Dogs are one of the most useful domestic animals. They can be traded for in many villages, and come in two different colors with no difference between them. They can fight and hunt for you, and can be very good at doing so, attacking by savaging your enemies and blocking larger animals as they flee. The more dogs you have, the more effective they become at these things. Anything which is aggressive towards you (has red dashes showing) will be targeted by your dogs. Be warned, though - once off the leash, they will not necessarily return to you. Dogs can also carry small amounts of items, with bigger dogs being able to carry more. Items packed onto a dog will encumber it, however, and should be unloaded if they are being used to fight or hunt.
Dogs also come in different sizes. Their sprite will not look any different, but their description will say dog, big dog, or small dog to indicate their size. While larger dogs are capable of sustaining slightly more damage than smaller ones, smaller dogs are better at avoiding attacks and are harder to hit with projectiles. When hunting, smaller dogs also appear to have a lower thresh-hold for things that they chase to exhaustion rather than attacking and killing, making hunting smaller animals for skins slightly easier. In order to qualify for a size descriptor, a dog merely needs to be within a certain size range and can vary in size even within a group of only big or only small dogs. Even within these constraints, however, dogs can still have varying levels of aggression and attributes that can affect their behavior and performance.To test their abilities, loosing the whole pack on a hare in an open marsh is usually a safe way to find out which of your dogs is the fastest or has the most endurance. The dog that you find first as you follow is usually the slowest or the one that tires out the fastest. If the hare is dead and torn up when you find it instead of breathless, at least one of your faster dogs is particularly aggressive and will start biting sooner during a chase when hunting.
A dog needs to be put on a leash as soon as it is bought or it will run away. When you buy a dog you are also given a rope. Apply the rope to the dog to leash it. You can tie them on a tree or fences (or separate them on several trees to feed them more properly)
Dogs will stop running away and circle a small area for several turns if a hunting horn is used.
Furthermore, it is possible to name your dog as well as leave it off the leash. It will become loyal and follow you around. Thus, commanding it to attack off-leash will enable the dog to chase prey and slow it down for you to deliver the final blow. If you do not tie them to a tree out of reach, hungry dogs will start to eat a carcass, damaging the skin and most likely diminishing the cuts to be gotten from it. To avoid this, feed dogs until they refuse to eat anymore before going out to hunt with them.
If injured, a dog will be fully recovered after some time as long as they do not get any more injuries before then.
Leashed dogs will still try to move towards and attack aggressive targets, even if they are beyond their reach. This can cause problems at the start of combat, when some dogs try to maneuver to surround your target. This can present their backs to the enemy as they run around you, fruitlessly trying to get into position.
Dogs can be fed and will bark in hunger whenever they need food. Going too long without feeding them has negative effects on their stamina, making them tire very quickly if they are told to chase or fight something while starving.
To feed dogs, drop food within their reach and leave it there. Throwing food at the dog is another quick way to do this, though hitting the dog with the food should be avoided as that may cause the dog to try and run away or attack you. Sometimes dogs won't see nearby food, just command them to eat now. Dogs will not eat unpaid food in the villages, but if there's nobody, they will happily eat it. Dogs eat raw meat and fish, fat and some cooked meals such as flatbread but they will not eat food stored in containers such as stews or soup. Dogs will also eat spoiled raw meat or raw fish, but spoiled cooked foods will be ignored. When dogs are full, commanding them to eat now will cause them to bark in disagreement. An easy way to keep dogs fed is to leave corpses or piles of raw meat/fish in their pen, but this can result in them barking in the night and waking you if anything slips in to steal their food and can get them injured or killed if a particularly powerful animal or their friends decide that they are too close to them.
When choosing what to feed a dog, weight appears to be more important than nutrition, since how much the dog can eat at once is not limited by how hungry they feel like the player. This makes large but low nutrition food, like pike or piles of pest animal meat, preferable to use as feed.
|Size||Small Dog||Dog||Big Dog|
|Value (Meat)||approximately 65
(= 72 Stag meat cuts)
(= 84 Stag meat cuts)
|Value (Torches)||approximately 10 torches (version 3.14)|
|Carry||22 lbs||36 lbs||49 lbs|