Choosing the Right Pet

July 26, 2007 at 11:51 am (Guide, Hunter, Pets, Warcraft, World of Warcraft)

I think it’s about time to do something constructive here. The question at hand is ‘Which pet should I choose?’

Well if you think about it, there’s really 2 things a pet can do. They can hold agro while you kill things, or they can kill things for you. But looking further, they’re both the same thing. If a pet isn’t keeping up with your damage, they aren’t holding agro and the mob is quickly closing. HP and armor are nice but can be augmented with Mend Pet as needed. DPS can only be improved by increasing your own attack power, but if your pet is losing agro already improving AP is counterproductive.

So let’s talk about the variables of Pet DPS: base stats and abilities. Below is a table of the pets ranked according to their DPS modifiers. Taking a pet with a modifier of 1.07 or higher is a nice start.

Family DPS Modifier
Wind Serpent
Nether Ray
Carrion Bird
Spore Bat
Warp Stalker

*Data from

To further maximize DPS, the largest factor is a focus dump ability. What’s a focus dump? It’s an ability that can be used as soon as there’s focus to use it. This means choosing a pet with Claw, Gore, Screech, Lightning Breath. The first 2 are basically 2 ways to do the same thing. Screech has the advantage of affecting multiple mobs which is nice, and Lightning Breath is nice for initial agro and counteracting crits with GftT. Damage isn’t the only way to generate threat tho, and players have found that boar’s charge is a great way to glue a mob to your pet. Boars already have gore as well so for soloing, they’re considered one of the best pets though I personally haven’t tried one yet.

The other issue is PvP. If your pet is not in range of your opponent, it isn’t doing anything. Luckily, some pets also get movement abilities: Dash, Dive, Charge, Warp. Dash and Dive just give a speed boost which is nice all around. Warp instantly puts your pet in attack range, but since most melee players ignore pets, the bonus to dodge is wasted. Here again, Charge is supremely useful. Not only does it put your pet at the enemy in a second, but it immobilizes which is another second you can use to get to/stay at ranged.

This grouping of abilities yields the following table. PvE focused individuals can choose anything from the top 2 cells, while PvP focused will probably be happiest with either of the left 2 cells. I would recommend a pet from the top-left cell to any player. Conveniently, all but the warp stalker are available before level 20 for lowbies, and all but the boar* are available at level 65 or higher so the grind there is minimal. (*Ravager coming in 2.2) The pets in red have the further advantage of being high DPS.

Movement & Focus Dump Focus Dump
  • boar
  • carrion bird
  • cat
  • owl
  • raptor (PTR – 2.2?)*
  • ravager
  • warp stalker
  • windserpent
  • bear
  • crab
  • raptor (current)*
  • scorpid
Movement Neither
  • bat
  • dragonhawk
  • hyena
  • nether ray
  • tallstrider
  • wolf
  • crocolisk
  • gorilla
  • serpent
  • spider
  • sporebat
  • turtle

*Raptors currently are getting dash on the PTR.



  1. Mania’s Arcania » Community Round-Up:Newb Mistakes, Choosing a Pet & More said,

    […] of the Mystic has a nice little guide to Choosing the Right Pet. I like the logical way that Znodis highlights the factors that directly affect the […]

  2. Rob said,

    Nice post, but to think that pet DPS must equal yours is somewhat mistaken in my view. The main thing that keeps mobs off you is growl (for me -MM). (I also disagree with people who thing you should not take the mob off the MT in instances – that’s probably due to MT being bitchy people). Plus there are times when you actually dont’ want a pet (when running a instance with high level people)

  3. Znodis said,

    I’m not sure where your first statement comes from. I assume you’re talking about my statement that the higher the DPS the better. Here’s why. Every pet gets growl, not every pet gets high DPS or focus dump abilities. Getting agro (having the mob attack a certain target) is done through threat generation. The target with the highest threat is the one that has agro. Growl is an ability that adds +threat for our pet, but the main way to gain threat is by doing damage. Therefore, higher DPS means more threat, means holds agro better. This is true for any spec.

    You don’t want your pet taking agro from the MT for 2 reasons. First your main tank is probably a warrior, he gains rage through being hit. He uses rage for all is abilities. So, no rage, no abilities, means he cant tank. Second, healers don’t pay attention to pet health (heck even I lose track). So now you have a pet that doesn’t tank as well as your MT and isn’t getting heals. My friend that is a recipe for disaster. Please turn off growl.

    And there is never a time you shouldn’t have your pet out when you’re fighting mobs. They have a smaller agro radius than you. The only time you should dismiss is when you’re jumping down to skip some content. Even running with a higher level shouldn’t make a difference.

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