Mon
Mar 11 2013 11:00am

The 10 Best Dogs in Science Fiction

Best dogs in science fiction Porthos Enterprise beagle space puppies

We’re going to spare you a “where no-man’s-best-friend has gone before” joke and just cut to the chase. Cute dogs are pretty much the best, and if you combine them with science fiction, there is literally not anything better. (It’s SCIENCE.) Space dogs can make a bad show good, a weird book slightly more humane, and generally help us believe a science fiction world might actually have a little love in it. Here are our picks for the best dogs in science fiction.

 

10. Krypto (Superman)

Though Kal-El was initially believed to be the lone survivor of the doomed planet Krypton, he’s been joined over the years by a lot of folks, but the best unexpected Krytponian of them all is easily Krypto the Super Dog! Though there have been various iterations of Krypto, his powers are generally the same as Superman’s: flight, x-ray vision, super-hearing etc. Curiously, Krypto appears to be a white Parson Russell Terrier, which means that breed of Earth dog is far more well-traveled than we thought....

 

9. Astro (The Jetsons)

Gifted with the ability of faux-speech, Astro from the Jetsons might be one of the more advanced dogs on this list. Sure, he appears to be stupid, but perhaps he’s just manipulating George and the other members of the Jetson family for his own purposes while conspiring with Rosie the Robot to destroy the whole family. Further, how did Astro gain his strange, almost Scooby-Doo knock-off speech powers? Is it from all the radiation that clearly exists on the surface of the Earth, forcing everyone to live in stratosphere-hugging apartment complexes? These questions will never be answered.

 

8. Blood (A Boy and His Dog by Harlan Ellison)

Both a novella and a film by Harlan Ellison, A Boy and His Dog concerns Vic and a dog named Blood, who just happens to be telepathic. The telepathy of Blood is handy in the Mad Max-esque world Vic lives in, as Blood can warn his friend of impending attacks, and also communicate with him via the powers of the mind! (This comes from some genetic modifications and injected dolphin spinal fluid.) In the film version Blood was played by a dog-named Tiger, was voiced by Tim McIntire, and is part Bearded Collie and part West Highland White Terrier. In the novella, Blood is half German Shepard and half Puli.

Interestingly enough, Patrick Ness’ recent Chaos Walking trilogy also features a telepathic boy and his dog in a post-apocalyptic world. Although that’s only where the story starts....

 

7. Kazak the Space Hound (The Sirens of Titan, Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut)

In The Sirens of Titan, William Niles Rumford—the great orchestrator of the war between Mars and Earth—is jumping through time thanks to Chrono-Synclastic Infundibulation. But his dog is time jumping with him too! Kazak is described as “the space hound” making one think he is a Bloodhound, however, in another Vonnegut novel, Breakfast of Champions, Kazak shows up as an angry junkyard dog in the form of a Doberman Pinscher. The latter Kazak actually attacks the author, as Vonnegut makes an appearance as himself towards the end of the book. Is one Kazak the Kazak of fiction and the other of reality?

 

6. Muffit (Battlestar Galatica)

In the classic 1978 version of Battlestar Galatica, everything has to have a screwy name. Minutes are microns, a year is a yaren, and dogs are called daggits. When little Boxy’s daggit is killed by the Cylons, the scientists on Galactica know what to do! Even while picking up the pieces after their entire civilization was wiped out, they have plenty of time to make a robot dog, which they name Muffit II, in honor of the now-dead Muffit I. The robot Muffit is nothing like a real dog, and mostly gets the Colonial warriors and their friends into various kinds of troubles. The original Muffit’s breed looks to be some kind of Sheep Dog, while the robot version was actually played by a chimpanzee named Evolution.

 

5. Seymour (Futurama)

Fans of Futurama are familiar with the heart-ripping story of Seymour, the stray dog Fry befriended before being trapped in a cryogenic chamber. In the future, Fry actually finds his beloved dog’s remains but turns down an offer to revive him once he finds out Seymour lived for 12 years after Fry left. His beloved companion must have lived a full life after him, Fry reasons, and probably forgot all about the brief time they had together.

Only then do we find out the truth: Seymour had spent those 12 years waiting for Fry to return, ever faithful. The story was so devastating that the Futurama writers eventually wrote a follow-up where Fry sends a version of himself back to the past so Seymour could live out his days with the love and attention he so obviously deserved.

 

4. Dug (Up)

“I was hiding under your porch because I love you!”

Dug is what happens when you take a playful Golden Retriever puppy and give it a collar that translates its thoughts into spoken word. This sci-fi touch somehow makes Dug even more of what we visualize when we think of dogs: boundless, adoring, and idiosyncratic. Dug is a good dog and a faithful companion and he will prove it to you even if he...SQUIRREL!

 

3. K-9 (Doctor Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures, K-9 And Company)

In the Doctor Who universe there have been four version of the Time Lord’s awesome robot dog. The most recent version, given to Sarah Jane Smith by the Tenth Doctor was K-9 Mark IV, though the personality and abilities of each K-9 are essentially the same. Other than saying “affirmative” all the time in a high-pitched voice, K-9 also can laser-blast stuff with his nose and occasionally fly. K-9 briefly got his own show with Sarah Jane Smith called K-9 and Company, which mostly depicted Sarah Jane jogging, drinking wine, and fighting cultists. Proof here:

 

2. Einstein and Copernicus (Back to the Future)

Technically the world’s first time traveler, Einstein is the Sheep Dog, possible Bearded Collie/West Highland White Terrier hanging out with Doc Brown in 1985. In the original film a dog named Tiger, the very same dog who played Blood in A Boy and His Dog, portrayed Einstein. By the time the sequels were filmed, another dog named Freddie was brought into play Einstein and also Copernicus; Doc’s dog in 1955. Obviously both dogs are of a similar breed, but we think Copernicus looks to be a little smaller. Either way, even though Copernicus doesn’t get to time travel, both dogs are awesome.

 

1. Porthos (Enterprise)

Possibly the cutest dog in all of science fiction, Captain Jonathan Archer’s Beagle is chronologically, the first space pet in all of Star Trek. Porthos serves as a kind of nifty foil to Archer’s moods, frequently letting the intrepid starship captain know just how wrong or right he is about various decisions involving intergalactic intrigue and adventure. Porthos also likes cheddar cheese. (So Archer’s quarters probably get pretty smell.) His legacy also lives on in the J.J. Abrams Star Trek, as Simon Pegg’s Scotty bemoans an incident in which he tried to beam “Admiral Archer’s prize beagle” over a ridiculous distance. Porthos was played by three different beagles; Prada, Breezy, and Windy.

It was really hard to figure out just who were the best in show for all of the dogs in science fiction, and we’re sure we excluded someone’s favorite space pooch. Let us know in the comments below. 


Stubby the Rocket is the voice and mascot of Tor.com.

88 comments
Dietes
2. Dietes
Dog from The Road Warrior
Dietes
3. Jacob H
Bandit, also known as "1", from We3, might deserve a spot.
Mordicai Knode
4. mordicai
3. Jacob H

Took the words right out of my mouth.
Dietes
5. dwndrgn
Mouse from Dresden Files and Louie from John Levitt's Dog Days series - although both are a bit more than mere dogs.
S Barlow
6. Lizzibabe
Yes, you forgot about George, a terrier mutt kidnapped and given human speech in Alan Dean Fosters Taken trilogy starting with Lost & Found.
Dietes
7. RB Harris
Ee-chiya, Spock's pet sehlat from childhood? (Okay, not exactly a cute widdle puppy dog; kind of a cross between an Akita and a walrus, come to think of it.)
Dietes
8. a1ay
And a vote here for the Rat Thing from Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. If you have to have dogs in your SF (and the list above shows that it isn't always a great addition) best they are radiothermally-powered, millimetric-wave-radar-equipped Hong Kong cyborg Rottweilers that can break the sound barrier en route to saving the world from domination by Texan cable TV tycoons with a fondness for Sumerian linguistics.
William Carter
9. wcarter
Just curious, are Muffit II and Seymour tied at no. 5 or is that a typo?
On a side note...Seymour...that episode was soul crushing to a dog lover like myself.
Dietes
10. Herb86
I guess we're adopting the narrow definition of SciFi here, but I've always been partial to Haplo's dog from The Deathgate Cycle.
Dietes
11. Jtgibney
Beezlebub from Steven Brust's To Reign in Hell. Well, tbh he was an archangel, but he was in the shape of a dog
Dietes
12. Dietes
If we are going to include fantasy, then why not Barnabas from the Sandman?
Charles Moore
13. Shadeofpoe
Damn you Stubby, reminding me that Seymoure actually happened and ruining my Monday. That episode simply doesn't exist, it has been stricken from everything.

Though I do appreciate the thought of following him with Dug.
Ben Gilbert
14. bengi
There's Bandit in the semi-SF series, Johnny Quest.
Dietes
15. Scavenger
Yes, Porthos is best space doggie!!!

(honorable mention, though, to the fitst beagle in space, Snoopy!)
Dietes
16. Stefan Jones
Are you kidding me? Astro? Porthos? Muffit?

Cute and memorable maybe, but . . . fah!

Any list that doesn't include Sirius, from the Olaf Stapledon novel of the same name, may be dismissed as lazy fluff. He was a serious and well-researched effort at imagining what a sapient canine would be like.
Dietes
17. Dietes
Dog from Half-Life 2.
Sol Foster
18. colomon
No mention of Simak's City (though I suppose it might be hard to pick a single dog from such a dog-oriented book) or Willis's "The Last of the Winnebagos"?
Dietes
19. SarahPi
How about Nathaniel or one of the other dogs of Simak's City?
Dietes
20. Eric Saveau
Rex from Lester del Ray's The Runaway Robot. Not a dog, but a character who very clearly and deliberately filled the "dog" role in a story that followed the "boy and his dog" structure to a T; a robot journeying tirelessly on to be reunited with the boy who had owned him. Also an all but unique POV character at the time the book was written.
Dietes
21. Lynda
I almost started crying just thinking about Seymour again. I saw that episode once. Years and years ago. I have NEVER gotten over it.
Dietes
22. Alright Then
Woola from John Carter of Mars. He's not just a loyal dog; he's a slobbering, super fast, Martian dog.
Tim Kaufman
23. Tymerion
I give serious props for Woola, by far my favorite dog.

BUT...when I first read these I was flabbergasted that no one has mentioned Ein, from Cowboy Bebop....
Dietes
24. Percy
I know he is only half dog, (and half man), but how about Barf? (Short for Barfolomew!)
Dietes
25. Involunteer
Anyone remember C.H.O.M.P.S.?
Dietes
26. comicschick
LoJack from Eureka? And on BSG, they didn't build Muffit for Boxey, it was a prototype 'guard daggit-robot' for landing parties. Also, usually see Krypto as a white laborador.
nat ward
28. smonkey
Um, not to be a hater...but....

"A Boy and His Dog" came out in 1975,
"Back to the Future" in 1985.

I seriously doubt they are the same dog

A bit of searching gives his trainer here,

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0395187/

no mention of "Back to the future".


as opposed ot "Back to the Future" animal handler/trainer.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0915802/

not hatin',
just doubtin'
Dietes
29. eternalcow
I can't believe the dog from I Am Legend--can';t remember its name, if it had a name--didn't make it on here. Maybe the book isn't strictly sci-fi enough. That dog lent depth and character to an amazing story.
Dietes
30. Rocco Sacco
Carl from John Scalzi's "Fuzzy Nation" rocks. He sets off explosives, is baffled, then tamed, then protective of the Fuzzies. He's not a robot or a mutant or a cute cartoon character. He's a dog.
Dietes
31. XandGunn
I love this list! I would include Cosmo from the Marvel comic, Gaurdians of the Galaxy. He's another telepathic dog. He is the head of security for a group of heroes who try to keep intergalatic peace. It's too bad that he probably won't be in the movie.
JUAN DIEGO GOMEZ
32. juandiegomez
I would add to villains (one of them at least a villain at the beginning): The
firehouse's Mechanical Hound in Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and the cyborg dog from Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede.

Are you going to make an article about cats? There are a couple of unforgetable felines by Heinlein that I would like you to mention.
Liz J
33. Ellisande
Bear the Belgian Malinois from Person of Interest (at least a bit sci-fi, if becoming more current every day). He's a trained attack dog and loyal companion, and frequent source of humor and awwwww moments.
Alan Brown
34. AlanBrown

Glad to see that dogs are getting their day.  It sometimes seems that cats get more than their fair share of attention in the sci fi world.

At first, I looked at the list, and thought it was dominated by media dogs at the expense of print dogs.  But I am having trouble coming up with dogs from the pages of books that people have not already mentioned above.

Andre Norton featured lots of animal companions in her stories, but when I think about it, cats were more in evidence than canines (and I also remember some meerkats and raptors).  And I thought of Murray Leinster's Exploration Team, but some research reminded me that the animal companions in that tale were bears.

I think Dug from Up is well placed near the top of the list--from the first scene, he became one of my favorite dogs from fiction.
Dietes
36. Vanye111
How about Ein, from Cowboy Bebop?
Dietes
37. Shelly Otter
Lockjaw and Ms Lion from the Pet Avengers, Ace the Bathound, and a dog from science fact immortalized in science fiction: Laika.
Dietes
38. Shelly Otter
ETA: Tock from The Phantom Tolbooth and Toto from the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Dietes
39. WOL
":loan" survivor? Don't you mean "lone" survivor?
C C
40. Hatgirl
Dog, the hellhound from Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's "Good Omens."
Dietes
41. Puff the Magic Commenter
Muffit? You're not being serious. That's a terrible, terrible choice.

If you were being serious, you would have included Vincent from Lost.
Dietes
42. EmFlem
Kit's dog, Ponch, from the Young Wizards books!
Dietes
43. Sanagi
Dittoing Ein from Cowboy Bebop and 1 from We3, and not just for the coincidence of their names.
Dietes
44. Danny Sichel
Gaspode the Wonder Dog.

Florence Ambrose.
Dietes
45. RobinM
There is Marlow from the Remy Chandler series. Einstein from Watchers; he can spell. It's by Dean Koontz. In tv Dr. Weir from Stargate Atlantis has a dog that makes an occasional appearance who happens to the actresses real life doggy. A few others I thought is the wolf from Wolf and Iron by Dickerson and the direwolves of the house of Stark. There not dogs but are canine. Isn't there a whole fantasy series by Liskhold about a girl raised by wolves?
Leslie Arai
46. creepygirl
The genetically engineered dog from Nancy Kress's story Dancing On Air. He serves as one of the narrators of the story, a symbol of the thorny questions that genetic engineering raises, and a major factor in the climax of the story.
Dietes
47. sibling
A couple more Hell Hounds for you: Runt from Amber Benson's _Death's Daughter_ series (actually a female pup of Cerberus) and Adolf and Mohammed from Christopher Moore's _A Dirty Job_ (gotta love a dog who can eat a kitchen appliance for brekkies!)

Would Dogzard from the John Ringo/David Weber "Prince Roger" series count as a dog in this list?

Seconding Barnabas from "Sandman", Einstein from _Watchers_ (only the book, though; the movies were crap), and Mouse from the Dresden Files.
Bruce Arthurs
48. Bruce-Arthurs
Big seond for the mention of SNOWCRASH's Rat-Thing. (It can take the slot currently inexplicably occupied by the Muffit.

If there will be a similar list for cats, I will be dreadfully disappointed if Flyball, from Ruth Toddven's SPACE CAT, is not included. (First book I remember reading, when I was six years old, and it sparked a lifelong interest in science fiction.
Dietes
49. Lev Abalkin
I don't know how you could've forgotten my colleague and fellow-progressor the Golovan Schokn-Itrch since he's the Golovan Ambassador to Earth. Or are you planning to steal his porridge as well?
Dietes
50. Not that Frank
How 'bout the world's mouthiest Irish wolfhound, Oberon, from the Iron Druid books?

And what was the name of the dog from Lee & Miller's Liaden novel, Carpe Diem? (Another series more noted for its cats.)
Dietes
51. Thaxll
I don't know which one is worse on the "WTF were the writers thinking" scale: Muffit II or Krypto. Really, WTF?
Dietes
52. wizard clip
Since we really seem to be stretching the definition of "dog" here (not to mention science fiction), I'm going to go ahead and put Jad-Bal-Ja, Tarzan's golden lion, on the list. Yes, he's a lion, but he sure acts like a great big dog.

Also, Thaxl, I'm with you on Muffit, but what's your problem with Krypto? He should be higher on the list!

@Involunteer, I remember C.H.O.M.P.S. Anyone remember Digby, the biggest dog in the world?
Steven Lyle Jordan
53. Steven Lyle Jordan
Huh. You include Krypto, but not Ace, the bat-hound? For shame.

I think the responses you've gotten are indication enough of the fact that you just can't pick 10 best dogs. (In fact, a dozen from the comments put Muffit to shame.)
Dietes
54. Arnold Friend
If we are going to things that act like dogs but really aren't (and after all, isn't that true of Krypto?) we should probably include Jasper Fforde's quarkbeast. "One tenth Labrador, six tenths velociraptor and three tenths blender" that east dog food in the tin, chews on anodized steel to keep its scales healthy, is incredibly sweet (but horrifyingly scary) and almost never eats cats.
Dietes
55. James Duckett
Great article. I'm glad you "mentioned" Manchee from Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness. Personally, I think he should have had his own spot. He proved to be man's best friend in The Knife of Never Letting Go.
Irene Gallo
56. Irene
Shoot, what was the dog’s name in LAND OF LAUGHS?

Dietes
57. Steve Everett
For Shelley Otter, very good... Laika. It was a A.C. Clarke story, think it was called Dog Star but not sure
Tricia Irish
58. Tektonica
You can NOT leave out Toto. Yes, he's just a dog dog, but he's a time traveler after all!

If we're going to name some Fantasy dogs, how about The Fitz's pet wolf, Nighteyes, in Robin Hobbs' Assassin's Trilogy?
Dietes
59. lunasolara
Oberon from the Iron Druid Chronicles, Mouse from The Dresden Files, Ein from Cowboy Bebop, and LoJack from Eureka all deserve mention for their high IQs. Rather than super powers, they have super minds, though only Oberon can speak, and that telepathically with the Driud who gave him the ability and a longer life-line, Atticus and a few others. Mouse can, too, being half-divine, but Dresden is only able to hear him once. They manage to communicate well despite that. The two scientific experiments, Ein and LoJack do likewise.
Dietes
60. Abyss
Some brilliant additions upthread (Oberon! Dogzard!)...
...still stretching the sf bounds perhaps but...

Dean Koonz' Einstein from the novel Watchers. Koonz may have overused the super-inteligent golden retriever characters in later books, but Einstein was the original.

I also have to mention Garath, from Steven Erikson's Memories of Ice. He's a lovely little hound who is occasionally the size of a waterbuffalo.
Dietes
61. Droz
SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU?!

Seriously, he is the most Sci-Fi of them all! He talks, he can walk on two legs, he hunts ghosts and monsters before Sam and Dean were even born, and he doesn't believe himself to be a dog! How is he NOT on the list??
Dietes
62. Dennis_H
Boo! The narrator of A Night in the Lonesome October by the late, great Roger Zelazny is cooler than all of them put together.
Dietes
64. Sean M
There is a sever lack of Oy from the Dark Tower in this list.
While technically he is a billy-bumbler he is clearly a dog type character.
Dietes
65. Nathan8
I agree Cowboy Bebop's Ein should be on this list.AND WHAT ABOUT WISHBONE!!!!!
Dietes
67. David E.
Let's not forget Rommel from Peter David's odd sci-fi series Psi-Man (written as David Peters). Rommel is a gigantic, telepathic German Shepherd bonded to the titual Psi-Man, Chuck, who is a telekinetic Aikido-master Quaker on the run from the government in a future dystopia. So, it's that kind of book.

Rommel's best feature was that he wasn't particularly happy about being partnered with Chuck, and wasn't shy about expressing that in telepathic dialogue. Basically his priorities were food, food, food, and humping if he was full, all of which being on the run with Chuck didn't help him satisfy. And did I mention he was often confused for a bear at a distance? Awesome dog.

And I'll second Ein as well. Good data dog.
Dietes
68. Pie'Oh'Pah
Aren't we forgetting the ultimate in SF dogs, Sirius?

He's an ancestor (in soul) of Roderick and Roderick at Random.

Plaxy will be most upset.
Dietes
69. Quill
Sirius/Leo in Diana Wynne Jones' "Dogsbody". And a hearty second for Ponch and Fortinbras!

Honorable mention: Merlin in Anne McCaffrey's "The Mark of Merlin".
Dietes
70. Trike
How on Earth (or Krypton) is Krypto a Parson Russell Terrier? He is consistently shown to be easily 4 to 5 times the size of a Parson/Jack Russell Terrier, which weigh about 15 pounds. "Eddie" on the TV series Frasier is a JRT. Krypto's always looked like a generic hound with some Labrador Retriever qualities.
Dietes
71. tearl
Remember,

Kojak

from Stephen King's The Stand.
Dietes
72. richlayers
Ein from Cowboy Beebop was the first space dog I thought of, somewhat disappointing not to find him on the list.
Michael Cain
73. mcain6925
Since someone already mentioned the Malazan novels, I have a certain fondness for the recurring -- often only as a passing reference -- lapdog named Roach that seems to end up running a pack of war dogs.
Dietes
75. silverstairs
What about Graf the weeny dog from "Alas Babylon?"
Dietes
76. Abyss
@mcain - Roach! good one... that little bastard was too dumb and nasty to die. His final scene in the Malazan series, which i won't spoil, is legendary.
Dietes
77. booksprite
Glad that someone mentioned Bandit from Jonny Quest! And Krypto always looked like a white German Shepherd to me. And it is SHEPHERD, not Shepard. (That is one of my 'pet' peeves.)
Dietes
78. Reiko
@Shelly Otter (35): If we're mentioning Fortinbras, how about Ananda? She helps Meg maintain telepathic contact with Charles Wallace in _A Swiftly Tilting Planet_.
Dietes
79. Joy V. Smith
Thanks to those who mentioned the Australian Cattle Dog (Blue Heeler) from Road Warrior and the hellhound from Good Omens. I'd forgotten them. Oh, yes, I was going to add that in the illo above, Krypto looks like a white GSD to me too. Btw, that looks like a Bull Terrier from The Land of Laughs, though I don't know the show.
Dietes
80. Joy V. Smith
Btw, there's a cool dog in To Ignite a Fire on Enceladus by Vincent Miskell, which is available along with Jack London's To Build a Fire, on Amazon Kindle, as I recall. I enjoyed rereading the Jack London classic, but I loved the dog in the updated SF version.
lance Ikegawa
81. furtech
Don't forget the other K-9: Marvin-the-Martian's faithful companion!
Dietes
82. SueQ
You forgot the Bionic Dog from the Bionic Woman series (which is halfways non-science fiction now).
Dietes
83. JaniceG
I have to mention Haint, the dog from Joy Ward's novel by the same name, who has been watching over and guiding mankind for millions of years. It's a great book if you love dogs.
Dietes
84. R. Eddie Smith
I loved Alvin and Muhammed - The "goggies" from A Dirty Job (Christopher Moore) but hellhounds are probably disqualified from being on a list of SF dogs.

But I second that Commander K-9, Marvin the Martian's sidekick, should at least make a top 20!
Dietes
85. Cthulhu
I have to put in a plug for Cyril the bulldog from Connie Willis's To Say Nothing of the Dog.
Dietes
86. RdeHwyll
Ralph Von WauWau from "Callahan's Crosstime Saloon, Bolt from the Disney Movie of the same name (Hey, he was the STAR of a science Fiction TV show in the movie), and what about Lassie? He was a cross-gender named boy-dog that could communicate with June Lockheart whenever Timmy fell down the well...
Dietes
87. RJ Evanovich
Grick and Nix from the indie scifi series Man's Best Friend.
Dietes
88. shelleybear
All the family dogs from Clifords D. Simak's "Way Station".
Dietes
89. shelleybear
Oops,

"City"

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment