- Not act (or at least it must not be supposed to act) without explicit instructions from its handler beyond a normal routine. This usually entails something with animal level intelligence which can be trained to obey.
- They must be acting at the command of their handler (it's not enough for someone to throw their victim into a cage full of lions, they have to be able to make the lions attack them).
- The "creature" does not technically need to be an animal (semi-intelligent drones or golems, artificial biological constructs or magical, elemental beings are all fair game).
- Not be sent out to act on their own (like when summoning a bigger fish), since they're essentially a weapon, not a character (a good analogy would be that you send out soldiers armed with swords, not swords on their own).
- Angry Guard Dog
- Beast of Battle
- Pest Controller
- Right-Hand Attack Dog (if such a "weapon" serves as the villain's henchman)
- Weaponized Animal
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- In One Piece, Doctor Vegapunk has apparently done extensive research into the nature and abilities of Devil Fruits, even making inanimate objects able to eat them. There have been a gun and a sword who have respectively eaten the Inu-Inu (Dog-Dog) Fruit: Model Dachshund and Zou-Zou (Elephant-Elephant) Devil Fruits respectively, resulting in a dog that sneezed explosive baseballs and an elephant that could transform into a sword. Of course, this being One Piece, it basically turns out just how you would expect.
- Shirahoshi, the princess of Fishman Island, is the current incarnation of the Ancient Weapon Poseidon, which allows her to control Sea Kings.
- Earlier and more straight examples included Mohji the Beast Tamer (who leaves all the fighting part to his giant lion pet) and Ohm the "Sky Breeder", who combines his deadly morphing sword with his extremely well trained giant dog Holy (so well trained, in fact, that he can even stand up and do kickboxing).
- The Tailed Beasts are a sort of cross between this and a Superpowered Evil Side. The Great Nations attempted to control them by placing them in hosts, and used them as walking nuclear deterrents.
- Straighter examples, however, exist in the Inuzuka Clan's ninja hounds who are an integral component in the families fighting style, and in Kakashi's dogs who sometimes fight with him.
- Among other things, Humanforms and the titular Xam'd in Xam'd: Lost Memories.
- Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin: Bear hunting dogs
- Basilisk's Hotarubi is a Ninja Action Girl who can send out insects to do her bidding and has a pet snake thar she can command as well.
- The trope takes place in Private Actress's Boarding School two-parter, where a murder of Creepy Crows under the command of a Beta Bitch named Mai are vital in the death of a girl that she, her Alpha Bitch Kana and the Girl Posse were bullying and the posterior attacks on the titular "private actress" Shiho (who inflitrates the school to investigate the girl's death and on the Girl Posse member Maki who's about to go through a Heel–Face Turn.
- Valérian features a number of creatures classified as "living weapons", most notably the iconic Scnarfeur, essentially an entire species of Bratty Half-Pints with explosively caustic spit and instinctive hostility towards all living things due to originating on a Death World. They can be tamed by binding their head gland down, which turns them docile and allows them to develop a human-like personality, but they remain classified as animals and releasing the head gland will again revert them to their original state.
- The Simping Detective: Jack Point has kept Raptaurs as pets, highly dangerous Xenomorph-like monsters. He tends to use them as back-up for occasions when he can't handle opponents on his own.
Films — Live-Action
- Word of God states that the Xenomorphs from the Alien franchise are these. They were created by the Engineers, or "Space Jockeys" as they're nicknamed, in preparation for their genocide on mankind, who they also had created, but their experiment with the Xenos and other stuff went wrong before they could use them.
- In Jurassic World, Hoskins wants to use Owen's Velociraptors as this in combat situations. He believes that since Owen has taught the raptors basic commands, they'll be able to function on the battlefield as assault troops who can't be hacked by the enemy. Owen points out the insanity behind this since he's the only person they won't kill on sight, none of their relationship is based on control, and unlike machines, raptors will eat you if they're hungry.
- The Darklords' armies in Lone Wolf use several vicious species to augment their forces. The Drakkarim train warhounds called Akataz and Giaks occasionally use Doomwolves as mounts. Giant flying predators like the Kraan and even bigger Zlaanbeasts are also put to good use. The Vassagonian forces Lone Wolf faces early in his career favor warhounds and giant birds called Itikar.
- J. R. R. Tolkien liked this trope. Lord of the Rings contains trolls, mûmakil, wargs, fell beasts, etc. Apparently Morgoth originally bred Smaug's ancestors for use as living weapons as well.
- The Wheel of Time:
- Trollocs, Myrddraal, Darkhounds, Gholam, Draghkar, and Jumara (collectively called Shadowspawn) all created by Aginor to be living weapons of the side of the Dark One.
- Most warrior cultures, especially Borderlanders, also train war horses, which are described as being just as deadly as their riders.
- The Seanchan have this as their hat, training War Elephants, lizard-cat hybrids, and a couple different breeds of Giant Flyer similar to pterodactyls or drakes or wyverns. They also enslave female magic-users and keep them on magical leashes that keep them from acting without explicit orders, considering them no different from any other Attack Animal, although from an outside perspective they'd be more like Battle Thralls.
- The Heralds of Valdemar series has the Shin'a'in battlesteeds. Unlike your average warhorse, these have been bred over centuries to be the ultimate fighting mount (possibly with some magic help at the beginning). Smart, obedient, and capable of distinguishing and killing enemies without any direction, they make a deadlier team with a human than another human would. They're also good at tasks such as guarding camps and equipment, finding water in the forest, and carrying injured riders to get help. What they aren't good at is being pretty; looks had no priority in the breeding program and the steeds resemble roughly-carved horse-shaped granite.
- Both Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter's works feature a plant designed to grow on the Moon, taking all its necessities from the lunar soil, and to germinate by firing its seed as a projectile. In Clarke's short story, the inventor unwittingly leans over the thing just as it germinates, with obvious results. In Baxter's novel Space, a similar creation is transplanted to Mercury, where it takes over the entire surface of the planet and plays the central role in Humanity's Crowning Momentof Awesome against the alien invaders.
- The Leviathan series utilizes this as one of the main motivators of the plot itself. The entire Allied side (Darwinists) use genetically-engineered super animals as war machines. Not to mention the living airship...
- In the web-novel Domina, the "fey" use bio-engineered monsters as weapons. They're too crazy to use them effectively, though, so they usually just throw a few out when they're bored.
- Robert A. Heinlein's Tunnel in the Sky. When Johann Braun goes on his survival test, he takes along his pet, a big, lean, heavily muscled boxer dog named Thor with unfriendly eyes. Interestingly, they're both killed only minutes into the test.
- Andre Norton's novels The Beast Master and Lord of Thunder. Hosteen Storm was a Beastmaster who could telepathically command several animals. One of them was a sandcat named Surra who was highly effective in battle.
- In the Sherlock Holmes novel The Hound of the Baskervilles, a hound is specifically raised to look like the Hound of legend. It's used by its master to kill Sir Charles Baskerville via literally scaring the old man to death, and said master also intends to use it to kill Sir Charles's nephew and heir, Sir Henry.
- Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth stories starring Pip and Flinx. Flinx has a pet Alaspinian minidragon named Pip. Pip can spit an acidic poison into opponent's eyes to blind and kill them and can also amplify Flinx's psionic powers.
- In The Dark Tower, main character Roland must defeat his instructor in single combat and can only bring one weapon to the duel. His weapon turns out to be his hawk, David.
- In The Horse and His Boy, Bree tells Shasta that as the war horse of the nobleman Ahoshta, he was trained as an attack animal and acted as such. While he does tell Shasta about his adventures, he always ended them by saying that he'd rather go back to Narnia soon and fight for the Narnian troops as an equal member of the army, not just as a warrior's steed.
- In the Ciaphas Cain novel "Duty Calls", one of Amberley Vail's entourage is a former Commissar called Simeon who ended up in the penal legion and hooked up to a Combat Drug Injector (giving him multiple addictions). While he still acts like a normal(ish) human being, Vail can control him by controlling the drugs he's being given.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire skinchangers are known for this. After bonding with an animal they become able to inhabit it directly, but they can also command it to an extent. The Stark children, including Jon Snow, are all bonded to their direwolves, though Sansa's was killed before her abilities developed. The most common skinchangers are wargs, who bond with (dire)wolves, but we've also heard of shadowcats, eagles, bears, ravens, cats, goats, and boars.
- The Targaryens used dragons for this, and Danaerys is trying to, though she may not have enough control over the dragons for them to qualify as yet.
- In Lords and Ladies, the long-neglected armory of Lancre Castle contains not only armaments for humans, but also suits of armor for battle-trained horses, dogs, and (thanks to a failed experimental air force) ravens.
- In the historical mystery story "The Sorrow Of Senusert The Mighty", nobles set out to hunt down 'the Drunkard', a lame lioness that's been killing peasants. Their usual hunting strategies fail when the animal ignores their spearmen and specifically targets the archers, including a noble who's recently eluded assassination. Inspection of the carcass reveals that her paw had been deliberately maimed when young, and a choke-collar used repeatedly thereafter, indicating this trope applies and she'd been trained to kill the nobleman.
- Subverted in Frasier. Martin has been staring at photos from an unsolved murder years ago. When he goes to take a break, Frasier glances at them and concludes a trained monkey was used to kill the victim. When Martin solves the case, Frasier assumes he was right about the monkey, but we learn it was a crooked cop.
- In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "The Prom", Andrew has hellhounds, which his brother Tucker bred and trained to attack the people at said dance. Not to mention, as Andrew will remind you, he trained flying demon monkeys to attack the school play.
- Highlander had an episode with an immortal named Kanis, who used his pack of dogs to bring down his quarry. Duncan managed to throw a wrench in things when Kanis tried it on him, using a female dog in heat.
- In an episode of Bones a dog is used by its owner to kill a vet looking into dog fighting. Booth & Brennan are quite clear that a person killed him using the dog as a weapon.
- Alex's landlord, Jim, in the Doctor Who episode "Night Terrors" has a mean dog which he uses to threaten Alex.
- Eaglebones Falconhawk from The Aquabats! Super Show! can summon an invisible female bird called The Dude. So far, The Dude has only helped Eaglebones without clear instruction twice (once in "EagleClaw!" to take away his brother EagleClaw's guitar and once in "Showtime!" to take SuperMagic PowerMan's headband after Jimmy the Robot removes it from Space Monster M's head) but in her other appearances she follows this trope.
- In one episode of Columbo, a man uses his trained Doberman Pinschers to kill at the command word "Rosebud". Columbo turns this on its head by having the dogs retrained, so that when the culprit tries to get rid of Columbo the same way, all he gets is a savage face-licking.
- In Supernatural, higher-level demons can control hellhounds. They chiefly use them to collect souls after their 10-year contracts are up, but they sometimes find more military uses for them as well.
- Destroy the Godmodder: Several have done things like this, several small attack dragons have been summoned in the tvtropes session.
- Very early in the life of Garfield, Jon tried to train the eponymous feline into an attack cat, but only succeeded in getting himself mauled.
- Games Workshop games:
- In Warhammer and Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, the forces of Chaos have Chaos Warhounds, hounds mutated by Chaos to be vicious killing machines. They are bigger than regular dogs, and have horns on their heads.
- Chaos Daemons from Warhammer, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40,000 use beastly animalistic daemons as attack animals during battle. Khorne has Flesh Hounds, a cross between a dog and a lizard; Nurgle has Beasts of Nurgle, slug-like wretches that have dog like a intellect; Tzeentch has Screamers, flying manta rays with tusks; Slaanesh has Fiends of Slaanesh which are centaur like creatures with lobster like claws and scorpion tails.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- The lesser Tyranid bioforms act as attack animals for the larger, more intelligent synapse creatures. These handlers are both more individually intelligent and capable of interfacing with the Hive Mind at greater distances, giving psychic "commands" to the lesser creatures as long as they remain nearby.
- Squigs are small, aggressive critters that Orks frequently keep as pets and train to attack people on command. The largest of all squigs is the massive Sqiggoth, which grows to be as big as a Baneblade tank.
- The Kroot of the Tau Empire have a few evolutionary sub-species that are more animalistic. The dog like Kroot hounds, and the gorilla formed Krootox, that the Kroot train to act as attack animals during battle.
- The XII Astartes Legion were originally known as the War Houndsnote earned their name because their ferocity in battle reminded the Emperor of the white war hounds employed by a warrior tribe in northern Terra.
- Forgotten Realms prehistory says wyverns were created as weapons by Aearee (ancient bird-like creatures). Local Precursors are called "Creator Races" for a reason.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- Early editions allowed Player Characters to buy war dogs that would fight alongside the party. Since they were almost as effective in combat as a 1st-level character, they could greatly increase a party's chance of survival at low levels.
- Druids and rangers have the "animal companion" feature, granting a creature who loyally serves the character during adventures. It's more an extension of the character as opposed to its own entity, automatically scaling in strength as its master gains experience.
- Sourcebooks also allow characters to construct various types of golems.
- Stormbringer Companion supplement, "Sea Battle at Melnibone" solo adventure. One of the opponents Elric faces during the battle is a sea captain who has a war hound of Chalal fighting at his side.
- Mongoose Publishing's Starship Troopers - The Roleplaying Game. Neodogs have cybernetically enhanced teeth and jaws, allowing them to enter combat alongside their handlers. In the original Robert A. Heinlein Starship Troopers novel, neodogs did not have such augmentations and were used for intelligence gathering, not fighting.
- Hordes pits two warlocks and their armies against each other. Warlocks come in many flavors, but all share the ability to direct and give orders to their warbeasts, ranging from bipedal War Elephants and lightning-fast warpwolves to monstrous dragonspawns.
- BIONICLE: The Order of Mata Nui used trained Energy Hounds, most notably one in Mahri Nui named Spinax. Also in Mahri Nui, Toa Jaller had a Hahnah crab that, at least in his toy set, was equipped with a gatling cannon for him.
- Fina from Skies of Arcadia uses her pet (a creature called Cupil) as a weapon in precisely this manner.
- Nearly every boss in "Shounen Kininden Tsumuji" rides a giant animal during a boss fight.
- The majority of monsters in the Resident Evil were created to be these. Although the ones that could follow orders had an alarming tendency to become...less controlled.
- Similarly The Virus in [PROTOTYPE], but this is more of a subversion, as the scientists of Blackwatch tried this and had it turn on them twice. The slavering zombies and various hideous flesh-beasts created when the virus finds human carriers do serve quite well as weapons, whether you prefer quantity or style, but exactly four, all non-human beings in the world are capable of controlling its spread and the creatures created, and there's nothing on Earth that's going to control them.
- In Cave Story, a mimiga who eats one of the red flowers would grow exponentially larger, stronger, and more resilient. They then lose their minds and normally go uncontrollably berserk, but a person who wears the Demon Crown is capable of controlling them and making them fight at his side.
- In BlazBlue, the Kaka clan (and by extension Taokaka, one of the playable characters). They were created from Jubei's DNA to combat the Black Beast almost 100 years earlier, can only reproduce (asexually) if there are less than 100 of them and can process Seifer naturally and use it to manifest glowing energy claws.
- Rachel Alucard has a frog called George XIII hop towards her opponent and electrocute them as a ranged attack.
- When Hazama created Mu-12 by brainwashing and forcefully transforming (or upgrading her without the "safeties" on if you look at it that way) Noel Vermillion, he more or less wanted her for this. Even referring to her as his "sword".
- Lambda-11 is treated this way by Kokenoe (although she feels bad about turning her into an Empty Shell for this purpose). Tager might also count, but he's sufficiently loyal the issue of whether Kokenoe can force him to obey hasn't come up.
- The eponymous creatures from Metroid are more or less weaponized space-jellyfish. The problem is that no one seems to be able to control them too well. The only being capable of it was Mother Brain, and even then it wasn't complete. Indeed, a Metroid ends up being one of the primary factors in her death. This didn't stop the Space Pirates from trying, of course.
- As mentioned above the Zerg race from Starcraft are pretty much the same story as the Tyranids of Warhammer.
- Hunter Pets in World of Warcraft. Warlocks and Deathknights have pets too, but they are either demonic or undead.
- The Zuul in Sword of the Stars were originally created as weapons by the Suul'ka against a Morrigi colony. They were especially designed to be ravenous and fast-multiplying in order to quickly kill and consume all living things on the planet and die off. Unfortunately, the Zuul prove themselves masters at Mind Rape, allowing them to quickly learn the secrets of the target population, build spaceships, and escape into the universe. They are also extremely devious (at least, the males are; the females are mindless brutes; all by design). Fortunately for the Suul'ka, most of their pets have become even more loyal to them, since they now view the Suul'ka as gods.
- In Ace Attorney Investigations 2, the blind assassin Ryoken Houinbo trained his guide dog to kill, to the point where it's considered one of his trademark weapons.
- In Minecraft, once you tame a wolf by feeding it, it will follow you unless you command it to sit, and it will attack mobs that attack you.
- Dragon Age has Mabari War Dogs; Highly trained and highly loyal attack dogs in use by the nobles and army of Ferelden. They are also possessed of at least some measure of intelligence; when Ferelden was formed by rebelling against The Empire the Mabari defected to the Ferelden side en mass, and they are often remarked to be "smart enough not to talk" (a few characters seem to understand Mabari as well).
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert:
- Final Fantasy:
- Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VIII have characters (Shadow in VI and Rinoa in VIII) who use dogs trained to attack enemies.
- In Final Fantasy X, the Aeon Yojimbo fights alongside his attack dog Daigoro.
- In Final Fantasy XIII the Eidolons act as this alongside their chosen L'cie after being tamed.
- Galford and Nakoruru from Samurai Shodown use their animals to fight. Galford has his Malamute dog Poppy, Nakoruru either has her eagle Mamahaha or her wolf Shikuroo.
- In Kabuki Klash, Kinu uses her large dog Shirou as her weapon. Bitterly lampshaded by Yagumo in her winning quote against Kinu:
"I will NOT forgive those who use innocent animals for battle!"
- In Borderlands and Borderlands 2 a few of the characters have various types of this;
- Mordacai's action skill has him sick his pet Bloodwing (a hawklike bird/reptile) on enemies.
- Roland's Scorpio Turret also counts as the mechanical version.
- Axton in Borderlands 2's Scorpio Turret works like Roland's.
- Several enemies in both games can also drop turrets.
- Gaige the Mechromancer has her "D374-TP", DT, which works similarly to a cross between the turrets and Bloodwing (mainly using melee attacks like Bloodwing, but staying out and attacking for a limited time rather than just striking an enemy once).
- Mass Effect brings us the varren, which are not only vicious, deadly creatures without outside influence, but which are also trained and used as attack animals by groups such as the krogan, as well as batarian mercenaries. They resemble fish-like dogs with their large and round eyes, scaly skin, and huge fangs on a quadrupedal body, which is why they're called "fishdogs".
- Dogmeat in theFallout series. Usually a stray dog, Dogmeat becomes a loyal (if not smart Canine Companion that stops being helpful around mid-game as his only attacks are biting and his his points are poor. The Dogmeat of Fallout 2 had allegedly died after he ran into a force field and disintegrated.
- In Fallout 3, one of the Scavengers has an attack Yao Guai, and the Enclave tried to use Deathclaws in this manner. The Deathclaws had to use remote controls implants and as a safety feature they were designed to detonate after a certain range. The Lone Wanderer can hack the terminal near them to reconfigure the targeting parameters.
- Fallout: New Vegas has Rex, the second oldest companion in game, and only German Shepard alive past the Great War (if you choose to ignore the looks of the dogs in Fallout 4). His companion quest revolves around him and the Courier finding him a replacement brain. New Vegas also has the Fiend leader Violet and her dogs of whom she's very protective of (and with the second level of the Animal Friend perk can lead to her death). The Fiend's head honcho Motor-Runner has two dogs called Bone Gnash and Gnash Bone that sit before his throne.
- Raiders tend to use mangy, sickly, and viscous dogs as protection and means to flush out targets.
- Fallout 4 has Mutant Hounds, dogs subjected to being dipped in vats of the Forced Evolutionary Virus to become hulking green monsters just like their Super Mutant masters, who treat them as guard and hunting dogs. In Far Harbor Nate/Nora can purchase three of them to guard settlements.
- Call of Duty: Ghosts has a German Shepard named Riley who can be controlled and attack enemies stealthily.
- In Hyrule: Total War some factions field Attack Animals:
- Ordonians have hawks and goats.
- The Forces of Twilight have Twili Spiders, Shadow Bloats and Shadow Kargaroks.
- Gomess has control over swarms of Keese.
- Pokémon, being one of the aforementioned Mons series of games.
- Nazuna from Arcana Heart fights alongside her crow;Fusumi and her wolf(big enough to ride);Hayata.
- In Boogerman, one of the bosses is Hickboy, whose Weapon of Choice is a chicken capable of projectile egg launching and being thrown like a boomerang. The manual identifies his other attack as "Chicken Club (not a sandwich)."
- The first special unit for the Harmony affinity in Civilization: Beyond Earth is the Xeno Swarm: an assortment of indigenous alien creatures which have been bred in captivity and raised by humans. Keeping with Harmony's theme of genetic engineering and cloning, the creatures are specially engineered to be stronger, faster and more resilient than their natural-born counterparts, and have a two week time period between seed matrix and trained adult xenoform. They're led by a pair of human handlers - biologists and medical staff who have been implanted by pheromone glands which give them greater control over their creatures.
- The Captain in Pirates Vikings and Knights has trained his parrot to peck his enemies' eyes out. Generally, it's not meant to be used as an actual damage-dealing weapon, but rather to distract and harrass his his enemies while he or his team move in to beat the tar out of them.
- The Hound Master class from Darkest Dungeon has a dog by his side, who can be commanded to attack enemies, or be used for Fuzz Therapy if the stresses of Dungeon Crawling get too bad.
- Eternal Fighter Zero has Mayu Shiina with her pet ferret Myu, and Misuzu Kamio with her pet crow Sora; both girls can command their pets to attack.
- The hero of 8 Eyes is a fencer and falconer. His falcon, Cutrus, can only attack other enemies when the player specifically orders it to do so.
- Pom of Them's Fightin' Herds fights primarily with her sheep puppy companion, and has other puppies and a momma and papa sheepdog she can summon for bigger attacks.
- In The Elder Scrolls series, Clannfear are a form of lesser Daedra with animalistic intelligence and the general appearance of raptors with frills and beaks. They are known to serve in Mehrunes Dagon's (the Daedric Prince of Destruction) Legions of Hell in this capacity.
- Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire had Beemahs, Armless Biped created by Zmouf as spies and assassins. They weren't autonomous, but eventually found a new master, at which point Zmouf quickly became extinct. Beemahs were outlawed and supposedly extinct themselves, though.
Buck: You don't look very dangerous.Beemah: ZZOWWT!
- Tower of God: The Shinhaeu Ren and the other anima use.
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983). Battle Cat is this to Prince Adam, helping to fight his enemies.
- Besides dogs, many warhorses were like this, trained to bite, kick, or stomp at their rider's command.
- In Britain, there is a stereotype associated with "chavs" of them owning vicious dogs which they use to threaten people with.
- It's actually a pretty common steteotype in regards to gangsters of almost all countries. For the time being, their preferred "breeds" tend to be Pitbulls.
- The Roman Army had large units of war dogs. However, unlike almost any other types of military units and weapon technology, there are no known reports that describe their tactical use in great detail. Either they were mostly for show, or the Romans didn't want their enemies to know about them.
- War Elephants
- In India, this was taken a step further by amputating the tusk tips and replacing them with huge knives.
- In Ancient Egypt they did this with trained cheetah and sometimes other big cats. Baboons also.
- The USSR strapped bombs to dogs in World War II as a method to slow the German advance.