Pet families are a system of classification for hunter pets. A pet's family, which is generally based on its species, dictates what food it can eat; what abilities it will have; and what requirements, if any, a hunter needs to meet in order to tame it.
As of Battle for Azeroth, there are 56 pet families.
A small number of families can be used by any hunter specialization, but the hunter must first know how to tame them. Generally this involves reading a tome to learn the required skill.
Mechanicals are a special case among skill families; gnomes and goblins, being engineering-oriented races, can tame them by default. Other playable races have the usual requirement of using an item to learn about the family.
- Main article: Pet abilities
Every pet family has two specialization-specific abilities and two family abilities. Some families are allowed additional abilities as well; see other abilities below for a general explanation on these extra abilities, or list of families for all families and what abilities they have.
Each pet family has a specific specialization, which grants a passive ability and an active ability:
- Cunning: and
- Ferocity: Predator's Thirst and
- Tenacity: and
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.
- Defense: Reduce damage taken by 50% for 12 sec.
- Dodge: Increase dodge change by 30% fo 20 sec.
- Mortal Wounds: Grievously wound the target, reducing the effectiveness of any healing received for 10 sec.
- Slow: Reduce movement speed by 50% for 6 sec.
- Tranquilize and Dispel: Remove 1 Enrage and 1 Magic effect from an enemy.
- Triggered Defense: When health falls below 40%, reduce damage taken by 60% for 15 sec. Can only occur once every 120 sec.
- Note: The quilen ability is slightly different in that it offers 40% damage reduction but regenerates 3% max health every second.
Certain pet families have additional abilities beyond the "default" ability types listed above. These include:
- Exotic abilities: All exotic families have a unique ability. Some of these abilities grant combat bonuses such as additional damage or defense, while others grant utility such as water walking.
- Bonus abilities: A very small number of families are given an extra ability—usually a form of . This ability is not dependent on whether the family is exotic.
- Tricks: A few families have an ability that causes them to do a small, non-utility behavior, such as doing a flip or going to sleep.
Each pet family has its own dietary preferences that dictate what it will eat when using . Food items are divided into six types for this purpose: bread, cheese, fish, fruit, fungus, and meat. Certain families, such as goats and boars, are able to eat a wide variety of food; others, such as rodents, will only eat a single type. Several pet families are exclusive meat-eaters.
Mechanical pets are an exception, as they eat "mechanical bits" instead of food. Mechanical bits are items like bolts, wiring, and other gizmo parts; many of them are created by engineering or sold by engineering vendors.
List of families
|Family name||Exotic||Spec.||Family ability||Additional abilities||Skill requirement||Diet|
|Bird of prey||Cunning||Slow||Trick:||✓||✓|
|Blood beast||Tenacity||Slow||Blood-Soaked Tome of Dark Whispers||✓||✓|
|Carrion bird||Ferocity||Mortal wounds||✓||✓|
|Direhorn||Tenacity||Mortal wounds||Ancient Tome of Dinomancy||✓||✓|
|Feathermane||Tenacity||Dodge||Bonus:||Tome of the Hybrid Beast||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Krolusk||✓||Tenacity||Defense||Exotic: Calcified Carapace||✓|
|Mechanical||Cunning||Defense||Mecha-Bond Imprint Matrix
(not required for gnomes or goblins)
|Non-standard food type; see diet above.|
|Shale spider||✓||Cunning||Defense||Exotic: Shimmering Shale||✓||✓|
|Silithid||✓||Cunning||Slow||Exotic: Dune Strider||✓||✓|