Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

For other uses, see Dog.

Stray Dog is a dog that can be recruited as a follower. They are encountered through random encounters. However, a stray dog can be found, once exiting the cave that exits Helgen Keep, up the trail to the left.


To recruit stray dogs, locate them on the world map. These dogs need to be aided in a fight with other creatures, such as a pack of wolves or a dragon. After dispatching all hostile foes in the proximity of the dog, speak with it, and it follows its rescuer until dismissed or dead. Upon being dismissed, it returns to the location where it was rescued. It is also possible to recruit a stray dog by using the Animal Allegiance shout.

Dogs can be recruited alongside other followers, such as housecarls or mercenaries, allowing for a total of two followers and any summoned undead or atronachs. During the quest where Delphine and Esbern are escorted to Sky Haven Temple, one follower and one stray dog can be brought along as followers, making a total of four potential followers, excluding conjured beings.

Stray dogs appear to have identical stats to Meeko; their level is set when they are first spawned, and their maximum level is 25, at which they have 250 health.


Stray Dog's Stats
Level 10 > 26
Health 100 → 250
Magicka 0
Stamina 65 → 140
Unarmed Damage 8
Armor Rating 0

Dialogue options[]

The stray dog has two options when talking to it:

  • "Wait here." – Commands the dog to stay in one place.
  • "It's time for you to go back home, dog." – Dismisses the stray dog.

If the dog is made to wait for 3 in-game days, a notification saying, "Your dog has returned home." appears.


  • If a stray dog is made to wait in a house that you own, it will remain there indefinitely, though it will not be able to follow you again after three days. Hearthfire may allow the one to adopt the stray dog, through a random event with an adopted child, so it may be a good idea for players with Hearthfire to put the dog in a house that is owned by the character, should they encounter the dog.
  • In the Hearthfire DLC, after gaining a stray dog as a pet, family members, housecarls and bards are known to say, "Stupid dog." This is because adult NPCs are scripted to say this whenever they are within proximity of the dog.
  • If one enters a walled city, the stray dog will wait with your horse by the stables.


This section contains bugs related to Stray Dog. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  /  XB1  ,  PS3  /  PS4  ,  PC  /  MAC  ,  NX  /  PS5  ,  XS  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
  • It is possible for the dog to disappear entirely after waiting in a certain location. At this point the dog will not even be found in the original location where it was discovered.
  •  360   Occasionally, when told to wait, the dog wanders off on its own.
  • Using Healing Hands on a stray dog that hasn't been recruited may cause it to become hostile.
  •  PC   360   When the dog is told to wait and the current location is left, (i.e. the player leaves a house with the dog waiting inside, or the player enters a house with the dog waiting outside), then the dog will be gone. It doesn't matter how long the player stays in the other location. So to keep the stray dog, take him everywhere, or park him, then let him follow again when leaving.
  • It is possible when meeting the dog for a dragon to appear dead nearby, but one may still be able to absorb its soul and talk to the dog.
  •  PC   PS3   Sometimes a dog gets caught in a "limbo" of sorts, and no amount of fast traveling or waiting will force the animal to appear, nor can one buy or hire a new one.
    •  PC (Fix)   To remove the "invisible" dog and be able to recruit animal followers again, open the console and enter the following: set playeranimalcount to 0.
    •  PS3 (Fix)   Other platform solution: visiting and recruiting Meeko will automatically boot the Dragonborn's animal companion, including a missing dog. The player can then dismiss Meeko and recruit other animals.
  •  360   Dogs purchased from Banning may disappear when left in homes for extended durations.
  •  360   Sometimes when talking to a stray dog, there will be no dialogue options, making it impossible to recruit them. Although other times when this occurs the dog does become a follower.
  • Sometimes, the Stray Dog may have other names such as "Bear." One such dog can be found near Helgen, though it is likely rare.
  • It may not be possible to give the dog commands. It may just bark at the Dragonborn if they try to talk to it.confirmation needed