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Abandon all squeaky toys, ye who enter here.

Dogs. The oldest of the domesticated animals and man's constant companion throughout history. Brave, loyal, and friend to all.

Except when they aren't.

Hellhounds have been appearing since Hesiod wrote his Theogony, making this one Older Than Feudalism. Modern hellhounds typically resemble stereotypically aggressive or vicious dogs, such as bulldogs, mastiffs or Dobermans, and are black with glowing red or flaming eyes. Less commonly, they may be black and white, or white with red ears. They may have two or even three heads.

For the most part, Hellhounds tend to be based on one of two sources. The first is Cerberus, the legendary hound that guarded the gates of the Underworld in Greco-Roman myth. The second is a varied number of myths from the British isles concerning spectral hounds said to roam fens, moors, ruins and other abandoned places. Hellhounds of Cerberite pedigree tend to be guardians and watchdogs, usually powerful but less interested in going out to seek trouble, and usually have multiple heads. Hellhounds of British pedigree are likelier to be lone wolves, roaming wildernesses on the prowl for hapless prey, and may possess additional supernatural powers, but are usually less physically monstrous.

As their name implies, they are generally thought to originate in Hell, the Underworld or the local equivalent, but this has become a relaxed requirement for modern incarnations.

Although their origins are impossibly varied, they can generally be lumped into three categories:


Escaped or deliberately released from Hell, these hellhounds exist only to hunt and kill. These are usually "hellhound classic", appearing as black hounds with red eyes. The eponymous hound from The Hound of the Baskervilles is probably the most famous example of this type, although it turned out to be a fake.


This version is usually just as dangerous as the Hunter, but it is tasked with guarding a location or person. If they're guarding a person, that person is usually associated with Hell. The most famous guardian hellhound is, of course, Cerberus, which guarded the gates of Tartarus in Classical Mythology. Garmr is the Norse equivalent, and guard dog to the original Hel. Guardian Hellhounds based on Cerberus will often be A Kind of One.


The sight of one of these black dogs was a Portent of Doom. They might be malevolent or outright dangerous. Myths are split between the sight of the Black Dog being the cause of the misfortune or merely a symptom. The Barghest of Yorkshire may be the best known example, although the Grim from Harry Potter may be replacing it due to Pop-Cultural Osmosis.

Classical hellhounds are immune to Kick the Dog, and its obvious menace makes its counterattack less a case of The Dog Bites Back than a result of Bullying a Dragon. It's almost impossible to scare these dogs, so any character who can do it is one to be very cautious around. May occasionally overlap with Savage Wolves and Post-Apocalyptic Dog, but these are generally more supernatural and evil. Even if the Cats Are Mean, they are still horrified by these kinds of dogs (the feline equivalent would be Kasha or other equivalent hellcats).

They may be part of The Wild Hunt or the Legions of Hell. Compare to Hellish Horse and Scavengers Are Scum. Contrast Asian Lion Dogs, Big Friendly Dog and Heroic Dog.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Agni's Philosophy: The hyena-porcupine cross looking things fill the role of the Hunter type, being set loose to hunt down the titular character.
  • Black Butler: There's a hellhound named Pluto. He doesn't necessarily fit in any of the above categories, but it is stated that he is a demon hound, which is basically the same thing as a hellhound. He can breathe fire, is white, can turn into human form, and his intelligence level is ambiguous, as it is never made clear if he has more than the mind of a normal dog.
  • Berserk:
  • Chrono Crusade: One episode features a demonic canine that was slaughtering New York's organized crime families.
  • Digimon: There's a Perfect-level Digimon known as Cerberumon. There's also a card-game-only character named Anubismon. However, he's an aversion of Everyone Hates Hadesthe manual treats him as mythology treats death gods. Whether you're going to the Dark Area or eligible for reconfiguration is up to him. Dobermon is also visually based on the trope, but the one in Digimon Tamers is firmly on the side of good.
  • Hellsing has Alucard able to summon a hellhound, explicitly named as The Hound of the Baskervilles. He also takes on the form of one in the TV series.
  • The Keeper Wants to Build a Zoo in Another World, so He Tames Monsters: The first creature Ikuhara tames is a giant (larger than an elephant) three-headed dog. Downplayed, as Cerberus are definitely dangerous, but they're no more "evil" than any wild animal.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
  • Naruto:
    • Pain's Animal Path is fond of summoning a gigantic hellhound with multiple heads that can split into lots of smaller ones.
    • Kurama was a Fox version of this trope in appearance and overall demeanor. Then he was subject to Defeat Means Friendship for Naruto.
    • A good version can be found in Kiba and Akamaru. They both transform together to form a huge Orthrus with immense destructive power. If Kiba adds a Kage Bunshin into the mix, they form a Cerberus.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Asuna and crew find themselves facing a Cerberus guarding the room Negi was held in during the Mahora Festival arc. It was the classic depiction of Cerberus too, complete with three heads and a mane of serpents.
  • One Piece:
    • The Thriller Bark arc has a Cerberus-style "Frankensteined" dog (actually two dogs and a fox), but it is actually pretty friendly.
    • Admiral Akainu makes one of these via his Logia element to attack Whitebeard during the Battle of Maineford.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: Chuck can transform into a hellhound the size a house when he decides to get serious.
  • Rental Magica: In the first (in TV order) episode, the team has to deal with a rather impressive entity Nekoyashiki described to his chief as a "dog" because it's a "four-legged mammal with teeth that barks", despite glowing red eyes, ability to catch up with a truck on an empty road and so on.


    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Dog creatures often cross into this territory, especially when given a more monstrous secondary type such as Demon or Elemental.
    • Demonic dogs include Dreadhound, a spectral dog that chases and harries souls towards damnation, and Hollowborn Barghest, a black-furred beast with a long, wormlike, coiling tongue and large enough to crush trees underfoot.
    • Elemental dogs (the category including creatures actually called "hellhounds") and wolves can resemble anything from regular if fiery dogs to only vaguely canid beasts shrouded in fire. Many are native to the horror-inspired plane of Innistrad, where they come from their fiery realm where the demons live. Some can breathe fire.
    • Theros is home to cerberi, three- and sometimes two-headed hounds who patrol the Rivers That Ring the World to ensure that the souls in the Underworld beyond do not escape to the land of the living. Some breathe fire, and some only vaguely resemble regular dogs.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:

    Comic Books 
  • Arawn: Arawn always had a connection to wolves, but they don't start to fit this trope until he becomes an Evil Overlord and resurrects the last two wolves from his pack as his personal pets with glowing red eyes.
  • DC Comics:
    • Darkseid's Warhounds, which appear in Legends (DC Comics), are a mechanical version of this.
    • Wonder Dog is changed into being a hellhound disguised as a normal dog in the Teen Titans comics. He kills Marvin and paralyzes Wendy.
    • Wonder Woman:
      • Wonder Woman (1942): Cerberus is seen guarding the gate of Hades when Sofia Constantinas is pulled beyond it to be imprisoned and lunges at her when Steve Trevor helps her escape, but seems not to react aggressively to Steve himself. It possibly has to do with Steve's penchant for coming back from death.
      • Wonder Woman: Odyssey: Cerberus is a vicious giant dog who tears apart any trying to leave Hades, even though his master has long been missing. Upon seeing Diana it stops baring its teeth and lies down to let her past to the astonishment of Charon.
      • Wonder Woman (Rebirth): Veronica Cale has two large unfriendly looking dogs called Fear and Panic, who turn out to be Deimos and Phobos in disguise. The two are also seen accompanying Ares as giant dogs with their skulls exposed.
      • Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons: A particular demonic-looking Cerebus is seen when the Goddesses journey through Hades. One head is wrapped in chains, another is missing its skin around the jaw, and the third is made only of snakes.
  • The Grievous Journey of Ichabod Azrael: The Hunter has several supernatural hounds to assist him with tracking down wayward souls in the afterlife, which become friggin' giants at several points.
  • The Mighty Thor: Garm the guardian of Hel, as per her role in Norse Mythology. During an "encounter" with Hel-Wolf she conceived and later gave birth to a litter of seven hellpuppies. Loki (who brought the Hel-Wolf into Hel in the first place) was given the responsibility of finding homes for the pups or putting them down himself. He had no problems dealing with the first six puppies who all took after their mother Garm who, despite being a servant of Hel, is still inherently a dog. Loki adopted the last one, whom he named Thori, since he couldn't find anyone who would take him. The All-mother warned him to get rid of Thori, since Thori takes after his father Hel-Wolf and thus is a soulless little monster who craves murder and bloodshed. In Journey into Mystery #644 the All-mother's warnings come true as Thori apparently betrays Loki to his father Hel-Wolf because Loki made him kneel. Just like his father, Thori hated Loki for giving him orders.

    Fan Works 
  • Equestria Girls: Friendship Souls: Posey's zanpakuto spirit (Kyoki) is a huge, black bloodhound the size of a grizzly bear, and its inner world is suitably nightmarish: an endless ocean of blood (which can be inexplicably walked on as though it were solid) with a single tree growing out of it with pitch black bark and blood red leaves, underneath an ash-coloured sky.

    Films — Animated 
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven:
  • Hercules: Cerberus appears with barely enough screen-time to explain anything about it, as it briefly gets first fed by a nonchalant Hades who otherwise ignores it and is later tamed offscreen by Hercules, both times without affecting the plot in any way. This version also appears as a boss battle in both Kingdom Hearts games.
  • SCOOB!: The three skulls of Cerberus serve as the film's MacGuffin, with Dick Dastardly wanting to collect them all and steal the treasures of Hell. But more importantly, he wants to see his dog Muttley again, risking the apocalypse just to save him. As for the Cerberus itself, it gets unleashed by Dick's actions during the climax, going on a rampage and trying to eat Scooby and Shaggy, but Mystery Inc. manages to seal him back in the Underworld with the help of Blue Falcon and his team.
  • Where the Dead Go to Die: Labby. Other than being a labrador, he fulfills the criteria in every other way. What exactly he is is not made very clear, but based on the imagery he is either a demon or some sort of Animalistic Abomination. Uniquely for a hellhound, he does seem to mention God a lot, and at least claims that serving the Lord is his primary motivation.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • An American Haunting: One of several manifestations of the Bell Witch is a demonic-looking wolf. This mostly fits the Hunter type, as it stalks members of the Bell family and attacks those that try to leave their property.
  • Black Dog is about hellhound that takes everything away from greedy truckers.
  • The Bye Bye Man: The Bye Bye Man has a demonic dog familiar who eats the bodies of his victims.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) has alien dogs, actually named hellhounds, that guard the Crematoria prison. The guards occasionally release them to decrease the inmate population. They look like a cross between a dog and a pangolin.
  • Dark Angel: The Ascent: Played with. An Ascended Demon named Veronica finds a normal stray dog to accompany her during her time on Earth, affectionately calling it "beast".
  • Ghostbusters (1984): The Terror Dogs, Zuul and Vinz Clortho, act as the Gatekeeper and Key Master of Gozer the Destroyer. Initially, they were dog statues that resided on the roof of Dana Barrett's apartment building, but eventually broke free in order to find human hosts so they could perform the ritual to allow Gozer to cross over.
  • Hellboy (2004) has Sammael, a tentacled, insectoid devil dog. It's also the "Hound of Resurrection": it can immediately recover from any non-fatal injury, and every time it is killed, two more of it are born to take its place.
  • In the film adaptation of Jonah Hex, the title character has the ability to talk to the dead. During one such chat with an outlaw who's just died, the latter hears the howling of dogs. Hex informs the outlaw that they're hellhounds waiting for him, and sardonically advises not to try petting them.
  • The Lost Boys calls a vampire's canine daylight guardians the "Hounds of Hell".
  • Never Cry Werewolf: Jared has a viscous black dog that is eventually revealed to be a demon from hell that can disguise itself as a normal dog. Like werewolves, demon dogs can be killed by silver in this universe, which is how it meets its end.
  • The Neverending Story: Gmork fits the hunter form of this trope well, being a huge black hound and agent of the Nothing sent to kill Atreyu.
  • Predators: The early stage of hunting the human group is done with alien creatures that resemble huge hellhounds (huge as in waist high or taller, and very thick) with tusks. Lots and lots of tusks.
  • Scooby-Doo: In the climax, Scrappy-Doo uses the power of the Damien Ritus to absorb hundreds of souls, resulting in him becoming a huge, hulking demon version of himself. What's more, he even implies his transfomration won't be complete until he absorbs Scooby's soul.
  • Wishmaster: The evil djinn keeps a draconic-looking hellhound in his throne room. He orders it to pursue the heroine through his crystal prison before offering his "help".

  • Cretan Chronicles: You can do battles against hellhounds, including the Cerberus in the third book.
  • Fighting Fantasy: Several books (including The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and Trial of Champions) have Hellhounds as minor encounters. Their flaming breath have a 1/3 chance of injuring the player every attack round.
    • Knights of Doom has the player defending a cabin from a Zerg Rush of Hellhounds!
    • In City of Thieves (1983) there are Moon Dogs, vicious beasts stronger than four men. Two of these shows up as a Boss Battle.
    • Howl of the Werewolf: Given that 70% of the threats are werebeasts, there are a few hellhounds as well. The Black Shuck from the myths notably shows up early in the book terrorizing a village.
  • Lone Wolf: Various types of Hellhounds serve as recurring enemies.
    • In earlier adventures, Lone Wolf has to face the Doomwolves, the (barely) tamed mounts of the orc-like Giaks.
    • Then he has to face the Akataz, the warhounds of the Drakkarim.
    • Book 18 has as one enemy encounter the Hounds of Vikkak, described as "hellish beasts born of dark sorcery".
    • Finally, Book 19 introduces a mecha version of one, aptly named Mech-Wulf.
    • And let's not forget about Demonlord Tagazin, a recurring villain with the appearance of a sabertoothed jackal.

  • The Angel of the Crows: Hellhounds are humans transformed into giant shapeshifting canine monsters by a kind of Viral Transformation induced by contact with malign supernatural forces.
  • The Bones Of Time by Kathleen Ann Goonan provides various instances:
    • Three huge black barking mastiffs — of the guardian kind — accompany Lynn, Akamu and Hawkins to the Tibetan yurts after an escape. A narrow one at that.
    • Maui pets two large black dogs — guardians too — amid consonant-free utterings, to assuage their teeth-bared barking at Cen's appearance at their oriental hideout.
  • Crown of Stars: Sorrow and Rage, as well as the rest of the black hounds that accompany Alain, are hellhounds of the Guardian type. Interestingly, Alain is implied to be a saint or messiah rather than from hell.
  • Dead Lies Dreaming: Nono, from a "long line of family Cerberi", plural of Cerberus, whose spirit became a "canine psychopomp".
  • A Dirty Job has two hellhounds tasked with guarding a little girl because she is Death. Their names: Mohammad and Alvin. They're normal dogs, except for being huge, fiercely loyal, and apparently unkillable. They burp flames when fed with propane tanks!
  • The Divine Comedy:
    • The classical Hellhound Cerberus, who here has human traits like a beard and hands, punishes those in the Third Circle of Hell by ripping them apart in its three horrible mouths. Fittingly, Cereberus's infernal meals have been damned for gluttony.
    • Hordes of black bitches (as in female dogs) chase and maim those who destroyed themselves through carelessness in the Forest of Suicides.
  • Dogsbody has the Welsh Cwn Annwn version, complete with The Wild Hunt.
  • Dracopedia: Dracopedia: The Bestiary refers to them as "freybug", noting "hellhound" and "warg" to be alternate names for the creature. The art depicts a scaly wolf with glowing eyes and fiery breath.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Grave Peril: Harry and Michael spend a little too long in the Nevernever and end up drawing the attention of the Leanansidhe, Harry's fairy godmother (and no, not the good fairy godmother), and her pack of hellhounds.
      "Holy shit," I breathed. "Hellhounds."
      "Harry," Michael said sternly, "you know I hate it when you swear."
      "You're right, sorry. Holy shit," I breathed, "heckhounds."
    • Kincaid's nickname is "the Hound of Hell" or just "the Hellhound". He claims to be human, although Harry has his doubts after an early meeting Kincaid when kills a number of red court vampires without missing a single shot. He also displays senses much sharper than any human, including being able to identify a specific type of antipersonnel mine by scent because "the Brits use a different chemical primer." To no particular surprise, it turns out he's not fully human, and is actually half demon.
    • Whenever the Erlking calls up the Wild Hunt, those who join take on the default form of giant black hounds with glowing eyes.
    • Skin Game: Harry actually meets Hades and his pet dog, Cerberus. He also learns that in the original Greek, Cerberus literally means Spotted. So, a rough translation is just Spot.
      Hades: "Who's a good dog? Spot is. Yes he is."
  • The Folk Keeper has the Hill Hounds, vicious faerie dogs which specialize in hunting and killing.
  • Gaunt's Ghosts: The Ghosts are attacked by mutant dogs bred by Chaos scientists inside the Salvation's Reach fortress. The skin of those ferocious monsters was removed and their bare flesh exposed, and dead humand heads were attached to their torsos.
  • Ghost Girl (2021): Mr. Scratch has three black, red-eyed, talking hounds that stalk the main characters and seek to use them as mortal vessels.
  • The Gnomes Engine: A troll makes several references to the troll king's "hounds". When a half-fairy guest of the trolls notices some extremely large, fearsome dogs in the courtyard, she's informed that they're merely the king's dogs: if she met his hounds, she'd know the difference. An aversion? We'll never know...
  • Good Omens has a hellhound that starts out as the typical slavering demonic hound, but his nature is ultimately determined by the desires of his master, the young Antichrist. The Antichrist wants a cute, friendly, playful dog. Named Dog. There's a reason why Adam is the subject of the quote on Anti Anti Christ.
  • Guardian Cats and the Lost Books of Alexandria: Near the end , Professor Chin summons Bodis, a dank-smelling dog-like beast with a firey tail.
  • The Guardians (Meljean Brook): Hellhounds were bred by Lucifer by crossing dogs with wyrms, and are used by him to keep his subjects in line. They are giant, demonic, three-headed dogs completely loyal to their chosen masters and their venom can paralyze and kill demons. Sir Pup is a "bad" hellhound more mischievous than evil, and he prefers the form of a three-headed Labradour.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Fluffy is a three-headed hellhound. It guards something and, like Cerberus, can be put to sleep with music. It's also notable that Hagrid bought Fluffy off of a Greek fellow, as a Shout-Out to the Greek myth.
    • The Grim can also be considered a hellhound. However, it's uncertain if the Grim exists as an actual creature rather than just an omen.
  • Heralds of Valdemar: This role is filled by the wyrsa, which are a half-viper, half-greyhound.
  • The Hounds of Tindalos: The titular hounds are Hellhounds mixed with Eldritch Abomination. Their existence predates multicellular life on Earth, they are immortal, and they can travel freely through time and space. Since they can exist in the "angles" of time (everything else lives in the "curves"), they can manifest through any corner (120 degrees or less) anywhere. The Hounds aren't named as such for their appearance (the original story implies a more bat-like appearance but later illustrations depict them as canines) but for their relentlessness. The Hounds hunger for something other living creatures possess that they lack; once they become aware of something or someone they will never stop hunting them. An easy way to gain their attention is to travel through time.
  • "The Hound", an H. P. Lovecraft tale, has one mixed with a ghoul. The protagonist and his friend are menaced by something after they steal a pendant off a corpse with a dog like face. A howling follows them, his companion and a gang of thieves who later steal the pendant are torn apart by an animal and when he goes to return the cursed pendant the corpse, caked in hair and blood, howls.
  • Kane Series has Serberys, Lord Tloluvin's hound. Red eyes, fetid breath, "bigger and blacker than a mountain bear", with a black tongue. And pity those who go out at night under Demonlord's moon, as that is when he goes hunting with his master.
  • Kate Daniels: Two variations appear:
    • "Magic Mourns": Cerberus is sent from Hades to retrieve the stolen corpse of a Greek pagan priest. He's described as a three-headed dog the size of a two-story house with a barbed tail. Thanatos mentions offhandedly that he owns several of Cerberus' puppies.
    • Magic Bleeds: Grendel turns out to be a Black Dog, which appears to be a regular dog until danger threatens. Then it transforms into its true shape of a giant black dog with burning blue eyes and huge fangs.
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen:
    • The Hounds of Shadow and eventually the Hounds of Light are said to be the size of ponies, and the former can travel between realms using shadow magic as they are basically the pets of the King of High House Shadow. They are also thousands, if not hundreds of thousands years old. Shadowthrone claims confidence in the Hounds' loyalty and guarding of his Shadow keep, but his right hand man Cotillion, the Patron God of Assassins, prefers to keep a wary eye on these 'pets'.
    • The Deragoth, or Hounds of Darkness, are supposed to be even bigger than the Hounds of Shadow and to resemble bears in size. They may be even older than the Hounds of Shadow, old enough, in fact, to once have domesticated early humans as their pets. They are said to be the D'ivers form of Dessimbelackis, the Emperor of the human First Empire, who sought to teach his subjects a lesson about respecting nature by turning them in beast shapeshifters. In House of Chains, Trull Sengar and Onrack accidentally release the Deragoth from their eternal stone prison in the Nascent, leaving them to roam the realms.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Hellhounds of the Hunter variant, generally appearing as enormous black mastiffs, appear fairly often as low-level Mooks for the titans' forces. They're dangerous monsters in the early books, but by the end pose little threat to the main characters. They melt into shadows when they die, unlike other monsters that crumble into sand.
    • Cerberus himself, of course, appears in his traditional Guardian role at the gates of the Underworld. He's a lot more fond of playing fetch than one might think, and appearance-wise looks like a three-headed Rottweiler the size of a mammoth.
    • Mrs. O'Leary is a particularly large hellhound the size of a rhino, but she doesn't really fit the archetypes — in personality, she's more like a typical, friendly and playful dog than anything. Just one large enough to be capable of tearing most monsters to shreds when they threaten her master. The closest fit would be Guardian.
  • Riddley Walker: The unnamed dog pack, although not actually supernatural, do represent the wholly supernatural dogs Folleree and Folleroo from their equivalent of Punch and Judy shows. One of them (the old leader) also serves as a portent of change for Riddley.
  • Roger Zelazny:
    • The Chronicles of Amber: Julian seems to have a never-ending supply of "stormhounds". They can outrun a car and tear it apart.
    • This Immortal: The narrator refers to his mutant dog Bortan as a hellhound:
      The Kouretes screamed, for his eyes are glowing coals and his teeth are buzzsaws. His head is as high above the ground as a tall man's. Although they seized their blades and struck at him, his sides are as the sides of an armadillo. A quarter ton of dog, my Bortan... he is not exactly the kind Albert Payson Terhune wrote about.
      He worked for the better part of a minute, and when he was finished they were all in pieces and none of them alive.
  • R. L. Stine: The two dogs in "The Barking Ghost". The title is somewhat misleading as the dogs are not ghosts; they're really two people whose souls had been traded into the bodies of dogs by a magical cabin in the woods.
  • The Secrets of Droon: Lord Sparr has a two-headed dog named Kem, though he becomes good along with Sparr when they're both de-aged to their childhood forms.
  • Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles has this as an Invoked Trope since the ghost hound was a hoax. The original spectral Hound in the old legend is a straighter example.
  • The Silmarillion: The werewolves, rather than humans who take lupine forms, are essentially corrupted spirits in the same vein as the Balrogs, only in wolf form. Carcharoth is the greatest of these, and he only becomes more hellish after ingesting one of the Silmarills, which starts burning him from the inside and drives him mad. Sauron himself, who rules over the werewolves, can take on their form.
  • "Snarleyyow": Snarleyyow is a dog believed by the ship's crew to be straight out of hell. With good reason... Doesn't quite fit the three standard models given at the top of the page though, Snarleyyow is a miserable thing that backs down when faced with any real resistance, only reason it hasn't gone overboard is that it belongs to the captain.
  • Sword of Truth has Heart Hounds, which are tan, but otherwise fit the trope to a T.
  • The Wee Free Men: Grimhounds appear as straight-up villains. Notably they have orange eyebrows, after several non sequitur references in earlier books about how you should "never trust a dog with orange eyebrows".
  • The Wheel of Time has darkhounds, corrupted wolves which are associated with The Wild Hunt. Of the hunter variety, they can track their prey across any terrain, though they can be impeded by running water. Their blood and saliva is poisonous, and they leave pawprints on stone, but not earth. There are also two classes; greater darkhounds can recover very quickly from any injury, and can only be permanently killed by balefire. Or by Perrin's power-wrought hammer.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In "The Prom", Tucker Wells unleashes some hellhounds he's trained to attack people in formal wear at the prom to exact his revenge.
  • Kolchak: The Night Stalker: "The Devil's Platform" has a devil-worshipper who can turn into a Hellhound (portrayed by a Rottweiler).
  • Reaper: There's a small dog from Hell named Spike, who can transform into a big, nasty hellhound.
  • Rescue Me: A "webisode" features the firemen hunting a mysterious, possibly dangerous animal (one of them thinks it's a chupacabra) that has gotten into their station it turns out to be an Irish Wolfhound. In their defense, they're pretty friggin' huge dogs
  • Supernatural has invisible (for budget and scheduling reasons, though for some this makes them scarier) hell hounds that work for demons. They usually go after people who have made a Deal with the Devil and are out of time. The Hellhounds can only be seen by the people they've come to kill, and those wearing glasses that have been scorched with holy fire.
  • Teen Wolf: Deputy Jordan Parrish, who had previously shown some supernatural immunity to fire but otherwise seemed human, is revealed in Season 5 to be the vessel of a hellhound, specifically Cerberus/The Black Dog. This gives his human body glowing red eyes, retractable claws and fangs, super strength, senses, and reflexes, and fire abilities when the hellhound takes over. Jordan often doesn't remember what happens when the hellhound takes over, but not always.
  • What We Do in the Shadows (2019): Season 3 introduces a hellhound; it looks and acts exactly like a normal dog, with the one supernatural thing about it is that it can breathe fire. Nevertheless, the vampires are terrified of it.
  • Ultraman Nexus: Galberos is essentially meant to be Cerberus as a kaiju, except the middle head is that of a dragon and it's also a Master of Illusion.

  • The Darkness: "Black Shuck" describes a hellhound, the titular Black Shuck, which has the distinction of being one of the best known of the British Black Dogs/Hellhounds. See below under Mythology & Religion for more.
  • Led Zeppelin: "Black Dog"; referenced, although the canine in question is a (sexual) prowler.
  • Metallica: "All Nightmare Long" was written about the Hounds of Tindalos, though most only remember the zombies from the video.
  • Robert Johnson sings about the third type in "Hellhound on My Trail".

    Mythology & Religion 
  • Aboriginal Australian Myths: Adnyamathanha and Ngadjuri lore has "black and red dogs". They are servants of the evil sun goddess, dragging her victims to her fireplace.
  • Classical Mythology:
    • Cerberus, the three-headed hound that guards the gates of the afterlife to ensure the living don't get in and the dead don't get out, is the original inspiration for many modern portrayals of hellhounds. He was typically depicted, besides having three heads, as possessing a mane of writhing snakes.
    • Orthrus, a more obscure example, is a two-headed hound and Cerberus' brother. He was servant of Geryon, a monstrous giant, and guarded his house and herds.
  • Egyptian Mythology: The jackal god of the dead Anubis can be interpreted this way. On top of that, there's also his white wolf cousin Wepwawet (a war god associated with Anubis and the dead, making him a Hunter to Anubis' Guardian), Duamutef, a jackal god assigned to protect the stomach and intestines of the mummified, though his history made him more of a Hunter than a Guardian, Sed, a minor jackal god associated with Wepwawet with a festival named after him celebrating the anniversary (and imminent demise) of a Pharaoh's reign, and Khenti-Amentiu, a jackal god of the dead much older than Anubis that is likely his direct predecessor.
  • Guanche Mythology: The evil gods, the Tibicena, take the form of black dogs. They live in the mountains by day and come out at night to terrorise the islands. They are the spawn of Guayota, the God of Evil.
  • Hindu Mythology: Yamraj is the god of death/hell. He has two dogs with four eyes and wide nostrils guarding the road to his abode. They are said to wander about among people as his messengers.
  • Inuit Mythology: The Amarok are described as giant supernatural wolves which stalk and kill hunters that are foolish enough to hunt alone at night. As for their temperament, one of the stories to show them in a kinder light has one beating the extraneous bones out of a small boy to make him strong enough to wrestle three bears.
  • The British Isles have many legends of ghostly hounds, referred to as black dogs. Most of them are portentous, some were actively malevolent and a few are actually benevolent. The best-known malevolent example is Black Shuck, which according to folklore burst into a church in Blythburgh on 4 August 1577, killing a man and boy and causing the church tower to collapse through the roof. As the dog left, he left scorch marks on the north door which can be seen at the church to this day. Those people who think there's some kind of truth behind the legend speculate that the event could have been ball lightning or some kind of even more exotic electrical phenomenon.
    • On the benevolent end of the scale are the Gurt Dog of Somerset, which was said to protect children and lone travellers, and the Friend of the Moore, a rather obscure example from the north-east of England which also aided travellers.
  • Norse Mythology:
    • Garmr is a dog who guards the gates of Niflheim, the realm of death. At Ragnarök he will kill Tyr. Fenrir, the son of Loki, is a ferocious wolf that is destined to fight and kill Odin at Ragnarök. He once bit off Tyr's hand. Tyr has a bad history with this trope.
    • There's also Skoll and Hati, who chase the sun and moon across the sky. At Ragnarök, they will finally catch and eat them.
    • One of the Black Dogs could appear on your hearth. If it did, you'd have to care for it for a year.
  • Many in the various incarnations of The Wild Hunt:
    • In Britain, Yeth hounds chase sinners or the unbaptized.
    • In Wales, the hellhounds ("Cwn Annwn") accompanying the Wild Hunt were white with red ears.
    • Another version gives them mirrors for eyes.
  • A Barghest is a monstrous black dog with large teeth and claws. It was either a portent of death or it preyed on lone travelers. In some versions it can change shape, but it always keeps its red eyes.
  • The Grimhound (portrayed, typically, as a black dog with fiery eyes, the same as half a dozen other examples of this trope) are both guardian and portent. They're the protectors of the dead...but if you can see one of them, it's because you'll soon be one of those it's guarding.
  • Islam favors cats over dogs, yet both are regarded as living beings worthy of human compassion. However, there is a specific caution about dogs: black dogs are said to be a kind of demon.
  • The Cadejo is a particular type of dog-like ghost in the Mesoamerican region, normally despicted as black with red eyes.
  • The dips, vampiric dogs from Catalan mythology.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Arduin: Hellhounds are infernal dogs with glowing red eyes, live on the Tenth Plane of Hell, are utterly without fear and relentlessly attack other creatures.
  • The Dark Eye: White harriers are monsters created from the crossbreeding of wolves and a type of canine demons, the karmanthi. They resemble hideous, twisted wolves with snow-white fur, two-heads, and up to eight legs. They're vicious beasts and often kept by corrupted nobles as monstrous hunting hounds, typically for Hunting the Most Dangerous Game, while others live in the Shadowlands as dangerous feral predators.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Early editions have several types of hellhounds, including one that can breathe out fire and one as part of The Wild Hunt. By 2nd Edition and onwards, actual hellhounds are established as huge, fire-breathing dogs literally from the Nine Hells of Baator, used by devils to hunt mortals or summoned by evil spellcasters as minions.
    • Barghests are wolf-like fiends from the plane of Gehenna that can shapeshift between the form of a bestial goblin and a dog-like creature, though true hounds hate them and attack on sight. The monsters are feared for their ability to consume their victims' body and soul, and once someone's soul has been digested by a barghest, nothing short of a miracle will bring them back to life. Fortunately, engulfing them in flames has a good chance of sending a barghest back to Gehenna.
    • Shadow mastiffs are evil canines from the Plane of Shadow, capable of terrorizing their prey with their howls, or disappearing completely into patches of shadow from which to stalk their victims.
    • Yeth hounds are evil fey that appear as hounds standing five feet high at the shoulder, but with disturbingly human faces. They're capable of flight, share a telepathic bond with their packmaster, and can loose a dreadful baying to inspire a supernatural fear effect, but the light of day banishes them to the Etheral Plane until nightfall.
    • Blink dogs are a Good Counterpart to the various evil hounds, being Lawful Good fey canines who get their name from their short-ranged teleportation ability.
    • Dragon Magazine #174 describes fenhounds, ghostly dogs native to Ravenloft that manifest at night to hunt down and destroy people who commit very evil acts. They are relentless and will fight until destroyed, although they vanish with the dawn. However, even if a target evades or destroys them all, a new pack will simply form the next night, and the next, and the next, and so on until their target is dead or has atoned for their deeds.
    • Forgotten Realms: Kezef the Chaos Hound is a monstrous, evil, maggot-covered hound who hunts mortal souls to eat and is a flawless, inescapable tracker.
  • Exalted:
    • Barrow hounds are black-furred mastiffs with glowing red eyes, grown to the size of jungle cats, which haunt shadowlands and can move between the Underworld and Creation at will. They only hunt the dead and those doomed to die soon, using their supernaturally terrifying howls and their ability to create ghostly copies of themselves to harry the soon-to-be-dead towards their demises.
    • Helgrifnir, the Fen-Hound, is a massive immortal hound with a gaping mouth filled with three rows of teeth and a hide covered in peat and moss, who stalks the shadowland of the Black Chase. It used to be the pet of a Solar, who granted it its intelligence, size and immortality, but was left on its own after the Solars were overthrown and slaughtered. Its loneliness and the corrupting influence of the Shadowland have turned it into a monstrous, vicious beast, who stalks and hunts anything that passes through his territory. Millennia of life have turned him into an extremely skilled and cunning hunter, and even the mightiest undead fear to pass through Helgrifnir's hunting ground.
  • Fabula Ultima: Shadow Howlers are a type of demon resembling a monstrous dog or wolf. They can breathe fire or let out a supernatural howl which frightens those who hear it. They fit the Portent type of Hellhound, appearing whenever a great catastrophe is imminent.
  • Games Workshop:
    • The god Khorne is served by Flesh Hounds, bestial daemons that blend canine and reptilian features. The Flesh Hound special character Karanak has three heads, and is used by Khorne to hunt down and catch those mortals who earn his ire. One head tracks you through space, one through time, and the last tracks your thoughts.
    • Warhammer: Chaos Warhounds, creatures associated with both the Beastmen and the human followers of Chaos, are the descendants of regular wolves and dogs mutated by exposure to the influence of Chaos. The resulting animals are hideous, hulking, front-heavy beasts adorned with mutations such as protruding tusks, horns, bodies studded with spikes and jaws bristling with fangs. Those further affected by Chaos sport even more monstrous mutations, such as distorted human faces, scorpion tails, coats of rock-hard scales and bladed tongues capable of impaling foes.
    • Warhammer 40,000:
      • The Dark Eldar have ugly half-Warp/half-real creatures called Warp Beasts or khymerae that invoke the look (and some translations actually call them "Warp hounds").
      • There's an Imperial Guard unit called the Hellhound (as well as its variants, the Devil Dog and the Bane Wolf), but it's simply a tank with a really big flamethrower.
      • Thunderwolves, the largest and fiercest variety of Fenris' Savage Wolves, are eight feet tall and built like rhinos, have fur like steel wire and several rows of regenerating teeth, can chew through steel, hunt trolls, mastodons and giant bears as their primary food sources, and are infamous for their intensely vicious dispositions.
      • Astral hounds are spectral Warp creatures in the shape of shadowy canines that ferociously hunt down psykers, manifesting in packs in the physical world to subdue their target with their numbing bites and drag them into the Warp.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Hellhounds are evil creatures resembling flaming, skeletal, monstrous dogs, hail from Hell itself, are often found in the service of Lawful Evil entities and groups such as fire giants and infernal cults and are large enough for humanoids to ride. There are also Nessian hellhounds, a stronger and more vicious variant the size of draft horses bred in Asmodeus' personal kennels in the deepest pits of Hell. They also share a deeply inimical relationship with another kind of infernal animals, the hellcats.
    • The extraplanar shadow mastiffs with their panic-inducing baying and supernatural ties to shadow and the emaciated, hairless yeth hounds who can run through the air and delight in hunting sapient beings make the jump from D&D.
    • Cerberi are giant, three-headed, skinless doglike monsters who serve as Hell's guardians and watchdogs. They are distantly related to hellhounds, but hate their lesser kin and viciously attack them if not forbidden from doing so. They have the ability to detect by scent the souls of the dead, allowing them to track even incorporeal undead creatures with frightening accuracy.
    • The hounds of the Wild Hunt are fey creatures, and can breathe out a fog composed of spectral packmates to harry their opponents. As the trackers of the Hunt they have extraordinary powers of perception, making it *very* hard to hide from them. They also have human-level intelligence.
    • Barghests make the jump from D&D. Here, their status as cunning hunters and their resemblance to goblins leads many goblins to worship them.
    • In addition to actual hellhounds, Pathfinder has hellcats. They're much like hellhounds in most respects — skeletal, Wreathed in Flames, evil to the core, and expert trackers used by the lords of Hell to track down souls and mortal victims when they aren't prowling the infernal wastes for their own pleasure. This comparison shouldn't be made in front of them, however, as hellhounds and hellcats despise one another and take considerable pleasure in each other's physical pain.
  • Res Arcana: The Hound of Death is portrayed as a creepy dog-like demon. In gameplay, it passively generates Death essences, can attack opponents, and can generate an amount of Death equal to an opponent's amount of Gold.
  • Shadowrun had several Awakened (creatures descended from natural animals mutated by magic) canine monsters.
    • The barghest has a protruding spine on its back, glowing red eyes and glowing teeth. It can cause fear and has a paralyzing howl.
    • The hellhound can breathe out and is immune to fire.
    • The Gabriel hound can freeze you in place and is a terror in combat.
    • The bogie is a black-furred, mastiff-like dog with short, soft horns and a fear-inducing howl. They share a supernatural kinship with regular dogs, and the two species never attack or become alarmed by each other.
    • The shadowhound is an extremely stealthy creature as tall as a man, and found worldwide. It tends to appear alongside other, dangerous creatures when these attack people, and there are conflicting reports as to whether shadowhounds are hostile monsters that gather other creatures to attack humans or benevolent protectors trying to warn humans of imminent threats.
    • The cerberus hound is an aggressive, three-headed wolf-like canid with caustic saliva native to the mountains of Greece.
  • Toon: The Dungeons & Toons setting has "heckhounds" that breathe warm air.
  • The World of Darkness:
    • Vampire: The Masquerade: A human can become an absolute thrall (called a ghoul) to a vampire by tasting its blood. The same practice can be applied to animals, and a ghouled dog is known as a hellhound.
    • Vampire: The Requiem: One of the stories Kindred tells to each others when they don't want to sleep is about The Wild Hunt from hell: a mysterious person in black loosing tireless packs of hellhounds to hunt Kindred who have committed evil deeds (and by their very nature, Kindred can't avoid evil deeds.) In one version, the hunted vampire (who was a Sanctum member) was spared from the menace by repenting on the spot.
    • Werewolf: The Forsaken dips into this a bit; the Bale Hounds are literal demon-worshipping werewolves.


    Video Games 
  • Age of Wonders: Red-skinned, lizard-tailed, fire-breathing Hell Hounds appear as units in the Undead roster in the first game. They return as unaligned summonable creatures in Age of Wonders 2.
  • Apocalypse has hellhounds in the graveyard levels and the last few stages. These vicious beasts can be heard growling and snarling from a mile away (before showing up onscreen to maul the hero), and serves as Giant Mook variety of enemies.
  • Assassin's Creed: Valhalla has the Black Shuck as a boss. It's found in a ruined East Anglian church, gnawing at a skeleton, and fairly obviously demonic in nature (at least as much as anything is actually supernatural in the game).
  • Barnyard Blast has a two-headed Cerberus as one of the last bosses in the game. Curiously enough, this particular incarnation of the Cerberus can breath both fire and ice as projectiles, one from each head, the latter attack which can freeze the player on the spot.
  • Bounty of One: The game's Elite Mooks are skeletal hounds, floating skeleton dogs on fire that attack by shooting their heads at you and retrieving it after some distance. The Deputy variant has two heads allowing it to perform two attacks in one go. Then, there's the Sheriff "Rex, Cupcake and Brutus", a huge, three-headed skeletal hound that can launch all 3 heads in succession, and can summon minions that are slightly smaller versions of itself.
  • Call of Duty: World at War has literally named Hell Hounds in the later Nazi Zombies maps, which charge at the player on fire and sometimes explode. All prefaced with a creepy voice saying 'Fetch me their souls!' and the map getting foggy. Non-supernatural attack dogs are also quite threatening throughout the series.
  • Castlevania, being the Fantasy Kitchen Sink that it is, features a few games with these usually in a form of Cerberus, which appears as a boss in Dracula X (the game's second new boss, the rest come from Rondo of Blood which it is a port of), Symphony of the Night and Circle of the Moon, plus one as a Mini-Boss in Bloodlines.
  • Cygames: Cerberus is a female humanoid demon appearing in games such as Rage of Bahamut, Granblue Fantasy and Shadowverse. Lore-wise, she is Hell's "watchdog". She also has three heads — her normal one, and two puppets named Coco and Mimi which she carries on both hands.
  • Gungage has two giant, fire-breathing hounds that serves as a mid-game Dual Boss.
  • Deadly Premonition: Gigantic Doberman-like monsters appear when you drive around town after midnight. Also, according to Word of God, Willie, Forrest Kaysen's Canine Companion is one relaying messages to him from the Red World, therefore making him something of an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening: The first boss is Cerberus, here portrayed as being frozen in ice and chained in front of the door to Temen-Ni-Gru. You have to shoot the ice off before you can effectively hurt him, and he can refreeze himself at will. As he loses health, two of his heads get blown off, and halfway down his health bar he Turns Red and snaps some of his chains.
    • Devil May Cry 4: The Basilisks are canine-like artificial demons created by Agnus. Typical of dog behavior, they always attack in packs and whimper upon death, but in place of their heads are detachable flaming skulls that can be fired like fireball projectiles.
    • Devil May Cry 5 has a King Cerberus as a late-game boss. This one also sports fire and electrical powers in addition to ice-based attacks. Dante even brings mention to the Cerberus he fought back in the third game.
  • Dokapon Kingdom: There are no hellhounds, only heckhounds. They use heckfire, obviously.
  • Doom Eternal: Marauder demons will sic a glowing-red spectral wolf-dog on you if you insist on hitting their shield. In the DLC, the Final Boss will summon similar creatures frequently.
  • Dragon's Crown: Hellhounds are one kind of demonic enemy fought in the game. One sidequest in the game involves conducting research for someone convinced that hellhounds can be domesticated. After completing and turning in the quest, you learn that the hellhound-loving fellow would since go missing, never to be heard from again.
  • Dungeon Keeper: You can get the Hellhound minion, a two-headed firebreathing monstrosity, that will... water the corpses of your enemies, or just the floors for lack of corpses. Poor pup keeps running off and getting killed though.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Clavicus Vile, the Daedric Prince of Bargains and Wishes, is typically accompanied by his external conscience, Barbas, in the form of a Canine Companion. Subverted in that Barbas may look like a Hell Hound in his statues, but is much closer to a Big Friendly Dog in terms of personality and in appearance when he manifests in the mortal world.
    • Death Hounds, appearing in The Elder Scrolls Online and the Dawnguard DLC for Skyrim, are large undead dogs with glowing red eyes and in impressive set of needle-like teeth that deliver a freezing bite. Many vampires use them as guard dogs and wild ones are so aggressive and predatory that they can depopulate their habitats if they stick around for too long.
  • Fallout 4 has the Mutant or FEV Hounds, feral dogs mutated by Super Mutants into enormous, over-muscled freaks resembling bulldogs with green skin and longer muzzles full of sharp teeth. Super Mutants use them as hunting and guard dogs. With Far Harbor installed you can buy three of them called Gracie, Scout, and Moby from a Super Mutant called Erikson to use as guard dogs. With Wasteland Workshop you can capture and tame Mutant Hounds to fight in a bloodsport.
  • Final Fantasy: Cerberus, Garm, and the hellhound are recurring enemies in the series.
    • Final Fantasy: The hellhound first appears as a fire-elemental canine with no connection to the underworld.
    • Final Fantasy II: The 20th Anniversary edition has Phrekyos, an Optional Boss in the form of a powerful canine demon that is summoned by Deumion the Guardian to test your strength.
    • Final Fantasy III: Cerberus first appears as a boss in the World of Darkness. It knows Firaga, Thundaga, and Blizzaga and, thanks to its three heads, it can attack three times in a single round. The same dungeon also has a regular enemy named Garm that, in the 3DS version, at least, can also attack three times for the same reason. An Optional Boss from the Dawn of Souls edition onward of Final Fantasy and a late-game boss in Final Fantasy IV: The After Years are directly based on Cerberus down to the appearance, name, and some abilities.
    • Final Fantasy VIII: Cerberus is both an optional boss and a summon.
    • Final Fantasy IX: A version appears a dual-jawed dog named Cerberus.
    • Final Fantasy XII: The Hellhound enemy is actually a stronger variant of the of the Hyena which, in fairness, is a variation on the wolf model and has a mix of hyaenid and canid features. In a further subversion of this trope, the Hellhound itself is an entirely earthly, if magical, creature. The stronger variations found in the Feywood, the Tartarus and Cerberus, play it much straighter with the bestiary stating that both originally lived in the underworld.
    • Final Fantasy XIV: Cerberus reappears in the World of Darkness as a boss, albeit with a more reptilian appearance. The dungeon is a homage to the original from III. Garm also appears there, but as a variety chimera instead of a dog.
  • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones has Mauthe Doogs and Gwyllgis (the latter having three heads).
  • Hades, as with any work that has you going through the Greek Underworld, has Cerberus, the big three-headed hound that guards the gates of the Underworld. But in this game, he's a Big Friendly Dog, always up for being petted, and one of Zagreus's very best friends (much to the annoyance of Hades, Cerberus's other master).
  • Harry Potter has the Gytrash, a giant ghostly dog, which appeared in some of the games. It's based on a Lincolnshire myth, although the original gytrash was sometimes a horse or a crane as well.
  • Helltaker: Cerberus is a trio of girls who are a Little Bit Beastly. They are actually a Hive Mind, being a single soul that shares three physical bodies but act as one.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic: Hellhounds and cerberi have been recurring monsters associated with the Inferno faction ever since its debut in the third game. Cerberi are able to attack multiple foes in the same turn due to their multiple heads, and their attacks are often so ferocious that the opponent is unable to counter attack.
  • Hero of Sparta has a three-headed, giant cerebus as the boss of the underworld stage. You need to target it's heads one at a time to inflict enough damage, before finishing it off by killing the middle head.
  • Kid Icarus has Twinbellows, a gigantic fiery dog with, like his name implies, two heads.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Cerberus is the storyline boss of Olympus Collosseum with some abilities he doesn't have in the movie canon. Notably, Cerberus can spit homing fireballs and uses a Breath Weapon that causes patches of shadow to erupt around the battlefield. He also makes an appearance as a boss in Kingdom Hearts II, pursuing Sora and friends as they escape the Underworld.
  • Kingdom Hearts II features adorable Heartless versions of hellhounds called Rabid Dogs inhabiting the underworld, in addition to the aforementioned boss monster, Cerberus. Rabid Dogs attack by biting with their Jagged Mouths and by barking.
  • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days has two much larger Palette Swaps of the Rabid Dog, the Snapper Dog and the Bully Dog. All three varieties have the same attacks that the Rabid Dog did in KH2 and are stunned when their bite attack is blocked. They mostly appear in Beast's Castle, with the Bully Dog acting as a boss.
  • Kingdom Rush has Cerberus as one of the Mooks and is universally considered to be the most powerful non-boss enemy in the game.
  • Legacy of Kain: Multi-headed dogs that exhale fire can be encountered in a cave with lava.
  • Lost Kingdoms:
    • The first game has the Demon Hound card, based on the Cu Sìth, a black dog that haunts the Scottish Highlands.
    • The first boss in the second game is a monster called Hell Hound, the best Jump card. There's also the monster Cerberus. It too is a Jump card, but not as good.
  • Melfand Stories have an area containing a portrait of a hellhound. If you stay idle around the area for a while, the portrait turns into a REAL hellhound and attacks.
  • Mega Man Zero 3: Tretista Kelverian of Weil's Numbers is based off of one of these in his battle form, being a huge humanoid dog Mutos Reploid who possesses two additional heads in his shoulders that he can launch and reveal their large canine forms. His stage is also an elevator descending into the depths of the earth. Interestingly, though in the present he's an Ax-Crazy Dumb Muscle, once he was a wise individual who was considered the Chief Judge of the Eight Gentle Judges and his three thought circuits were used to help him reach fair decisions and rulings in regards to safeguarding the citizens of Neo Arcadia, thus tying into Cerberus' Guardian motif. Then Dr. Weil came back and turned him "rabid".
  • Miitopia has the Cerberus as one of the bosses, which bear one Mii face on the back of each of its three heads. There also are smaller variations of it with less Mii features.
  • Monster Hunter:
  • Monster Rancher: The Tiger/Joker hybrid in Monster Rancher 4 is named after Barghest and resembles a Hell Hound. Its entry in the encylcopedia states that it was born in hell.
  • Nexus Clash has packs of Hellhounds as summonable minions for the demon hordes. These are usually pitted against the Clock Punk creations of the angels on the other side, though they can also be found running wild.
  • Hellhounds are among the last enemies introduced in Nightmare Creatures in the burning ruins of Westminster Abbey, and among the toughest Elite Mook-variety of enemies. These giant horned canines glow entirely with flames and can breath fire at the players, as well as having plenty of health to boot.
  • Ninja: Shadow of Darkness: The second boss of the game, appropriately encountered at the exit of the graveyard/ghost city level, is a two-headed hellhound the size of an elephant which attacks Kurosawa the ninja. That boss actually shows up in the level's loading screen, giving it an Early-Bird Cameo.
  • Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi: Devil Dogs might look like normal dogs (apart from the glowing eyes and giant fangs), but they're very tough and vicious, and are apparently supernatural in origin.
  • Odin Sphere: The Beast of Darkova spell of the Titanian Royal Family turns the user into one through the power of the Netherworld. It says something that this spell alone is the main reason none of the other kingdoms of Erion dared to invade Titania, meaning this would make them a Guardian in theory. In practice, it also makes the user go insane with power and blood-lust along with a hungering for human flesh and it's only been used twice: By the former Titanian king Galleon against an invading army and the Valentinian prince Ingway to kill his father Odin and later destroy the Cauldron, and they both end up becoming one of the five disasters that will destroy all of Erion.
  • Parasite Eve has a police dog that mutates into a large three headed monstrosity that can pounce on you, fire a large energy beam, make shockwaves, and heal itself.
  • Penumbra: Both episodes have evil dogs akin to the ones in Resident Evil and Silent Hill. They feature more prominently in Overture.
  • Pokémon: The Fire/Dark-types Houndour and Houndoom serve as the Hunter type. Houndoom especially is The Dreaded in-universe; has a distinct skull motif, demonic-looking horns, and an arrowhead-tipped tail; and breathes toxic flames that, if they touch you, cause burns whose pain will never go away. Houndoom also gets a Mega Evolution in Pokémon X and Y that has more bone armor and other design adjustments. The anime portrays them as being being capable of being good and kind Pokémon, which is rare for this trope; one episode revolves around one caring for and protecting a baby Pokémon. It helps that they ignore the game's aforementioned lore about its fire (which, to be fair, seems like a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation). However, they are often used by the various evil organizations, with Team Rocket, Team Magma, Team Galactic, and Team Flare all using them in large numbers.
  • Poly Poly! Speed Daisakusen: Gentleman, one of the game's two playable drivers, has a sharp-toothed Canine Companion named Black Dog (aka Mcly), whose fierce appearance and name seem to evoke the legendary black dog of English folklore.
  • Quest 64: The Hell Hound is a one-headed wolf that breathes fire. Its cousin, Ghost Hound, is no different. Quest: Brian's Journey has both of these as well, but they're more powerful due to bigger stats. Otherwise, they're identical.
  • Quest for Glory V: At one point, you literally journey to Hades and meet Cerberus himself. You can either bribe him with food (each of his heads has a different favorite) or whack him with a sword until the three heads get tired of telling you they're immortal.
  • Resident Evil: Deformed zombie dogs called Cerberus appear as enemies.
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein: One of the exclusive enemies in the Xbox version is the X-Shepherd, a cyborg zombie dog with Glowing Eyes of Doom and a machine gun on its back.
  • Runescape: Hellhounds are a fairly strong standard monster that look like giant red dogs. There's also a quest boss called a skeletal hellhound, which is both Exactly What It Says on the Tin and, strangely, weaker then a normal hellhound.
  • Secret of Mana: "Heck Hounds" are a Bowdlerisation of hellhounds.
  • The 7th Guest: A ghostly Cerberus guards the attic door, preventing you from going back down.
  • Shadowgate: A hellhound appears in a tower room when you try to take the Platinum Horn, its presence turning the room unbearably hot. It is defeated by using a vial of holy water.
  • Shadow Hearts: A number of these appear across the series; perhaps the most notable are the Mailmen, demons that appear as hounds with human arms jutting from their mouths. In the first game, when backed into a corner, the mayor of Bistriz turns himself into a hideous, giant dog made of flayed flesh, named Tindalos.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Cerberus and Othrus are recurring demons which, like most other demons, can be recruited for your team. Cerberus appears as a demon or persona (depending on the series) in almost all the games in the franchise.
    • Notably, Cerberus frequently appears as a white lion with an armored tail. In Persona 3 and Digital Devil Saga, he's a three-headed dog. From Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey onwards, the white beast design is changed to include three heads.
    • One Cerberus is unique because it can join the player at a higher level than the hero, which is normally impossible. In Shin Megami Tensei I, that Cerberus was the hero's pet dog who fused with a demon to protect him, and is implied to be Madam's pet in Shin Megami Tensei II.
  • Silent Hill: Most games include creepy dog monsters as normal enemies.
  • Smite has Cerberus as one of the playable "deities" (they are not a God, but the game itself has had some mythological monsters like Medusa or Fafnir as playable characters) as a Guardian-type character with strong sustain who can poison their enemies, rip the enemies' souls out or manipulate the enemies' positions.
  • Super Paper Mario: In the Underwhere, a parody of the Greek underworld, lives the Underchomp, a vicious three-headed Chain Chomp (Chomps being the Mario universe's thematic equivalent of dogs) which guards the last door leading to the Overthere and can be put to sleep with music.
  • Total War:
    • Total War: Warhammer: Chaos Warhounds, hideous, mutated canines with huge tusks, horns and/or bodies covered in spikes, depending on the individual, appear as swift and dangerous but squishy units for Chaos-aligned factions such as the Warriors of Chaos, Norsca and the Beastmen. A further variant, Poison Warhounds, have poisonous attacks, jaws dripping with bright green slime and scorpion tails.
    • A Total War Saga: TROY: Cerberus, the massive, demonic, multi-headed, snake-tailed and -maned hound who guards the entrance to the Underworld, is recruitable as a unique and very powerful unit accessible through a quest line that culminates in a battle against the hound and an army of shades at the gates of the Underworld.
  • Trillion: God of Destruction: Cerberus is the loyal pet to the Overlord's family, and one of the only survivors against Trillion's miasma, which reduced him from his imposing, tri-headed visage to something resembling a fuzzy football. Should the story progress to a certain point, he will take to the field against Trillion.
  • The Witcher features a portent type dubbed "the Beast". It never attacks anyone (well, not before Geralt corners it) but the villagers treat its appearances as bad omens. It also has minions, lesser hellhounds called barghests that are straight-up hunters and serve as the most common mook type in the first chapter of the game.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: The Wild Hunt can craft the White Frost into dog-shaped magical constructs, which they use as hunting hounds and shock troops.
  • World of Warcraft has several supernatural canine types, many of which can be tamed by the hunter class:
    • The Duskhound is an agile, bony and furless creature found in the Forsaken starting areas and also trained as pet by the Vrykul.
    • The Core Hound is a massive, slobbering, two headed beast which breathes fire and smolders.
    • The Felhound is a dog in name only, being a quadruped minor demon with Combat Tentacles, red scaly skin and an appetite for mana. (However, it has explicitly doggy behavior.) It is one of the demon types that can be summoned by a Warlock.
    • Ghost Wolves are animated animal spirits, often capable of talking.
    • Omen is an unique two-headed silver wolf which awakens during the seasonal event of Lunar Festival.
    • In the Cataclysm Expansion Pack, the Molten Front and Firelands have hounds that appear to be flaming dog skeletons, about twice the size of the characters.
  • Zork: Several games in the series, notably Wishbringer and Return to Zork, directly connect hellhounds and poodles. This is probably a Shout-Out to Faust (see above).

    Web Animation 
  • Helluva Boss, as well as Hazbin Hotel, have hellhounds that resemble huskies or wolves more than anything. With I.M.P.'s moody, mercurial receptionist Loona being the most iconic example. They are also treated like real life dogs as well, despite being fully sentient.
  • hololive's FUWAMOCO twins (Fuwawa and Mococo Abyssgard) are designed after the Cerberus model, with them having some doglike features and wanting to find something to guard as one of their goals. They are very likely the softest and cutest interpretation of the archetype you can imagine, between their Verbal Tic of "bau bau!" for a dog's bark, general playfulness in behavior, and their initial backstory imprisonment simply for being "a pain in the godly behind" (as opposed to their genmates in holoAdvent who were imprisoned for more serious reasons).

  • Dogfight: Baskerville has a theme fitting of a hellhound in terms of physical appearance and fighting skill in a World of Badass.
  • Exterminatus Now: The Hound, the dark god of war and violence, takes the form of a giant, red, anthropomorphic hound; his daemons likewise all resemble hellhounds in some way or another. One gets summoned accidentally after Virus tampers with a villain's summoning circle, resulting in a huge, three-headed, black-and-red and extremely foul-tempered demonic hound appearing in the mortal plane.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: One of the Guides is the Moddey Dhoo, a giant black dog with fiery eyes. Like all the Guides, he's nicer than he looks. There's also a bonus page featuring several "Black Dogs of the British Isles" from real-life folklore, namely the Gytrash, Gurt Dog and Lean Dog, all variations of the Black Dogs of British folklore, and the Cŵn Annwn, the spectral hounds of the Otherworld who ran with The Wild Hunt.
  • Hover Head has a flaming dalmatian named Damnation.
  • Homestuck:
    • Becquerel, Jade Harley's pet, minder and supernatural guard dog, is an eyeless white hound with Reality Warper powers, and is hundreds of millions of years old.
    • Jack Noir probably counts as a malevolent version after Bec is prototyped and he gains his powers and appearance, matching them with a sadistic drive to kill.
  • Hooves of Death: A massive talkative specimen tracks follows the bleeding unicorn protagonist, but is only interested in the mysterious human girl that Glitter rescued the day before. Comments by Glitter indicate this Hellhound is actually from Hell, and its presence indicates the story goes deeper than "Unicorns versus Zombies".
  • Off-White: Hati, one of the two wolf gods, takes the form of a giant black wolf with glowing red eyes and a complexly decorated Skull for a Head.
  • The Order of the Black Dog: In issue 4 , it's shown that in the 1920s a group of special investigators found a series of killing sprees were connected with reports of a black, spectral dog. It turns out that the dog was possessing the killers until they commit suicide, and that the survivors of the group founded the titular Order to investigate other occult cases. The beast reappears in issue 6, stalking Melissa in 2037. And then rips out a fragment of the Eldritch Abomination that possessed her in the first issue. It's been trained a bit.
  • Sinfest:
  • Sivine Blades subverts it by having the "wild" hellhounds relatively harmless. However, when one is captured and used as a guard dog...
  • Skin Deep: Hellhounds are creatures native to Dis, non-sapient but highly intelligent and very loyal to demons, who use them as attack animals. They vary considerably in appearance — ones seen on-page include a horned one with its eyes set on its lower jaw and two rows of spikes down its back, one resembling a large echidna with a tapir-like trunk and one with a human head and hands on a canine body.
  • Sluggy Freelance: Bun-bun rides one during his assault on Thanksgiving castle as part of the Holiday Wars arc.
  • Speak With Monsters speculates on what might happen if hellhounds were bred with other types of dog.
  • Spinnerette has Minerva the Cerberus, a Guardian variant. Unlike most variants, she has no ill-will towards mortals (her "rampage" in the beginning was because she was in a big hurry and things kept getting in her way), and in fact later on she joins the League of Canadian Superheroes.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: A number of strains of Rash-infected dogs exist, most named after mythological spectral or hellish hounds, such as the widespread garms (powerful, bulky creatures with armored hides, and the only Rash beasts known to preferentially prey on humans over other food sources), the skeletal kyrkogrims (which stand guard over the graves or bodies of their deceased human companions, and only attack people who come close to them) and the Finnish manalan rakki (wretched beings with heads covered by pus-oozing boils, which non-aggressively seek human contact but also act as carriers of the Rash).
  • Wurr: Subverted by one of the species of sentient canines. While they're called "hellhounds" by one of the other species, they're really just big, freakishly mutated dogs with no particular inclination towards evil (although they've certainly got their share of jerkasses and wackos). "Hellhound" is actually considered something of a racial slur.

    Web Original 
  • Angel of Death: There are hellhounds in service to the Underworld. There's also Sparky, who has been in service to Cody ever since his contest with Ntullnarlth. Despite his being pitch black with glowing orange spots and leaving burning footprints behind him, he has the personality and mannerisms of a normal dog.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-023 is based on Black Shuck from British folklore. It is a shaggy canine with glowing red eyes that can burn through walls if it isn't in a crossroads, and if anyone looks at its eyes, they or a member of their family will be killed in one year by being burned up on the inside.
    • SCP-1913-3, also known as Freddie, looks like a black Labrador but with glowing holes in his face where his eyes and snout should be. When he crashes into somebody, he produces extremely hot grey flames from his face holes that badly burn the victim, but strangely the victim won't die from the burns even if they look like they should. His only weakness is that he refuses to touch sulfur. Further reading reveals that he is actually a fallen demiurge.
  • Sock Series: Ceriazibus is like a Cerberus but with flower mouths and overly long and sharp tongues.
  • Whateley Universe: Not only are there hellhounds, but in There's an Angel in Father John's Basement the techno-mage Korrupt has figured out how to summon a really nasty mecha variant of his own devise.

    Western Animation 
  • The Baskervilles: Spot is the Baskervilles' robotic three headed hellhound. Each head can talk and has its own personality: Cool Spot a sunglasses wearing dude who is April's best friend; Bad Spot a rabid monster who loves nothing more than total destruction; and Dumb Spot a complete idiot, likely the dumbest creature in the whole park.
  • Cow and Chicken: Cerberus appears in the pilot as the Red Guy's (where he was explicitly the Devil) sidekick. Each of his heads was that of a completely different dog.
  • Cyberchase: One cybersite is Classical Mythology-themed, and one of its residents is a Cerberus with one poodle head.
  • Fangbone! has the Hound of Hounding, a shadowy demon dog with horns and glowing red eyes that appears to (and can only be seen by) those who are wracked with guilt, relentlessly tormenting them and feeding on their guilt until it is powerful enough to consume them.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Grim apparently owns Cerberus, whose right head is that of a poodle. It's either clueless or female, because unlike the others, it doesn't initially react to a cute female dog, having to be told by the others to follow them.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes: Cerbee, the titular character's pet monster, is a small one-eyed creature with horns and an enormous appetite. Asides from being named after Cerberus, he's merely implied to be a hellhound, befitting of a setting best described as a nutty version of Hell.
  • League of Super Evil: Doomageddon the Team Pet is a hellhound (or rather a Doomhound, in the in-show terminology) with Extreme Omnivore tendencies, a reptilian appearance, and the ability to teleport between dimensions.
  • Mr. Pickles: The titular character looks like a normal Border Collie, but he has disturbing demonic powers and is more than willing to use them on the townspeople.
  • My Little Pony:
    • My Little Pony 'n Friends: Crunch the Rockdog is a Guardian type, created to protect the Heartstone of a living mountain and armed with a jewel that could petrify enemies. Unfortunately, said mountain had forgotten to make Crunch a heart of his own and as a result Crunch eventually ran wild, turning everything he could reach to stone. The Little Ponies were able to subdue Crunch long enough for him to be endowed with a sliver of the Heartstone, making him both kinder and loyal enough to do his job right.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
      • Cerberus, resembling a black, three-headed Rottweiler the size of a house, guards the gates of Tartarus, where evil monsters are imprisoned. In personality he's a Big Friendly Dog, emphasis on big, and easily distracted by play.
      • Orthruses appear sporadically as two-headed canines, with heads of different breeds of dog, larger than ponies. They're trainable as guard animals, but are very aggressive and an expert animal handler is needed to manage them.
  • The Owl House: King is the self-proclaimed "King of Demons", but is actually a puppy with an Inferiority Superiority Complex.
  • Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures has a giant, three headed Psycho Poodle guarding the Netherworld, named Fluffy.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Parodied with the Black Knight of Worcestershire and the Hounds of Heck who chased after him through all the moors and lands because his suit of armor was recycled dog food cans.
  • Transformers: Robots in Disguise had toy only character Bruticus, who transforms into a techno-organic Cerberus. In addition, there is also Sinnertwin, who transforms into a robotic version of the less known Greek hellhound Orthrus.
  • The Venture Bros.: The necromancer Dr. Orpheus occasionally encounters his supernatural mentor, who takes physical form in several guises, once as Cerberus. He is a pretty laid-back sort, however, and is intrigued at how one of his heads is licking himself as he talks, and he can taste it.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Cerberus, Three Headed Canine



A beloved pet dog who had the bad luck to wander into hell, but the good luck and survival instincts to get through its harsh environment and grow into a force to be reckoned with.<br><br>With the superb hunting abilities, it has even become known to some as a merciless butcher. Once it has sunk its sharp canines into its enemy, it will not let go until their last breath.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / Hellhound

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