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Canine, usually short for dog or other canine, refers to a class of monster in NetHack. Represented by d, they have a wide variety of characteristics. Only domestic dogs can be tamed with food, but it is possible to acquire other canines as pets as with any other monster type.

Canines in NetHack fall into four major categories:


Jackals appear early in the game and in packs, making them one of the more dangerous level zero monsters. However, they have relatively low HP and should not be too greatly feared. Position yourself in a hallway so that you can engage in melee combat without being surrounded. Once in this position, it may be beneficial to use a long-range weapon, such as a dagger or an attack wand which can hit more than one monster per turn.

A werejackal can summon more jackals to assist in the attack and will be inclined to do so when close to death. In these situations, it is smart to kill the werejackal as soon as possible so that it cannot summon more. When polymorphed into a werejackal, it is possible to summon your own jackal pets, which will remain tame after you have returned to your original form even once lycanthropy has been healed.

Jackals are the most common cause of death on, more so than even dwarves or soldier ants.

Encyclopedia entry

In Asiatic folktale, jackal provides for the lion; he scares up game, which the lion kills and eats, and receives what is left as reward. In stories from northern India he is sometimes termed "minister to the king," i.e. to the lion. From the legend that he does not kill his own food has arisen the legend of his cowardice. Jackal's heart must never be eaten, for instance, in the belief of peoples indigenous to the regions where the jackal abounds. ... In Hausa folktale, Jackal plays the role of sagacious judge and is called "O Learned One of the Forest." The Bushmen say that Jackal goes around behaving the way he does "because he is Jackal".

[ Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore ]


A fox is one of the earliest monsters a NetHack character will encounter. Out of the early monsters, it is one of the more difficult ones due to its speed, and can be dangerous for weak level 1 characters. However, more experienced characters and fighter types will have few problems with the fox.

Encyclopedia entry

One hot summer's day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch. "Just the thing to quench my thirst," quoth he. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: "I am sure they are sour."

[ Aesop's Fables ]


A coyote is an easy creature to defeat, most likely found in the early levels of the dungeon. Coyotes usually appear in packs. Each coyote has a humorous species name, which is visible with the far look or what is commands; these names, and the encyclopedia entry, play off the Road Runner cartoon skits.

List of coyote names

Reference: do_name.c#coyotename

  • Carnivorous Vulgaris
  • Road-Runnerus Digestus
  • Eatibus Anythingus
  • Famishus-Famishus
  • Eatibus Almost Anythingus
  • Eatius Birdius
  • Famishius Fantasticus
  • Eternalii Famishiis
  • Famishus Vulgarus
  • Famishius Vulgaris Ingeniusi
  • Eatius-Slobbius
  • Hardheadipus Oedipus
  • Carnivorous Slobbius
  • Hard-Headipus Ravenus
  • Evereadii Eatibus
  • Apetitius Giganticus
  • Hungrii Flea-Bagius
  • Overconfidentii Vulgaris
  • Caninus Nervous Rex
  • Grotesques Appetitus
  • Nemesis Riduclii

A cancelled coyote will always be displayed as Canis latrans,[1] the actual Latin name of the species.

Encyclopedia entry

This carnivore is known for its voracious appetite and inflated view of its own intelligence.


A dingo is a relatively easy-to-defeat monster that can be found anywhere from early in the game to the player's last level spent in the dungeons. A couple of dingos will provide a decent meal, as each has a nutritional value of 200. It is identical to a dog, except that it cannot be tamed by feeding, and its corpse is safe to eat.

Encyclopedia entry

A wolflike wild dog, Canis dingo, of Australia, having a reddish- or yellowish-brown coat, believed to have been introduced by the aborigines.

[Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language]


A wolf is a relatively easy to deal with monster that appears in the second half of the early game. Wolves are not a dangerous threat to a moderately prepared player. Far more dangerous are winter wolves. However, as of version 3.6.0 a wolf may actually be a shapeshifted vampire lord, and resurrect in that form after being killed.

Encyclopedia entry

The ancestors of the modern day domestic dog, wolves are powerful muscular animals with bushy tails. Intelligent, social animals, wolves live in family groups or packs made up of multiple family units. These packs cooperate in hunting down prey.


A warg is basically a big wolf. Wargs appear in packs, and while not terribly fast, can do enough damage as a group to warrant a mention. By the time the player encounters them, however, they should not pose much of a danger.

Encyclopedia entry

Suddenly Aragorn leapt to his feet. "How the wind howls!" he cried. "It is howling with wolf-voices. The Wargs have come west of the Mountains!"
"Need we wait until morning then?" said Gandalf. "It is as I said. The hunt is up! Even if we live to see the dawn, who now will wish to journey south by night with the wild wolves on his trail?"
"How far is Moria?" asked Boromir.
"There was a door south-west of Caradhras, some fifteen miles as the crow flies, and maybe twenty as the wolf runs," answered Gandalf grimly.
"Then let us start as soon as it is light tomorrow, if we can," said Boromir. "The wolf that one hears is worse than the orc that one fears."
"True!" said Aragorn, loosening his sword in its sheath. "But where the warg howls, there also the orc prowls."

[ The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien ]

Winter wolf

Winter wolves are the adult versions of winter wolf cubs. Unlike the cubs, winter wolves do not ordinarily appear until after the player has gained cold resistance. They are still very dangerous, however, traveling in packs and dealing long range damage that can shatter potions.

A pet winter wolf will attack watchmen and aligned priests if they are given the opportunity; however, they are very likely to win.

Winter wolf cub

A winter wolf cub is a young winter wolf. These monsters are particularly dangerous because they appear in the dungeons early enough that the player might not have cold resistance, and appear in packs. Winter wolf cubs have a long range frost attack which can shatter potions and inflict significant damage on the player. Wand them quickly.

Winter wolf cubs respect Elbereth, but have no aversion to attacking you with the frost ray from afar.

In SLASH'EM, an Ice Mage starts with a winter wolf cub as a pet.

Hell hound

In NetHack and SLASH'EM, a hell hound, d, is a monster associated with fire. In SLASH'EM, it is most familiar as the pet of a Flame Mage, after it grows from a pup d. Hell hounds typically fight in melee, like other dogs.


In versions of NetHack from Hack 1.0.2 through NetHack 3.0.10, a hell hound can be found inside the room in which the Wizard of Yendor is hiding with the Amulet of Yendor. These hell hounds did not have breath weapons until NetHack 3.0.0.

Encyclopedia entry

Hell hounds are fire-breathing canines from another plane of existence brought here in the service of evil beings. A hell hound resembles a large hound with rust-red or red-brown fur, and red, glowing eyes. The markings, teeth, and tongue are soot black. It stands two to three feet high at the shoulder and has a distinct odour of smoke and sulphur. The baying sounds it makes have an eerie, hollow tone that sends a shiver through any who hear them.

Hell hound pup

A hell hound pup is a young version of a hell hound. If you are discovering hell hound pups, you are no doubt about to discover hell hounds. With fire resistance these monsters are not too difficult.

In SLASH'EM, a Flame Mage starts with a hell hound pup as a pet.

See also


  1. do_name.c#1038 If the coyote is cancelled, the last name in the list is always chosen

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