Every animal on the big screen has a champion — the hero or anti-hero who will defy convention all in the name of their beloved pet. There’s farmer Hoggett, who insisted, on pain of public humiliation, that Pig can be a sheepherding dog. There’s Atari, who hijacked a plane to look for his body-guard dog Spots Kobayashi on an island. And then there’s John Wick and his dog.
To be a John Wick dog is to be loved extraordinarily. I mean here’s a quiet guy living a quiet life with his cute beagle and his muscle car, minding his own business, when his world is upended in one night during a home invasion. And he goes on a rampage, sending the armed folks of the criminal underworld to the world beyond.
Because they “killed his fucking dog.”
John Wick’s Dog
The first John Wick dog holds the distinction of most beloved beagle pup in the planet because his human went to war for him. If you haven’t seen the movie, this reaction seems excessive, doesn’t it?
But those of us who’ve seen the first chapter of John’s life understand the chain of events that followed after Iosef and his posse killed Daisy, the beagle pup, with a baseball bat.
It’s not just the brutality and callousness of killing John Wick’s dog that led to a rash of further violence. It’s also about Daisy being the last gift John’s dead wife gave him. For John, Daisy’s not “just a fuckin’ dog.”
So the beagle pup’s savage death explains the severity of John’s actions. Which other movie character has avenged the death of his pet? I can’t think of any.
And because John is the baba yaga, what other reaction would be logical than to bring death to those who killed his adorable beagle? Anything else would be a different franchise.
What Kind of Dog is in John Wick: Chapter 2?
In Chapter 2, John walks around with another breed of dog. The hitman gets himself a pitbull whose just as adorable as Daisy.
John Wick’s second dog doesn’t have a name this time; the charming, brawny K9 responds to just “Dog,” sometimes “Boy.”
But where did Dog come from? How did John get a hold of him?
We’re actually introduced to Dog in the first chapter — not the second. In the final scene, John drives himself to what turns out to be a vet clinic. He rummages through the supplies and sutures his wounds. Then, at the corner of his eye while he’s taking in the agonizing pain after having survived what no ordinary mortal can, John spots a pitbull in one of the cages. He’s drawn to the burly dog. He walks over, realizing the dog is up for euthanization. John opens the cage and tells the pitbull, “It’s OK. Let’s go home.”
And they walk away, Dog wagging its tail and smelling the outside world; John shuffling like he hadn’t been in body-crushing car crash and one fistfight involving a knife, which he seized by allowing Viggo to plunge it to his side. After all of that, it does seem like the meaning behind John Wick’s back tattoo lets him have some superhuman survival skills.
Unlike John’s first dog, Dog survives. Probably because the superhuman assassin left him in the care of The Continental’s concierge, Charon (Lance Reddick). Dog obeys, merely groans a bit and watches as his master walks away because he’s “working again.”
We see the dog John Wick chose re-appear when he comes back to the covert and very posh assassin hotel to retrieve Dog. And we watch the two run through Central Park as the order to ex-communicate John is about to go wide.
We don’t see Dog ride in John Wick’s muscle car because Aurelio’s fixing it. Dog does get to ride in a cab, where John tells him he’s a good dog and tells the driver to drop off the pitbull at The Continental for the concierge.
What happens to the pitbull in “Parabellum”?
Halle Berry and Her Dogs in John Wick
In “John Wick: Chapter 3,” another dog breed is introduced: the Belgian Malinois. This time from a female protagonist in the form of Sofia (Halle Berry).
The Halle Berry in John Wick is intense. And she takes no bull from anyone, especially when it involves her tactical dogs. At least, one of them.
During a very tense meeting with Berrada (Jonathan Flynn), the Elder who knows where to find the person John needs, he demands to keep one of the dogs as payment for the information. But Sofia fires back with “Excuse me?” She’s not having any of it, so she refuses the Elder, who doesn’t take it lightly. And he proceeds to shoot the dog.
It’s a dick move that Sofia doesn’t let pass.
After a fierce shootout (and some ballbreaking K9 assault), Sofia puts a gun to Berrada’s head. John discourages her, so she shoots him in the knee instead. “He shot my dog,” she says. To which John replies, “I get it.”
Sofia’s dog lives and the two escape Casablanca, thanks to some dog-fu action.
If you found those dog-fu scenes where the Belgian Malinoises look like their parkouring, you may assume it’s CGI. But there were no CGI dogs in this John Wick chapter. Just highly trained dogs handled by Halle Berry before filming.
So all the dogs in “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” survive. Yes, Dog lives. The faithful pitbull stands by the fallen hitman when he’s taken to the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne). Shot up and battered, John manages to give the King a finger as they share their common rage against the High Table.
Clearly, the fourth chapter of John Wick’s life is going to filled with more bloodshed — and more of Dog.