Hunter pet

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For information about the different types of pets, see list of pet families.

The hunter pet is a hunter's constant companion as they travel across Azeroth and other worlds. When fighting solo or in small groups, a hunter's pet may act as a tank, preventing the hunter from taking too much damage in combat. Pets are also a source of damage and debuffs, working together alongside the hunter's own attacks to bring a target down.

Types of pets

Pet families

Main article: Pet family

Each hunter pet belongs to a specific family of beasts, based on its species. Some families are fairly specific, like the crocolisk family; others are looser groupings, like the scalehide family, which contains kodos, thunder lizards, mushan, and ankylodons.

Pet specializations

Main article: Pet specializations

Each pet has one of three specializations, determined by its pet family. This specialization grants the pet a passive ability and an active ability:

Prior to Battle for Azeroth, pet specialization could be changed after taming, and it had a more profound effect on a pet's role in combat. Cunning pets, for example, did less damage than Ferocity pets but offered a variety of PvP-oriented abilities. Now, each specialization deals the same amount of damage, and the two spec-specific abilities are the only difference.

Obtaining pets

Starter pets

All new hunter characters start the game with a single pet. Each playable race has its own specific starter pet:

Player race Pet family Species Internal name
IconSmall Human Male.gifIconSmall Human Female.gif Human IconSmall Wolf.gif Wolf Young Wolf
IconSmall Dwarf Male.gifIconSmall Dwarf Female.gif Dwarf IconSmall Bear.gif Bear Young Bear
IconSmall NightElf Male.gifIconSmall NightElf Female.gif Night elf IconSmall Wintersaber.gif Cat Saber cat Young Cat
IconSmall Gnome Male.gifIconSmall Gnome Female.gif Gnome IconSmall RabbitMech.gif Mechanical Rabbit Mechanical Bunny
IconSmall Draenei Male.gifIconSmall Draenei Female.gif Draenei IconSmall Moth.gif Moth Young Moth
IconSmall Worgen Male.gifIconSmall Worgen Female.gif Worgen IconSmall Mastiff.gif Dog Mastiff Young Mastiff
IconSmall Lightforged Male.gifIconSmall Lightforged Female.gif Lightforged draenei IconSmall Talbuk3.gif Stag Talbuk Lightforged Talbuk
IconSmall VoidElf Male.gifIconSmall VoidElf Female.gif Void elf IconSmall WarpStalker.gif Warpstalker Voidstalker Voidstalker
IconSmall DarkIron Male.gifIconSmall DarkIron Female.gif Dark Iron dwarf IconSmall Darkhound.gif Dog Bloodhound Blazehound
IconSmall Pandaren Male.gifIconSmall Pandaren Female.gif Pandaren IconSmall Turtle.gif Turtle Dragon turtle Wise Turtle
IconSmall Orc Male.gifIconSmall Orc Female.gif Orc IconSmall Boar.gif Boar Young Boar
IconSmall Undead Male.gifIconSmall Undead Female.gif Undead IconSmall Spider.gif Spider Young Widow
IconSmall Tauren Male.gifIconSmall Tauren Female.gif Tauren IconSmall Tallstrider.gif Tallstrider Young Tallstrider
IconSmall Troll Male.gifIconSmall Troll Female.gif Troll IconSmall Raptor.gif Raptor Young Raptor
IconSmall BloodElf Male.pngIconSmall BloodElf Female.png Blood elf IconSmall Dragonhawk.gif Dragonhawk Young Dragonhawk
IconSmall Goblin Male.gifIconSmall Goblin Female.gif Goblin IconSmall Crab.gif Crab Young Crab
IconSmall Highmountain Male.gifIconSmall Highmountain Female.gif Highmountain tauren IconSmall Eagle.gif Bird of prey Eagle Great Eagle
IconSmall Nightborne Male.gifIconSmall Nightborne Female.gif Nightborne IconSmall ManaSaber.gif Cat Manasaber Manasaber
IconSmall OrcBrown Male.gifIconSmall OrcBrown Female.gif Mag'har orc IconSmall SavageWolf.gif Wolf Shadowmoon Stalker

Taming

Other pets can be obtained once a hunter gains the [Tame Beast] ability at level 10. Tame Beast can only be used on beasts (and mechanical beasts) at or below the hunter's level. During the taming process, the hunter cannot perform any other actions without cancelling.

The taming process takes 6 seconds; its cast time is not pushed back by damage taken, but it can be interrupted. If the hunter loses aggro to another player, the tame will fail.

Note that not all beasts can be tamed. Only specific species are tameable, and even among those species, some rare individuals and quest mobs may be immune to taming. Other species are tameable only by Beast Mastery hunters, who gain the [Exotic Beasts] passive at level 65. Critters are never tameable, even beast-sized ones such as deer or giraffes.

See list of pet families for information on what species can be tamed.

Taming challenges

Taming challenges allow hunters to tame beasts, but with more of a challenge, often requiring special tactics not required for normal pets. The following beasts offer these challenges:

Molten Front and Mount Hyjal
Pandaria

A different type of challenge was introduced in Mists of Pandaria, where the following beasts would be hidden and hard to see tracks had to be followed in order to find the invisible beasts. Only [Flare] would reveal the following:

Draenor

A hidden quest and a dropped item help you tame two challenging beasts in Warlords of Draenor including:

Pet management

Feeding

Main article: Feed Pet

[Feed Pet] allows hunters to heal their pets for 50% of their health while out of combat. It's a convenient way to minimize downtime between fights, since it heals instantly and for much more than [Mend Pet].

Renaming

By default, pets will begin with a basic name—generally the name of their pet family, such as "Bear" or "Cat". Hunters can replace this with a custom name by right-clicking on the pet's portrait and selecting "Rename" from the menu.

After a pet has been given a custom name, it can only be renamed again with  [Certificate of Ownership], an item created with Inscription. There's no limit on how many times a pet can be renamed, though a new certificate is needed each time.

Stabling

Up to five pets can be kept active at once, depending on the hunter's level. In order to tame any more pets, existing ones must either be stabled or abandoned.

To stable a pet simply talk to a stable master, select the "Gossip I'd like to stable my pet here" option, and drag the pet's icon from an active slot on the left to a stable slot on the right. Up to 50 pets can be stabled at once, allowing hunters to "store" pets for later use or for collection purposes.

Abandoning

To get rid of a pet, right-click its portrait and select "Abandon Pet." Keep in mind that this is permanent, so be careful not to abandon the wrong pet.

Fighting alongside your pet

Generally, a Hunter will send the pet in from a distance and allow it to get aggro on a mob before opening fire. Try to keep the mob on the pet so you can use the full power of your ranged weapon to take it down.

A nice trick is to use your pet to pull mobs that are out of range towards you. Use Attack Attack to send your pet in and as soon as it attracts the attention of the mob, use Follow Follow to call the pet back. The pet will start running towards you and the mob will follow. Once the mob is within range, use Attack again. The pet will turn around and attack the mob, and you can use your ranged weapon on it. This pull works over quite a long distance and even around corners, as long as you can get a mob targeted. It also ensures that any additional mobs will have aggro on the pet, rather than you. It does not work as well with mobs who have a ranged attack. Also, be careful that the pet does not pull any extra mobs on the way to the mob and back again.

It is possible to have the pet fight one mob while the Hunter attacks another. Note: the Hunter will not gain loot or experience from a mob that the pet kills solo. This is a deliberate decision by Blizzard, not a bug. If you intend on pulling mutiple mobs and having your pet kill one or more of them while you focus on others, it would be best to try to get at least one shot or hit on each of the mobs and then allow your pet to do its work on them.

Raiding alongside your pet

With all pets being equal in terms of damage-dealing, it falls upon the special abilities of the pets, the encounter, and what other classes are present which determines which pet a hunter would use. Often it would be wise to talk amongst the other hunters in the raid to determine which pet each one could use, since their buffs/debuffs will not stack with each others or other player's abilities. It is common for a raid consisting of several hunters to no longer have duplicate pets.

Although each pet family comes with a default talent specialization, you can change your pet's spec at any time so long as you are not in combat. Cunning, Ferocity, and Tenacity. Ferocity pets are good for continuous damage, tenacity pets make good tanks for soloing, and cunning pets have unique abilities which can be very useful in certain situations, such as PvP, as well as being almost as viable as Ferocity in PvE.

Pet skills

Main article: Pet abilities

Pet skills come in two types: passive enhancement skills, and active skills.

Passive skills change the pet's stats and do not require resources.

Most active skills require Focus, a constantly-recharging point pool that works much like a Rogue's Energy bar. Some active skills are free. Every pet has 100 Focus, and Focus regenerates at a base rate of 5 points per second.

Active skills can be activated in several ways:

  • Automatically, through setting them on autocast by right-clicking the skill icon in either the spellbook or pet action bar.
  • By clicking the skill icon in either the spellbook or the pet action bar.
  • By macros like /cast.

An active skill does not have to be in the pet action bar to be used, even on autocast. It is perfectly okay to leave Growl in the spellbook and have it on autocast. If using a /cast macro, the skill can be addressed as if it were a Hunter skill, so if the pet has the skill "Taunt", /cast Taunt will taunt the current target.

From Patch 1.7 onward, Blizzard started introducing special active pet skills. Each skill can only be used by a specific type of pet and the benefit is quite useful, usually in PvE. This increases the diversity among Hunter's pets and often promotes Hunters possessing several pets at the same time. It is expected that, with time, Blizzard will continue to add special skills to other beasts' types as well.

With Patch 3.0.2, the following aspects of hunter pet training became obsolete: pet trainers, learning skills from wild beasts, and loyalty.

Newly tamed beasts will automatically have their level increased to the hunter's level.

Choosing a pet

There are several factors beyond combat ability to consider when choosing a pet:

Appearance

Many hunters choose their pets based on visual aesthetic: cool-looking, menacing, cute, etc. Collecting pets with unusual appearances is a common hobby among hunter players. Some hunters even like to match their hunter pet with their companion pet and mount. For example, Takk the Leaper and  [Leaping Hatchling] make a good matching pair.

Petopia is an excellent visual guide of pet appearances.

Prestige

Certain pets are considered especially interesting or cool among players. Some choices of prestigious pets include:

  • Pets with unique skins, like Mazzranache.
  • Hard-to-obtain pets, like a level 19 Horde character with a ravager or a level 19 Alliance character with a dragonhawk.
  • Anything that can no longer be tamed. This one's quite difficult to achieve; you have to either luck out, or have an eye for creatures that likely weren't intended to be tamed or may be removed in the future. Grimtotem Spirit Guide and Spirit of Ha-Khalan are examples of this.

Size

A pet's size is directly related to its level. Many beasts will dramatically shrink the moment they are tamed, then regain size as they level. However, certain species are still larger than others; for example, rhinos are large enough to be a sight obstruction in certain areas, which can be to the player's advantage (PvP) or disadvantage (dungeons and raids). Flying pets can have a similar effect with their constantly-moving wings. This can work both for you and against you, but you will probably find it at least a little annoying. Both of these issues can be at least somewhat fixed with  [Glyph of Lesser Proportion].

Short pets, like crabs and scorpids, can fit into places taller pets cannot go. This is not a highly significant feature, but it may occasionally come up.

Patches and hotfixes

  • Hotfix (2016-08-08): "Hunter pets now retain their selected specialization when dismissed and summoned."
  • Hotfix (2016-07-21): "Pets in the Oxen and Scalehide families now all have a basic attack."
  • Hotfix (2014-10-17): "Hunter Pets now inherit 60% of the Hunter's Attack Power (up from 33%)."
  • Hotfix (2014-10-16): "Stag pets should now correctly apply the Grace buff when summoned."
  • Warlords of Draenor Patch 6.0.2 (2014-10-14):
    • Hunter pets now have a 1-second global cooldown.
    • All full crowd-control abilities have been removed from Hunter pets and replaced those with new abilities, including spreading some that were previously restricted to exotic pets.
For an in-depth description of this patch change, see Patch 6.0.2#Hunter pet abilities
  • Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.0.4 (2012-08-28): Pets can now switch between being Cunning, Ferocity, and Tenacity type pets.
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.1.0 (2011-04-26):
    • Pets will now level with hunters in the same way warlock pets currently do. Also, summoned pets now start with 100 focus, up from 0.
    • The Happiness/Pet Loyalty System has been removed. Hunters will no longer have to manage Happiness for their pets, and the previous damage bonus for pets being happy will now be baseline for all tamed pets.
    • Now tamed pets match the hunter's level
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.0.1 (2010-10-12): Numerous changes. Many pet abilities have been replaced or altered. Hunters now start with pets at level 1. Whenever a hunter is more than 3 levels above a pet, the pet levels to within 3 levels of the hunter.
  • Wrath of the Lich King Patch 3.3.0 (2009-12-08): Hunter pets now have 100% of their master's resilience; increased from 40%.
  • Hotfix (2009-04-16): "Hunter pets should now have their talents refunded when a Hunter switches talent specs, even if they are dismissed at the time."
  • Wrath of the Lich King Patch 3.1.0 (2009-04-14): All Cunning, Ferocity, and Tenacity pets now have identical bonuses - +5% Health,+5% Armor,+5% Damage.
  • Wrath of the Lich King Patch 3.0.8 (2009-01-20): All Hunter pet abilities with a cooldown of 30 seconds or more are no longer on the global cooldown.
  • Wrath of the Lich King Patch 3.0.2 (2008-10-14): Major revisions to the pet system, including the following:
  • WoW Icon update.png Patch 1.7.0 (2005-09-22):
    • Hunter pets can now be untrained of all their skills from any beast trainer in the major cities.
    • Hunter pets can now learn a maximum of four active abilities.
    • Hunter pets now gain experience based on the level difference between them and their target rather than the difference between the Hunters and their target.
    • Hunters are now able to name their pets while mounted.
  • WoW Icon update.png Patch 1.5.0 (2005-06-07): Unstabling dead pets no longer puts players into a degenerate state where their pet only partially exists. Unstabled dead pets can now be properly revived, and players can no longer train more pets than their stable can hold.
  • WoW Icon update.png Patch 1.4.0 (2005-05-05): When a non-Hunter resurrects a pet, the pet will no longer receive resurrection sickness.
  • WoW Icon update.png Patch 1.3.0 (2005-03-07):
    • Fixed a bug where Hunter pets were sometimes unattackable by opposing faction players.
    • Fixed a bug where creatures were keeping their innate resistances after being tamed. This was unintentional and the fix will affect all existing pets.
    • Hunter pets immediately gain training points when they level up.

References

External links