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For pets in SLASH'EM, see pet (SLASH'EM).

A user has suggested improving this page or section as follows:

"pet #chatting messages need to be linked from here. Also, we need tips on how to equip your weapon/armor-using pet. [rgrn thread]"

A pet is your companion in the dungeon. By default, each character starts with a pet, though you may acquire many more.

Pros and cons of pets


  • They can be used to determine whether items are cursed.
  • They are useful for stealing from shops without angering the shopkeeper.
  • They can be a great help in combat.
  • They can kill peaceful monsters for you (you are never penalized for the actions of your pets).
  • They will sometimes alert you the presence of nearby traps, by whining or by setting them off.
  • Some pets can be ridden, which is handy if the pet is faster than you or can fly.


  • Carnivorous pets often eat tasty corpses that you may want to eat.
  • Herbivorous pets are tricky to keep fed and may attack you if they are confused from hunger.
  • Pets may kill peaceful monsters that you want to keep alive. This is a particular problem if they are strong enough to kill priests and shopkeepers.
  • Pets may awaken nymphs and leprechauns that you would rather leave asleep.
  • Pets can get in the way of vital spell, wand or ranged attack shots.
  • The more pets you have, the more tedious it becomes to keep them with you. This problem is greatly reduced if you have a magic whistle.
  • A pet that does not eat may become hostile to you because you cannot increase its tameness, which may decrease if you leave it on a different level or commit other game blunders. A hostile polymorphed Vampire lord ex-pet with equipment you gave it who is 8 levels higher than you is a terrifying sight indeed.
  • A pet gremlin near a large body of water may grow to an army of gremlins which are very troublesome.
  • Pets will erode the Elbereth engravings.

Acquiring pets

Every pet is a tame monster and every tame monster is a pet. The relative tameness of a pet is affected by how well you care for your pet.

Starting pet

Every hacker enters with a pet unless they have specifically set pettype:none in their configuration file. This is a kitten, a little dog, or (if a Knight) a pony. If your role specifies a type in the table below, your pet will be of that type, otherwise it will be of the pet type you have selected (if any), or a kitten or a little dog, with equal probability.

The pet may or may not have a name, depending on whether certain environment variables (catname, dogname, horsename) in the configuration file are set; in addition, certain roles have built-in default pet names if you have not specified a name. Names of pets (and other critters) can be set/changed using the call command.

Role Pet Name
Barbarian <random> Idefix (if little dog)
Caveman little dog Slasher
Knight pony
Ranger little dog Sirius
Samurai little dog Hachi
Wizard kitten

New pets

  1. Most monster types can be tamed (i.e. made into pets) with a scroll of taming, magic harp, or spell of charm monster.
  2. Domesticated animals (dog d, cat f, horse u) can be tamed with food; just throw the food at the critter in question. Dogs and cats can be tamed with "people food" (food rations, pancakes, fortune cookies, etc.) and tripe rations, and most non-poisonous fresh meaty corpses, as well as meat items created with stone to flesh (meat balls, meat rings, meat sticks, etc.). Horses can be tamed with fruits, vegetables and and most non-poisonous vegetarian corpses, yellow mold being one exception. For domesticated animals only, throwing a food item that the critter will not eat (including tins or rotting corpses) at it will pacify it, giving you time to find something tasty to tame it with. Do not throw eggs; if they egg breaks, it will only aggravate peaceful monsters and have no effect on hostile ones.
  3. Another way to obtain pets, if one is a werecreature, is to call one's #monster brethren (which arrive tame). This tactic can be combined with a polytrap to produce armies of high-quality pets.
  4. If a fresh monster egg hatches while being carried in open inventory, the baby monster may be generated tame (all dragon eggs; all eggs laid by the player; and for male players only, 50% chance for any type of monster egg), with an appropriate message:
    You see a guardian naga hatchling slither out of your pack!
    [If tame] Its cries sound like, "Daddy|Mommy?"
    • Note that "just an egg" eggs will never hatch (a scroll or spell of identify will tell you the type if it is a monster egg; if the post-identification type is still just "egg" it is not a monster egg). If the egg is in a bag or other container when it tries to hatch it becomes rotten instead. Rotten eggs can be refreshed with a wand of undead turning and will again have a chance of hatching.
  5. A female hero polymorphed into oviparous monsters can lay eggs by #sitting on an empty square; they will hatch tame. (Do not keep the eggs in containers or they will go rotten instead.)
  6. Casting the spell create familiar will create a tame domestic animal (1/3 chance) or a tame random monster (2/3 chance, unless the randomly created monster is of an untameable type).
  7. A hero who is polymorphed into any demon other than a balrog or a foocubus, and hits a monster without using a weapon, will sometimes see the message "Some hell-p has arrived!" and receive a pet demon. One time in six, this will be a random demon of the same alignment as the hero, and the rest of the time, a demon of the same type as the current form of the hero.
  8. Quaffing a smoky potion or #rubbing a magic lamp may summon a tame Djinni. However whether or not the djinni is tame is random, and the djinni will be as likely hostile as tame for uncursed or blessed potions and magic lamps. (For cursed potions and lamps, the djinni is very likely to be hostile.)
  9. The easiest way to acquire the most esoteric and powerful pets is using figurines. Even though you might face Archons and such in the dungeons, they are rare, and their high MR makes them difficult to tame. Should you want to have an Archon as a pet, you may wish for a blessed figurine of an Archon and then apply it: in 8 out of 10 cases it will be tame and in 1 out of ten cases it will be hostile. The numbers are reversed for a cursed figurine. Figurines will bypass taming restrictions, but most types of restricted pets cannot have figurines of them created in the first place.[1]
  10. Tame minions are not technically pets, but still fight on your side. Entering the Astral Plane, you will get a guardian angel unless generating conflict or badly aligned. In SLASH'EM, minions can also be acquired by sacrifice and (if lawful) prayer.
  11. Reading the blessed Book of the Dead, if you are not standing on the vibrating square, will tame coaligned undead. Other nearby undead will become peaceful and flee.
  12. A magic trap will tame adjacent monsters with 4.8% probability, along with raising your Charisma ("You feel charismatic!" effect). This taming does not check monster MR, and so can tame otherwise resistant monsters. Magic traps can also blind you and summon monsters, act as fire traps, or disappear (possibly before producing any useful effects).

Restrictions on pets

Certain monsters cannot be made tame no matter what you do. In most cases, they will be made peaceful instead. They are:

Protect your pet

It is in very bad form to attack your pet. You should also be very careful when confused, stunned, or when wielding Stormbringer. If you are blinded or hallucinating, try using the #chat command to figure out which of the strange beings around you is your pet.

Pets are vulnerable, especially when young. In the first few dungeon levels it is incumbent on you to lead, not follow your pet into unexplored rooms, where pits and other traps are far more dangerous to your pet than to you; the humble falling rock trap is probably one of the most well-known culprits, hence its nicknames of "kitty killer" and "puppy pounder". If your pet does get trapped, try #untrapping it. Be warned that unsuccessfully attempting to remove a beartrap will injure your pet, and if done repeatedly may kill it. Attempting to rescue a pet from a pit when there is no adjacent non-pit square (other than the one you are standing on) may have the same effect.

Avoid displacing your pet into water or traps. If you have lots of pets or are in a tight space, they may have no other place to go, and pets will easily drown.

Like you, pets level up by defeating monsters. However, while your character gains experience points that build towards new experience level, the pets gain a random number of hit points between one and one more than the defeated monster's level, and their level is increased to keep it adequate to the hit points they have.[2] That means they can level up faster than the player. Thus, it may be helpful to allow your pet to finish off weak monsters like grid bugs or newts to quickly gain levels early on, so that it can become strong enough to survive the traps and encounters in the lower dungeon levels. See growing up for more details about pet advancement.

If your pet is killed, a wand or spell of undead turning can be used to resurrect it, but only if the manner of its demise leaves a corpse. However, it's not guaranteed that the pet will be resurrected tame - if, while your pet was alive, you abused it or were the one who actually killed it (even if accidentally), it will always be resurrected hostile. Even if you didn't abuse or kill it, there's still a chance, though smaller, that it will come back hostile. So you should have the means to (re)tame your pet ready in case you decide to resurrect it.

What pets won't attack

They say discretion is the better part of valor. Pets don't always possess such discretion, and often find themselves overpowered by opponents they take on. Although a pet will not attack a monster whose passive attack could kill it in one round, this calculation takes no account of the monster's weapon or likely counter-attacks. Be especially careful about bringing dogs or cats into the Gnomish Mines, or horses into shops, especially in the deeper levels. Horses seem especially vulnerable to mimics, and have also been known to attack shopkeepers, as they reach a higher level than dogs or cats.

  • A pet will not attack a monster which is two or more levels higher than itself[3]. (A fully grown large cat or dog is level 9, a fully grown warhorse is level 10, and a shopkeeper is level 11, so a warhorse may attack a shopkeeper but a large cat or large dog will not.)
  • A pet that can see will avoid attacking a floating eye 90% of the time.[4]
  • A pet will avoid attacking a gelatinous cube 90% of the time.[5]
  • A pet will avoid attacking a monster whose maximum passive damage exceeds the pet's current hit points.[6]
  • In the absence of conflict, a pet will not attack a peaceful monster if the pet is below 25% of its maximum HP.[7]
  • In the absence of conflict, a pet will never attack a peaceful quest leader or quest guardian.[8]
  • A pet who is not stoning-resistant will never attack a stoning monster.[9]

Pet death messages

There are a number of subtly different messages associated with the death of a pet.

  • You hear the rumble of distant thunder... - you killed it yourself. Penalty -15 alignment and -1 Luck.
  • You hear the studio audience applaud! - as above while hallucinating.
  • You feel guilty about losing your pet like this. - you displaced it causing it to drown or die. Penalty -15 alignment and an angry god.
  • You feel sad for a moment. - pet starved to death.
  • You have a sad feeling for a moment, then it passes. - pet died in combat or due to a trap.
  • You have a melancholy feeling for a moment, then it passes. - pet (light or sphere) exploded.
  • You have a peculiarly sad feeling for a moment, then it passes. - pet turned to stone.
    • (SLASH'EM)- this message also appears if your pet is hit by a gaze of death from a catoblepas or the Beholder.
  • You have a queasy feeling for a moment, then it passes. - pet (purple worm, trapper, or lurker above) swallowed one of the Riders.
  • You have a strangely sad feeling for a moment, then it passes. - pet clay golem was cancelled by a gremlin.
  • May (pet) rust in peace. - pet iron golem was hit by a rusting attack.
  • May (pet) rot in peace. - pet wood golem was hit by a rotting attack.
  • (SLASH'EM only) May (pet) roast in peace. - pet straw, wax, or paper golem was hit by a fire attack.

There is no special penalty for abandoning or losing track of pets, eating your pets' corpses (normal penalty from corpses of the pets' species still apply, such as cannibalism for cat and dog corpses), or (surprisingly) for genociding your pet's species or class.


Your pets follow you along stairways and portals if they are adjacent to you when you climb/descend/enter (except when they're busy eating or can't move).

Life can be frustrating if you are considerably faster than your pet. A wand of speed monster can be helpful, as can a whistle, especially a magic whistle. However, speed beyond normal player speed does not increase your pet's damage output (except if confused or conflicted).

Removal of items which may be cursed from corridors can't hurt, unless, of course, one of the items is a loadstone. See junk. In that case (or if a corridor is blocked by a trap), try digging a path around the item/trap in question.

If you try to walk on a pet's square, you have 6/7 chance of swapping places with it (never if it's a long worm, you are in a shop, or punished).[10] If the pet can't move, but you otherwise would swap places, you have a 1/6 chance of swapping places anyway.[11]

Feeding pets

For the three cardinal domesticable species, appropriate foods for routine feeding are as for taming. Eggs (including rotten eggs) are appropriate for feeding carnivorous (and omnivorous) pets like dogs and cats, but they should be dropped with the d command, not thrown. (Eggs that pets will not eat are probably cockatrice and should be #named and saved.) Additionally, starving pets will eat some foods which they will not otherwise (e.g., starving horses will eat "people food" such as food rations).

Pets will never eat food that would cause them harm. Pets without poison resistance won't eat poisonous corpses. Pets without acid resistance won't eat acidic corpses. Pets without petrification resistance won't eat footrice corpses (or eggs) or Medusa's corpse. No pet will eat green slime or Rider corpses.

Pets gain 2-8 times more nutrition than players from food (smaller ones gain more), but take the same time to eat it.[12] A starving pet will "devour" the food, taking only half the normal time required to eat it, but also gaining only 3/4 the nominal nutrition.

Generally your pets (especially the carnivorous ones) will feed themselves. Sometimes they will feed you, as they will kill monsters of types that they will not eat but that you might, or you stand a chance of beating them to the corpse.

For some pet types, notably domesticated animals and intelligent monsters, it is advisable to #chat with your pet frequently. Their vocalizations change noticeably when they are hungry.

When a pet is starving (500 turns after they became hungry) they become confused and their maximum hit points is divided by 3.[13] See "Messages", below.

Pets can be trained to more reliably drop items near you by giving them treats after they drop something; this willingness to 'fetch' is known as apport.

Every time a pet eats (no matter what they eat) their tameness goes up by 1, to a max of 20.

Pets on another level lose tameness but still burn nutrition. If a pet on a different level would have starved before becoming untame, it will become hostile. Otherwise, it will either become peaceful or hostile. If you cannot find enough food for your herbivorous pet, leave it on another level and let it become untame rather than letting it starve, then re-tame it later when food is available.

Carnivorous and omnivorous pets will eat wraith corpses and gain one level for each, capped at 15 over base level. (There is no cap for gains from engulfing live wraiths.) They will also eat chameleon and doppelganger corpses, which will polymorph your pet.


  • You feel worried about your <pet>. (Your pet is starving out of sight: confused from hunger, maximum hit points 25%, 250 more turns to live[14])
  • <pet> is confused from hunger." (in sight, same as above)

Equipment for pets

Monsters can use equipment like the player can, too, although there are a lot fewer things they can use. The best way to equip a pet is to gather the items you want to give to the pet, put them in a dead end, and stand on them till your pet comes near, swap places with the pet and keep it standing over the pile till it picks up something and starts using it. If it drops something it had been using, you will need to swap places again to pick up their old stuff. For replacing equipment, the best way to do that is in a 2 long corridor with a locked door: +@A. This will take a long time as pets don't like to pick up things if you are nearby. If you just have a pile of stuff and they don't have anything that is being replaced, locking them in a closet will be faster, as pets with large values of apport are more likely to pick up things if you are far away. This only works if the pet isn't carrying a key of its own.

Armor and extrinsics

Many humanoid monsters will pick up and wear armor. Only medium-sized monsters can wear body armor or shirts, and only medium or smaller monsters will fit into cloaks. All monsters know the enchantment of armor, and will replace one piece of armor with something that gives more AC [15][16] than what they are currently wearing. For example, your pet Archon will replace their +0 shield of reflection with a +3 small shield in some valkyrie's bone pile.

Generally for pets, you want to give them magic resistance, magic cancellation, and reflection. All items that work for the player also work for monsters, provided they fit into it or actually wear amulets. Silver-haters will not use silver items. Large pets get MC1 only from the cornuthaum. Feel free to load up on metal armor, it does not hinder monster spellcasting. Magicbane grants magic resistance, but monsters can swap artifact weapons, see below. Pets will not hang on to quest artifacts.

Most magical armor is not as useful for monsters as it is for players. Speed boots make monsters fast, but not very fast. An alchemy smock confers only poison resistance. Dragon scale mail and scales will grant their extrinsics to monsters. Other armor properties than those discussed do not affect monsters. After deciding what extrinsics your can give your pet with equipment, the rest of their armor should be to improve AC.


Monsters with a weapon attack will be able to pick up and wield weapons. They will ignore the enchantment and BUC status of the weapon, and instead select which one to wield based on type. (Pets do not pick up cursed objects.) They prefer (in this order): any usable artifact weapon, cockatrice/chickatrice corpse, tsurugi, runesword, dwarvish mattock, two-handed sword, battle-axe, katana, unicorn horn, crysknife, trident, long sword, elven broadsword, broadsword, scimitar, silver saber, morning star, elven short sword, dwarvish short sword, short sword, orcish short sword, mace, axe, dwarvish spear, silver spear, elven spear, spear, orcish spear, flail, bullwhip, quarterstaff, javelin, aklys, club, pick-axe, rubber hose, war hammer, silver dagger, elven dagger, dagger, orcish dagger, athame, scalpel, knife, worm tooth.

Weapons in italics are two handed, and will be chosen only if the monster is strong and is not wearing a shield. A cockatrice corpse will not be chosen if it would immediately stone the monster. Stilettos and grappling hooks will never be chosen.

If a monster has a wielded artifact weapon and picks up any other, it can switch to the new artifact and drop the old, provided the artifact is not cross-aligned and the conditions for two-handed weapons are met (if applicable). "Can" here means the first admissible artifact in the game's internal list of carried objects is chosen. If you want your pet to keep a specific artifact, give it to it while it is carrying as few objects as possible.

Pets do not use ranged weapons, though there is a patch for this purpose. As of 3.6.1, they will, however, use their breath weapon if they have any.[17]

Intelligent monsters

Some monsters with hands will pick up and carry one unicorn horn, and apply it if afflicted. Prevent the confused pet arch-lich this way!

Some monsters can also pick up keys, and will unlock doors, perhaps to eat priests you have protected. Be warned!

Monsters with hands can put on amulets of life saving or reflection. They have no preference, just whatever they wore first. If you want them to remove it, you have to get a nymph/foocubus to steal it, polyself into such a stealer, or have the monster die. Your stealing attack only reduces a pet's tameness if you do not successfully acquire an object. The monster's amulet of life saving will not be used up if it was nonliving (undead, golem, manes, vortex).

Polymorphed monsters that were wearing an amulet will still wear said amulet. Those who want a level 49 purple worm might consider polymorphing one from an intelligent monster, as opposed to taming one. This may be time-consuming, but it will prevent any disintegration/death ray accidents.

Intelligent monsters will quaff potions of gain level. The max level they can get to is 49 (50 for named demons, but they cannot be tamed).

Equipment for pet owners

There is a lot of equipment that can be used to make pets more useful.

  • Magic whistles will bring all pets to as close to the player as possible.
  • Stethoscopes will reveal information about your pet, including how injured it is, its level and maxhp. Wands of probing will also give you this information and any equipment the pet is wearing, but they are less efficient due to their limited number of charges.
  • Leashes will keep pets nearby.
  • Saddles can be used to ride some pets. Riding boots and gloves will make applying a saddle easier.
  • Carried treats will cause pets to stay close to the player; this can be annoying if they're always underfoot.
  • Spells of (extra) healing for healing pets, charm monster for acquiring new pets, stone to flesh for making treats for carnivores and omnivores.
  • Spell of stone to flesh to revive stoned pets; they may revive hostile.
  • Wand or spell of undead turning to revive killed pets; they may revive hostile.
  • Spell of detect monster (or potions of monster detection) to locate pets.
  • Wand of speed monster, or potions of speed to make pets fast.
  • Eucalyptus leaves will act like magic whistles if blessed, and tin whistles otherwise, trees in Minetown may give a several if kicked.
  • Potions of healing, extra healing, full healing, restore ability, and gain ability will all restore a monster to full hit points if it hits them (wielded or thrown). Caution: the former counts as abuse and may later make it resurrect hostile.
  • Potions of unholy water will cure 2-12 damage for demons, undead, and lycanthropes.
  • A key to lock your pet in a room or closet, so it can heal, or equip itself, or to have it not attack something you want kept alive. Some pets may be smart enough to pick up keys to unlock doors.
  • A blindfold or towel if you have telepathy to locate your pets.
  • A bag of holding (or a sack) is useful to carry all the other stuff and pet food, keep treats hidden, and to rob shops.

Preferred pets

The following is a list of monsters that make good good pets. It is divided into two parts: the first consists of pets which a player might specifically work to obtain, for example through a wish or a polytrap. The second consists of pets that are useful (e.g. if you get them through a polytrap or magic trap), but not usually worth any extra effort to obtain.

Worth the effort of trying to obtain

  • The Archon is by general consensus the best all-around pet, with a high maximum level, powerful physical attacks, the ability to heal and haste itself, and its blinding gaze. They can fly, don't eat, and can wield weapons and wear some armor. Archons are rare to find and difficult to tame, however, and a hostile Archon is a dangerous foe to stand near as you repeatedly try to tame it. A "blessed figurine of an Archon" is a common first wish for pacifist characters, and is popular in general. Cannot be obtained from a polytrap, and therefore must be wished for or found.
  • Ki-rin don't eat, can fly, and have superb attacks. In particular it is noteworthy as it can take a saddle as well, making it an excellent mount, especially given that its high magic resistance and base level will prevent it from bucking you if you are generating conflict. They are best for a knight, as it will irrevocably lose one point of tameness each time a non-knight mounts it. Like Archons, ki-rin are not found via polytraps.
  • Titans have excellent base level, armor class, and magic resistance, are fast, can spell-cast, fly, wield a weapon, and wear non-body armor. They do eat, which, though sometimes an inconvenience, does mean their tameness will increase. Thus when you fall down a shaft that herd of pet Titans won't be wild by the time you find your way back. Titans can be obtained from a polymorph trap, and may be the strongest pet available by such means.
  • Balrogs have very powerful attacks, a high base level, and a good armor class. Moreover, they can be gotten out of a polymorph trap, and are about the most powerful pet to be obtainable by such a means.
  • Purple worms of high enough level can swallow and thus instantly kill almost any enemy. A pet worm can be leveled up quickly by setting it loose in a graveyard containing wraiths. Their engulfing attack is not subject to corpse-leaving odds. However, that means you need to keep them away from chameleons and doppelgangers.

Nice to have if you get one

  • Vampires and vampire lords don't breathe or eat, can fly, can wield all weapons and armor, and will regenerate. They are also immune to death rays.
  • Centaurs can use weapons and (some) armor, may be saddled and ridden, and are easy to keep fed. These are potentially excellent early pets for heroes with a charm monster spell or a Scroll of taming.
  • Cockatrices can petrify many foes. They don't have much HP, however, and their low maximum level will prevent them from attacking tougher monsters. Consider using conflict to force your pet 'trice into combat (and watch your messages to be sure you aren't turning to stone).
  • Dragons can fly, can serve as a mount, and have very good attacks. Silver and gray dragons are immune to death rays; the former is also immune to disintegration blasts, while the latter is immune to polymorph traps. Yellow dragons are stoning-resistant. In 3.6.0 and older versions, they only used their breath weapons in the presence of conflict, and then only in your direction; as of 3.6.1, pets are allowed to use a breath or spit weapon against hostile monsters.[17] Pet dragons can be obtained by polymorphing yourself and laying eggs; eggs hatch into baby dragons which can grow up to full size.
  • Winged gargoyles can fly and also have decent AC and attacks; in addition, they are resistant to stoning and starvation. Winged gargoyles are very hard to get by egg-laying; most winged gargoyle eggs hatch into regular gargoyles, and gargoyles do not grow up to winged gargoyles.
  • Jabberwocks, especially hasted, have excellent damage potential, and can fly and take a saddle. They lack resistances, though, and are thus vulnerable to being lost to traps, death/disintegration rays, and cockatrices.
  • Arch-liches can reach terrifyingly high levels, are always by your side even without the aid of a magic whistle, can heal themselves, and have a powerful freezing touch attack. They are impotent against cold-resistant monsters, however, and frequently get in your way. Since they will always teleport to your side, it can be very difficult to prevent them from killing priests and shopkeepers. You cannot tame master- or arch-liches directly, but you can tame a lich or demilich and let it grow up.
  • Mastodon can substitute for jabberwocks as a pet. It has the same speed, and they have higher maximum level (30), what means more HP and being aggresive against more difficult enemies. Mastodons do in sum 8d8 damage instead of jabberwock's 8d10, but that's still quite a lot. They're herbivores, so you can eat most of corpses they leave behind.
  • Mind flayers do a lot of melee damage with their tentacle attacks, and can clear out monsters from a distance with their psychic blasts, which won't damage you as long as the flayer isn't hostile. A confused pet flayer could be disastrous, however, so make sure it has a unicorn horn. A psychic blast could also wake the Wizard of Yendor before you're ready to deal with him. Their very large number of attacks per turn also make them very weak to passive attacks - keep them away from jellies!
  • Minotaurs are fast, hit very hard, and are guaranteed to appear on a maze-type level. They have 0 MR, so a scroll of taming is guaranteed to snare one on the first try (the spell of charm monster is of course dependent on your casting success rate).
  • Skeletons don't breathe, don't eat, slow monsters, wield weapons, and will resist cold, sleep, poison, petrification, and wands and fingers of death. They are not randomly generated, but can be found in Orcus-town or produced by a polytrap or by polypiling unihorns.
  • Trolls have good physical attacks, and if killed may revive tame. They may also revive hostile, however, so be careful. Make sure your other pets don't eat your former pet's corpse.

Cursed items

Pets will not pick up cursed items.

You can curse-test items with your pet. Except when there is pet food on the same spot, pets do not like to step on or hide under cursed items and will "move reluctantly" when they do. A leashed or whistled pet will not reliably display the message. (Caution: the dunce cap and helm of opposite alignment become cursed when worn). This is why cursed items in corridors can stand between you and your pet (see speed, above).

Similarly, silver-hating pets never pick up silver items.[18]

Divine minion pets are not bothered by cursed items.[19]

Learning from pets

Anthropomorphic pets can be sources of "transferrable (between sessions) knowledge" in that observation of their weapon-wielding and armor-wearing preferences can yield information about the relative merits of such items, in general and in specific situations.

Observation of various pet species in combat (as well as of combat situations your pets seem to avoid) can also be very instructional. For example, if you watch your pet attack a floating eye, you will learn about their paralysis attack without experiencing it yourself.

Generally speaking, if a corpse is safe for your pet to eat, it is also safe for you. The exceptions to this rule are that it is not a good idea for you to eat your own species, dogs, cats, bats (which will stun you) or violet fungi (which will make you hallucinate). Pets will also eat corpses from monsters such as n and l that could give you the often undesirable teleportitis.

Resurrecting pets

If your pet died you can try to resurrect them using a wand or spell of turn undead. If your pet was stoned, you can try the spell stone to flesh .  Alternatively, if your pet can give you a needed intrinsic, you might eat the corpse. Do not sacrifice former pets if they died tame. A scroll of food detection or the spell of spellbook of detect food can be used to locate your pet's corpse before it rots away.

All pets have a slight chance of coming back non-tame, but ones you abused too much are guaranteed to.



AceHack implements ranged combat for pets; however, they currently die much faster than in vanilla, as monsters are more aggressive towards them. (This is planned to be fixed before release.)


dNethack implements several changes and improvements for pets.

  • Ranged combat and spellcasting is enabled for pets.
  • Pets and hostile monsters will more actively seek out and attack each other.
  • The total number of pets on the current dungeon level is limited to 1/3 the character's charisma score. If this limit is exceeded, the weakest pets will quickly untame, typically becoming peaceful.
  • Charm monster and scrolls of taming are now single-target spells.
  • The character can now take any item from a pet using the #loot command, and may equip pets with armor using the #equip command.
    • Armor now has an intrinsic size. Most pieces of armor must be the same size and the creature you want to wear the armor (Armor of unspecified size is Medium/Human sized).
      • Most armor found randomly in the dungeon is sized for humans.
    • Body armor and helms also have an intrinsic shape.
      • Most armor and helms found randomly in the dungeon are shaped for humanoids (no modifier displayed).
      • Barded armor fits roughly animal-shaped creatures, such as dogs, cats, horses, lizards, and spiders.
      • Barded helms fit creatures with long heads, such as dogs, cats, horses, lizards, and snakes.
      • Segmented armor fits roughly-snake shaped creatures, mostly snakes and most nagas.
      • Snakeneck helms fit creatures with snake-like heads and necks attached to non-snake bodies. Examples are serpent men of Yoth, serpent-necked lionesses, bandersnatches, and jabberwocks.
      • Centaur armor fits creatures with humanoid torsos attached to roughly animal-shaped lower bodies, which includes proper centaurs as well as driders (sprow, however, have humanoid bodies).
      • Snakeleg armor fits creatures with humanoid torsos attached to serpentine lower bodies. Examples include mariliths, salamanders, and ancient nagas.
      • Snakeback armor fits creatures with combined serpentine and animal-like body plan. Deep Wyrms and Deep Wyrmlings are the only such creatures.
  • A new skill, beast mastery, is implemented. Higher skill improves pets' damage and AC, and cause pets further away to follow you downstairs. The skill is trained by witnessing your pets engaging in combat. Convicts, droven priests, dwarven nobles and wizards can get basic beast mastery, knights, elven, droven nobles and tourist can get skilled, and healers, troubadours, nobles and rangers can get expert.
  • Two new commands, #wait and #come allows you to tell a pet to stay on the current level or follow you between levels as normal. These are useful if you want to have a pet not follow you but find it difficult to do so because of the increased follow range due to high beast mastery skill.

dNethack Preferred Pets: Worth the Effort

  • If wishing for a pet, the strongest non-unique angels are the best candidates.
    • The counterpart of the vanilla Archon is the Throne Archon. Pros: High damage spellcaster that favors the lightning bolt spell and can buff itself. Cons: Large size makes it harder find equipment for.
    • Light Archon Pros: Fires volleys of 7 (magically created) silver arrows for high potential damage vs demons. Cons: Large size and irregular body shape make equipping one difficult.
    • Surya Deva Pros: Frequently casts mass cure, healing all nearby peaceful monsters as well as the player. Independent dancing blade means it can attack multiple targets per turn. Also casts fire pillar. Cons: Large size makes it harder to find equipment for. Each component of the Surya has a lower damage output than other choices. Fire damage is less useful than lighting.
    • Mahadeva Pros: Very high single-target melee damage. Highest base level (30) Cons: Less effective vs monsters with good AC. Large size makes it harder to find equipment for.
    • Tulani Eladrin Pros: Cold, Shock, and Fire damage spells. Medium size means you can easily find and enchant a full set of armor for it. Cons: Lowest base level (18). Spells are chosen randomly, so damage drops off vs targets with resistances. Only 1 weapon attack per turn.
    • Ara Kamerel Pros: Comes with a Kamerel Vajra and casts Open Wounds in combat, resulting in high single-target damage. Resists Electricity damage. Resists petrification. Reincarnates using gold golems, though it reverts to level 15 in the process. Cons: Large size makes it harder to find equipment for. Can be permanently killed by some enemies. Slow speed (9).
    • Ancient of death Pros: Inhales life and exhales death once per round, and is able to affect enemies through walls. Cons: Very Slow (speed 4).
      • Ancient of ice A less useful version of the ancient of death, since more targets resist fire and ice.
  • If searching the dungeon for endgame-capable pets:
    • Lady Oona Pros: Decent base level (20). Medium size means you can easily find and enchant equipment for her. Can wield weapons. Casts a strong elemental damage spell. Cons: Slow (speed 9). Her elemental damage spell is either fire, lightning, or cold, chosen randomly at the start of the game.
    • Medusa Pros: Decent base level (20). Medium size means you can easily find and enchant equipment for her, though her snake-like lower body does complicate matters. Can wield weapons, and has numerous natural attacks. Constantly petrifies anything able to see her. Cons: Constantly petrifies anything able to see her. MC 3 armor will block this effect.
    • Grue Pros: Decent base level (20). Very fast in the dark, with very high damage. Has a digestion attack. Cons: Nonstandard body-type, making it unable to equip most types of armor. Has a digestion attack, making it prone to committing suicide. Requires darkened squares to reach maximum potential. Can be ridden.


Slashem adds god-granted minions and does things somewhat differently (spoiler).

See also

  • Apport - a measure of a pet's willingness to 'fetch'
  • Tameness - a measure of a pet's loyalty to its owner
  • Growing up - for information about pet advancement

External links


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