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Not to be confused with apport.

Tameness is a measure of how resistant your pet is to going untame. Tameness is a value from 1 to 20. For carnivorous pets, the scale means something like this:

  • 1 = nearly wild: Your pet might go wild (peaceful or hostile) soon if you somehow become level-separated or abuse it before it eats.
  • 5 = tame: Your pet can stand to be level-separated from you for a brief amount of time.
  • 10 = domesticated: Your pet can handle being level-separated from you for quite some time.
  • 15 = loyal: Your pet can stand to be level-separated for a long time, and will even put up with accidental abuse.
  • 20 = fiercely loyal: Your pet can be level-separated for a very long time, and will even put up with occasional abuse.

You can #chat with cats, dogs, and horses to get a general indication of how tame they are, although other factors such as hunger, confusion, fright, or being caught in a trap can make this difficult. In general, dogs will whine, cats will yowl, and horses will neigh if they are not content (tameness below 5, or possibly just hungry). Get them some food as soon as possible to see if that helps. A stethoscope can help you sort out some of the state conditions and works on any species, but does not diagnose the level of tameness.

Initial tameness

The tameness of new pets depends on their species, not on the method of taming. Domestic animals and your Astral Plane guardian angel start with a tameness of 10; all others start with 5.[1][2]


  • Hatchlings of eggs laid by you have a tameness of 20.[3]
    • Dragon eggs and eggs outside your main inventory will only hatch with tameness 5.
  • If a pet divides (such as puddings and gremlins), only the original retains its tameness and any further stats.[4][5] The clone is a freshly tamed monster. It will have the same name, but appear at a nearby spot. (Attacking it can untame a pudding before it splits. Some clones caused by the player are hostile.)
  • Pets that are life-saved or revived from the dead keep their tameness from before, if they come back tame. There's always a chance they will be revived hostile.
    • Past transgressions (abuse) are remembered. Abused pets might be wild or feral. If you killed the pet, it will be understandably mad about that.
  • Pets from a former adventurer's bones file will be hostile. Re-tame them or kill them.

Increasing tameness

Decreasing tameness

Pets will only become hostile if abandoned on a different dungeon level for a very long time, or if revived after being abused.[citation needed] In all other cases, they end up peaceful when their tameness reaches zero.

  • Attacking your pet, displacing it onto a trap, or unsuccessfully untrapping it from a bear trap reduces tameness by 1.
    • If you aggravate monsters or are causing conflict, tameness is cut in half instead.[6]
    • Be very careful with arrows and other projectiles when your pet is directly behind a monster you are attacking.
  • A pet left on a different level for at least 75 turns loses 1 tameness, and an additional point every 150 turns thereafter.[7]
    • A pet reduced to zero this way will either become hostile or peaceful.
      • Peaceful-only is a myth. The chance of a hostile outcome is (previous_tameness) / tameness_loss. To guarantee a peaceful ex-pet, you must visit its level within 149 turns after tameness reaches zero.[8]
    • A pet that would have starved to death in this situation will always go hostile.
    • Throwing food at a former pet will anger it, unless it is a domestic animal.
  • If you displace a trapped pet, there is a 1 in [tameness] chance that it will become hostile.[9]
  • A pet that becomes unleashed by a trap (level teleport, trap door, hole, etc.) loses 1 point of tameness.
  • A pet choked by a cursed leash may lose 1 point of tameness. This will never reduce tameness below 1.[10]
    • The chance of this −1 loss being waived is 1 in [tameness]. So the higher the current tameness, the more likely you lose 1 point.
    • Cursed leashes are very bad for keeping pets tame, but a pet will never turn on you solely because of the cursed leash.
      • Be extra careful around traps if your pet is on a cursed leash, as pushing your pet into a trap can put it over the edge.
      • Also watch out for stun or confusion states; if you accidentally hit your pet, it could be the last straw.
      • Never wield Stormbringer if your leash is cursed. (Actually, just don't wield it around pets, period.) Cleaver merits caution as well.
  • −1 tameness every time you use #ride to try to mount a saddled pet, unless you are a knight. Tameness also influences your chance of success.
    • −1 tameness for kicking or whipping your mount (although this can make it move faster).
    • It can be dangerous to try to ride a pet with very low tameness. Feed it first if you can.
    • A non-eating pet will, in this situation, become peaceful if its tameness reaches zero.


Pets additionally have an abuse counter and keep track whether you killed it. Revived, unstoned, or life-saved pets will come back non-tame if you killed it or abused it at least three times.[11] There is a one-in-tameness chance it comes back non-tame anyway.

Both counters are reset to zero when (re)tamed,[12] revived, unstoned, or life-saved.[13] A pudding freshly split off another pet is reset to zero abuse and five tameness.[14]

The abuse counter is incremented each time you score an attack on pet or displace it into a damaging trap. This includes "attacking" with healing potions. Polymorph, teleport, and levelport traps are fine, as they don't damage the pet. Strangely, zapping a spell or wand at your pet is not considered abuse.


In most cases, as long as you stay on the same level as your pet, and keep it from going hungry, your pet will stay loyal to you. Consider #praying if both you and your pet are hungry; pets don't really have that option. If you fall down a hole or step on a level teleport and leave your pet behind, try to go back for it as soon as you can. If your pet gets lost in such a manner, it may be harder to figure out where the pet ended up. Telepathy or a magic whistle might help you quickly check the nearby floors. If you favor exotic pets, have a spare source of taming so you can recover from unfortunate separating circumstances. If you don't manage to find your old pet, you can always try to charm a new one. Laying eggs as a gargoyle or cockatrice can score you a very loyal pet, and laying eggs as a dragon gets you a pretty strong one.

See also


This page may need to be updated for the current version of NetHack.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.4.3. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-343}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.