All of Elden Ring’s horrible dogs, rated

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FromSoftware’s games are filled with formidable foes, from notorious bosses like the Four Kings and Genichiro Ashina, to infamous regular enemies like Dark Souls’ basilisks, or those sodding kite ninjas from Sekiro. Yet despite the presence of all these terrifying enemies, nothing sets me on edge in a FromSoft game like encountering a dog. The hideous hounds of Dark Souls and Bloodborne were bad enough, but Elden Ring takes canine combat to a whole other level.

I’m not sure whether FromSoftware love dogs or hate them, but I guarantee that I’ve been murked by mangy mutts more often than by any other enemy in all their games. It isn’t simply a case of underestimating them because they’re dogs, either. By this point I’m fully versed in their ability to incessantly attack you with jaws agape, and nimbly dodge your sword-swipes before leaping in from the side. But it only takes one bite to interrupt your attack, and before you know it the fight has turned into a literal dog’s dinner.

There are around almost a dozen different types of dog in FromSoftware’s new magnum opus, and every single one of them is awful. But some are more awful than others, so I’ve decided to rate them according to how hard they are to fight, and how disgusting they are to behold. Think of it as a reverse Crufts, in which a scruffy northern man gives out awards to the absolute worst dogs imaginable. I don’t know what the official names for Elden Ring’s dogs are, as the game doesn’t tell you. So I’ve gone with my gut, and tried to come up with names that best encapsulate the demeanour of each baleful breed.


Murder Collie


The closest Elden Ring has to a regular dog is what you’d get if you buried a pitbull in your back garden for a week and then asked a necromancer to slap it awake. Found throughout the Lands Between, it’s a classic FromSoft canine: fierce, unpredictable, and ready to maul you back to the nearest grace point. One on its own shouldn’t cause you too much trouble, but they tend either to attack in groups or accompany other enemies like soldiers. It’s also worth noting that packs of dogs are always led by a larger ‘alpha’, which generally has more health and does more damage.

  • Difficulty: 5
  • Repulsiveness: 5

Limgrave Terrier


Found mainly in the game’s starting region, this is a variant on the standard dog. The main difference is their long coats, which make them look surprisingly cute from a distance. Don’t be fooled. Beneath that dishevelled mop of fur they’re every bit as evil as their short-haired companions.

  • Difficulty: 5
  • Repulsiveness: 4

Caelid Rot-weiler


Although functionally similar to a murder collie, these putrid pooches have also been infected with Scarlet Rot. Not only does this profoundly unpleasant fungal infection cause mushroom-like growths to sprout from the animals’ bodies, it also makes their bites infectious. Essentially, it’s a barking bag of thrush. If you took one to a vet they’d shoot it with a gun.

  • Difficulty 6:
  • Repulsiveness: 9

Scabrador


Like a Rot-weiler, only instead of Scarlet Rot these dogs are covered in raw, pink pustules. While a deeply unsightly skin condition, it is a slight improvement over the previous entry, in that a vet might have a treatment for it that isn’t “Pass me a big hammer”. It’s important to note that their bites build bleed damage. You’d think any dog bite would do this, frankly. But let’s not give FromSoftware ideas, eh?

  • Difficulty: 6
  • Repulsiveness: 8

Wolf


I tried to think of a more playful name, but Elden Ring’s wolves really are just your typical pack-hunting canine found everywhere from North America to Skyrim. There’s nothing growing from them or hanging off them or anything. Maybe they’re all rotten on the inside, like a year-old egg or the Duke of York.

Wolves are the only dog in Elden Ring that I don’t wholly despise. While they can gank you like their domesticated brethren, their attacks are generally less relentless, and they tend to hang around more open areas, making them easier to evade. Be extra careful in the Stormhill area of the map, however. I won’t say why, just keep your eyes peeled.

  • Difficulty: 3
  • Repulsiveness: 2

White Wolf


No, this isn’t an Elden Ring crossover with The Witcher 3. These literal white wolves tend to lead packs of regular wolves. As with all the game’s alpha dogs, they’re a bit tougher and do more damage. But they make up for the punishment they dole out by being extremely cool looking animals.

On that note, why do wolves always get such glam treatment in FromSoftware games, while dogs are always represented as four-legged jerky or leaking sacks of putrescence? Is it catharsis for some dog-related trauma in Miyazaki’s past? You don’t see any fucked-up cats wandering around the Lands Between, except for that weird stone one that guards certain catacombs – and even that’s referred to as a “watchdog”. Clearly ‘dog’ equals ‘bad’ in FromSoftware’s hivemind.

  • Difficulty: 4
  • Repulsiveness: 1

Tyrannoberman


A truly cursed creature, these dinosaur/dog hybrids are found in the festering hellscape of Caelid. With their comically-oversized bobbleheads, from a distance they look amusing. But there’s nothing funny about when they spot you and their jaws stretch open like a bear trap, revealing rows of serrated teeth.

Their favourite attack is to rush you mouth-agape, their lower jaw digging through the ground like the scoop of a bulldozer. Not only do they attack relentlessly, they’re considerably tougher than the game’s ‘standard’ dogs. Their giant, unwieldy heads make them vulnerable to being staggered, however, making jump attacks effective against them.

  • Difficulty: 8
  • Repulsiveness: 8

Tyrannoberman Rex


Marked out from the standard Tyrannoberman by their brown-grey fur, these critters attack in largely the same pattern, but can also howl to attract other Tyrannobastards to attack you. The snitches of the undead, dinosaur-dog world, they deserve to be dealt with as such.

  • Difficulty: 8
  • Repulsiveness: 8

Red Wolf


The player character fighting the Red Wolf of the Champion, a boss in Elden Ring that resembles a giant wolf, with long red fur

By far the toughest canine in the game, the Red Wolf of Radagon appears both as a regular enemy and a boss. Not only is this colossal wolf exceptionally tough and ferociously fast, it can also cast a variety of ranged magic attacks such as glintstone blade. They do look sublime, however, with glossy auburn coats and regally pointed snouts. They remind me a bit of lassie, only I really don’t want one to come home with me.

  • Difficulty: 9
  • Repulsiveness: 1

How to effectively deal with Elden Ring’s dogs

I can offer a few tips on dealing with Elden Ring’s dogs, in case anybody finds them as tricky to fight as I do. As with any From Software foe, there’s no guaranteed solution that will stop you from occasionally becoming a weaponised chew-toy. Attacking from range with bows or spells can be effective, but unless you kill dogs outright, they can close the gap between you extremely fast. Using Torrent to evade their attacks can help maintain distance, but it only takes one bite to stop your horse outright, at which point you’ll likely be knocked off your steed.

While dogs are relentless and can kill you quickly, they don’t have much health, and their attacks are easily interrupted. Personally, I find the best way to deal with dogs is to use a small, fast auxiliary weapon that does bleed damage. I’m partial to the Misericorde, which I’ve levelled up and added a bleed effect to using the Bloody Slash Ash of War, but any knife or dexterity-based shortsword will do. The bleed effect means you don’t need to be proficient in Dex to deal heavy damage quickly. So long as you level up the weapon with smithing stones, it should kill most dogs in a few swipes across the game. You can also check out Ollie’s Elden Ring best weapons guide for more options.

This strategy will also work with regular wolves. But it won’t work with either the Red Wolf, or the giant dino dogs in Caelid. For those, you’ll have to play to your class‘ particular strengths. Is there an Elden pooch who’s been the bane of your Tarnished journey across the Lands Between? Let us know in the comments below.

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