Hunter pet

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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 often acts as a tank, allowing the hunter to maintain safe range in combat. Pets can also be used to deal damage alongside the hunter's shots and stings.

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 Species Color Internal name
IconSmall Human Male.gifIconSmall Human Female.gif Human IconSmall Wolf.gif Wolf Gray Young Wolf
IconSmall Dwarf Male.gifIconSmall Dwarf Female.gif Dwarf IconSmall Bear.gif Bear Dark brown Young Bear
IconSmall NightElf Male.gifIconSmall NightElf Female.gif Night elf IconSmall Cat.gif Cat Black & white striped Young Cat
IconSmall Gnome Male.gifIconSmall Gnome Female.gif Gnome IconSmall Mechanostrider.gif Mechanical - Mechanical Bunny
IconSmall Draenei Male.gifIconSmall Draenei Female.gif Draenei IconSmall Moth.gif Moth Green & red Young Moth
IconSmall Worgen Male.gifIconSmall Worgen Female.gif Worgen IconSmall Mastiff.gif Dog Black Young Mastiff
IconSmall Pandaren Male.gifIconSmall Pandaren Female.gif Pandaren IconSmall Turtle.gif Turtle Dark jade Wise Turtle
IconSmall Orc Male.gifIconSmall Orc Female.gif Orc IconSmall Boar.gif Boar Black Young Boar
IconSmall Undead Male.gifIconSmall Undead Female.gif Undead IconSmall Spider.gif Spider Black & red Young Widow
IconSmall Tauren Male.gifIconSmall Tauren Female.gif Tauren IconSmall Tallstrider.gif Tallstrider Purple Young Tallstrider
IconSmall Troll Male.gifIconSmall Troll Female.gif Troll IconSmall Raptor.gif Raptor Red Young Raptor
IconSmall BloodElf Male.gifIconSmall BloodElf Female.gif Blood elf IconSmall Dragonhawk.gif Dragonhawk Orange Young Dragonhawk
IconSmall Goblin Male.gifIconSmall Goblin Female.gif Goblin IconSmall Crab.gif Crab Red Young Crab

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 at or below the hunter's level. Upon starting the taming process, the hunter's armor is decreased by 100% and they cannot perform any other actions without cancelling. The taming process takes 10 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 10. Critters are never tameable, even beast-sized ones such as deer or gazelle.

The "Expac" column in the table below indicates the expansion in which a creature type was introduced as a tameable hunter pet. For instance, chimaeras existed in World of Warcraft but were not tameable until Wrath of the Lich King, so they get a Wrath marker.
The "Spec" column indicates the specialization a pet will have by default when tamed; the hunter can change a pet's spec after taming it.

Expac Pet family Exotic Spec Special ability Exotic/Bonus ability Diet
MoP IconSmall Basilisk.gif Basilisk Tenacity [Stone Scales] Fish, Meat
WoW Icon 16x16.png IconSmall Bat.gif Bat Cunning Fungus, Fruit, Meat
WoW Icon 16x16.png IconSmall Bear.gif Bear Tenacity [Rest] Meat, Fish, Cheese, Bread, Fungus, Fruit
Cataclysm IconSmall Beetle.gif Beetle Tenacity [Harden Carapace] Fruit, Fungus
WoW Icon 16x16.png IconSmall Owl.gif Bird of prey Cunning [Trick] Fish, Meat
WoW Icon 16x16.png IconSmall Boar.gif Boar Tenacity Meat, Fish, Cheese, Bread, Fungus, Fruit
WoW Icon 16x16.png IconSmall CarrionBird.gif Carrion bird Ferocity [Bloody Screech] Meat, Fish
WoW Icon 16x16.png IconSmall Cat.gif Cat Ferocity [Prowl] Meat, Fish
WotLK IconSmall Chimaera.gif Chimaera Cunning [Frost Breath] [Froststorm Breath] Meat
WotLK IconSmall Clefthoof2.gif Clefthoof Tenacity [Thick Hide] Bread, Cheese, Fruit, Fungus
WotLK IconSmall CoreHound.gif Core hound Ferocity [Molten Hide] [Ancient Hysteria] Meat
WoW Icon 16x16.png IconSmall Crab.gif Crab Tenacity [Harden Shell] Fish, Bread, Fungus, Fruit
MoP IconSmall Crane.gif Crane Cunning [Gift of Chi-Ji] [Trick] Fish, Bread
WoW Icon 16x16.png IconSmall Crocolisk.gif Crocolisk Tenacity [Ankle Crack] Meat, Fish
WotLK IconSmall Devilsaur.gif Devilsaur Ferocity [Feast] [Monstrous Bite] Meat
MoP IconSmall Direhorn.gif Direhorn Tenacity [Reflective Armor Plating] Fungus, Fruit
Cataclysm IconSmall Mastiff.gif Dog Ferocity Bread, Cheese, Fish, Fruit, Fungus, Meat
TBC IconSmall Dragonhawk.gif Dragonhawk Cunning Fish, Fruit, Meat
Legion IconSmall Owlcat.gif Feathermane Ferocity [Updraft] Bread, Cheese, Fish, Fruit, Fungus, Meat
Cataclysm IconSmall Fox.gif Fox Ferocity [Agile Reflexes] [Play] Fish, Fruit, Meat
MoP IconSmall Goat.gif Goat Ferocity Meat, Fish, Cheese, Bread, Fungus, Fruit
WoW Icon 16x16.png IconSmall Gorilla.gif Gorilla Tenacity Bread, Fungus, Fruit
WoD IconSmall Hydra.gif Hydra Ferocity Fish, Meat
WoW Icon 16x16.png IconSmall Hyena.gif Hyena Ferocity Meat
Legion IconSmall Mechanostrider.gif Mechanical Cunning
Cataclysm IconSmall Monkey.gif Monkey Cunning [Primal Agility] Fungus, Fruit
WotLK IconSmall Moth.gif Moth Ferocity [Dust of Life] Cheese, Fruit, Fungus, Bread
TBC IconSmall Netherray.gif Nether ray Cunning [Netherwinds] Meat, Fungus
Legion IconSmall Yak.gif Oxen Tenacity Cheese, Bread, Fungus, Fruit
MoP IconSmall Porcupine.gif Rodent Tenacity [Rest] Fungus
MoP IconSmall Quilen.gif Quilen Ferocity [Stone Armor] [Eternal Guardian] Meat, Fish
WoW Icon 16x16.png IconSmall Raptor.gif Raptor Ferocity Meat
TBC IconSmall Ravager.gif Ravager Cunning Meat
WoD IconSmall Riverbeast.gif Riverbeast Tenacity [Gruesome Bite] Bread, Fruit, Fungus
WoD IconSmall Rylak.gif Rylak Cunning [Updraft] Fish, Meat
Legion IconSmall Mushan.gif Scalehide Tenacity Cheese, Bread, Fungus, Fruit
WoW Icon 16x16.png IconSmall Scorpid.gif Scorpid Tenacity [Deadly Sting] Meat
WoW Icon 16x16.png IconSmall Serpent.gif Serpent Cunning Meat
Cataclysm IconSmall ShaleSpider.gif Shale spider Ferocity [Solid Shell] Fish, Meat
WotLK IconSmall SilithidWorker.gif Silithid Cunning [Tendon Rip] Fungus, Meat
WoW Icon 16x16.png IconSmall Tarantula.gif Spider Cunning [Web Spray] Meat
WotLK IconSmall SpiritBeast.gif Spirit beast Ferocity [Spirit Mend] / [Spirit Walk] Meat, Fish
TBC IconSmall Sporebat.gif Sporebat Cunning Cheese, Bread, Fungus, Fruit
WoD IconSmall Talbuk2.gif Stag Ferocity Bread, Cheese, Fruit, Fungus
WoW Icon 16x16.png IconSmall Tallstrider.gif Tallstrider Ferocity Bread, Cheese, Fruit, Fungus
WoW Icon 16x16.png IconSmall Turtle.gif Turtle Tenacity [Shell Shield] Bread, Fish, Fungus, Fruit
TBC IconSmall WarpStalker.gif Warp stalker Tenacity [Warp Time] Fish, Fruit
WotLK IconSmall Firefly.gif Wasp Ferocity Cheese, Bread, Fungus, Fruit
MoP IconSmall WaterStrider.gif Water strider Cunning [Surface Trot] Fruit, Fungus
WoW Icon 16x16.png IconSmall WindSerpent.gif Wind serpent Cunning Fish, Cheese, Bread
WoW Icon 16x16.png IconSmall Wolf.gif Wolf Ferocity Meat
WotLK IconSmall Worm.gif Worm Tenacity [Burrow Attack] Fungus, Cheese, Bread

Taming tips

  • Hunter abilities such as [Concussive Shot], [Wyvern Sting], and [Freezing Trap] can slow or stop a beast, reducing the number of times they can hit the hunter during a tame.
    • It is possible to double-freeze a target by laying a Freezing Trap, pulling the beast across it once the cooldown finishes, laying another trap in its path, and then beginning to tame. This is especially useful against beasts that have a knockback ability, which can interrupt the taming process.
  • Beasts under the effect of crowd control such as [Polymorph] can still be tamed.
  • The hunter can use abilities such as [Stoneform] or [Gift of the Naaru] to raise their survivability before beginning a tame.

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 about 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.

There are 39 families of pets for Hunters to tame, with seven of them only available through The Burning Crusade expansion, two exclusive to the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, five in Cataclysm, two in patch 5.0.4.

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.

Each pet family has one special skill (usually active) and further skills can be learned from the pet's skill tree depending on its class.

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.

Pet scaling

Pets receive attribute bonuses at 15% of their master's stats:

  • 1 ranged attack power gives the pet 0.22 AP and 0.1287 spell damage (0.338 AP and 0.18 spell damage with 2/2 [Wild Hunt]).
  • 1 stamina gives 0.45 stamina untalented (erroneously reported as 0.3 stamina in the Hunter's stamina tooltip), or 0.63 stamina with 2/2 [Wild Hunt]). Hunter pets do not gain any health from their base stamina, and gain 10.5 health for each additional point of stamina (10 health per additional stamina before the inherent pet health bonus, which was standardized to 5% in Patch 3.1.0).
  • 1 resistance gives 0.4 resistance.
  • 1 armor gives 0.35 armor.
  • 1 point of spell penetration gives 1 point of spell penetration to your pet.[1]
  • 1 point of resilience gives 1 point of resilience rating to your pet as of Patch 3.3.0. Previously, it was 0.4 points of resilience per 1 point.[2]
  • The scaling formulas for hit are not yet available, however the Patch 3.2.0 notes stat that "If a player is at their appropriate spell hit chance or hit chance maximum, their pet will be at the maximum for spell hit chance, hit chance, and expertise. If they are below the maximum, their pet will be proportionately below those maximums.".[1]

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, though they'll regain size as they level.

Pets such as rhinos are large enough to be a sight obstruction in certain areas, which can be to the player's advantage (PVP) or disadvantage (instances and raids). Flying pets can cause similar issues. Their wings can get in the way of things behind them, potentially blocking players from clicking on objects or units. 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 does occasionally come up.

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:

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."
  • WoD 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
  • MoP 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.
  • WotLK 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."
  • WotLK Patch 3.1.0 (2009-04-14): All Cunning, Ferocity, and Tenacity pets now have identical bonuses - +5% Health,+5% Armor,+5% Damage.
  • WotLK 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.
  • WotLK Patch 3.0.2 (2008-10-14): Major revisions to the pet system, including the following:
  • WoW Icon 16x16.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 16x16.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 16x16.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 16x16.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