The List
7 Manga for the Canine Inclined

by Lynzee Loveridge,

Cats are undeniably the darlings of the internet thanks to their antisocial, self-serving characteristics. They easily mirror the nerd stereotype and those of us who spend untold hours at our desks see them as fluffy kindred spirits. Dogs, on the other hand, are considered far my social animals and have mostly been snubbed with the exception of the occasional Shiba Inu or Pomeranian. The difference in artist and nerd types for certain kinds of pets is also evident in manga. Plenty of artists are self-identified cat lovers: Junji Ito, Kanata Konami, Shoko Nakagawa, and Arina Tanemura to name a few.

As a result, finding manga starring canine companions are surprisingly scarce compared to their feline counterparts. There are a few that feature dog antics or focus on the loyalty associated with this particular pet. I attempted to narrow down the already slim pickings to manga series that are available legally in English or at least have an anime counterpart that is legally streaming.

7. Guru Guru Pon-chan This is probably a controversial choice to throw in here, as the story is about a dog that turns into a human girl and then wins the heart of her neighbor. The there's a twisted undercurrent there. If your put transformed into an attractive human, would you being a mature relationship with it? This is what happens to a yellow lab named Ponta after she encounters a "talking bone" that turns her into a girl when she 'kisses' it. The possible 'ick' factor isn't incidental. Creator Satomi Ikezawa wasn't going for "cute" and completely overshot it. She's aware of the implications and sticks with them throughout.

6. Shiba Inuko-san Shiba Inu achieved meme status (and eventually a digital currency) as the "Doge Meme" around 2013. This has brought new found attention to the breed and array of articles showing off their expressive qualities. A few anime and manga have cropped about Shibas since then, one being Itoshi no Muco and the other being the odd Shiba Inuko-san. The premise of Shiba Inuko-san is that she's a dog. Well, maybe she's a dog. Everyone acts like she's a normal schoolgirl but one of her friends is pretty sure she's actually a dog. She refrains from saying anything though because pointing out this seemingly obvious fact might ruin their friendship.

5. Sherlock Bones If you want a little light-hearted mystery with your pooches, Sherlock Bones stars the seminal detective reincarnated as a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with ability to speak telepathically with his owner Takeru. The dog detective takes this as a sign that Takeru is the reincarnation of his assistant, Dr. Watson. Together, the two take up sleuthing murders on movie sets, manga students, and even take on the mayor. If you want a less stylistically cute take on a similar concept, check out Sherlock Hound instead.

4. Inubaka: Crazy for Dogs Inubaka's protagonist Suguri could be summed up as "simple-minded." She wants to move out to the great big city of Tokyo and away from her domineering parents. So at 18, with no plan and nothing but her dog Lupin in tow, she moves out into the wide world. Things quickly go awry when she lives her dog unattended and he gets frisky with a purebred lab. The lab's owner flips out but this eventually leads to a windfall for Suguri. He asks her to work at his toy breed petshop. The series sometimes fanservice-laden romantic comedy plot features plenty of cute, detailed depictions of corgis, yorkshire terriers, spaniels, dachshund, and pomeranians for fans. The manga also includes tips for caring for dogs in the same way that cooking manga usually has recipes in the back.

3. Massugu ni Ikō Mametarō is a mutt living with a high school girl named Ikuko. Ikuko is a gentle girl holding a candle for Akiyoshi. The humans are in the midst of their own romantic drama but the unique thing about Massugu ni Ikō is it's told entirely from the perspective of their pets, who are carrying out their own lives. Mametarō has hang-ups about his status as a mutt and finds himself trying to get his owner and Akiyoshi together. His own canine girlfriend Hanako is a Kishu that loves melon bread.

2. Ginga Legend Weed A gang battling for superiority and survival sounds like like a manga by Hiroshi Takahashi but Ginga Legend Weed stars talking dogs instead of violent delinquents. The manga stars Weed, an orphaned pup who sets out to reunite with his legendary father Gin (from Ginga Nagaraboshi Gin). During his journey he enlists the help of other dogs until he's formed a small task force. The dogs then travel from place to place and solve skirmishes and other problems between groups of dogs. This is basically a shonen battle-adventure series except all the characters are dogs. It was very popular in Japan, running for 60 volumes before Takahashi moved on to his next dog-centric story: Ginga Densetsu Riki.

1. Stargazing Dog Despite the impression you might get from the book's cover, Stargazing Dog is a tearjerker. The story follows chronicles a down-on-his-luck dog owner and his faithful Akiba puppy as they try to strike out anew after series of crises strike the owner. The story is told from the perspective of the dog, and things do not bode. Their fate is revealed very early on in the volume, with the rest being told via flashbacks. The premise is the same as the classic Hachiko and exemplifies the loyalty and simple happiness a dog provides in times of trouble.

The new poll: Which female anime character looks best in a ponytail? Note: SINGULAR

The old poll: Which Shonen Jump show would make for the best anime introduction for kids?

  1. One Piece 16.0%
  2. Dragon Ball 14.9%
  3. Naruto 10.4%
  4. One-Punch Man 7.2%
  5. Yu-Gi-Oh! 6.5%
  6. Rurouni Kenshin 5.2%
  7. Assassination Classroom 5.0%
  8. Fullmetal Alchemist 4.4%
  9. Death Note 4.0%
  10. My Hero Academia 3.9%
  11. Haikyu!! 3.8%
  12. Hunter x Hunter 2.8%
  13. Dr. Slump 2.7%
  14. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure 1.7%
  15. Captain Tsubasa 1.3%
  16. Reborn! 1.2%
  17. To-Love-Ru 1.2%
  18. Slam Dunk 1.1%
  19. Hikaru no Go 1.1%

When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as the Interest Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her son on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.

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