A dwarf's best friend, dogs are the only animals that can be trained to assist your dwarves in combat or hunting as either war dogs or hunting dogs. Like all tame animals they can serve as an emergency food supply and provide you with bones, leather, and skulls. Note that dogs are the most point-efficient source of meat and fat available from the embark screen.
 Using dogs
- Dogs left to their own devices will wander around, spending most of their time in meeting areas, and will attack any hostiles they see.
- As with any friendly creature, dogs can spot ambushers and thieves. You can assign dogs to cages or restraints to act as guard dogs.
- Guard dogs work particularly well when placed behind a hall of traps or other siege-breaking devices. The traps will prevent aggressive invaders from harming the dogs, while the dogs prevent thieves from sneaking past the traps into the base. (Ideally, the dogs should be out of view of the trap corridor to prevent injury from ranged weapons.)
- You can assign a war dog or hunting dog to a dwarf via his dogs menu ( , select dwarf, , ) to help him in combat. It will follow the dwarf like a pet.
- Note: Once a dog is assigned to a dwarf it can not be unassigned nor placed in a cage. However, a dog may still be butchered or, if wounded, caught in a cage trap.
- A work-around for this is, when you train the dog, to use the dwarf you want the dog to be assigned to. Unassigned war dogs and hunting dogs follow the dwarf who trained them, while still allowing them to be caged.
- It is impossible to assign war dogs to champions, as their references menu is blocked with the message "This Champion need not work."
War and hunting dogs are trained at the kennel.
 Hunting Dogs
Toady One: "A hunting animal will target the creature its owner is targeting if the owner is hunting, and it will be sneaking without a movement penalty if it is reasonably close to its hunting owner. A hunting animal notices creatures from farther away, although this isn't exactly effective if it decides to target what its owner is targeting. It all needs a bit of work, but that is true of hunting in general."
 War Dogs
War dogs do double damage.
Against heavily armored and armed opponents, dogs (war or hunting) can die quite easily, but that doesn't mean they are "useless". An opponent had to stop and attack the dog, probably more than once, rather than doing the same to one of your dwarfs, giving them time to fight or flee. Also, although a wardog is not nearly as dangerous against an armored opponent as an Axe Lord, they occasionally get lucky, and probably contribute to more damage than they are given credit for.
Some players attach them to any permanent close-combat military, and/or to any dwarf that regularly steps outside. They're not the sole solution, but a great help. Take note, though, that dwarves will think of assigned animals as pets and will become unhappy when they happen to get killed.
[CREATURE:DOG] [NAME:dog:dogs:dog] [TILE:'d'][COLOR:6:0:0] [PETVALUE:30][NATURAL] [LARGE_ROAMING] [COMMON_DOMESTIC][TRAINABLE][PET] [BONECARN] [PREFSTRING:loyalty] [BODY:QUADRUPED:TAIL:2EYES:2EARS:NOSE:2LUNGS:HEART:GUTS:ORGANS:THROAT:NECK:SPINE:BRAIN:MOUTH] [BODYGLOSS:PAW] [SIZE:5] [MAXAGE:10:20] [ATTACK:MAIN:BYTYPE:MOUTH:bite:bites:1:6:GORE][ATTACKFLAG_CANLATCH] [CHILD:1][CHILDNAME:puppy:puppies] [FAT:1] [DIURNAL] [STANDARD_FLESH] [HOMEOTHERM:10070] [LAYERING:100] [SWIMS_INNATE][SWIM_SPEED:2500] [MUNDANE]