Follow TV Tropes



Go To
All squeaky toys abandon, 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. Standard hellhounds 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. Famous hellhounds are Cerberus and The Hound of the Baskervilles. Fenrir may also fit, and Garmr certainly does.

As their name implies, they are generally thought to originate in the underworld, 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. Contrast Heroic Dog and Big Friendly Dog.


    open/close all folders 

    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 had a Cerberus-style "Frankensteined" dog (actually two dogs and a fox) seen here, but it was 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:
    • The Hollowborn Barghest, a black-furred beast with a long, wormlike, coiling tongue and large enough to crush trees underfoot, is typed in-game as a Demon Hound.
    • There are elemental hounds and wolves, often literally from Hell, which 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.
    • 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.
  • Munchkin: Munchkin Bites has a monster called the Heck Hound.
  • 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, are a mechanical version of this.
    • Superfriends: 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.
  • 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.

    Films — Animated 
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven: Belladonna from the Christmas Carol installment and All Dogs Go To Heaven: The Series. There's also a gargantuan one in a nightmare sequence in the original movie.
  • 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 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".
  • Devil Dog The Hound From Hell bases itself around this
  • 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.
  • The Lost Boys calls a vampire's canine daylight guardians the "Hounds of Hell".
  • Manos: The Hands of Fate: Apparently, the Master's doberman was meant to be a hellhound, although the cosmology of the Manos cult is a bit vague.
  • 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: Scrappy-Doo becomes one of these at the end of the first live-action movie.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • In 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.
    • In 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Kane 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:
    • In "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.
    • In 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.
  • Prospero's Daughter: In Prospero Lost, the barghests combine this trope with Living Shadow.
  • 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 
  • 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.
  • 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 
  • Classical Mythology: Cerberus, the three-headed hound that guards the gates of the afterlife. His younger brother Orthrus, servant of Geryon, is one too.
  • In 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.
  • 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.
    • Probably 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.
  • 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.
  • The Egyptian 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.
  • 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.
  • In 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 dips, vampirics 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: 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 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 grounds.
  • 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 descendents of regular wolves and dogs mutated by exposure to the influence of Chaos. The resulting animals are hideous, hulking, front-heavy beasts with any of a number of further 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 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.

  • Faust: Mephistopheles first appears as a black poodle. Back then they were the Standard (i.e: Big) Hunting Dogs, not the smaller prissy dogs we think of today.

    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.
  • Avernum: In the later games, hell hounds show up.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 hell hounds, 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.
  • EarthBound has Carbon Dog/Diamond Dog as the final Sanctuary Guardian.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • The hellhound first appears in Final Fantasy as a fire-elemental canine with no connection to the underworld.
    • The 20th Anniversary edition of Final Fantasy II has Phrekyos, a Bonus Boss in the form of a powerful canine demon that is summoned by Deumion the Guardian to test your strength.
    • Cerberus first appears as a boss in the World of Darkness in Final Fantasy III. 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. A Bonus 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.
    • Cerberus is both an optional boss and a summon in Final Fantasy VIII.
    • A notable variation appears in Final Fantasy IX, with the enemy that is a dual jawed dog named Cerberus.
    • The Hellhound enemy in Final Fantasy XII 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.
    • Cerberus reappears in Final Fantasy XIV's World of Darkness 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.
  • Cerberus from Helltaker 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.
  • Kid Icarus has Twinbellows, a gigantic fiery dog with, like his name implies, two heads.
  • Kingdom Hearts II features adorable Heartless versions of hellhounds inhabiting the underworld, in addition to the aforementioned boss monster, Cerberus.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 got a mega evolution in 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 Pokemon, which is rare for this trope; one episode revolves around one caring for and protecting a baby Pokemon. It helps that they ignore the game's aforementioned lore about its fire (which, to be fair, seems 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.
    • Absol may be based on the Barghest as the Portent type.
  • 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.
  • Shadow Hearts: A number of these appear in the game; 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.
  • Secret of Mana: "Heck Hounds" are a Bowdlerisation of hellhounds.
  • In The 7th Guest, a ghostly Cerberus guards the attic door, preventing you from going back down.
  • 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: 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.
  • 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: The barghests certainly qualify, being ghostly, monstrous dogs brought about (like many monsters in the setting) by the evils of the village they haunt.
  • 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's often referred to as a Felpuppy). 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).

  • 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 
  • The Series has Sudanases Hunting Dogs (based on a forum running joke) which shoot clouds of bees from their mouth when they bark. As a Shout-Out to Discworld's Grimhounds, they have orange eyebrows.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Helluva Boss, as well as Hazbin Hotel, have hell hounds that look like anthropomorphic wolves. The former has one among the main cast (Loona, I.M.P.'s moody receptionist), and a few appear as background characters in the latter.

    Western Animation 
  • 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 '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:
  • 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.
  • The Real Ghostbusters: The Swamp Dog, brought to America by an Irish curse.
  • 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.

    Real Life 
  • This could be related to the reluctance for adopting large black dogs, dubbed Black Dog Syndrome.
  • A common nickname for US Marines? Devil Dog. Owing to an anecdote about the German soldiers' reaction to seeing Marines in gas masks frothing at the mouths as they clawed their way up a hill to get at the German defenders during the Battle of Belleau Wood.
  • The Israeli anti-terrorist dog that bit off a terrorist's arm. Even the IDF's drug-sniffing dogs are really freaking scary, and this holds true for most military dogs around the world.
  • Winston Churchill used to refer to his chronic depression as "the black dog on my shoulder," in reference to the portent variety of this trope. In fact, "the Black Dog" is now a commonly used term among those struggling with depression, as a sort of coping mechanism.
  • Siberian prisons during the days of the Soviet Era were well known for having Caucasian Shepherds trained as guard dogs, a breed known for their short tempers that easily qualify as one of the world's biggest dog breeds (all you need to know about the Caucasian Shepherd is that they're regularly bred for bear killing.)
  • Second President of the United States John Adams owned a large, rather scary dog named Satan.
  • The Cordoba Fighting Dog is an extinct breed of dog used mainly for dog fighting. It was completely unsuitable to keep as a pet because it was bred to be as aggressive as possible and it would attempt to maul its owner if it could. Part of the reason it went extinct was that it was so vicious the male would often kill the female during breeding.


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 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / Hellhound

Media sources:

Main / Hellhound