In the Pokémon franchise, hundreds of unique species draw inspiration from various source materials, including animals. With many species, it’s not immediately clear what inspired their design, but some inspirations a more apparent than others. Spanning generations of games, there have been plenty of clearly dog-inspired Pokémon while others have become topics of debate.
Here are all the dog-inspired species in Pokémon.
Introduced in the very first Pokémon games, Vulpix is most closely related to a fox. This fire-type Pokémon has a reasonably simple appearance with a unique tail. Vulpix’s tail becomes much more prominent in the species’ evolution.
Ninetales—the evolution of Vulpix—is a much larger species with a completely different appearance. This species has a cream coloring instead of the brown coat of its initial form. As the name suggests, the nine tails of this Pokémon are its key feature.
Growlithe—the first Pokémon introduced into the franchise that is purely inspired by a house dog—is another fire-type Pokémon boasting an orange coat with black stripes. There isn’t much else to say about this species, but it is easily one of the most popular Pokémon on this list.
The evolution of Growlithe is Arcanine. This species is a larger, more mature-looking version of its predecessor. Much like other species in the franchise, the inspiration for Arcanine isn’t just a house dog. Instead, Arcanine also pulls inspiration from a combination of dog-like figures from mythology.
The second generation of games continued to introduce more dog-inspired Pokémon with the addition of Snubbull. This Pokémon is clearly inspired by the bulldog breed, although it boasts a unique pink coat.
Granbull is the evolution of Snubbull and retains all of the key features of its design while giving the species a more sinister demeanor. A defining feature of the Grandbull species is its two large teeth protruding from its jaw.
Sticking with the breed-inspired designs, Houndour closely resembles a Doberman. This design is one of the more unique ones, with the species showcasing what looks to be bone or metal armor on its head, back, and legs.
Houndoom—the evolution of Houndour—boasts two large horns instead of its armor pieces. But Houndour’s armor is retained as a pendant on the front of the Pokémon’s chest. Outside of the change to Houndoom’s armor and its new spearheaded tail, most of the design remains the same for this larger Pokémon.
Arguably one of the more interesting Pokémon on this list, Smeargle also has a dog-like appearance, but it stands upon two feet and paints with its tail. As the name suggests, the inspiration for this species came from the beagle breed of dog.
The first legendary Pokémon inspired by a dog is Suicune. This mythical water-type beast appeared during Pokémon Gold and Silver alongside two cat-inspired Pokémon. Aside from the general shape of the species, not much else pays homage to Suicine’s dog inspiration as it leans toward being more of a mythical entity.
Poochyena was introduced in the third generation of Pokémon games and is believed to be a hybrid between a dog and a hyena. This species’ simple design boasts a single colored coat with black features.
Once you have evolved Poochyena, it becomes Mightyena. This evolution is a much larger beast that retains a similarly minimal design. This species has a two-tone coat and some seriously sharp claws.
A green dog isn’t something you see every day, but it’s hard to deny the dog inspiration in this design. The four-legged species has a striking green and yellow coat and a long helmet-styled head. The streamlined design of Electrike may pay homage to this Pokémon being an electric-type.
In Electrike’s evolved form, Manectric undergoes an extensive restyle. Instead of the helmet-style head, Manectric has a pointy headpiece aiming towards the sky. Another big design change is the coat coloring, which uses blue to compliment the yellow instead of green.
Riolu, the first standing fighting-style Pokémon introduced in generation four, has roots in ancient Egyptian mythology. The fighting-style Pokémon’s evolution is modeled after Anubis.
Lucario is another popular species on this list and is modeled after the Egyptian god Anubis. This is clear from Lucario’s facial features, but the Pokémon has its own unique blue coat.
It doesn’t take more than a single glance to see the origin of the Pokemon species named Lillipup. This fluffy creature takes its origins from the Yorkshire terrier breed.
Herdier doesn’t feature many changes to the Lillipup design other than the species being slightly larger and boasting more facial hair.
Again, size is the only significant change present in the final evolution of Lillipup. Other minor changes to Scoutland include much longer, beard-like facial hair and a dark bottom coat not present in either previous evolution.
Zorua, another fox-like Pokémon, was introduced into the franchise during the Black and White generation of Pokémon games. This small, fluffy creature has a dark coat with red highlights.
The most sinister evolution of Zorua, Zoroark, is substantially larger and stands upon two feet. This dark-type Pokémon has an aggressive demeanor to match its incredibly powerful offense.
Furfrou is a poodle-inspired Pokémon and boasts a fluffy white coat.
The domestic house dog clearly inspired Rockruff, but it is not exactly clear what species it is most closely related to.
Unlike its initial evolution, Lycanroc is clearly inspired by a wolf, as suggested by its name. Depending on the time you acquire this species, its appearance will be slightly different and may resemble a werewolf standing upon two legs.
Pokémon has introduced plenty of fox-like species, but Nickit might be one of the more obvious. Boasting some dark eye markings, this species is designed to look sneaky and sleek.
In keeping with the fox theme, Thievel is the evolution of Nickit. While being much larger than Nickit, Thievel also boasts new features, including mask-shaped markings around its eyes to hide its appearance.
Another electric-type Pokémon based on a dog, Yamper is modeled after the corgi breed. This ball of fluff has a bolt-shaped tail to showcase its electric capabilities.
Undergoing substantial design changes, Yamper’s evolution, Boltund, is much larger and has a sleeker appearance. This evolution boasts a black and gold coat with white socks on its front feet.
The flagship species from Pokémon Sword, Zacian is the second dog-inspired legendary Pokémon introduced into the franchise. This warrior boasts a set of armor and is commonly seen with a sword in its mouth.
Similarly, the cover species of Pokémon Shield is Zamazenta. Again, another dog-inspired legendary Pokémon boasting a shield this time. But as the game’s title suggests, some of Zamazenta’s physical attributes are modeled after a shield, including its armored coat.