What Kind of Dog Is Fang From ‘Harry Potter’? Breed Information, Pictures, and Facts

Written by Kellianne Matthews
Published: March 2, 2024
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The tales of Harry Potter have become a global phenomenon, from novels to movies, toys, and even a theme park. The stories follow the young Harry Potter as he transforms from a seemingly ordinary human to a wizard and trains at the legendary Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry Potter’s magical world contains wonders of every kind, from spells and potions to dragons and other mystical creatures — including Hagrid’s faithful dog, Fang. But what kind of dog is Fang from Harry Potter?

Who Is Fang?

Harry Potter books with round shape eyeglasses.

Rebeus Hagrid is a loyal friend and mentor to Harry Potter.


In the Harry Potter series, Fang is one of the many animals cared for by Rebeus Hagrid, the gamekeeper at Hogwarts. Hagrid cares for a menagerie of mysterious creatures, from talking spiders to regal hippogriffs. Although he usually prefers the more challenging and exotic creatures, Hagrid shares his small hut with his beloved canine companion, Fang — an ordinary, non-magical dog. Fang is described as a colossal and formidable black dog, but according to Hagrid, he is a “bloody coward”. Despite his intimidating appearance, Fang is loyal, loving, and affectionate with people he knows. 

What Kind of Dog Is Fang From “Harry Potter”?

In the Harry Potter Book Series…

great dane

Great Danes are sweet and gentle dogs that make excellent companions.

©belu gheorghe/Shutterstock.com

There is a discrepancy between Fang’s character in the Harry Potter books and movies. In the books, Fang is a boarhound or Great Dane, while the films depict him as a completely different breed.

Boarhounds (Great Danes) were commonly bred in Germany during the Middle Ages for hunting deer, bears, and boars. Today, we mainly call them Great Danes. Great Danes, like Fang, are enormous dogs — in fact, they are one of the two largest dogs in the world! Standing 28 to 32 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing 110 to 175 pounds, these dogs are absolute behemoths. But while their gargantuan size is quite daunting, Great Danes are also some of the sweetest and most affectionate dogs out there. They love their human companions and are eager to please. 

In the Harry Potter Film Series…

Neapolitan Mastiff

Neapolitan mastiffs are gentle giants and are both protective and loving.


In contrast to the Harry Potter books, in the movies, Fang was portrayed by a Neopolitan mastiff. Originating in Italy, Neopolitan mastiffs are enormous dogs with powerful bodies and loose, wrinkly skin. They stand 24 to 31 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 11 to 150 pounds. They are sweet and affectionate with their families but remain reserved and wary around strangers. 

In the first three Harry Potter films (the Sorcerer’s Stone, the Chamber of Secrets, and the Prisoner of Azkaban), Fang was portrayed by a male Neopolitan mastiff named Hugo. However, Hugo retired following the third film, leaving Julie Tottman, the head animal trainer for the series, in search of a new animal actor. 

The problem was that Neopolitan mastiffs are a rare breed, and they can be difficult to train and work with. A dedicated animal advocate, Tottman discovered a sad and skinny Neopolitan mastiff named Hercules at an animal rescue. Hercules had allegedly been brought in due to his “aggressive” nature, but it was quickly apparent that the dog was quite the opposite. Tottman renamed him Monkey to reflect his sweet and goofy personality. 

Monkey quickly endeared himself to the cast and crew of Harry Potter and continually entertained everyone on set. Monkey portrayed Fang in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but then sadly died of cancer. Tottman wrote about Monkey in her book, Rescue Me: The incredible true story of the abandoned mastiff who became a movie star. 

Following Monkey’s untimely death, a female Neopolitan mastiff named Uno took over the role of Fang in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. 

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Christian Mueller/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Kellianne Matthews is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on anthrozoology, conservation, human-animal relationships, and animal behavior. Kellianne has been writing and researching animals for over ten years and has decades of hands-on experience working with a variety of different animals. She holds a Master’s Degree from Brigham Young University, which she earned in 2017. A resident of Utah, Kellianne enjoys creating, exploring and learning new things, analyzing movies, caring for animals, and playing with her cats.

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