Last time, I shared a list of my five favorite anime cats. To make things fair, this time I’m sharing a list of my five favorite anime dogs. Rather than being a Top 5 list, however, I am presenting my choices in alphabetical order.
Akamaru from Naruto
We first officially meet Akamaru in the Naruto anime during the Chunin Exam arc. When the audience first sees him, he comes across as simply being a cute little puppy. But as Kiba battles with Naruto during the exam preliminaries, it’s revealed that there’s more to this little puppy than meets the eye. The Beast Human Clone transformation technique is impressive, and shows how he works well with Kiba. While that certainly is impressive, my favorite technique of Akamaru’s will always be Dynamic Marking.
During the first Naruto anime, we get to see Akamaru help out on missions, primarily with his sense of smell. But I think Akamaru’s finest moments came during the Sasuke Retrieval Arc, when he fought alongside Kiba against Sakon and Ukon.
But when it comes to Akamaru, I have to admit that I liked him a lot more during the episodes of the first Naruto anime. I don’t know why, but the Akamaru that appears in Naruto Shippuden after the timeskip just isn’t as interesting. Maybe it’s because he’s grown a lot and is no longer the cute little puppy, but it also seems to me that Akamaru as a character was also less interesting in Naruto Shippuden.
Black Hayate from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Black Hayate was a stray dog found by Master Sergeant Kain Fuery, and he was trying desperately to find someone to take him in, since his dorm would not allow him to keep a pet. Lt. Riza Hawkeye offered to take the dog in, and was the one who gave him his name.
Black Hayate turns out to be an awesome dog who accompanies Hawkeye and the others on missions. Not only is he obedient, it turns out that he has an ability to sense Homunculi. Because of this ability, Mustang gives Black Hayate an unofficial rank of Second Lieutenant.
I really enjoyed Black Hayate’s depiction in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood much more than his depiction in the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime. In Brotherhood, Black Hayate seemed to be treated much more like an actual character than simply as a prop.
Black Hayate is an adorable dog, but he can be strong when he wants to be. Don’t let his cute looks deceive you.
Chouchou from One Piece
Chouchou is introduced during the first story arc that featured Buggy the Clown. Luffy and the other Straw Hats encounter him in Orange Town, guarding his owner’s pet shop. When they first meet, the dog swallows the key to the cage where Luffy was being held by Buggy’s subordinates. So it wasn’t a great initial meeting, but as the Straw Hats and the audience learned about Chouchou’s backstory, he became a much more likable character.
It turns out that Hocker, his owner, had left to go to the doctor. Sadly, Hocker died of an unknown illness and never returned. Even though it seems Chouchou knew deep down inside that Hocker was never coming back, he refused to leave his post and kept his vigil in front of the shop. Chouchou made sure to guard the store from any intruders. So when Chouchou tries to fight against Richie and is defeated, it’s a sad enough event. But to have Chouchou also see his beloved pet shop burn down to the ground was heartbreaking to me as a viewer.
Chouchou’s loyalty and backstory is ultimately what sold me on him, and is why he appears on this list.
Ein from Cowboy Bebop
Ein is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi with greatly enhanced intelligence, and is known as a “data dog.” Ein was stolen from a research facility in the second episode of the series, and Spike ends up with the dog after he apprehends the guy who stole him.
Ein becomes an important fixture on board the Bebop, even though most of the crew members don’t seem to realize it. After Ed joins the crew, the two of them seem to be inseparable. Ed seems to be the only one who can understand Ein through his body language and his barks. Since Ein doesn’t talk, his intelligence seems to go unnoticed by most of the others, which allows him to be treated more like a normal dog.
While it seems like Ein is part of the cast for comic relief, he also has some legitimately great moments in the series that aren’t on the comical side. He’s actually done some things that ultimately keep the crew of the Bebop out of trouble. Ein is an awesome dog that I think just about any dog lover would want to be able to own.
Ein makes this list due to just how awesome of a dog he is.
Pakkun from Naruto
I normally try not to have more than one item on a list from the same series, but I just couldn’t choose between Akamaru and Pakkun. While they may appear in the same property, these two dogs are very different from each other.
Pakkun is one of Kakashi’s ninja hounds, and unlike Akamaru, has the ability to use human speech. Even though Pakkun may look small and cute, he has a deep and gruff voice. He’s also fiercely proud, even though he gives off a lazy demeanor. When Pakkun was first introduced outside of the group of ninja hounds, it was funny to see this little dog with a gruff voice talking proudly about his supple paws.
Since Pakkun can use human speech, he can give commentary on what’s happening around him. He also tells it like it is, which is definitely one of Pakkun’s defining characteristics. This is a big part of the reason why he made it onto my list.