People love dogs, and people love Pokémon. You’d think that would automatically make dog Pokémon the best of both worlds. Perhaps, but some are more interesting than others. We’ve ranked them all here, using a very scientific method of how doglike and well-designed they are. Note that we chose distinctly dog-like Pokémon for this list, so you won’t see foxes like Vulpix or Ninetales here. That’s a different animal, after all.
Smeargle was introduced in Gen II, but seniority only goes so far on this list. There’s something to be said for its painterly design, but at the end of the day, this thing is barely recognizable as a dog. Its flesh hat is also best ignored, lest you start asking uncomfortable questions.
It’s not Furfrou’s fault that its owners are mostly Karens, but it does keep this poodle Pokémon near the bottom of the list. The only thing saving it from the bottom slot is that the games let you style its fur in a bunch of different ways.
10. Snubbull & Granbull
When it comes to Pokémon dogs, most are chipper or noble, zooming around and having fun the way you’d expect from man’s best friend. Snubbull and its evolution Granbull are a pair of grumps. That said, they do have a neat color scheme, though Granbull’s fleshy lower fangs are still a bit upsetting if you think about them too hard.
9. Lillipup, Herdier, & Stoutland
Possibly the noblest entries on this list, this trio of sheepdogs have a proud look that’s actually earned: Stoutland is famous for rescuing people stranded at sea or on mountains. Plus, they’re the only full set of three evolutions here.
8. Yamper & Boltund
Turning any animal into an electric type is a fun design choice, and Sword and Shield introduced us to this yapping duo. Their names use great wordplay, and the ever-drooping tongue gives them an adorably derpy vibe.
7. Electrike & Manectric
Yamper and Boltund are fine, but this duo from Ruby and Sapphire originated the electric dog idea. Their designs are less obviously doglike, but they manage to retain their canine forms while looking distinctly electrified. Green-to-blue is a nice color progression too.
6. Poochyena & Mightyena
Part dog, part hyena, these two also debuted in Ruby and Sapphire. To many, they are the roughest looking pair of dog Pokémon in the Pokédex, but since they didn’t originate that idea, they sit firmly in the middle of the pack.
5. Houndour & Houndoom
Before Poochyena and Mightyena came the duo of Houndour and Houndoom, the most edge-lord of the dog Pokémon. The naming convention here is brilliant, conveying a decline from sadness into outright despair. They were introduced in Gen II, the only one to not pit the player against a new enemy team, but pairing these mean dogs up with Team Rocket was enough to show just how rough the bad guys had become since the first games.
4. Rockruff & Lycanroc
Rockruff is plenty cute, but its evolution really elevates this pair toward the top of the list. Depending on when it evolves, Lycanroc can take three different forms: midday, midnight, and dusk. It takes a page out of Eevee’s book in that sense. While Lycanroc doesn’t have various elemental evolutions, its different time-based forms make the process feel extra special.
3. Riolu & Lucario
Taking inspiration from Egyptian mythology, these two bear a strong resemblance to Anubis, judge of the dead. These are the only Fighting/Steel-type dogs on this list, which would be enough to make them stand out already. Couple that with cool design and Lucario being a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate contender, and you have yourself some top finishers.
2. Growlithe & Arcanine
Sometimes you just can’t beat the original (and only one set of Pokémon on this list does). Growlithe and Arcanine are part of the original 151 Pokémon, so they didn’t have to do anything special to stand out back then. And yet, they get so many brownie points for being Fire types — the only pure Fire types listed here, in fact. Plus, Arcanine’s name manages to include the entire word “canine,” and that’s pretty rad.
1. Zacian & Zamazenta
Last in alphabetical order but first place on this list are the legendaries from Pokémon Sword and Shield. Calling one better than the other just wouldn’t be fair, since they work best as a pair. Zacian fights with a sword in its mouth, and Zamazenta wears a shield around its chest like an armored mane. You really won’t find a more regal or powerful pair of dog Pokémon out there.