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"People who do not like dogs do not know dogs. It is very difficult to dislike a being who worships you and would gladly die for you — especially when it is handsome and frisky and empathetic, and a good, good doggie, yes it is."
Roger Ebert on My Dog Tulip

The surest way to show that a hero is an undeniably awesome good guy is to show him hanging out and totally loving his dog. I mean, it's his dog. Who ever heard of a cool dude that doesn't love his dog?

Think of this trope as being the physical manifestation of Pet the Dog. If a character has a dog which is around him constantly and whom he is always nice, respectful, and loving to, then that means a scene literally cannot go by in which he does not Pet the Dog. So of course he must be noble and good at heart.

The dog in question is frequently a Canine Companion. See also Evil-Detecting Dog, for some of the logic behind this.

Contrast Right-Hand-Cat, compare Kindhearted Cat Lover.

Examples of Heroes Love Dogs include:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

  • Inverted in Watchmen, where Rorschach clearly doesn't have a high opinion of dogs at all. When he discovers that two dogs owned by a child molester had, probably unwittingly, eaten the child's body as means of disposing of the evidence, he promptly kills them. Though calling Rorschach a hero is a bit of a stretch.
    • Played straight with Nite Owl I's dog Phantom, which marks him as the most mentally stable person in the entire cast.
  • Superman and his dog companion Krypto.
  • Tintin and his Canine Companion Snowy.

Film

  • Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid. This is, in fact, the entire reason why we know he's Prince Charming in the beginning. The first thing we see him do is affectionately play with his dog, and hardly fifteen minutes later he nearly gets himself killed saving his dog's life.
  • Mad Max is different from the other road warriors. Because he has a dog, and that makes him a good guy.
  • Stanley and his dog Milo in The Mask.
  • Robert Neville's last (living) companion in the 2007 film adaptation of I Am Legend is his trusty German Shepherd, Sam.
  • In Shoot'Em Up, the hero Smith refuses to kill the Big Bad's dog, Duchess, claiming "I like dogs." He later adopts Duchess as his own.
  • Carl ends up adopting Dug as he prepares to rescue Russell in Up. Or at least accepting that Dug has adopted him as his "Master".
  • Chuck Norris's Lone Wolf McQuade.
  • Tron: Legacy: Sam Flynn has a lot of anger issues, no actual day job, few social contacts, and no direction for his life. His stalwart companion is a "rescue" dog named Marv who gets rewarded with a cheeseburger for helping him prank his dad's company.

Literature

  • Harry Dresden has a rather large dog named Mouse who happens to be an Evil-Detecting Dog and a descendent of a Chinese guardian spirit.
  • Subverted in George Eliot's Daniel Deronda. Grandcourt supposedly adores dogs. In reality, he torments them (mentally, not physically), in ways that tell us something about how he intends to treat his wife.
  • Beren and Luthien win the loyalty of of Huan, the hound of Valinor, even though he is their enemy's dog.
  • Invoked with an entire family of heroes in A Song of Ice and Fire. In the first chapter, the five Stark children and their bastard brother find six orphaned direwolf pups, which will grow up into Big Badass Wolves. There are four males and two females, one of the males an albino outcast. Naturally, the bastard adopts the albino, the three Stark boys take the other males, and the two Stark girls take the females. The wolves become their closest companions, reflecting each child's personality, fate, and more.
    • Played with less straightly, however, with Sandor Clegane, the Hound, who loves dogs far more than he likes people but who is by no means heroic.
  • Played straight in Deerskin: The heroine's sighthound has been her only real friend for most of her life. (The evil king makes a point of kicking the poor beast right before crossing the Moral Event Horizon.) And the Wise Prince is more at home in the kennel than in the royal court.
  • Gilbert Markham with his dog Sancho in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall -- he even gives his girlfriend's young son one of his puppies. Anne Bronte loved to make use of this trope, as also seen in Agnes Grey.
  • Haplo in the Death Gate Cycle. An unusual example because the dog is the literal manifestation of Haplo's soul.
  • A Boy and His Dog: It's just him and his dog After the End. Oh, wait! There's a girl that also survived. Then again, this is Harlan Ellison writing, so the boy is hardly a hero.

Live Action TV

  • In the Twilight Zone episode "The Hunt", a man is killed along with his dog while hunting and they wander the afterlife. Eventually they reach the gates of Heaven, but he is refused entry when the attending angel says he can't take this dog. He promptly refuses to go. Turns out that the Devil was trying to trick him into going to Hell, but by refusing to abandon the pooch he gets to take it into the real Heaven.
  • Shorty and his crew in Pit Boss do, too, unsurprisingly.

Video Games

  • Good old Lucas and Boney in Mother 3.
  • Galford, the All-American hero from Samurai Shodown has his loyal pet dog as a combat gimmick.
  • Subverted in Darkstalkers. B. B. Hood has a puppy she takes with her everywhere, even to Hell. Considering her personality, it's probably another thing meant to lull her enemies into a false sense of security long enough so that she can stab them, gut them, riddle them with bullets, and sell their body parts on the black market.
  • Metal Gear : Otacon loves dogs and Snake is known to keep a team of Huskies, as he dabbles as a musher. However, Snake is not above murdering dogs which get in his way, much to Otacon's horror. The villain Sniper Wolf also keeps a pack of wolf-dogs, referring to them as her family. Otacon indicates that this is an example that she is, in fact, a nice person, though Snake is very doubtful of this.
  • In Fable 2, you're given a dog that follows you around and alerts you to the presence of buried treasure. You can praise it, give it treats, and play catch with it. Of course, the same as with your general morality, whether you treat the dog with such kindness is wholly up to you.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, one of your possible companions is a strong Mabari warhound, and if you choose Human Noble origin, he's been with you for years. On the other hand, Well-Intentioned Extremist Teyrn Loghain also used to have a dog that he loved dearly, as he will reveal if you choose to recruit him near the end, and have him in your party with the dog.
    • Ferelden culture in general loves the Mabari for their strength, courage, and intelligence (which is implied to be on the same level as humans). The capitol city of Denerim is even compared to the Mabari.
    • The Hawke family can have their own mabari warhound in Dragon Age II (if you get the Black Emporium DLC). Even your most moody party members can't help but like him.
  • Shadow of Final Fantasy VI and Rinoa of Final Fantasy VIII both have dogs that assist them in combat, though Shadow is an Anti-Hero and Rinoa is a heroine.
  • Sora, of Kingdom Hearts, pals around with Pluto (yes, that Pluto) in the first few hours of the game. In Kingdom Hearts II, his girlfriend Kairi spends an even longer time befriending the dog.
  • Septerra Core. Grubb builds his own robot dog, Runner, his best friend. When Runner went missing, and was later found with Led, she and Grubb started bickering about which of them was his owner.
  • Persona 3 Portable actually has a social link between the Female Protagonist and Team Pet Koromaru.
  • Protagonist of Inazuma Eleven GO! Tenma has Sasuke, a dog he rescued when it was still a puppy.
  • The wannabe hero Nightshade is, fittingly, a huge dog fan ("What a pretty woofums!"). Cats don't agree with him, though.

Western Animation

Real Life

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