According to French philosopher Voltaire, dogs are “the best possible friend of man,” and boy, oh boy, was he right.
Ever since the age of the Neanderthals, humans have been cohabitating with canines to build mutually beneficial relationships. It should come as no surprise that we’ve continued this trend into the modern age and expanded on it. Dogs have evolved from being a faithful companion to being a cornerstone in our culture; man’s best friend has gone beyond being a simple pet and can now be found as robotic toys, the mascot of a company, as an iconic meme, or even a digital companion in video games.
But which video game dogs truly earn the title of “man’s best friend?” Here are the top six doggos I think are deserving of the honor.
1. Barkspawn, Dragon Age: Origins
Mabari war hounds are the faithful canine companions in the world of Dragon Age, and in Dragon Age: Origins you can also recruit one of these doggos to join your band of misfits. Tirelessly protecting your Grey Warden from harm and working to defeat the darkspawn, this good boy helped saved Ferelden (and possibly all of Thedas) from the Blight. He also licks your clean when you’re covered in blood. This is admittedly a little gross, but also speaks to his level of devotion to his master. He also brings you presents from time to time, which truly makes him one of the best friends you could ask for.
2. K.K. Slider, Animal Crossing
K.K. Slider is not only a dog but a musician dog at that. This iconic doggo has been serenading villagers in every single Animal Crossing title to date. His versatile music style includes multiple genres and instruments, although his guitar-playing look is perhaps his most iconic. Whether he’s playing a train station, a cafe, or a club, K.K. Slider’s original tunes have made a lasting impression on Nintendo fans, making him one of the most popular characters to come out of the Animal Crossing franchise since its inception. He was even immortalized as an Amiibo, further speaking to his popularity and charm.
3. Amaterasu, Okami
It should come as no surprise that Amaterasu, the protagonist from Okami, earns a spot on this list. This divine doggo devoted her entire life to protecting the mortal plane from the forces of evil. Even after being stripped of her powers and having humanity lose its faith in the gods (and Amaterasu herself), she continued to protect humans and worked towards regaining their respect. Eventually, the praise and devotion humans give her save her from being defeated and even encourages her towards victory. In fact, that might qualify her as the goodest of the good boys, considering she is almost single-handedly responsible for saving the world.
4. Sif, the Great Grey Wolf, Dark Souls
Dark Souls is an incredibly polarizing franchise with a near cult-like following. The game’s brutal mechanics and near impossible boss battles have made it one of the most iconic franchises to date. Considering that, it’s only fair that the series earns accolades for its canines as well. While technically not a doggo, we’ll make an exception for Sif due to her extenuating circumstances (and the fact that she carries a giant sword.) Serving faithfully in life and protecting her master’s grave after his death, Sif has shown exceptional loyalty and courage earning her a spot on this list.
5. Isabelle, Animal Crossing
Considering that the Animal Crossing series has more anthropomorphic characters than not, it should come as no surprise that second doggo from the series made this list. In her Animal Crossing: New Leaf debut, Isabelle works as your assistant and secretary and helps you preside over the town as its newly-instated mayor. Without her cheering you on from the sidelines, it would be much more difficult to accomplish public work projects and build up the town to its full potential. Professional talents aside, Isabelle is also a profoundly kind doggo. She frequently gives you gifts and quickly becomes a steadfast friend. This precious pooch was also gifted with her very own Amiibo, cementing her position as a fan favorite.
6. Dogmeat, Fallout 4
The Fallout series is another franchise with frequent canine companions, and while they all deserve a spot on this list, Fallout 4’s rendition of Dogmeat is particularly lovable. This good boy can find items for you, tear out the throats of your enemies, and act as an all-around loyal companion throughout your adventures in the Commonwealth. Another great thing about this doggo is that he’s truly neutral; your canine companion will never judge you for the decisions you make! In fact, when I first picked up Fallout 4, I was so enamored with Dogmeat that I neglected to travel with any other companions. He’s just that great.
Who’s a good boy? All the video game doggos are! But these six are my favorite.