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Dark Type Canine Pokémon

With the Sneasel line, Absol, the Zorua line and the Purrloin line, Nintendo seems to like its Dark type carnivorous mammals. It should be no surprise then that there are not one but two lines of Dark canine Pokémon: Houndour and Poochyena. Despite their similarities in typing and animal basis, these two doga are quite different in both appearance and in battle usage.

Houndour was quite the popular pooch back before and during the second generation. It was, after all, one of the representatives of the then-new Dark type when it was introduced in the original Gold and Silver games. Not only that, but what could be cooler than a fire-breathing Doberman pinscher? How about a larger fire-breathing Doberman with curved horns, bone-like formations on its back, and a demon-like tail? Not only is Houndour's evolved form, Houndoom an awesome-looking Pokémon, its good stats and large move pool make it an excellent addition to any team. Ironically, these Pokémon are actually found in the Kanto region on Route Seven in the second generation games.

Unlike Houndour, Poochyena, originating in the third generation, doesn't seem to be based on any particular dog. Mightyena seems to draw inspiration from wolves and possibly German Shepherds. Indeed, if their names are to be believed, they are a mixture of dogs and hyenas, which is really strange since hyenas are actually more closely related to cats. Regardless, Poochyena is notable for being the only Pokémon found on the first route outside the player's home town that isn't Normal, Flying, or Bug type. It was also the Pokémon Professor Birch of Littleroot Town was being chased by and thus the first battle the player experiences in Ruby and Sapphire. Sadly, despite Mightyena's Pokédex entries often stating how loyal these canines are to their trainers, they aren't nearly as good battle-wise as their second generation cousins. Their average overall stats and shallow pool of attacks leave much to be desired. — Cassandra Ramos

Stoutland

Stoutland is the best dog. Look at those moustaches! Look at that squat, powerful body! Although Stoutland was unknown before the fifth generation Pokémon games, he quickly trundled his way into our hearts. Yes—plural. Check your pokédex! Stoutland is known far and wide as the "Big-Hearted Pokémon." This dogger has loyalty and affection that go beyond the common human/Pokémon bond.

In their younger days, Stoutlands are known as dopey little Lillipups. Their big, shiny eyes and tiny, snuffling noses can find all sorts of useful treasures. Many of the "Puppy Pokémon" know how to use the Pickup ability, keeping their greedy buddies rolling in potions, gold, and useful trash.

As gentle Lillipups travel the world, they get bitier and bitier. These puppy nibbles grow to intimidating bites and crunches until Lillipups evolve into Herdiers. Experience makes cynics of us all, and no one can remain a puppy forever. Not without tapping B to stop the little pickup artists from evolving. Herdiers, in their adolescence, are appropriate companions for trainers who want to be the very best: they're aggressive, vigilant, and able to bite ghosts. The spirit of victory is firmly in these chompsters' grasp!

With life's battles comes experience, and in time, the cooling of the Herdier's youthful fires. It's time to turn from anger to love and protect the homestead. Herdiers grow their respectable moustaches and become Stoutlands. The fussy gentlemen of the Normal-type Pokémon turn their attention from battle to rescue work, guiding the pups, and well-deserved pork chops.

Thank you for your hard work, Stoutland! You are a living testament to the saying, "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog." — Zach Welhouse

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