Large dog

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A large dog, d, is a type of monster that appears in NetHack. It is a medium-sized and carnivorous domestic canine that is strong and can be seen via infravision. Large dogs can be tamed by throwing any type of meat or rations that they can eat at them, and can be pacified by throwing veggy food at them.

A large dog has a single bite attack.

Eating a large dog corpse or tin will confer the aggravate monster intrinsic, unless you are an orcish character or a Caveman.

Chatting to a large dog will give various responses, depending on its tameness and condition.


Randomly generated large dogs may generate as peaceful towards neutral characters. A dog can grow up into a large dog.

A large dog is one of the pet monsters that can be created with the spell of create familiar.

Large dogs appear among the random d that are part of the first quest monster class for Samurai and make up 24175 of the monsters randomly generated on the Samurai quest.


Like other dogs, hostile large dogs can be unwelcome annoyances to early characters, and may even prove lethal if you encounter one in an early bones - thankfully, they can be just as lethal to other hostile monsters if you tame an early large dog. A former character's large dog that you come across can be used to help deal with their ghost and sort through bones items, and ideally can help hold off whatever monster sent the last character to their doom.

Remember that cream pies and eggs will splatter on a large dog's face, and veggy food such as lichen corpses will reliably pacify a hostile large dog. During a full moon, large dogs also have a 56 chance of becoming peaceful instead of tame when throwing acceptable food to them, and further thrown acceptable food rolls this same chance of taming without angering them.[1]

As pets

You can chat with a tamed large dog to get an idea of how it is feeling.

Characters that are physically weak and/or in less combat-capable roles, such as Archeologists and Healers, may want to raise their current dog to a large dog for more of an edge in tough encounters.

Below is a table describing how much weight in objects a domestic carnivore at a particular stage of growth can carry, which is generally applicable for credit cloning and otherwise ripping off shopkeepers - remember that cats and dogs can only pick up a single object at a time:

Pet type Corpse wt Can carry unassisted in uncursed bag of holding in blessed bag of holding
kitten/little dog 150 51 72 144
housecat/dog 200 / 400 68 / 137 106 / 244 212 / 488
large cat/large dog 250 / 800 1000 1970 3940


The large dog first appears in Hack for PDP-11, which is based on Jay Fenlason's Hack - pets were not present in Hack 1.21, suggesting that they were an early addition by Andries Brouwer, and the large dog is part of the initial bestiary for Hack 1.0. Of note is that the large dog appears in two separate structures in the code of these versions: one is used for wild dogs, and another is used for pets.

In NetHack 3.4.3 and earlier versions, including some variants based on those versions, large dogs are capable of picking up item stacks so long as that stack does not exceed their carrying capacity.


The dog (Canis familiaris or Canis lupus familiaris) is a domesticated descendant of a now-extinct species of gray wolves, with the living gray wolves being their closest living relative. The dog was the first species to be domesticated by humans, with evidence of pre-agricultural hunter-gatherers keeping dogs as far back as 15,000 years ago. Dogs have been selectively bred over millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes, with breeds varying widely in shape, size, and color, and thrive on a starch-rich diet that would be inadequate for other canids. Dogs are omnivorous, rather than carnivorous as in NetHack.

A pet dog performs many roles for humans, such as hunting, herding, pulling loads, protection, assisting police and the military, companionship, therapy, and aiding disabled people. Over the millennia, dogs became uniquely adapted to human behavior, and the human–canine bond has been a topic of frequent study. This influence on human society has given them the sobriquet of "man's best friend". Naturally, dogs are an iconic video game pet, to the point that the little dog from NetHack was ranked number 6 on Gamespy's top 10 list of video game sidekicks - another dog, Dogmeat from the first Fallout game, occupies the number 2 spot.

In the first edition of Dungeons & Dragons, dogs appear in two forms: war dogs are simply loyal large dogs trained to fight by their masters, displaying ferocity in battle, and are typically protected by light studded leather armor and a spiked collar; wild dogs inhabit most regions, with pack habitats sometimes overlapping with those of wolves, and well-fed wild dogs simply avoid contact - a wild dog can only be tamed if separated from their pack. As in the real world, Dungeons & Dragons also incorporates various dog breeds, both mundane and fantastic, over its several editions.


<The large dog> howls.
You chatted to a large dog while it is night time during a full moon, regardless of other circumstances.[2]
<The large dog> whines.
Your tame large dog is hungry, caught in a trap, confused, scared, or at low tameness.[3] A leashed large dog that is near a square with a trap will whine on its own.[4]
<The large dog> barks.
A tame large dog will become hungry in 1000 turns or less, or you chatted to a peaceful large dog.[5]
<The large dog> yips.
You chatted to a peaceful or tame large dog, and none of the above conditions apply.[6]
<The large dog> growls.
You chatted to a hostile large dog.[7]



In SLASH'EM, large dogs and their other growth stages have their frequency raised to 7. They also do not randomly generate in Gehennom.

Large dogs appear among the random d that are part of the second quest monster class for Yeomen and make up 6175 of the monsters randomly generated on the Yeoman quest. Some large dogs are generated on multiple floors of the quest branch at level creation: two are placed in fixed positions on the home level, and three each are placed randomly on the filler levels and goal level.

All of the above information also applies to SlashTHEM.


In dNetHack, large dogs can generate with armor designed to fit their size and body shape, based on the war dogs from Dungeons & Dragons as mentioned above. They have a 110 chance of being generated with armor: a 1100 chance of plate mail, a 125 chance of being generated with scale mail, and a 350 chance of being generated with leather armor. Large dogs that generate with non-leather armor will always have a helmet.

The November NetHack Tournament

In The November NetHack Tournament, one of the achievements requires your starting pet to survive to its last growth stage, e.g. the starting little dog has to become a large dog.


In SpliceHack, dogs are given a fourth growth stage: the guard dog, which a large dog can grow up into.


In Hack'EM, large dogs and their other growth stages that can generate randomly (i.e. excluding the guard dog) have their frequency raised to 3 rather than 7, and can randomly generate in Gehennom - all other SLASH'EM details apply.

Encyclopedia entry

A domestic animal, the _tame dog_ (_Canis familiaris_), of
which numerous breeds exist. The male is called a dog,
while the female is called a bitch. Because of its known
loyalty to man and gentleness with children, it is the
world's most popular domestic animal. It can easily be
trained to perform various tasks.