Dogs are awesome. Robots are awesome. Throughout history — or at least since the 60s — man has tried to combine the two. Mostly, these attempts have been unsuccessful (lookin’ at you, Everything From The Sharper Image) but, in fiction, there have been a few success stories. Here, in no particular order, are the greatest dogs ever built!
Rush (Mega Man)
Dogs are man’s best friend. So it only stands to reason that a robot dog would be a robot man’s best friend. Enter: Rush. Introduced in Mega Man 3, Rush was created by Dr. Light to help out Mega Man by transforming into a springboard, a submarine and a hoverboard (that actually hovers, not one of those fake Segways). Why Rush wasn’t just a sentient hoverboard that transformed into other stuff was never fully explained but we can all assume the answer is “robot dogs are awesome.”
K-9 (Doctor Who)
Forget about Rose, Martha and all the rest, the Doctor’s greatest companion is K-9, a faithful robot dog with a British accent and a tank body. K-9 does data analysis, shoots lasers and, unlike every other companion, actually does what the Doctor tells him to do. He is a very good dog.
Ah, C.H.O.M.P.S… Who could forget C.H.O.M.P.S.? Apparently, everyone. The “Canine HOMe Protection System” made his one and only appearance in a 1979 film of the same name, produced by Hanna-Barbera (the company behind The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Yogi, Scooby Doo and pretty much every other classic cartoon you loved as a child). It’s a true mystery why C.H.O.M.P.S. didn’t exactly set the box office on fire, what with his x-ray vision manifesting as demonic glowing eyes, or his penchant for leaping through walls and windows, making him essentially the Kool-Aid Man of dogs.
Silverbolt (Beast Wars)
Technically Silverbolt, paragon of virtue, is a robot who transforms into a wolf-eagle hybrid… thing. But, like any great dog, he is loyal and true! Or, at least, he was until Beast Machines went ahead and stripped him of his dog-hood and made him an omega chicken (I have a lot of thoughts about Beast Machines). But while he was part dog, he was a proud warrior, instrumental in the Maximal victory in the Beast Wars. So, y’know, he basically saved the world. Plus he had a really entertaining relationship with spidery fan-favorite fembot Blackarachnia.
Bandit is less of a robot and more of a partial cyborg with a robotic exoskeleton. Yeah, I know, but let me explain. I’m a big Grant Morrison fan. Every comic he writes is absolutely insane and wonderful and We3 is no exception. It tells the story of a trio of former pets — a dog, a cat and a rabbit — who have been given cyborg exoskeletons by the military so they can serve as “smart” combat drones. So, basically, Bandit, being the biggest member of the trio, is the de facto leader. All he really wants is to keep his team safe, get back home and earn the title of “good dog.” The story is heartbreaking and amazing. And the incredible art by the always-stellar Frank Quitely is some of his absolute best.
Dynomutt, Dog Wonder (The Blue Falcon & Dynomutt)
The Blue Falcon & Dynomutt asked the (very important) question: What if Batman wore a bird costume and Robin was a dog version of Inspector Gadget? Dynomutt, as his name implies, is a robot dog who is somehow both clumsy and effective, largely due to the seemingly infinite amount of gadgets his body can produce. He manages to straddle the line between mildly endearing and Jar Jar-level annoying, a truly impressive feat. Exactly who or what made Dynomutt is never actually explored in the cartoon, likely because it would raise a lot more questions than it would answer.
GIR (Invader Zim)
Zim’s hyperactive sidekick isn’t actually a robot dog. It’s really just a crazy robot that occasionally wears a dog costume because it’s crazy and stuff. Outside of a handful of isolated incidents, GIR is far from competent, but GIR’s gleeful personality more than makes up for any shortcomings.
Dog (Half-Life 2)
There’s nothing about Dog’s appearance that screams “dog.” In fact, Dog resembles a barebones gorilla made of scrap metal more than any kind of canine. But Dog acts like a dog and that’s what matters. Created by Eli Vance to protect his daughter Alyx in Half-Life 2, Dog is curious, intelligent, friendly and loves to play fetch. Here’s to hoping he makes it back for Half-Life 3 (don’t give up, fellow nerds).
Muffit (Battlestar Galactica 1978)
(Deep breath) A daggit is a dog. Muffit the Daggit was a dog owned by Boxey, a boy, who survived the Cylon attack on the human colonies. The original Muffit didn’t make it, so Boxey was given a robot Muffit, which was really just a chimp in a costume that more resembles a bug-eyed teddy bear half covered in aluminum foil than it does a dog. Boxey was totally cool with this. It was weird, but memorable enough (in sort of a nightmarish way) to make this list. May it haunt you forever.