Choosing Your First Pet

Taming your first pet is an exciting and important milestone for new hunters.

There are a lot of factors that go into choosing the perfect pet. In fact, when you are high level and trying to decide from almost 700 different possible pets, the choice can be downright complicated! But luckily, choosing your first pet is a lot simpler.

This series of articles sets out to answer the question “What should I tame first?”. It is aimed at players who are new to the hunter class — if you are an advanced hunter looking for a full-blown analysis of all the factors that go into choosing a pet, this guide may be a little basic for you.

In this intro I’ll go over the criteria that make for a good first pet. In later articles we’ll be examining the newbie areas one at a time and discussing the pets that can be found there. You can find a list of all the published articles in this series at the bottom of each post.

What’s Makes for a Good First Pet?

Let’s be perfectly clear: Any pet you choose is going to be a perfectly fine choice until at least until level 20 or so. And almost any pet you choose is going to be a perfectly fine choice for the entire life of your character. The most important thing for a new hunter is to choose a pet that you like while you figure out how to be a hunter. You can always change your mind and try something else later, so the choice of your first pet is nothing to stress about!

Of course, no matter how many times I say that there will always be new hunters who want to make sure that they make the “best” choice. So … what factors are important in a first pet? What criteria am I using in this series to make my suggestions?

Location: New players are generally not ready to go gallivanting about the world looking for the absolute perfect level 10 pet (although advanced players on a new hunter character often are!), so each article in this series will focus on a particular newbie area. Most new hunters choose a pet from their own newbie area, but for each area I’ll mention other races that can also get there pretty easily.

Level: You can’t tame a pet that is higher level than you are, so the pets in this series are all level 10 or lower. In fact, most are level 9 or 10: it doesn’t take long to bring a level 1 pet up to level 10, but it’s not something that most young hunters want to waste time on.

Known Skills: Known or innate skills are skills that a creature already knows when you tame it. Pets that don’t have any known skills can still learn skills, but they’ll have to be taught — which means that first you’ll need to learn the skills yourself so you can teach them! (There is a handy article on Petopia that covers this process called “How to Train Your Pet”.) This can be a bit of a hassle for new hunters, so creatures that already know useful skills get higher marks here than those without. (The exception is Cower, because you really don’t need or even want Cower at this point.)

Diet: At low levels, buying or finding pet food can be a real drag, especially if there’s only one vendor in the zone who sells what you need. So we give higher marks to pets that can eat a variety of food. Plus, some foods are generally more convenient than others. Fish is probably most convenient, since you can fish it up yourself for free with the fishing skill. Meat and bread both run a close second — meat can often be found on the corpses of local wildlife, and bread is easy to get if you have a mage friend who can Conjure Food.

Looks: Appearance is always a large factor in choosing a pet. Who wants to spend all their time hunting with an ugly companion, or one that creeps you out? But choosing an attractive pet relies on your personal taste, so the best we can do here is point out some of the more interesting choices available to you.

Longevity: There are a couple of factors that a new hunter doesn’t really need to worry about, like what skills the pet will be able to learn at high level or how its stats will stack up at level 70. On the other hand, you don’t want to get to level 60 and feel that you’ve made the wrong choice (even though it’s a perfectly fine choice!). So we lump these factors together under ‘Longevity’ — is this a pet that stands up well at higher levels?

That’s a quick look at the factors that are important for choosing your first pet. In the next article in this series, we’ll be looking at recommended pets in Durotar — the newbie area for both orc and troll hunters!

20 thoughts on “Choosing Your First Pet

  1. Pingback: The WoW Hunter: Choosing your first pet « Chronicles of a World of Warcraft Hunter

  2. sandralover

    i think there is only 1 pet worth having for almost any race at low level , the colour does vary depending on area but all are good

    it has speed of attack
    it has decent armour buff
    it has + health
    it will eat anything you loot food wise

    the humble boar wins every time out of all the pets available

    it may not do as much damage as some do but it will outlast most pets available at low level and as i have not tried it at high level yet i cannot comment on how effective it will be .

    as a trial i created yet another hunter but with 2 distinct differences to my main , the main pet would be a boar and i would do engineering , so far and at now level 32 with no alt character help i have not spent a lot of gold at auction , except some decent bags and a couple of nice axes that cost me about 1g50s each , as i mine i make my own bullets and guns , so a big plus there for saving gold i also have the compact harvest reaper as a second attack pet , hehe at level 30 it is a level 35 robot so fun and great for harder mobs
    well the boar is still faster than any other pet , it eats anything i loot that is edible , in fact most times i have so much food i end up deleting it as my bags are always full , most times i have it in full attack mode and let it choose the target it selects , that does seem a little bit screwed up though as sometimes the mob can be on me before it decides to attack , i was farming in 1000 needles yesterday and and as i was looking for ore could not see where mobs were at all times i let it loose to choose what to attack , every now and then it would get bloodlust after killing a mob and would go off attacking mobs miles away , but not dangerous to allow if you know how to be a hunter , i would not suggest to try it in all areas or if you are a new hunter but it was great fun trying to keep up with my pet , i did not die once neither did my pet and i went up a full level while farming there as the pet was attacking more targets than i would have done normally , so all in all i would suggest to any hunter try a boar , it is not the looks that some will want but until you get “dash” at around level 33 i think its got to be the better pet

    the boars charge seems to generate far more agro than any other pet i have tried at the lower levels and with different characters i have tried most of them , the other pet that seems to hold agro well is the birds with screech , but of course less available to new hunters and less choice of food

    ohh and as an extra though to those that think engineering/mining is a real money pit i would say it pays well for me i make guns and scopes to sell so far with selling them and the greens i find i have around 150g in gold , and in the bank around the same in copper/tin/iron/silver bars + gems , i will admit i know i farm a lot but that is mostly as i do quests anyway or when i am collecting food to cook for the stats they give when cooked

    i hope this helps the newer hunters a little and i wish i had tried a boar on my main as i had a cat as main pet all the way to about 59 , yes i did try cats,raptors,scorpions,bears,owls,windserpents and whatever else came my way at low level but only tried a boar for a very short time way back then , but now i am sure the boar is my favourite all time pet , some make annoying noises , some seem not to hold as much agro as others do some look great but then that is an individual choice to make

  3. Tzia / Yazmin

    Bookmarked the start of the guide for later toss up on the Hunter Forums. We all know it will happen, might as well have it at my finger-tips when it does.

  4. Tsani

    Pet noises are a personal preferance, but Windserpents may have a little bonus in the Longevity category since their wingflaps are barely noticable (and they have one of the best swimming animations ;p ).

    I’ve tried every pet type out there, and most were released back into the wild 5 minutes later because their noises were making me crazy (e.g owls, vultures, crocolisks, gorilla’s, even the ever popular boar didn’t last long).

    Especially when playing with a headset the noise factor can be important.

  5. Constrictor

    First: Owl or Cat (pets with good damage) to start, because of the hunter’s poor initial damage;

    Second: when you give more damage, a boar or bear to tank the mobs is better,

    Third: when you hunter’s damage is okay, any pet is a good pet.

  6. Xannah

    haha.. funny story, i’m one of those eager hunters who tamed my pet before going into the city to get the train pet skills, my cat lasted all the way to the city, and it’s an elder springpaw… it’s very happy with me and gaining loyalty, leveled from 9-13 since i’ve had it, i think in the last couple days, i was just wondering… is there some way i can name it? it just says Cat and i would like to come up with my own name for it.

    thanks a bunch,

  7. Mania Post author

    Xannah, try right-clicking on the pet’s portrait (which is usually just under yours in the upper left, unless you’ve rearranged your UI). You’ll get a menu that should include ‘Rename’ that let’s you set a name for your pet. You can only do it once (per pet), though, so make sure you pick a name you can live with.

  8. Fiain

    Teldrassil, check. Durotar, check. Mulgore, check. Dun Morogh..?? Everyone knows dwarven hunters are the best. Stone form and find treasure ftw!

  9. Pingback: December Links

  10. Pingback: Mania’s Arcania » Choosing Your First Pet: Azuremyst Isle

  11. Cryptography

    Boars with charge are AMAZING pets. I’ve recently been levelling a few hunter alts and using the omen threat meter. A level 10 cat will generally have 60-80 threat after its initial set of attacks where a boar with a successful charge will have 360-380. Without charge its similar to the cat, 60-80. Bellygrub, just freshly tamed at level 24 will routinely generate 1.1k threat. Such high threat means you can just hammer all your ranged attacks as fast as possible without much chance of stealing aggro from your pig. Its easy diet and decent stats, along with the focus dump gore skill all add weight to the argument.

    Do yourself a favour – get a piggy!

  12. Mikeoneal

    I’ve shared my views on boars in otehr sections, so i want to add something new here. I want to see some changes in the creatures in the game. I’m 70 relying mainly on my Wintersaber pridewatcher with back ups of my raptor and wolf from Blades Edge, but irl I’m a herpetologist in training and i’ve always felt slightly shafted when it comes to my selection of pets.

    For those of us who played Old Wow should know the only reptiles in the game were turtles and crocs (refuse to consider wind serpents reptiles) and while some will disagree i always felt turtles were useless and crocs didnt have enough to make them worth while. then to my excitement they finally added the snakes of ZG and such, but there only good skill was to spit at people?! wtf. Not to mention they were fairly weak and had a horrible habbit of not surviving even simple encounters.

    So what I’d like to see is an upgrade to my scaley friends. An improved bite for snakes with a poison effect maybe, or the ability to camoflage. A more powerful bite for crocs seing as they have some of the largest bite pressures in the animal kingdom, and maybe a tail lashing stun with some damage and a decent cooldown and a bonus to swim speed would be interesting. I’d really like to see a lizard class of Beast like that of Monitor lizards or Komodo Dragons, with a tail lash like that of the croc, maybe use claw as well, and Dash would be cool, but in all fairness would make it HUGELY overpowered.

  13. nite

    I hade a dragonhawk for ages and its fire breath could hold multiple mobs then one day after patch she was no where to be found
    lol posted to gm nothing they could do

    so i tamed grunter the rare boar and the white lion from the hord q hade a horde m8 :) for raiding i use the lion and grinding the boar
    because of its awsome threat gen

    so for me both are good

    Was wondering what is a good pet for pvp?
    was thinking of a scorpid for its poision and claw abilitys
    any pvp hunters have any advice?

  14. Mikeoneal

    Can’t go wrong with the high attack pets like cats and raptors. Tho back in the day and not sure if it still stands to this day but AV frostwolves were incredible mount chasers, able to overtake an epic mount, add in intimidation and theyre screwed.

  15. Bonamassa

    Of course i started with an owl from the nightelf homeland, but later i learned that there are possibilities to learn from other pets. So i tamed an owl in Felwood (yes it took me that long). And am quit content with it. I like howitsflies together with my companion owl. And the dive attack it makes :)However, sometimes you want something new, so I tamed a netherray in Zangarmarsh. Beautiful, but, being a casterclass pet, it didn’t do much. Even after leveling it to 70. Nowadays i use it when i go to town: it looks good and there you don’t need it’s skills.

    Naming my pets: since i “stole” my charactername from a reallife guitarplayer (Bonamassa) i give my pets the names of guitars: Fender (the netherray), Gibson (the first owl) and Takamine (the second owl, from Nagrand).

    No use to anyone i think.

  16. Halewyn

    For a level 10 pet you can’t beat putting some effort in to get the rare skin, for example a red skinned lynx for an alliance character or the white bears for a horde character

  17. Etona

    I know many people state that some of the best starter pets (and pets overall) are boars, but god help me, I can’t stand their squealing. Though I love the thought of having Charge and Gore on the same pet, along with a great diet, I cannot bring myself to own a boar for very long (I’ve tried many times).
    I’m a very aesthetic person as well. I consider the look of the boar (and their mis-timed/placed animations) to be not pleasing at all to look at and watch. It drives me insane how they slide on the ground after attacking due to poor animation. >.<

    Picky, picky me. Guess I’ll stick with my Rak’shiri. ^_^

  18. jordan

    To be honest i cant seem to stay with a pet for a month i always have to get a new one im picky and i went down to echo islands and got a orange and black tiger theyre quite good but its so hard to stay with the same things for ages im trying my best to ^_^

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