"It doesn't matter in Gladiator that Romans didn't use dogs on the battlefield, or that the dog disappears from the movie immediately afterward. It's a very simple equation: The good guys are whichever team the dog shows allegiance to, because the dog would never make that kind of mistake, especially if it's an adorable dog."A tool often used by media makers to help make sure you empathize with the party that they want you to empathize with. The surest way to show that a hero is undeniably a hero and an awesome guy, is to show him hanging out and totally loving his dog. It's his dog. Who ever heard of an awesome dude that doesn't love his dog? Think of this trope as being the physical manifestation of Pet the Dog. If a character has a dog which is around him constantly and whom he is always nice, respectful, and loving to, then that means a scene literally cannot go by in which he does not Pet the Dog. So of course he must be noble and good at heart. Villains who are cruel enough to mess with the dog, on the other hand, can expect full-on retribution from the hero in question. The dog in question is frequently a Canine Companion, sometimes also a Post-Apocalyptic Dog. See also Evil-Detecting Dog, for some of the logic behind this. See also Heroic Dog. Contrast Right-Hand Cat and Right-Hand Attack Dog, compare Kindhearted Cat Lover.
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Anime and Manga
- One of the many early hints that Dark Magical Girl Fate of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha was a lot nicer than she first appeared to be was how much she dotes on her wolf familiar, Arf.
- Elfen Lied: Though more of a borderline Villain Protagonist, Lucy has a soft spot for dogs; it was the brutal killing of a puppy she had bonded with that triggered her Start of Darkness.
- Fullmetal Alchemist:
- Played with when it comes to Roy Mustang. He gives a famous speech about his love of dogs, but the reason he gives for this affection is that you can treat them like crap and they'll still be loyal to you.
- Played straighter with his Lancer, Riza Hawkeye. She's the owner of the puppy that inspired Mustang's speech about dogs.
- Keith Goodman/Sky High of Tiger & Bunny likes to spend his spare time walking his dog, John.
- Played with in Hayate X Blade with Mikado Akira. Immediately after she gives up her need for her father's approval, the root of her antagonistic actions, she is shown to have a dog.
- In Spider Man J, an anime adaptation of Spider-Man, gives Peter a pet dog named Par, along with cat named Leo and a bird named Don. Their names, when said together (as 'Leopardon') form a shoutout to an old Super Sentai show about Spidey.
- Anpanman has Cheese, Anpanman's pet dog. He found Cheese as a stray when he was a little boy, and was the first creature he gave part of his head to to eat.
- Nurse Angel Ririka SOS depicts dogs more positively than cats. After all, the heroine loves her pet dog Herb. Herb even helps her detect evil.
- Mobile Suit Gundam Wing - Heero Yuy presents himself as an emotionless killer, but even he turns into a softy around animals, especially dogs. One scene involves him playing fetch with a pair of dogs on the beach and encouraging Quatre to join in, commenting on their ability to sense a person's true character.
- All the girls in School-Live! have a thing for Taromaru, though Taromaru doesn't like Miki much. In the manga she never even met Taromaru as he is a minor Posthumous Character, though one chapters cover does show Miki photographing a puppy who doesn't seem to like her.
- In The Boys, Billy Butcher may be a general jerk and super killer, but he genuinely loves his inaptly named British Bulldog Terror, and he usually serves to show Billy's more human side. When Jack From Jupiter kills Terror, Billy completely loses it.
- Inverted in Watchmen, where Rorschach clearly doesn't have a high opinion of dogs at all. When he discovers that two dogs owned by a kidnapper were fed the child's body as means of disposing of the evidence, he promptly kills them. Though calling Rorschach a hero is a bit of a stretch.
- Played straight with Nite Owl I's dog Phantom, which marks him as the most mentally stable person in the entire cast.
- Superboy/Superman and his dog companion Krypto.
- Krypto also becomes Supergirl's pet when she arrives on Earth. In alternate universe story Superman #149 in which Superman gets murdered by Lex Luthor, Supergirl becomes Krypto's sole owner when she takes over her cousin's job.
- In Krypton No More, Superman, Supergirl and Krypto fight and have fun together.
- In The Superman Adventures story "Old Wounds", Superman has a lot of fun having Krypto around (thanks to one of Mxy's tricks) before the dog's superpowers emerge.
- Krypto inspired Bill Finger to add Ace the Bat-Hound to the Batman Family.
- Tin Tin and his Canine Companion Snowy.
- Hawkeye got a dog in the first issue of his late 2012 ongoing after he saved him from being shot at by some thugs while he was unarmed (the dog took a liking to Barton because he gave him a slice of pizza) and ended up getting hit by a car because of it. The dog, while now severely banged up, is seen living with him by the second issue. For added points, the dog's called Arrow, but he thinks of changing that name.
- Uncle Sam, the collie Canine Companion to the protagonist of the World War I serial "Golden Eyes" And Her Hero "Bill". Even though they're in the middle of a war, both Golden Eyes and Bill dote on Uncle Sam constantly. In contrast, the German patrol that spots Uncle Sam shoots at him.
- A Boy, a Girl and a Dog: The Leithian Script: Beren and Luthien's most loyal companion and friend is Huan, a huge and noble wolfhound.
- Thousand Shinji: Asuka has an old bulldog pet following her around. He began to hang out with her because he noticed that she was a fighter just like him.
- In Wonderful, Taylor makes masks -called Wonder Masks- that grant people super-powers. When she manages to make Wonder Masks for Rachel's dogs, everyone who have fought alongside Taylor want to get a "Wonder Dog".
- Not so much a hero as a protagonist, but the eponymous main character of John Wick, after the death of his wife, receives a gift from her from beyond the grave: a Beagle puppy, whom she ordered delivered to him before her death to keep him company and help him deal with his grief. John is shown to be very loving of the puppy... then the bad guys kill her. Bloodshed ensues.
- As pointed out in the Cracked article above, at the beginning of Gladiator, the German peasants are the Ragtag Bunch Of Misfit underdogs fighting against the all-powerful invading Romans in an attempt to protect their homeland. Problem is, the movie wants you to root for the Romans, because that's the side the protagonist, Maximus, and The Good King, are on. Solution? Give them a dog. Even if it doesn't make any sense.
- Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid. This is, in fact, the entire reason why we know he's Prince Charming in the beginning. The first thing we see him do is affectionately play with his dog, and hardly fifteen minutes later he nearly gets himself killed saving his dog's life.
- Mad Max is different from the other road warriors. Because he has a dog, and that makes him a good guy.
- Stanley and his dog Milo in The Mask.
- Robert Neville's last (living) companion in the 2007 film adaptation of I Am Legend is his trusty German Shepherd, Sam.
- In Shoot 'em Up, the hero Smith refuses to kill the Big Bad's dog, Duchess, claiming "I like dogs." He later adopts Duchess as his own.
- Carl ends up adopting Dug as he prepares to rescue Russell in Up. Or at least accepting that Dug has adopted him as his "Master".
- Chuck Norris's Lone Wolf McQuade.
- TRON: Legacy: Sam Flynn has a lot of anger issues, no actual day job, few social contacts, and no direction for his life. His stalwart companion is a "rescue" dog named Marv who gets rewarded with a cheeseburger for helping him prank his dad's company.
- Almost every Mel Gibson movie has his character either owning a dog or being on friendly terms with one.
- In Epic MK is clearly very fond of her dog; Ozzie.
- In Man of Steel, the Kents have a pet dog named Shelby when Clark is a child, and another dog named Dusty when Clark is an adult. Away from the Kent farm, Clark is shown petting dogs... in trailers.
- Chuck and Hercules Hansen in Pacific Rim bring their English bulldog Max with them to the Hong Kong Shatterdome — the first hint that Chuck is more than the Jerk Ass he appears to be is him being nice to his dog. Mako is also seen being affectionate with Max and he's the official decal for Striker Eureka's tech team, drive suits, and PR mascot.
- In Dune (1984) Patrick Stewart actually charges into action against the evil Harkonnen while clutching a pug dog to his chest. Mind you that's not the safest position for a dog to be in...
- In Defendor film Defendor has a small figurine of a dog in his truck with word "Defendog" written under it, maybe implying an imaginary sidekick dog.
- In Kingsman: The Secret Service, Eggsy forms a tight bond with his canine companion, J.B.
- The Dresden Files: Harry Dresden has a rather large dog named Mouse who happens to be an Evil-Detecting Dog and a descendant of a Chinese guardian spirit.
- Subverted in George Eliot's Daniel Deronda. Grandcourt supposedly adores dogs. In reality, he torments them (mentally, not physically), in ways that tell us something about how he intends to treat his wife.
- The Silmarillion: Beren and Lúthien win the loyalty of of Huan, the hound of Valinor, even though he is their enemy's dog.
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- Invoked with an entire family of heroes. In the first chapter, the five Stark children and their bastard brother find six orphaned direwolf pups, which will grow up into mighty wolves. There are four males and two females; one of the males an albino outcast. Naturally, the bastard adopts the albino, the three Stark boys take the other males, and the two Stark girls take the females. The wolves become their closest companions, reflecting each child's personality, fate, and more.
- Downplayed with Sandor Clegane, the Hound, who loves dogs far more than he likes people but who is by no means heroic. In the case of the Cleganes, It Runs in the Family. The man who earned House Clegane the title was a Lannister dog-handler and the family crest is or, three dogs passant sable (or in plain English, three black running dogs on a yellow field).
- Played straight in Deerskin: The heroine's sighthound has been her only real friend for most of her life. (The evil king makes a point of kicking the poor beast right before crossing the Moral Event Horizon.) And the Wise Prince is more at home in the kennel than in the royal court.
- Gilbert Markham with his dog Sancho in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall — he even gives his girlfriend's young son one of his puppies. Anne Brontė loved to make use of this trope, as also seen in Agnes Grey.
- Haplo in The Death Gate Cycle. An unusual example because the dog is the literal manifestation of Haplo's soul.
- A Boy and His Dog: It's just him and his dog After the End. Oh, wait! There's a girl that also survived. Then again, this is Harlan Ellison writing, so the boy is hardly a hero.
- In The Well Of Ascension Vin takes advantage of this trope by having her kandra companion take the form of a dog.
- In Wolf Hall, Thomas Cromwell likes small dogs that remind him of the one he had to abandon in his youth; as an adult he acquires a number of them and calls them all Bella after that first pet. He genuinely sympathizes with Anne Boleyn when she's crying over the fatal (and suspicious) fall of her spaniel from a window and knows very well not to suggest she just get a new one.
Live Action TV
- In The Adventures of Superman episode "The Dog Who Knew Superman", Superman instantly bonds with Corky, a dog he rescued from a well.
- Angel: Angel, which is lampshaded by Angelus, who offers to send Angel "to that big puppy pound in the sky" as revenge for all those puppies he's saved. Played for Laughs when Gunn assures him that he'll get along fine with The Conduit as long as he likes cats. Whoops.
- Game of Thrones: The direwolf is the sigil of House Stark and each member of the newest generation (Robb, Jon, Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon) receive one as a pet.
- In The Twilight Zone episode "The Hunt", a man is killed along with his dog while hunting and they wander the afterlife. Eventually they reach the gates of Heaven, but he is refused entry when the attending angel says he can't take this dog. He promptly refuses to go. Turns out that the Devil was trying to trick him into going to Hell, but by refusing to abandon the pooch he gets to take it into the real Heaven.
- Shorty and his crew in Pit Boss do, too, unsurprisingly.
- In Hawaii Five-0, Danny is more than willing to adopt the orphaned dog of a dead customs agent. He even forces Steve to ride in the backseat of the Camaro while the dog rides up front with him.
- Captain Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager has Molly, an Irish Setter. An early moment in the pilot episode has her convincing her fiancé to care for the pregnant Molly while she's gone (which turns out to be far longer than either of them had anticipated).
- In Star Trek: Enterprise, Captain Jonathan Archer absolutely adores his pet beagle Porthos. In "A Night in Sickbay", he's willing to throw away humanity's burgeoning relations with the Kreetassans when Porthos becomes infected with a virus after visiting their planet. Admittedly, it's not a very good episode but it does illustrate how much he loves his dog.
- In Hannibal protagonist Will rescued and adopted 6 stray dogs at various points in his life. While he's anxious and unsociable around people, his interactions with the dogs bring out a kinder and more cheerful side to him.
- During the second season of Person of Interest, John and Finch pick up and start taking care of Bear, a Belgian military dog they stole from an Aryan Nation cell, and regularly feature him in some of the more light-hearted semi-comedic moments of the show.
- K-9, the robotic dog from Doctor Who
- In Cases of the 1st Department, Maj. Vaclav Plisek says he likes animals, and he thinks that a victim's disappeared dog is an important lead in the case, which proves to be right. He later adopts the dog because the victim's mother couldn't take him (she had a flat full of cats). Brandy appears in several subsequent episodes, just being cute or biting his colleagues.
- Sam from Supernatural loves dogs. He's adopted at least two dogs over the course of his life and doesn't keep them mostly due to his dangerous and nomadic lifestyle. Averted with Dean who, due to his experiences with hellhounds, dislikes dogs.
- Stargate SG-1: in "Chain Reaction", after bluffing his way into Senator Robert Kinsey's house, O'Neill wastes no time befriending Kinsey's dog, which turns out to be useful when a password is the dog's name.note
- In Longstreet, Mike has a seeing eye dog named Pax. In the pilot, he was initially against having a dog, not out of hate; but because to him it was a reminder of his blindness. However he comes to love Pax and is devastated when Pax nearly dies of a fatal stab wound.
Foggy Nelson: You need a dog.Matt Murdock: [smiles] I'm not getting a dog.Foggy Nelson: What, you don't like dogs? Who doesn't like dogs?Karen Page: I—I love dogs.Foggy Nelson: Everybody loves dogs.
- Discused in "Rabbit in a Snowstorm". When Matt shows up to work sporting a bruise over his right eye from his fight with the Russians in the previous episode, Foggy and Karen suggest he get a seeing-eye dog.
- While he is a very violent Anti-Hero who kills criminals with extreme prejudice, Frank Castle adopted a dog the Kitchen Irish had been using for fights after he machine-gunned the previous owners. Its arguably one of the few things he is still emotionally attached to as Finn and the other Kitchen Irish get Frank to confess where he hid their money he had stolen by threatening to kill the dog. He does confess, knowing full well the money's been booby-trapped with a bomb.
- Dice Funk: Anne loves to cuddle Jayne in her Dire Wolf form.
- Lance Romenel, Power of Records, in Nobilis has a Newfie dog named Fezzik of which he is very fond. He also serves as a Psychopomp for other people's dogs on a volunteer basis, despite his Estate having nothing to do with dogs.
- Zigzagged in Warhammer 40,000. On the heroic side, you have the Space Wolves, where the hero is a seven-foot-tall Space Viking and his dog is a wolf the size of a rhino. On the villainous side, you have Flesh Hounds of Khorne, Hell Hounds that live to rip and slaughter, and Beasts of Nurgle, which is what happens when you take the personality of a Big, Friendly Dog and put it in the body of a slug the size of a van that oozes acid.
- Every MOTHER protagonist:
- Galford, the All-American hero from Samurai Shodown has his loyal pet dog as a combat gimmick.
- The Bard's Tale has an Anti-Hero Jerkass protagonist, a compulsive liar and cheat, who however not only does he pick up a dog companion early in the game, but he sheds a genuine tear and vows revenge when the dog is killed by a monstrous minion of the apparent Big Bad.
- Subverted in Darkstalkers. B. B. Hood has a puppy she takes with her everywhere, even to Hell. Considering her personality, it's probably another thing meant to lull her enemies into a false sense of security long enough so that she can stab them, gut them, riddle them with bullets, and sell their body parts on the black market.
- Metal Gear Solid : Otacon loves dogs and Snake is known to keep a team of Huskies, as he dabbles as a musher. However, Snake is not above murdering dogs which get in his way, much to Otacon's horror. The villain Sniper Wolf also keeps a pack of wolf-dogs, referring to them as her family. Otacon indicates that this is an example that she is, in fact, a nice person, though Snake is very doubtful of this.
- In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Big Boss can rescue a wolf pup whose mother had been killed. The pup is named DD and goes on to become the Diamond Dogs' mascot, complete with his own eyepatch to match his adoptive father.
- In Fable II, you're given a dog that follows you around and alerts you to the presence of buried treasure. You can praise it, give it treats, and play catch with it. Of course, the same as with your general morality, whether you treat the dog with such kindness is wholly up to you.
- In Dragon Age: Origins, one of your possible companions is a strong Mabari warhound, and if you choose Human Noble origin, he's been with you for years. On the other hand, Well-Intentioned Extremist Teyrn Loghain also used to have a dog that he loved dearly, as he will reveal if you choose to recruit him near the end, and have him in your party with the dog.
- Ferelden culture in general loves dogs in general and particularly the majestic Mabari Hound for their strength, courage, and intelligence (which is implied to be on the same level as humans). The capital city of Denerim is even compared to the Mabari, and the term "Dog Lords" is used as a slur for Fereldens by other cultures.
- The Hawke family can have their own mabari warhound in Dragon Age II (if you get the Black Emporium DLC). Even your most moody party members can't help but like him, though Anders states that he's immune to his charms due to being a cat person. This is par for the course; the Hawkes are Fereldans.
- Cullen in the Trespasser DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition adopts a Mabari (or, as is typical, the Mabari adopts him). And again... Cullen is a Fereldan.
- Shadow of Final Fantasy VI and Rinoa of Final Fantasy VIII both have dogs that assist them in combat, though Shadow is an Anti-Hero and Rinoa is a heroine.
- Sora, of Kingdom Hearts, pals around with King Mickey's dog Pluto in the first few hours of the game. In Kingdom Hearts II, his girlfriend Kairi spends an even longer time befriending the dog.
- We've got the crocadog in Jak II: Renegade, who's only loyal to Jak and his younger self. Of course, Jak is good with animals...
- Septerra Core. Grubb builds his own Robot Dog, Runner, his best friend. When Runner went missing, and was later found with Led, she and Grubb started bickering about which of them was his owner.
- Persona 3 Portable actually has a Social Link between the Female Protagonist and Team Pet Koromaru.
- Shinjiro is an animal lover in general, and bonds quickly with Koromaru, going so far as to cook meals for him.
- Protagonist of Inazuma Eleven GO! Tenma has Sasuke, a dog he rescued when it was still a puppy.
- The wannabe hero Nightshade is, fittingly, a huge dog fan ("What a pretty woofums!"). Cats don't agree with him, though.
- Abel from Street Fighter IV. More than one of his post-fight quotes are about his wish to have a pet dog, him wondering if he can go buy a pup collar after the match, etc. In Super Street Fighter IV, he does adopt a cute little pup.
- Call of Duty: Ghosts gives your heroes a loyal attack/scouting dog, which you control for a few sequences..
- In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, dogs and cats naturally like Link, partially because he can turn into a wolf and communicate with them. To add extra awww they are the only living thing you can pick up without throwing.
- Brick from the Borderlands series may be an enormous Blood Knight Sociopathic Hero, but he still loves dogs. In the first game he wears a paw on a necklace from his former dog who died as a Tragic Keepsake. In the second game a second paw is added, as he had gotten another dog in between games which was killed by a villain who knew it was the only way to really hurt him. In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, where said villain (Nisha) is playable, it's revealed that when she was a child she had a dog that she loved very much, and was forced to put it down after it went berserk from a combination of being bitten by a venomous creature and Nisha's abusive mother accidentally hitting the dog while trying to throw things at her. The incident has since caused her to hate animals, puppies in particular.
- In Rule of Rose, the heroine (and only remotely sane character) is symbolized by dogs - most obviously, her pet puppy. She often cuddles this puppy and gives him treats; in fact the dog's murder is partly what motivates her to fight the Big Bad. The other, less moral, characters are symbolized by different animals and the Big Bad extolls at great length her specific hatred of dogs. Like, there are multiple diary entries where she does nothing other than talk about how filthy and inferior to her they are.
- The Houndmaster of Darkest Dungeon is clearly attached to his Irish Wolfhound and is by far the most heroic of the assorted adventurers you can choose from. His damage animation shows him shielding his hound from harm with his own body, and his battle quips mostly revolve around praising and reassuring his hound. The bond is mutual, many of the Houndmasters battle and camp skills highlight the hound's dedication, with abilities like "lick wounds" and "therapy dog" for healing and reducing stress. As a duo, they are the most stoic unit when facing the prospect of being sacrificed to the Heart of Darkness
- "Steady, girl. If we're called, we answer."
- Bee and Puppycat has the title characters. Though it's debatable if Puppycat counts as his dog.
- In The Glass Scientists, Jekyll is a dog person front and centre and he loves all dogs whether they're alive, Church Grims or werewolves.
- RWBY has Zwei, Ruby and Yang's pet corgi puppy, being sent to stay with the heroines for a while midway through Volume 2. Subverted humorously by Blake, who takes an instant dislike to him. Weiss, however, loves him to bits.
- This concept went into the planning of Avatar: The Last Airbender: The writers decided not to give Zuko a pet hawk as originally planned because anyone who has an animal companion can't be as damaged and evil...ish as Zuko.
- The sequel series, The Legend of Korra, applies though. Korra has a giant Polar Bear-Dog named Naga.
- In one episode of Sushi Pack, one of the superheroes on the Reality TV show, "The World's Mightiest Heroes" has a Canine Companion, who ends up winning the competition. Later, when that superhero gets married, the dog is his Best Man.
- Where would Mickey Mouse be without his beloved dog Pluto?
- The eponymous character of Jimmy Two-Shoes, the only nice guy in Miseryville, has a dog named Cerbee.
- The paladin Artix from AdventureQuest, DragonFable and AdventureQuest Worlds has the same cute Pomeranian dog as his real-life counterpart. Daimyo can be obtained as a mascot for player characters, too.
- Moral Orel: Orel Puppington had a dog he named Bartholomew who he ended up loving . . . more than JESUS. When the adults found out, they put him down. Later Orel believes he hears Bartholomew while flatlining. During the Distant Finale, Orel and his family own a dog similar to Bartholomew.
- Motorcity: Although he doesn't own an actual dog, Mike's car (which is very important to him) is named Mutt and is very dog-like, including his bobblehead dog on the dashboard.
- Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Firestar/Angelica Jones has her adorable pet lap dog Ms Lion
- From Young Justice, Superboy has Wolf. Kid Flash and Artemis also have a dog post-Time Skip.
- It's never been seen in-show, but Noah from Total Drama Island has several times been mentioned to have a golden labrador.
- In G.I. Joe, Snake Eyes has Timber, a wolf whose life he saved and who then loyally followed him around afterward.
- Averted with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, he has a cat companion.