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"[Mouse] was possessed of the uncanny wisdom of beasts for knowing whom to trust."
Harry Dresden, narrator of The Dresden Files, Dead Beat

Unlike humans, animals seem to have an inherent ability to detect a malicious character even if it's not obvious to anyone else. May not apply to pets of a villain, although Right Hand Attack Dogs and Bond-style cats have a surprisingly low sense of loyalty in a pinch.

A character's dog reacting oddly to their presence is often the first sign that character's been replaced by an Evil Twin, or just an ordinary twin. This is not implausible, unless the scent of the replacement for some reason is exactly the same as the replaced person. Heart rate and other things might reasonably be detectable to some animals, too. If the animals know something's coming, sometimes they don't run, they go quiet. In fact, too quiet...

This doesn't always count in a comedic situation; snotty pets frequently hate everybody, and will be nasty to characters who likewise dislike them as well as benign ones who only want to be friends. And this trope is not restricted to dogs — cats and horses are also commonly invoked, amongst other creatures. The animal may show fear when villains, monsters, or even ghosts are near. Cats may hiss; dogs may growl; and horses may whinny. Nor necessarily animals — some plants have the ability too. When a human character has this power, it's a Gut Feeling.

Note that this is not necessarily completely true in real life. Animals are not necessarily any better at determining whether they will be abused or mistreated by a human than other humans are. They are usually very able to read body language though, as well as pick up on scents and on physiological signals like heart-rate. Real animals can tell if someone is angry, nervous etc: but they can't necessarily tell why.

Slightly more justified in the myths and folklore, from which fantasy/fiction roots of this tropes derive: animals cannot be fooled by illusions cast by otherworldly creatures, and thus can see things like ghosts, demons in disguise etc.. Many cultures (starting with ancient Egypt) considered cats able to see into the underworld, while dogs were believed to be able to not just detect, but also harm demons. Horses were said to smell vampires and evil djinn.

If the dog is attempting to warn its master or another nearby human character but the warning is dismissed (typically due to annoyance at the dog's repeated barking or other unusual actions), it can be a form of Not Now, Kiddo. Animals can also detect especially good people, if they're a Friend to All Living Things; contrast Enemy to All Living Things.

Compare this trope with Evil-Detecting Baby and Pet Positive Identification. Not to be confused with Even the Dog Is Ashamed. If the dog can detect the supernatural, it's because of a Glamour Failure. Contrast Licked by the Dog, where this is used to show the audience a good guy instead of a villain. Then again, sometimes they aren't detecting evil at all, and it's simply that Animals Hate Him. Closely related to Scare the Dog. Sub-trope of Excellent Judge of Character. Often overlaps with Asian Lion Dogs and Cats Are Magic.


Example subpages

Other examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • The hentai Alien from the Darkness has Einstein, a ferret who growls and hisses whenever alien-possessed Flair is nearby.
  • Hotarubi from Basilisk has a pet viper that could see through Kisaragi Saemon's disguise. Unfortunately, Hotarubi didn't understand the meaning of her snake biting her lover and just tossed the animal away and sucked the poison out of Saemon's finger by herself!
  • Bubblegum Crisis: A cat detects Sylvie as a boomer in the sixth episode.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, Kuro the kobold has chimeras, soul fusions made with The Dark Arts, as a Berserk Button. Whenever one is near, he snarls and bares his fangs. Which turns out to be early foreshadowing that Izutsumi is a chimera.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • The Big Bad starting to move around usually coincides with every dog in Central going insane. Not only can animals sense the Homunculi and living Philosopher's Stones, but even the gentle dog Den reacted viciously to one to show the inherent wrongness of what they are. Not only that, when the Big Bad exerts his power enough, he can make every single animal in the city go crazy and bark at the earth, not just the dogs. The Big Bad himself makes animals too afraid to even approach his lair.
    • Special mention should also go to Black Hayate, Riza Hawkeye's dog, who not only can sense the Homunculi but viciously attacked one to save his beloved mistress. Roy Mustang awarded him the honorary rank of Second Lieutenant for his services to their cause.
    • The same also goes for humans spliced with animals to make them into chimeras with animal strength and abilities. Two of these chimeras, when encountering a particularly powerful Homunculus, are quick to retreat and tell Ed that their animal-inherited instincts are telling them to run away.
    • Unfortunately, dogs are only able to sense supernatural evil; they can't detect mundane evil. Shou Tucker's dog was even a key component when he crossed the Moral Event Horizon.
  • Katri, Girl of the Meadows: Katri has a dachshund, Aapeli. Early in the series he saves her life by barking and alerting her of the bears that are threatening the farm's livestock, and he later bites Hannah, who was planning on thieving from the Räikköläs.
  • Healin' Good♡Pretty Cure: Princess Latte has this as a form of Blessed with Suck. She can sense and locate Byogen activity within a large radius, but it also makes her ill to the point where she can't even walk. She does get better at handling it over the course of the season.
  • Hello Sandybelle: Sandybelle has a collie/Scottish sheepdog mix named Oliver, who hates Alpha Bitch Kitty Shearer, and manages to smell her when she's stalking Sandybell and Mark.
  • In the third volume for Hetalia: Axis Powers, young Lithuania has a dog with him that starts barking wildly when it sees young Russia. (Who, while not strictly evil, is... very special) Also notable in that Russia was actually a normal kid nation at the time, so the dog was apparently precognitive too.
  • Honoo no Alpen Rose:
    • Jeudi's cockatoo Printemps hates Matilda aka the fake Jeudi on sight and openly attacks her, much to the surprise of everyone else. The "victim" even lampshades the trope via asking if Printemps thinks they are a bad person. He was right.
    • In a milder version, he also dislikes Leon who is far from a bad guy, but is one of Jeudi's suitors who can potentially take her away from her boyfriend Lundi.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Stardust Crusaders: After Polnareff supposedly defeated the user of the Anubis Stand, he takes the user's sword as a keepsake. After he brings it to the hotel the group was staying at, Iggy suddenly starts barking at it, as the others don't know that the sword itself is the real Stand user.
    • Diamond is Unbreakable: The Kawajiri family's cat goes wild with terror at the sight of "Kosaku", who's actually serial killer Yoshikage Kira disguised as him.
  • Katana Maidens has Nene, a mostly harmless aradama (demon) who can detect the more dangerous ones that his friend Kaoru neutralises.
  • The two ghost dogs of Kekkaishi are primarily used to detect other evil spirits or people.
  • Maru-chan is initially terrified of Sawako in Kimi ni Todoke. This is a subversion, however, since Sawako only looks creepy and is actually one of the kindest people you could hope to meet.
  • Guvava, Mylene's empathic pet Tribble-like furball thingie in Macross 7 acts this way when a Protodeviln is around.
  • Gombei from Majokko Meg-chan. Normally a good dog, he react often to evil characters as Chou.
  • In the Metroid (Manga), Samus only notices the Mimic trying to assassinate Chairman Keaton due to Pyonchi's strange reaction.
  • The Mysterious Cities of Gold: Long Chow growls and snarls when Ambrosius is around, before the latter is revealed to be Zares.
  • Naruto: Kiba's dog, Akamaru, is able to sense just how strong a chakra is in a person. When he starts whimpering, that means trouble close by.
  • In Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs there's the Scottish terrier that belonged to Saber Rider's parents. When they were kidnapped and impersonated by Vapor Beings in "The Highlanders", he barked and hissed at them, which weirded Saber out since he was very sweet to them.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: Played for tragedy in Shizu's backstory. Her friend adopted a stray animal and tried to keep it as a familiar but it started growling at Leon so Ifrit burned it and Shizu's friend to ashes.
  • In Episode 15 of Tiger & Bunny Keith Goodman's dog, John, growls at and tries to keep Keith away from the pretty girl on the park bench. The reason being that while Cis looks like a nice lady, she's a Deceptively Human Robot (in appearance if nothing else) and Keith doesn't realise this.
  • Kicchomu in Thriller Restaurant has an uncanny skill in detecting evil spirits and doppelgangers. This is exhibited in Episodes 6 and 14.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew: Dogs can sense that Ichigo is a Catgirl even when she's in the form of a human, and start barking at her for no reason. With her Lancer Minto and her boyfriend Masaya both owning dogs, this becomes a problem.
  • In Wild Rose, Tranquilo immediately starts growling when he detects the rogue manbeast's presence and tries to protect Camille from him, getting badly injured in the attempt. In contrast, Tranquilo's immediate acceptance of Kiri shows that he's safe.
  • Wonderful Pretty Cure!: A Garugaru egg hatching immediately triggers a fight-or-flight response in all the local animals. It's also a handy radar for the protagonist, since she's a dog who gained the ability to turn into a human.
  • You Are Being Summoned, Azazel has dogs and cats, and pets, and er, hobos, apparently, in the first episode of the second season. Although not in response to the demons; it's to Akutabe.

    Comic Books 
  • Black Fury: Total strangers, predatory animals, minions of the bad guy — if there is an ounce of good in them, the titular wild mustang will know.
  • The demons in Chick Tracts are invisible to all the characters... except for Fang, a dog who occasionally barks at them in the background.
  • The Flash: When Bart Allen was replaced by his Evil Twin Inertia, the only character to realize was Bart's dog, but Inertia was able to get around that with treats. And by not thinking any evil thoughts around the dog.
  • Uncle Sam of the World War I serial "Golden Eyes" and Her Hero "Bill" — he's able to detect that one of Golden Eyes' admirers is a German spy just by looking at him:
    "'Uncle Sam' sallied around the corner of a flower pot, took one long stare and launched himself through the Spring air, just at the terrible minute that the man with the bristling blond hair tried to take her in his arms. And over his heart, under his thrown back coat, through the white mane of 'Uncle Sam,' who was howling at this throat, an Iron Cross shone out!"
  • In the Mickey Mouse Comic Universe this is the most reliable way to identify Miklos the Grey Mouse whenever he's disguised as Mickey: while Miklos is such a Master of Disguise anyone else can't tell them apart and, if they can, won't be sure, Pluto will unfailingly growl and snarl at Miklos, remembering how in his first appearance the Grey Mouse kidnapped and beat him, while also being able to recognize Mickey with a sniff.
  • In the mid-90s RoboCop Versus The Terminator comic book, one of the humans remarks on the fact that a dog acts friendly, rather than hostile, to Robocop, proving to the human that said character couldn't be a Terminator.
  • Arwyn's dog Kreeg in Sojourn has this ability. It saves Arwyn and her allies more than once.
  • In Spirou & Fantasio, the Marsupilami is able to detect evil (and good) characters before any evidence is given. Given that he's also very strong and has a short temper, this means he occasionally flies into a rage and attacks what looks like perfectly innocent strangers to the other characters.
  • Wookiees are explicitly sentient, but since they're hairy and unintelligible, unimaginative writers of books and comics alike love to make them as animalistic as possible. This is taken to a new height (or low) in "The Phantom Affair" arc of X-Wing Rogue Squadron — a woman who has a Wookiee hanging around due to a life-debt doesn't understand him, and he doesn't communicate with her at all, he's just a bodyguard — who starts growling and provoking "Groznik senses something!" before they get attacked.
  • Supergirl:
    • The Supergirl from Krypton (2004): Batman points out Krypto chasing after Kara, who has just arrived on Earth, to argue that she might not be trustworthy. However, Superman points out that it is Krypto's job to protect the Fortress of Solitude, and his dog hates most people anyway.
    • In The Unknown Supergirl, villainess Lesla-Lar impersonates Supergirl, and neither her cousin nor her adoptive parents notice that Kara has been replaced by an impostor. Nonetheless, Krypto the Superdog sees through her act as soon as he meets her due to "Supergirl"'s different scent, mannerisms and behavior.
  • Superman:
    • The Super-Duel in Space: A host of journalists and scientists, as well as several test animals, are invited to take part in the spaceship Columbus' maiden flight. During the trip, someone notices that the test animals are going mad right before Brainiac's ship comes within human sight and begins firing at the Columbus.
    • In Superman: Doomed, Krypto growled at Superman after he had been infected with Doomsday's cells and was slowly turning into a copy of Doomsday. Superman even commented that it was something out of a horror movie.
    • All-Star Superman: Subverted. Krypto's spooked by the new farmhands, but they are actually Superman's descendants, who came from the future to protect the past from the Chronovore.
  • In Supreme Power, his foster parents give the alien baby Hyperion (a modern version of Superman) a puppy for his first birthday. It immediately senses, that he is not human, and tries to attack him. He promptly (and instinctively) annihilates it with his heat vision.
  • Tintin: Snowy, the titular character's dog, often has people figured out as evil on instinct before Tintin has proof.
  • The Transformers (IDW): Thundercracker's dog Buster turns out to be able to smell Dire Wraith infiltrators.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Diana's horse Serge has a sort of sixth sense that allows him to rescue a child from a villain that attempted to run the kid over before Diana realized who was driving the car or their intentions.
  • In Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection the main character writing an Apocalyptic Log notes that dogs go nuts at the presence of zombies, including frequently attacking them. Furthermore his dog seems to mistrust the people when he reaches the supposed "safe haven" of Churchill in Manitoba Canada. Since there is No Ending, exactly what happened is left open to interpretation, but one interpretation is that the highly isolated and suspicious locals killed the main character.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • The cats are used for this in Aeon Entelechy Evangelion, as they are sensitive to anything abnormal, a quality shared only by human infants, and thus are also used in CATEYES security systems. This also seems to be common knowledge since Shinji notes their absence in the dome where Rei lives.
  • In Between Heroes and Villains, Clementine the seagull pecks Dream when he visits her human friend, Tommy, in Exile.
  • Bethany Hawke uses her brother's mabari, Dane, in this way in Beyond Heroes: Of Sunshine and Red Lyrium. The group needs to know for sure whether or not the people they're seeing are real, but they all have such an emotional response to the situation that they can't trust their own judgment; so she employs the dog, whose breed is renowned in the setting for its extremely high intelligence and good judge of character, to make the call.
  • In Chapter 57 of BlazBlue Alternative: Remnant, Zwei can tell that Cinder has malicious intent and first bites at her leg then her finger, outright snarling at her when he isn't doing that.
  • In Blue Sky (Waffles), even though Wheatley is not really evil at that point, Duke can still detect that he isn't human.
  • The Bolt Chronicles: Bolt is normally very disapproving of Penny's boyfriends, expressing this through dirty looks and grumbling — though for good reason, as she usually chooses unwisely. She sometimes ignores the dog's instinctual character sense, always to her detriment.
  • The Bridge:
    • One of the first signs that Enjin has caught up to the sirens and Monster X is all the animals, from forest creatures to pets, start fleeing the area as fast as they can and leave the forest dead silent. This also happens when Mizu is rapidly moving across town at night, numerous pets sensing it passing by and being terrified.
    • Dogs can tell Jeog is evil and drive her off with their barking, as she cannot stand the sound of barking.
  • Discussed in Calvin & Hobbes: The Series:
    Calvin: Did you hear the theory that when a dog barks at nothing, it's barking at a ghost or a spirit?
    Hobbes: Nah, that's a load of hooey.
  • In Candy for Your Thoughts?, Duncan gets a Morality Pet in the form of a dog used in one of the challenges. Despite being super-friendly, "Mohawk" growls at Heather and Alejandro when Duncan is eavesdropping on them. It would have saved Duncan a lot of grief if he had paid attention to this, since the pair knew Duncan was watching and were spouting a bunch of lies to mislead him.
  • In The Dilgar War dogs are the only thing that can locate the Spectre, Dilgar special forces equipped with cloaking suits.
  • In The Fable of Joyful Wing:
    • Alfhind the horse refuses to go anywhere near the monastery Long Dog encounters early in his journey. Though Dog tries to convince himself that it's just that she's a pagan horse and thus is uncomfortable around a Buddhist monastery, it's his first tip-off that something evil is lurking there.
    • Mouse the dog is able to sense which voices in the spirit world are real and which are lures from hostile beings meant to lead Dog off course, and prevents him from following the false ones.
  • From The Fog: If you have a tamed wolf, they may angrily growl at Herobrine when he's nearby.
  • Invoked in Ghost Story when Murphy tries to convince Molly that Shepard's alright by reminding her that Mouse hasn't had his usual reaction to Outsiders around Shep.
  • In Little Black Death Note Professor Lupin is the "Evil Detecting Werewolf". He freaks out around Hondo Marukai because he "reeks of death".
  • The Many Dates of Danny Fenton, a Danny Phantom fanfic:
    • Well...cat in this case, but Salem, having been a warlock, can sense Danny's innate supernatural abilities.
    • While Katie isn't evil, her presence causes Buttons to be terrified of her.
  • In Mega Man Reawakened, Rush sees right through Snake Man's ploy.
  • In Objective, Kotetsu Kaburagi heads to Keith's apartment to find Barnaby, as Kotetsu has been brainwashed to find and kill him and the other heroes are keeping them apart. When Kotetsu meets John, Keith's normally docile golden retriever, the dog immediately picks up that Kotetsu isn't up to any good, and bites him before chasing the brainwashed hero out of the apartment.
  • In the Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic The Memory, a little boy named Christian can see Cute Ghost Girl Maria and so can his dog. Most other people can't.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines:
    • In a sidestory starring Gym Leader Luana, her Pokemon were shown scowling at the man who would be Travis's father (and the father of a lot of others, up to and including Ash Ketchum) the moment he appeared. Given this very same man was shown in the later Holiday Special 2017 to be quite The Sociopath, they were right to distrust him.
    • Misty's Psyduck is also this, quickly picking up that a trainer they casually ran into was up to no good with Misty (heavily impled to be a Date-Rapist), and punches him out before he can do anything to her.
  • Rise from Darkness: A man's dog sniffs Samus and can instantly tells that there's something weird about her.
  • Lucille Harewood's dog in the Star Trek (2009) fanfic Safe and Sound was specially trained for this purpose because of what her father did for a living. This is how her mother figures out that Dr. Korby isn't as trustworthy as he seems...
  • The Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles fic "Born to Fight" features an interesting example of this when Cameron gets John a new puppy called Sam to replace the dog she killed when she was initially activated by Skynet before she was programmed with her memories of her time with him. Due to Cameron having spent the first few weeks of Sam's life training him, Sam does not react with hostility towards Cameron, but still barks and growls even in the presence of reprogrammed Terminators, serving as further evidence to John that Cameron is different.
  • Garo from Their Bond is a wolfos who is very protective of his owner and "beta-omega" Zelda. He distrusts most around her and is generally skilled at telling bad intentioned people, but he's not always right (such as with his thing against Zelda's girlfriend Impa). His distrust of Link serves as foreshadowing. It initially seems like he hates Link because Link is a dominant "alpha" with wolf-like characteristics, but it's actually because Link is a troubled and potentially dangerous Addled Addict.
  • White Sheep (RWBY): Zwei, as the dog of a huntsman, has his Aura unlocked and is very well trained. Therefore when he sees Jaune, who is secretly half-Grimm, he immediately goes for his face. Jaune spends the next day fighting to keep him from gnawing various bits of him. That being said, it's later implied that Yang's father specifically set Zwei on Jaune because Yang and Jaune are dating.
  • Witches Wizards Shadows and Souls: Animals avoid the house that Voldemort and the Death Eaters are using as a base because of the evil aura around it.
  • Mika the cat has yet to meet any official villains in Yesterday Upon The Stair, but her response to the "Hero" Endeavor approaching Todoroki is a protective hissy fit.

    Films — Animated 
  • Done subtly in Coco. Miguel's Canine Companion Dante travels with him in the Land of the Dead as he searches for Ernesto de la Cruz, whom he believes is his ancestor who can give him his blessing to become a musician. Yet during their time, Dante seems to keep Miguel from just going directly to Ernesto and instead keeps him around Hector. It turns out Dante is an alebrije who is trying to bring Miguel closer to Hector, his real great-great-grandfather; while keeping him away from Ernesto, who is a fraud and Hector's murderer.
  • Epic (2013): Ozzy growls at the bat call, which is being sung by Mandrake.
  • In Hoodwinked!, Twitchy, funnily enough, is the only one who appears suspicious of Boingo while everyone else doesn't give a second thought about trusting him.
  • In Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, Tinkles angrily barks nonstop at the presence of Abraham Van Helsing.
  • The Little Mermaid: Eric's dog Max absolutely loves Ariel even before he sees she's responsible for saving his master's life in the storm. However, he hates "Vanessa" (Ursula's Human Disguise) and growls at her, giving her a literal Kick the Dog moment just to shut him up.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games: The human world's Spike can clearly sense something wrong with Canterlot High and gets agitated any time Twilight discusses her attempts to study the magic at the site, as well as when she's compelled to travel there for the titular games. Unfortunately, when he's magically empowered with the ability to speak midway through the film, he's too excited by this development to vocalize his concerns to Twilight, and they end up separated due to the Games shortly afterwards. Thus he's helpless to stop Cinch from goading Twilight into abusing the magic she's collected at the school and can only watch as Twilight is transformed against her will into Dark Magical Girl Midnight Sparkle.
  • In the obscure Spanish animated film Nocturna, all the cats in the Cat Shepherd's pack start to go and yowl at a wall. The Big Bad of the film, the Shadow, is then revealed, slipping out of the, um, shadows.
  • In Princess Mononoke, San and her wolf companion find hundreds of mice scurrying away from the direction where humans are using boar skins to masquerade themselves to find the Forest Spirit. Apparently they're so terrifying that they willingly scurry over a full grown woman and a giant wolf to get away.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: All the animals instantly realize the "old peddler woman" (the Wicked Stepmother in disguise) is evil even while Snow White herself is Genre Blind; they attack her when she first attempts to give Snow the poisoned apple, but Snow shoos them away and at the hag's request takes her inside the cottage. With that they head to the mine of the dwarfs, who are similarly puzzled by their aggressive behavior until Sleepy theorizes that they're trying to enlist their help to save Snow. Unfortunately, they realize this too little too late.
  • The Jinnouchi family dog in Summer Wars is so good at detecting evil that it can sense a satellite changing course in orbit. He's pretty skilled at detecting good as well, if his reactions towards a certain Jerk with a Heart of Gold are anything to go by.

    Music 
  • Alice Cooper sings about how his dog and cat turn on and attack him in the final verse of "No More Mister Nice Guy".
  • Suggested by Loreena McKennitt's version of William Butler Yeats' "The Stolen Child", about mysterious faeries that seduce and steal away the titular child, which begins and ends with a chorus of barking hunting dogs who have detected the sinister faeries.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Brazilian Folklore, dogs are some of the biggest enemies of werewolves, being capable of recognizing and even attacking them. They are also said to detect spirits and other supernatural events.
  • In Historia Regum Britanniae, Merlin used magic to disguise Uther as Gorlois and himself as a soldier so that Uther could trick Gorlois's wife into sleeping with him and thus conceive Arthur. Gorlois' dog can tell they're impostors, but Merlin uses a spell to calm it down.
  • In Zoroastrianism, dogs are believed to ward off evil spirits.
  • Inverted by Islam, which teaches that dogs are unclean working animals and are to be kept outside as their presence indoors wards off angels.
  • In Korean folklore, gumiho (Korean fox spirits, known for liking to eat human livers) hate and fear dogs because no matter what form they take, the dog will notice that they still smell like a fox and attack them.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In Muppets Most Wanted, Animal realizes right away that Kermit has been replaced by an evil criminal mastermind.
    Animal: Bad froggy!

    Radio 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Blood of Heroes: Clint, one of the sample characters, has a dog that can detect evil.
  • Call of Cthulhu supplement Cthulhu Companion, adventure "The Rescue".
    • The first time the PCs meet Jael and Deborah Pelton is when they see them being threatened by a pack of dogs. The dogs are barking at them because they can detect that the Pelton girls are actually werewolves in human form.
    • Later, the adventure states that all animals react nervously or angrily whenever the Peltons come near.
  • In the Chill game animals (including dogs) can detect the use of Evil Way Disciplines or creatures from the Unknown up to 200 feet away.
  • Chronicles of Darkness:
    • Promethean: The Created: The world at large hates Prometheans, and animals aren't any different. While Prometheans aren't evil, they are soulless and unnatural, and animals can instantly sense this and often move to attack. Of course, there's a whole school of Transmutations that allows them to redirect this rage in creative fashions...
    • Vampire: The Requiem: Vampires also have trouble dealing with animals unless they know the Discipline of Animalism, being living corpses. Conversely, if they do know Animalism, they can seem like a Friend to All Living Things.
  • Dark Conspiracy: Supplement Dark Races Volume I Compendium: When the evil monsters known as reavers are nearby, even if they're invisible, any animal (especially dogs) can sense their presence and will become uneasy. They start whining and shivering and refuse to enter an area with reavers in it.
  • Deadlands: Hell on Earth: It's mentioned that during the war, dog were used to sniff out infiltrator cyborgs. Some survivor communities still use them for this purpose.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • A Dragon magazine article on alternate familiars gave a spellcaster with a dog familiar a bonus to sense motives, using this trope as the reasoning.
    • Natural animals will usually refuse to approach a variety of undead creatures, so this can be a good way of searching for them.
    • Deities & Demigods Cyclopedia, Cthulhu Mythos section. Animals can detect the presence of the Evil creatures of the Cthulhu Mythos.
      All creatures of nature are very sensitive to the presence of all creatures of the Cthulhu Mythos. They instinctively call out their warning sounds and flee if any of the Old Ones or their minions come within range of their senses.
    • Dungeon magazine #38 adventure "Horror's Harvest". A number of people in the village of Delmunster have been possessed and changed into Chaotic Evil podlings by a doppleganger plant. All of the animals in the village (including horses, cats and dogs) will recognize their condition and react negatively to them. One of the dogs will actually viciously attack any podlings that come near it.
    • In The Gates of Hell fan supplement, it is mentioned that fiends of the Conversion Branch (the one in charge of manipulating mortal societies into serving hell), often take points in the Handle Animal skill precisely because of this trope.
    • Judges Guild supplement The Book of Treasure Maps III, adventure "The Beast of Blackwater Lake". A pair of Spaniel dogs are very good judges of character and will growl at any creatures of Evil Character Alignment.
  • Godforsaken: Azure birds screech in times of otherwise unseen danger, from the presence of a disease to thieves breaking into the house.
  • GURPS: Reversed. The effect comes from entities with the Frightens Animals disadvantage rather than special powers that dogs have.
  • Magic: The Gathering has Thraben Purebloods, although they have this ability in flavor only.
  • This was one of the flaws of being one of the Pumonca Changing Breed in the Old World of Darkness Werewolf: The Apocalypse. As noted in their sourcebook, "All beasts fear the Pumonca. No horse will bear him, no dog will follow him." Apparently every other creature in existence except for humans can catch on to the fact you're actually an eight hundred pound werecougar in human guise and they all respond accordingly. This makes sense since cougars are one of the largest native predators to American soil, doubly so when they are some sort of werecreature, neatly explaining other animals' fear of them — to dogs, horses, and other animals, a large predator is a Very Bad Thing. This means it's less 'evil detecting dog' in most cases and more 'predator detecting dog.'
  • Pathfinder:
    • The Serial Killer Vigilante archetype has an ability, "Charming", which functions as a mundane effect equivalent to a charm hex to avoid suspicion in people — but not animals. A knight or inquisitor may be fooled by the vigilante's cool nature, but her horse won't be.
    • Animals can sense a spectre's unnatural and evil aura, and will not come within thirty feet of one of their own will. If forced within a spectre's presence, they will panic and attempt to flee as long as they remain too close to them.
    • The Warded Against Nature drawback makes animals avoid a character that has it like the plague.
    • Moon dogs (a kind of Neutral Good outsiders resembling slightly anthropomorphized afghan hounds) have Detect Evil as an innate magical ability, making them literal examples.
  • The setting of Palladium's Rifts RPG takes the ball and runs with it; not only are animals explicitly said to be sensitive to supernatural evil, but one faction has genetically engineered anthropomorphic canines ("Dog Boys") specifically to exploit this ability as anti-supernatural police.
  • Shadowrun supplement Paranormal Animals of Europe. The kludde is evil vicious, and has Shapeshifting. Dogs and cats can always identify them no matter what shape they've taken: the dogs bark furiously at them and the cats hiss angrily.

    Theatre 
  • In Richard III, King Richard (who is portrayed by the play as a villain) says that dogs bark at him as he passes.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • Etra chan saw it!: Akane's dog Momo is usually friendly towards new people but is scared to interact with Hiiragi. As it turns out, the reason why Hiiragi approached Akane that day was so that he could take Momo away from her and eat the dog once he got home.
  • DSBT InsaniT: In 'Store Story', Autumn brings this up after Chilly, Frog, Perry, and Snake suddenly up and leave the pet store due to Stephanie's Siren-like brainwashing.
    Autmn: Wait! Where are you guys going?! Is this an animal thing?! Do you sense an earthquake or something?!

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • After this news report hit the internet, 4chan started claiming dogs could "sense" members of the site.
  • In Tales of MU, dogs can detect the main character's ancestry and are utterly hostile to her. This naturally results in her being afraid of them.
  • In the Ted the Caver webfiction, a Jack Russel terrier named Trip refuses to go into a sinister cave the protagonists are investigating.
  • In the Creepypasta called My Dog Won't Stop Staring, a college student adopts a little mixed breed dog named Ruby to keep him company. Not long after he adopts her, though, Ruby starts staring at him, both unnerving and irritating him, so much so that he starts treating her roughly. It turns out that Ruby has seen a demon sinking its claws into her master's shoulder, and she's fiercely staring at it to leave her master alone.
  • The Onion Radio News: "Family Dog Barking At Evil"
  • Reddit has rapist_sniffing_dog and racism_sniffing_dog.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • Invoked with SCP-953 ("Polymorphic Humanoid"), who is a kumiho (a Korean fox demon who can shapeshift from her true fox form into a beautiful woman to seduce her prey). However, dogs are unsurprisingly not fooled by her tricks. It's kinda inverted, as she has a severe phobia of dogs, so she's really more afraid of them than the other way around. The Foundation exploits this by surrounding her containment cell with dog kennels to dissuade her from escaping.
    • SCP-1495 ("Karmic Musth") is an anomalous herd of elephants. Once a year, some elephants turn into SCP-1495-M, which can control other animals. They can identify people who have acted in an evil manner, then order the animals to attack and kill them.

    Web Videos 
  • Mocked by Diamanda Hagan in her Apocalypse 2: Revelation review:
    Diamanda: Because, as we all know, no-one evil has ever gotten on the good side of a dog. [cuts to picture of Adolf Hitler with his dog] Oh, right.
  • In Everyman HYBRID, Alex's dog Sparky detects The Rake long before its first attack on Alex, and may well have been keeping The Rake from attacking while Sparky was in the room. Interesting given The Rake itself is a freakish dog-man.
  • From the Balcony: Statler and Waldorf have a balconism for this: the doggie-dar.
  • In Marble Hornets and Seeking Truth, dogs do not react well to the presence of the resident Humanoid Abomination.
  • When Table Flip plays Betrayal at House on the Hill, they discover a Dog companion named Fidonkers shortly before the Haunt begins and the Traitor is revealed. Fidonkers then barks and growls at the traitor accordingly.


Alternative Title(s): Evil Detecting Cat, Evil Detecting Animal

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