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- In Highschool of the Dead, one of the characters of the group is Zero, a small white puppy whom the protagonists have adopted. Throughout their adventure, the dog has been, in many ways, an advantage and a nuiscance. Oftentimes helping them fight off the zombies (dogs are invisible to them) and sometimes foolishly giving away their position with its loud barking.
- Defied in Desert Punk, where owning a dog is considered a bizarre luxury for the rich.
- One of the main characters in the zombie horror comic Crossed, at the time where keeping a mutt who might give away their position is a bad idea. Although the group was reluctant with the animal, the protagonist kept it as a friend. Ironically, the dog was one of the last remaining survivor of the group by the end of the first arc.
- Various examples in Scooby Apocalypse, the main one being the titular character.
- Rover Red Charlie: After a Hate Plague causes humanity to wipe itself out, the comic follows three dogs headed to California from New York.
- A Boy and His Dog: Based on Harlan Ellison's novella, this is far from the earliest example of this trope, but could be considered the Trope Codifier. It's the classic tale of a disaffected teenager living in a post-apocalyptic world, his only friend a telepathic bloodhound who sniffs out women for him to have sex with. In the story's infamous ending, Vic, the teen, chooses the dog over his most recent fling, because, of course, "A boy loves his dog." (The dog eats her.)
- The Road Warrior: After the events of the first Mad Max movie, Max has nothing left in the post-apocalyptic wasteland but his Australian cattle dog. When a gang of marauders kills it, well, things really start to get serious.
- I Am Legend: Although the Will Smith version of the original Richard Matheson novel is very different from the book, dogs play huge roles in both. In the movie, Neville's dog Sam is his only friend and companion until she becomes infected herself with the apocalyptic disease while defending her master from a pack of contagious vampire dogs.
- The Last Man on Earth: This Vincent Price movie adapts Richard Matheson's post-apocalyptic vampire novel I Am Legend fairly faithfully, and includes the subplot with the dog that Neville befriends for a short time.
- In the French movie Time of the Wolf, the dogs we never see on screen pose quite a thread to the surviving humans. At one point the family discovers mangled corpses of sheep, which possibly fell victim to stray dogs. We later learn that the young boy tried to make friends with one of the dogs but it bit him in the hand so he killed it.
- Pets, including dogs, are everywhere in Children of Men, showing how humanity has been trying to fill the hole caused by the absence of children in the world.
- In Chernobyl Diaries, the tourists initially blame their guide's grisly off-camera death on feral dogs, which survive as aggressive scavengers in the exclusion zone.
- Stalker tends to have a black dog walking around.
- Steel Dawn has a dog that follows the protagonist.
- Rick Deckard in Blade Runner 2049 has one as his only companion in the irradiated ruins of Las Vegas.
- Justified Trope in the Terminator films, where La Résistance keeps them because they can tell the difference between a human and a machine.
- Harlan Ellison's novella A Boy and His Dog is far from the earliest example of this trope, but could be considered the Trope Codifier. It's the classic tale of a disaffected teenager living in a post-apocalyptic world, his only friend a telepathic bloodhound who sniffs out women for him to have sex with. In the story's infamous ending, Vic, the teen, chooses the dog over his most recent fling, because, of course, "A boy loves his dog." (The dog eats her.)
- In Stephen King's post-apocalyptic nightmare The Stand, Kojak the Irish setter comes to the aid of the hero in a time of need, braving wolves and later the wide virus-ravaged wasteland even when injured.
- I Am Legend. All his neighbors have turned into vampires, and Robert Neville is going slowly insane as the Last Man on Earth. But a dog coming into his life saves him: "He stayed drunk for two days and planned on staying drunk till the end of time or the world's whisky supply, whichever came first. And he might have done it, too, if it hadn't been for a miracle. It happened on the third morning, when he stumbled out onto the porch to see if the world was still there. There was a dog roving about on the lawn." His wooing of the dog to become his companion takes up weeks of his time and a good bit of the novel. He succeeds, but Chapter 13 heartbreakingly ends with the line, "In a week the dog was dead."
- In Stephen Vincent Benét's 1937 short story about life after global annihilation, "By the Waters of Babylon", the narrator must elude a pack of wild dogs while exploring a destroyed city.
- In Roger Zelazny's post-holocaust road novel Damnation Alley, a pack of wild dogs pursue the main character, but can only howl and snap at his tires.
- In Paolo Bacigalupi's story "The People of Sand and Slag," posthuman cyborgs who mutilate themselves for fun inhabit a ravaged wasteland of a world where no normal organic creatures can survive. One day they miraculously discover a sickly old-style dog, and keep it as a pet for a short time — up until they get tired of its constant injuries and paying for its food. They decide to eat it just to find out what it tastes like.
- In Paul Witcover's story "The Twilight of the Dogs," a militant Evangelical in a civil war-torn United States encounters a pack of ravenous ex-pet dogs. The reversion of the dogs to this status clearly mirrors the behavior of the humans after the apocalypse: "What had turned the dogs so vicious? Had the noise and bloodshed of war snapped something civilized in them, returning them to a wilder, more savage existence? Did the same thing happen to men?" The story ends with the quasi-apotheosis of the narrator's soul among the dogs that have just devoured his former congregation.
- Proving that this trope is way, way Older Than Radio, if perhaps not quite Older Than Steam, Lord Byron's poem "Darkness" describes a vision of an apocalyptic future in which dogs turn on their masters, with one eternally faithful exception, who even guards his dead owner's body: "Even dogs assail'd their masters, all save one, / And he was faithful to a corse, and kept / The birds and beasts and famish'd men at bay, / Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead / Lured their lank jaws; himself sought out no food, / But with a piteous and perpetual moan, / And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand / Which answered not with a caress—he died."
- In Mary Shelley's "other" science fiction novel, The Last Man, the world has been devastated by a plague, and the narrator finds himself alone until he meets a dog to break his solitude: "My only companion was a dog." He comes across the sheepdog continuing at his post as if nothing has happened: "His master was dead, but nevertheless he continued fulfilling his duties in expectation of his return. If a sheep strayed from the rest, he forced it to return to the flock, and sedulously kept off every intruder."
- Richard Jefferies's 1885 novel After London traces how domestic dogs fared after the collapse of human civilization, some dying out, and others reverting to wolfhood: "The dogs, of course, like the cats, were forced by starvation into the fields, where they perished in incredible numbers. Of many species of dogs which are stated to have been plentiful among the ancients, we have now nothing but the name. The poodle is extinct, the Maltese terrier, the Pomeranian, the Italian greyhound, and, it is believed, great numbers of crosses and mongrels have utterly disappeared. There was none to feed them, and they could not find food for themselves, nor could they stand the rigour of the winter when exposed to the frost in the open air. Some kinds, more hardy and fitted by nature for the chase, became wild, and their descendants are now found in the woods."
- In one of the earliest nuclear holocaust novels, Pat Frank's Alas, Babylon, the young Ben Franklin becomes upset about having killed a dog in self-defense, thinking it had been a wolf. Another character assures him that he has acted properly, not only because times have changed, but because of a specific shift in canine identity the nuclear disaster has caused: "'It was a wolf,' Randy said.'It wasn't a dog any longer. In times like these dogs can turn into wolves.'"
- In Robert C. O'Brien's young adult novel Z for Zachariah, survivor farm girl Ann Burden lives alone in a rural valley with a dog named Faro, a fellow survivor of the radioactive fallout of a nuclear war. The antagonist of the novel, an adult male scientist with radiation poisoning, uses her dog to track her after she flees from him. Ann is forced to kill her beloved Faro to protect herself: although she can't bring herself to shoot, she tricks him into entering a fatally contaminated stream instead.
- In Alfred Bester's 1941 short story "Adam and No Eve" a disaster has killed all life on the planet, and proto-astronaut Steven Krane descends back down to Earth from a rocket, carrying his mastiff Umber with him. Unfortunately, Krane is eventually forced to kill him, recognizing him as a threatening animal consumed by hunger: "Panic jerked within him. A voice persisted: This is no friend. He has no love or companionship for you. Love and companionship have vanished from the land along with life. Now there is nothing left but hunger."
- Mike Resnick's story "The Last Dog" is about both the last man on earth and the last dog on earth. An alien third party, aptly named "Other," has come to cleanse Earth with a moral imperative, but in the end it only reinforces the unbreakable bond of man and dog. Dog rejects the attacks of the Other on mankind, and stays loyal to the last.
- In Will McIntosh's novel Soft Apocalypse, ex-pets have become a valuable resource for entrepreneurs after the collapse of civilization. At one point, the main character hitches a hide in a dog taxi: a hollowed-out Mustang pulled by a team of scrappy mutts: "It made sense, really. There were plenty of dogs. Hell, they were all over, like big rats."
- George R. Stewart's classic post-apocalyptic Earth Abides is full of dogs, so many that the main character is a little disturbed by their implications in this new "dog-eat-dog" world: "He had seen many dogs in the last two days, and he had tried to shut them out of his mind." The beginning of another chapter consists of a virtuoso meditation on how the disease that has wiped most humans off the face of the Earth has also fundamentally changed the dogs.
- In The Dog Stars, by Peter Heller, the main character really has only his faithful dog Jasper to help him survive and keep him sane during his hard life after the apocalypse. When Jasper finally dies of old age, the tragedy inspires the man to leave his makeshift home in search of something more to live for.
- In T.C. Boyle's post-apocalyptic short story "After the Plague," the narrator must take precautions against packs of starving neighborhood pets: "I took to walking round the neighborhood with a baseball bat to ward off the packs of feral dogs for which Alpo would never again materialize in a neat bowl in the corner of a dry and warm kitchen."
- Sara Genge's "The Story in Which Dog Dies" is a short post-apocalyptic fable about the last man and the last dog on Earth: "If you happen to survive to the End of Time, you may see them hunting. [...] They will live happily ever after until the Very End. Last Man hopes it will come soon."
- Lester del Rey's 1938 short story "The Faithful" features a post-apocalyptic world where humans have gone extinct, but dogs have evolved human levels of intelligence. Of course, they still pine for their lost masters.
- In the short story "Stay," by Stephen L. Burns, humans have disappeared off the face of the Earth, but a mysterious "Change" imposed by aliens has altered dogs to have human levels of intelligence. The malediction "bad dog," however, remains the foulest of insults from one dog to another, and the plot naturally revolves around the discovery of a few surviving humans.
- Clifford Simak's 1952 fixup novel City is another "dogs have inherited the earth" narrative, except his intelligent dogs live in a kind of utopian future where killing and war are foreign concepts.
- Jack London is famous for his dog stories, and, lo and behold, his 1915 post-apocalyptic novel The Scarlet Plague takes particular care to describe what happened to the dogs as they slowly became feral again: "A strange thing was what was taking place with all the domestic animals. Everywhere they were going wild and preying on one another. [...] Nor were the dogs long in adapting themselves to the changed conditions. There was a veritable plague of dogs. They devoured the corpses, barked and howled during the nights, and in the daytime slunk about in the distance. [...] The dog [...] always was a social animal, and this was true before ever he came to be domesticated by man. [...] Well, all the small dogs, and the weak types, were killed by their fellows. Also, the very large ones were not adapted for the wild life and bred out. As a result, the many different kinds of dogs disappeared, and there remained, running in packs, the medium-sized wolfish dogs that you know to-day."
- In Margaret Atwood's post-apocalyptic novel Oryx and Crake, the lone survivor Snowman finds himself treed by genetically engineered "wolvogs" that have apparently eaten all of the "real dogs," and the fate of a particular insufficiently fit "yapping Pekinese" is graphically described.
- There's always a dog at the end of the world — even when that dog isn't exactly a dog, like in Jeanette Winterson's literary apocalypse The Stone Gods, where that dog is a three-horned alien "hog-hippo hybrid." We're probably talking about some kind of triceratops, since this portion of the novel takes place on a prehistoric version of Earth, where the visitors from outer space encounter this "creature about the size of an Alsatian dog, but stockier, and with very short legs and three horns" (81). But Winterson treats and describes the thing as if it were an Alsatian and not a dinosaur, and, faithful as any Fido, it sticks with the two main characters as they freeze to death at the end of time.
- In José Saramago's Blindness, civilization begins to collapse (at least in the unnamed city where the action takes) after a plague of blindness strikes. A loving, faithful dog called only the "dog of tears" accompanies the one remaining sighted human in her quest to save herself and those around her.
- There's a kind of PRE-apocalyptic dog in William Blake's poem "Auguries of Innocence": one of the portents of the end of the world is a starving dog: "A dog starv'd at his Master's Gate / Predicts the ruin of the State."
- Survivor Dogs is a Xenofiction work based on a group of pet dogs and one loner dog left in a city after a massive earthquake devastates it. They eventually make it to the wild and learn to live on their own.
- In the Time Of Death series, Emma Rossi is fantastically devoted to her dog Daphne. Played with as Daphne is an adorable little Yorkie.
- The hero of Gordon R. Dickson's Wolf and Iron makes friends with an actual wolf. After being scolded by a wolf biologist who misread the original 1974 short story "In Iron Years" — where the creature is not a wolf but a huge cattle dog, possibly a German shepherd or a Malamute — Dickson worked hard to make the wolf wolf-like and not dog-like, so it's not a perfect fit for the trope. Unusually, the apocalypse is an economic collapse rather than a physical or military disaster.
- In Emergence, Candy's first venture outside her shelter features a pack of former pet dogs (now feral) trying to attack her. She kills three of her attackers, which apparently convinces the remaining three to be somewhere else quickly.
- In Riddley Walker, dogs have become humanity's enemies since the nuclear holocaust. Some humans are tolerated or befriended by dogs, but this state of being "dog frendy" is mistrusted.
- In Foundation and Earth, the main characters' search for Earth That Was takes them to a former colony world on which humans went extinct, leaving behind dogs that have reverted to wolf-like behavior.
Live Action TV
- Dogs were given a mention in an episode of Life After People: specifically, it was said that most dogs would die within a few weeks of humans vanishing, either because they were trapped inside with no access to food or just because they had lost their hunting instincts. However, there would be lots of feral survivors roaming the streets for years afterward.
- Dogs are rarely seen on The Walking Dead, but make two notable appearances.
- One, a friendly-seeming mutt, encounters Daryl and Beth after the fall of the prison. Later in the episode, they hear a scratching at the door and assume it to be the dog only to let in a horde of zombies.
- As the group is wandering aimlessly, low on food and water, they're set upon by a pack of wild dogs. One extended burst of machinegun fire later, and they're eating the first meat they've had in days.
- Diamond Dogs: A Concept Album where human dog hybrids life in a post-apocalyptic universe.
- In Foster the People's video for "Helena Beat," the frontman's character is shown driving away from the crumbling city with his dog in the passenger seat. The dog runs off and never returns once the guy gets into trouble, though.
- The roleplaying game Pugmire is about an entire world of post-apocalyptic dogs, who have achieved sentience and must now try to figure out how to be Good Dogs in the absence of Man.
- Palladium's After The Bomb transplants their mutant-animal setting into the future. The villainous Empire of Humanity hates all mutant animals — except mutant dogs, who are kept around as servants and shock troops.
- Gamma World has a few dog-descended mutant species, primarily Arks (tool-using humanoids that operate in packs) and Podogs (sentient mastiffs big enough to ride).
- Dog Act is a post-apocalyptic comedic play about a traveling performer named Zetta Stone who journeys throughout the wasted United States. The other half of her act is a man who has decided to become "species demoted" to a dog (he is aptly named Dog).
- The Fallout series features Dogmeat as a recurring companion, suggested to be a Legacy Character of sorts from a lineage of faithful canines who have assisted heroes across the post-apocalyptic United States, from the New California Republic to the Capital Wasteland and ruins of Boston. If you like more metal in your guard dogs, there are cybernetically-enhanced canine companions in the form of K-9, Robodog, and Rex, the foremost of which is sentient and capable of conversation. The series gets on both sides of this trope, however, and also features feral dogs as enemies, as well as attack canines used by various factions.
- One canine companion you don't want is Fallout 2's Pariah Dog, which can force itself into your party and give you the "Jinxed" trait, which drops your Luck Stat to 1, and contributes nothing in combat. The only way to get rid of it is to kill it, which is no easy feat.
- It's notable that, in a world that runs on '50s pop-science where many animals, from cockroaches to cattle to bears, have been mutated by nuclear radiation, Fallout dogs were mostly the same as they've always been, if a bit (or a lot) scruffier in some cases. Then Fallout 4 introduced Mongrels with no hair and withered skin, suggesting they've succumbed to radiation like human Ghouls, Glowing One variants of these Mongrels, and finally Mutant Hounds that are just as big, green and brutish as their Super Mutant masters. But with the Animal Friend perk you can tame and command them in battle, and some vendors sell domesticated variants you can send to protect your settlements, so perhaps they're still dogs deep down.
- All of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. titles have wild blind dogs that hunt by sound and scent. Usually in packs. Always vicious. Due to being fast, numerous, and surprisingly sturdy, they're probably what will kill the new player most often early in the game.
- In Season 2 of The Walking Dead, Clementine encounters a dog that she attempts to befriend. The dog attacks her over a can of beans, and gets fatally wounded in the ensuing struggle. The player has the decision to kill the dog, or leave it. If they kill it, a later character is disturbed to hear of the dog's death, saying that you just shouldn't hurt dogs.
- In Mission Thunderbolt, wild dogs are likely to be the first hostile creatures the player learns to tame. They're also among the few species with no visible signs of mutation, in a world populated by "waddling things" and "giant tentacular horrors".
- In Rebuild 2, you'll find dogs on scavenging missions and can also choose a dog as your character's item. On the hostile side of this trope, there are wild dog attacks made on the fort which can kill one of your survivors if defence isn't high enough.
- The Reckoning:
- One answer in the character creation quizz grants a Canine Companion in your starting party.
- There are packs of hostile infected dogs roaming the worldmap.
- In A Mind Forever Voyaging, you can't explore the far-future simulation for very long without being torn apart by feral dogs, among other grim fates.
- Double Subverted in Shin Megami Tensei I. Pascal the dog joins the hero as soon as the hero's mother is killed, and then fuses with a demon to become a Cerberus. Then he jumps into a teleporter and vanishes for the next third of the game. After the End, the hero can once again find Pascal and have him on the team.
- Souls RPG depicts a post-apocalyptic world run by dogs, and they're having a grand old time.
- Technically, Jake from Adventure Time counts. The show's set after the Apocalypse, after all, and he is a dog, although admittedly a talking, sentient, magically stretching one who functions more like Finn's brother/best friend.