Pet name

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In NetHack, your starting pet's name can be defined in your configuration file, or changed manually with the #call or #name command.


If no name is set for a starting pet, depending on your role it may receive a default name:

  • Hachi is the default name for the pet little dog a Samurai starts with. It is a reference to Hachiko.
  • Idefix is the default name of the pet little dog a Barbarian starts with. It is a reference to the Asterix and Obelix comics.
  • Slasher is the default name of the pet little dog a Caveman starts with.
  • Sirius is the default name of the pet little dog a Ranger starts with. It is a reference to Orion.

In-game, creatures are referred to by their names instead of their races; instead of "The little dog hits the grid bug", NetHack will display "Slasher hits the grid bug". Naming creatures is a great way to tell them apart, especially when encountering multiple creatures of the same type.

Default pet names may be set in the configuration file with the compound options catname, dogname and horsename.



SLASH'EM also has options for ghoulname (used for the Necromancer's pet) and wolfname (for the Ice Mage's pet).

Encyclopedia entries


Hachi was a dog that went with its master, a professor, to Shibuya train station every morning. In the afternoon, when his master was to return from work, Hachi would be there waiting. One day his master died at the office, and did not return. For over ten years Hachi returned to the station every afternoon to wait for his master. When Hachi died a statue was erected on the station platform in his honor. It is said to bring you luck if you touch his statue.


Another clever translation [of the _Asterix_ character names] is that of Idefix. An _idée fixe_ is a "fixed idea", i.e. an obsession, a dogma. The translation, Dogmatix, manages to conserve the "fixed idea" meaning and also include the syllable dog -- perfect, given that the character is a dog who has very strong views on the environment (he howls whenever he sees an uprooted tree).

[ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ]


"That dog belonged to a settler who tried to build his cabin on the bank of the river a few miles south of the fort," grunted Conan. ... "We took him to the fort and dressed his wounds, but after he recovered he took to the woods and turned wild. -- "What now, Slasher, are you hunting the men who killed your master?" ... "Let him come," muttered Conan. "He can smell the devils before we can see them" ...
Slasher cleared the timbers with a bound and leaped into the bushes. They were violently shaken and then the dog slunk back to Balthus' side, his jaws crimson. "He was a man," said Conan. "I drank to his shade, and to the shade of the dog, who knew no fear." He quaffed part of the wine, then emptied the rest on the floor, with a curious heathen gesture, and smashed the goblet. "The heads of ten Picts shall pay for this, and seven heads for the dog, who was a better warrior than many a man.

[ Conan the Warrior, by Robert E Howard ]


Orion was the son of Neptune, He was a handsome giant and a mighty hunter. His father gave him the power of wading through the depths of the sea, or, as others say, of walking on its surface.

He dwelt as a hunter with Diana (Artemis), with whom he was a favourite, and it is even said she was about to marry him. Her brother was highly displeased and often chid her, but to no purpose. One day, observing Orion wading through the sea with his head just above the water, Apollo pointed it out to her sister and maintained that she could not hit that black thing on the sea. The archer-goddess discharged a shaft with fatal aim. The waves rolled the dead body of Orion to the land, and bewailing her fatal error with many tears, Diana placed him among the stars, where he appears as a giant, with a girdle, sword, lion's skin, and club. Sirius, his dog, follows him, and the Pleiads fly before him.

[ Bulfinch's Mythology, by Thomas Bulfinch ]