands, and many movies and television shows depict Growlithe and Arcanine showing exaggerated levels of intelligence.
Arcanine tend to behave rather differently from Growlithe, both in the wild and in captivity. They are more prone to 'lone wolf' behaviour, and are often found dashing around the countryside on their own. (over half of alleged Entei sightings turn out to be 'merely' wild Arcanine on investigation) On the rare occasions they become part of a pack they are almost always the leader, and outside of breeding pairs very rarely form packs that include more than one Arcanine. This behaviour carries on into captive Arcanine, as even ones that were submissive as Growlithe tend to be condescending at best towards their Trainer unless the Trainer is particularly skilled, experienced or strict. Successfully training an Arcanine, especially a wild one, is difficult and not recommended but highly rewarding, as Trainers find themselves with a strong, skilled, fast and utterly loyal Pokémon at their command.
Feral Growlithe and Arcanine tend to display similar behaviours to wild ones, with some differences; eg, they are more likely to form mixed-species packs, even more shy around humans, and more likely to scavenge human refuse due to better knowledge of what is good to eat. [Trainer's Note: Remember, a Pokémon is for life, not just for Christmas. Many shelters are overflowing with abandoned and lost Growlithe who are already vaccinated, neutered and in need of nothing more than a loving home.]
Written by Sabre Justice.