How to Get a Dog in Skyrim
Horses are the more well-known animal companion in Skyrim, but did you know you can also have a faithful canine? Dogs follow you and assist in battle. They can go places horses can't, such as into caves, cities, and buildings. They are large, shaggy creatures bred for hunting, and look very similar to the Irish Wolfhound.
There are numerous ways to get a few different dogs, ranging from free to a bit costly. Below are the dogs capable of being owned in Skyrim, and how to find or buy them.
Vigilance can be purchased outside of of Markarth. Simply travel to the stables, and then find Banning, who should be somewhere around the horses. You'll see Vigilance nearby and can offer to buy him for 500 gold. It's that simple!
Meeko can be found in a shack near Solitude, aptly named 'Meeko's Shack.' His owner has died of Rockjoint, leaving the poor pup to fend for himself. He is generally lying down near his master's corpse, waiting for him. If you speak to him, you can offer to let him come with you, which he'll be happy to do.
Barbas is....quite the beast. To find him, you will need to enter Falkreath, where a guard will ask you if you've seen a strange dog about. Talk to the blacksmith in Falkreath who is looking for him, then head out to the road. Barbas won't be far. When you see him, talk to him and he will explain that he is the banished companion of a Daedra. His absence has weakened his master considerably, so you will need to make a journey to speak to the demon. He will tell you to fetch an axe to return Barbas to his favor.
However, if you want to keep Barbas, ignore the axe quest and the hound will stay faithfully by your side. He's a rather amusing animal to have around.
This dog appears as a random event. Usually he is being attacked by wolves and must be rescued. When safe, you will have the option of bringing him along with you. Note that if you tell the stray dog to stop following you, it will head off to an unknown place and may not be found again.
And that's it! Finding or buying a dog in Skyrim isn't difficult, but it adds a sort of completeness to your little group that I find oddly comforting. Dogs are formidable battle companions, capable of taking down the weaker monsters, but always watch his health in a fight. I can tell you right now, losing a dog is one of the saddest moments you'll have in Skyrim. Hopefully, you can avoid that and instead have many a happy adventure with your new, faithful sidekick!