Ass Pull: Ben regaining his sight in the Wolf Arc. To recap, he got hit in the head by Mukonga's Geki Sentsuhi Battouga, an attack that works by destroying the victim's body tissue, and it somehow made his eyes function again.
Likewise, "Shouri No Uta" (Song of Victory), which plays twice in the series, first in episode 9 and then at the very end, the lyrics also doubling as a Tear Jerker. note [...] Face the bad things, in the distance. The time is now, the wind has died out. The fighters in battle are a powerful thing. And their hearts are burning. Oh my friends, listen. To the solid friendships. Song of the distance. The only thing you live for is tomorrow. So live with all the bravery you have. So live with all the bravery you have. Oh my friends, my comrades. Today's victory for sure was a song of the distance. As you all risk your lives. It's all for this very day. It's all for this very day. [...]
The beautiful, soothing ending theme deserves a mention too.
Takeda Gohei naturally receives some hate for his cruel methods of training bear hounds. Others agree it'd be unacceptable in real life, but acknowledges how it actually works in the Gingaverse, and likes him for the badass bear hunter he is. Plus, despite his methods, how many people would go to the lengths of cutting off their leg in order for their dog to live?
Daisuke to a degree as some people just finds him annoying.
Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: At the end of the ninja dog episode, a fairly random dog comes out of nowhere to throw the evil ninja dog boss' puppy off a cliff, with Cross throwing herself after to save it. The puppy is saved, Cross lives, and both the baby-killer dog and the puppy are 'in quest' as the narrator put it by the next episode, and Wilson's baby-killing antics are never mentioned again. Possibly a case of Values Dissonance. Possibly.
A case of the anime omitting why Wilson tried to kill the baby. Simply put, Kurojaki had killed and eaten both Wilson's son and mate. Thus, he wanted revenge.
Ear Worm: Plenty of synthesizer tunes repeated during the course of the series until they're stuck in your head for the rest of your life.
Ensemble Darkhorse: John and the Kai brothers. And Riki. To this day he's still considered the most memorable and badass bearhound out of all the generations.
Gateway Series: To Scandinavian viewers this was the gateway to anime.
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: While the series didn't receive much attention in either Japan or America (due to animes starring animals not being very popular), it became a hit within the anime fandom in Scandinavia and Finland, even having the show being dubbed into each of the languages, released on video (though majorly censored), and the manga translated into Finnish. This might be a bit of Fridge Brilliance considering animal series in general such as the Donald Duck franchise are also very popular in these areas.
A while back the author himself became aware of this to the point he went and visited his fanbase in Finland.
It did however, win the 1987 Shogakukan Manga Award for best shōnen series in Japan. It's more in later times that it's not remembered much in its respective country.
Harsher in Hindsight: Gohei's comment about how "Great men don't want an audience when they die", referring to why he won't tend to the dying Riki. Skipping the "great men" part, many dogs in real life actually don't want an audience when they die, which is why they'll often run away from their home when they feel it's their time.
Ho Yay: It's brief, but the direct Japanese lines where Gin and John part ways has John telling Gin "my heart sometimes beat faster upon meeting your gaze". Gin is really touched and they say goodbye while looking fondly at each other. It might not do much since they're dogs, but had that scene played out with humans fangirls would likely have gone mad.
Narm Charm: The Finnish dub. We're talking obvious adults voicing children, obvious women voicing males, characters changing voices in the middle of an episode, the actor talking after the character stopped moving his mouth (or in one case after the character died), character sounding happy when he's supposed to sound sad and vice verca, battle scenes sounding like orgies... you get the gist. A popular must-watch if you need a good laugh.
Granted, all the Nordic dubs are weird and/or funny listening to to varying degrees. The Finnish one just takes the cake.
Periphery Demographic: The reason we got this show in the west to begin with. The series is shounen, but most of its (western) fans are women/girls.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The bear with harpoons stuck in its back, who tries to join Akakabuto's forces. After its rather terrifying backstory and demonstrated toughness, it is simply killed off by Akakabuto to show how much stronger he has become while the dogs were gathering their forces.
Viewer Gender Confusion: It's not hard to mistake Smith for a female at first due to his voice being somewhat high-pitched. The sequel series thankfully gave him a much deeper, unmistakably male voice.
Get even more confusing in the Finnish dub, where he is first clearly male then suddenly turns into clearly female.
What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: While the series is Shounen, the company releasing it in Scandinavia and Finland did nearly every possible edit they could think of to make it as child friendly as possible (apparently not getting it was for teens) including removing three entire episodes and editing how Akakabuto is defeated, making it seem like he died from a gunshot by Gohei when really he was decapitated by Gin.