Nintendogs (Japanese: ニンテンドッグス stylized as nintendogs) is a pet-simulation game developed by Nintendo EAD1 for the Nintendo DS. It was released in three versions; Chihuahua & Friends, Labrador & Friends and Dachshund & Friends.
The games were released on April 21, 2005 in Japan, August 22, 2005 in North America, September 22, 2005 in Australia, October 7, 2005 in Europe and May 3, 2007 in South Korea. Later on, it was released on the iQue DS and iQue DSi in China on December 12, 2009, only as Labrador & Friends.
A fourth edition, Dalmatian & Friends was released on October 16, 2006 in North America, June 16, 2006 in Europe and November 2, 2006 in Australia. A bundle-exclusive version, known as Best Friends was released only in North America on October 24, 2005.
- Main article: Nintendogs/Beta
Nintendogs originally started out as a tech demo for the Nintendo GameCube. A similar game Shigeru Miyamoto was developing, Cabbage for the 64DD (cancelled), greatly influenced his ideas for Nintendogs.
The player starts out by purchasing their first dog from the Kennel. After it is bought, the puppy needs to be calmed down and taught its name. It should be given food and water to quench its thirst and satiate its hunger.
Trainers can do many things with their dogs-- for example, they can teach them to perform tricks involving the use of the Nintendo DS's Microphone, and train them to participate in competitions. The more the player interacts with their puppy, the stronger their relationship will become.
The player can make money by selling items they find on Walks, or winning cash prizes in contests. If they have a certain amount of money, they can buy another dog to take care of or buy a new house at the Interior Decorator.
Like most simulation video games, Nintendogs doesn't have an ending sequence or a story mode.
Adopting a Dog
The game starts out at the Kennel, where the player must adopt a dog of their own. Depending on the version, the breeds available will be different, resulting in different long or short-haired coats and traits. Dogs in the Kennel may also have different personalities, which can affect performance while teaching the dog tricks or participating in contests. Once a dog is adopted, another one cannot be bought until later in the game.
The player can interact with the dogs available at the Kennels by tapping "Look" on the Touch Screen. There, they can play with three different dogs (A Chihuahua, Labrador Retriever* and a Miniature Dachshund). As the dogs are owned by the Kennel, they cannot be bought.
Once the player has adopted their first dog, it will need time to get used to the surroundings around the room. After some time has passed, the player will need to think of a name for the dog, by saying it via the Nintendo DS's microphone. Once the dog recognizes the name that the player has given, they will need to call the dog via its name without using the whistle in order to advance.
After the dog has learned the name, the player will need to teach the dog a Trick. That can be done by making the dog sit, tapping the light-bulb icon at the top-right screen and saying the command. When the command is learned, the player will have to make the dog sit, using voice commands rather than manually making the dog sit. Once the dog recognizes the command, the player will be able to go out and do various things with their dog.
- Main article: Care
Just like in real life, dogs need basic care. Every now and then, they will need to eat some Dry Food and drink a Water Bottle to quench their thirst. Dogs also tend to get dirty at times, either from neglect (forgetting to care for the dog for too long) or eating Trash.
Depending on the dog's coat length, the player will need to wash the dog with the right shampoo for grooming to be fully effective. Using brushes is also recommended, since a brush can help make the dog's coat clean without having to spend Money on shampoo, and is more likely to reward the player with Trainer Points.
Unlike real life or other pet-simulation games, Nintendogs cannot die or have puppies. If they're neglected for too long, however, their friendship with the owner could decrease.
After the player has taught their dog to sit, they can visit some shops to cater to their dog's needs by tapping on "Go Out" and "Shopping" on the Touch Screen. There are five different shops to visit: the Pet Supply store, Secondhand Shop, Interior Decorator, Kennel, and Dog Hotel.
- Main article: Walk
Walks are a way for the player to take their dog to special locations. While on a walk, their dog may find a present or encounter a neighbor.
- Main article: Competitions
The player can make their dog participate in three different competitions: Agility Trials, Disc Competitions, and Obedience Trials.
- Main article: Bark Mode
Using Bark Mode, players can communicate with someone else who owns a copy of Nintendogs. It allows the player to send a gift, and gives them the option to play a five-second message they have recorded on the White Record. This process can be done many times, and is a way to get version-exclusive items.
The player can interact with the other dog in Bark Mode for as long as they like, in a location that isn't seen anywhere else in the game. Unlike other Nintendo DS titles with wireless communication, this one doesn't keep track of the timing between the happenings of the two owners. Once the information from the other system's save file has been downloaded, the player's copy of the game stops communicating, and they get to play with both dogs (theirs and their Bark Mode partner's) alone.
Stored "friends" are kept in Contacts, which is found in the "Info" section at the "Go Out" menu. The player can view the other dog's stats, the Trainer Points, date of birth, and competition results.
Depending on the version, the breeds the player starts out with will be different. The rest of the Breeds can be unlocked either by acquiring Trainer Points, completing special requirements, or communicating with another dog of the desired breed via Bark Mode.
On October 24, 2005, a Nintendo DS bundle was released in North America containing a special edition of the video game, known as Nintendogs: Best Friends. This bundle comes in three colors-- Pearl Pink, Electric Blue, and Teal-- and includes a special skin for the handheld and a cleaner.
While the game itself is mostly unchanged, the starter breeds are different (Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Beagle, Yorkshire Terrier and Miniature Dachshund) and a unique title screen is included. Also, the version-exclusive items that can be found are the same as Dachshund & Friends.
The bundle was released again in North America on November 23, 2007, this time with a Nintendo DS Lite coming in Metallic Pink or Cobalt Blue color. While the DS Lite itself has a paw print marked on it, the cleaner strap wasn't included in the bundle.
Dalmatian & Friends
Dalmatian & Friends was first released in Europe on June 16, 2006, released on October 16, 2006 in North America, and November 2, 2006 in Australia. Unlike Best Friends, the game was released as a standalone.
The game includes the elusive Dalmatian breed that is available from the beginning of the game along with the rare Fireman's Hat. Like Best Friends, the game is unchanged and items that can be found in this version are taken from an existing one-- Chihuahua & Friends.
Nintendogs received positive critical acclaim from various video game critics. Most of the praise comes from the usage of the Nintendo DS Microphone, which allowed the person to communicate with the pet in a technological fashion.
Japanese gaming website Famitsu gave the game a full 40 score. It is very rare for a game to get a full rating on Famitsu, and only a handful of video games from the past few years have been known to get it.
Gaming website IGN gave the video game an 8.8 rating, citing the "stylized look", which made the pets look "incredibly lifelike", though the review criticized the lack of proper things to do once the main objective was completed.
This game received four nominations for the Designer of the Year, Most Addictive Game, Best Handheld Game and the Best Breakthrough Technology at the 2005 Spike Video Game Awards.
Tricks & Treats Weekend (2005)
A special event known as "Nintendogs Tricks and Treats Weekend" was held across over 3,600 GameStop stores all over the United States on the weekend of October 28, 2005 until October 30, 2005. Nintendo of America donated $50,000 towards the ASPCA for the event, which went towards real-life pets with various issues. 
The event was made possible by special cartridges that Nintendo distributed to different GameStop locations.
During the event, players could use Bark Mode when they entered a GameStop store and get themselves a Pair of Star Sunglasses from Haylie Duff's pet-- a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Bentley-- including a special White Record message from Haylie herself.
Connections to Other Series
Nintendogs has been referenced or directly mentioned in several other Nintendo games, and vice versa. More information can be found on the individual pages linked in the table.
|Mario||- There are several Mario-themed items to collect in the Nintendogs games.
- The Shiba Inu model from Nintendogs + Cats was used in Super Mario Odyssey.
|WarioWare||- The Shetland Sheepdog and Chihuahua appeared in WarioWare in a Nintendogs-themed mini-game.|
|Super Smash Bros.||- The Labrador Retriever, French Bulldog, and Toy Poodle models were used in Super Smash Bros. as Assist Trophies.
- Various breeds were also used as Trophies, Stickers or Spirits.
|Animal Crossing||- There were 4 unique Nintendogs statue items in City Folk and New Leaf.
- Multiple items resembling items from the Animal Crossing series can be seen in both Nintendogs and Nintendogs + Cats. - Goldie, a villager in Animal Crossing, mentions the Labrador Retriever on the cover of Lab & Friends in her Wild World picture quote.
|The Legend of Zelda||- There was a Link's Hat from the Legend of Zelda series introduced as an AR Camera item in Nintendogs + Cats.|
|Kirby||- A Kirby hat was also introduced as an AR Camera item.|
|Pikmin||- A toy bulborb can be found in Nintendogs.
- Various Pikmin hats exist as accessory items in Nintendogs + Cats.
|Metroid||- Samus' hat is included as an AR camera item in Nintendogs + Cats.|
|Kid Icarus||- Nintendogs is referenced in Kid Icarus: Uprising with the quote, "We're going to rack up some serious Nintendogs trainer points together!"|
- As of 2020, Nintendogs is the second best-selling game for the Nintendo DS, just behind New Super Mario Bros.
- The original Nintendogs games are unavailable on the 3DS Nintendo Eshop and cartridges are no longer in production, meaning that the only way to obtain a copy is to buy one pre-owned.
- Nintendogs was built with Pictochat compatibility. If enabled during normal gameplay (this can be turned on from User Settings on the "Go Out" menu), an early form of notifications may appear in the corner of the touch screen, indicating when someone nearby is in a Pictochat room.
- Contrary to popular belief, dogs CANNOT have puppies in this game. The same goes for the sequel.
- In the Japanese version, Supplies are referred to as Goods.