Guide to Hunter Pets in Battle for Azeroth

Hunter pets are being streamlined in Battle for Azeroth. You can no longer freely choose the specialization for each of your pets because each family has a set specialization. Pets from all three specializations — Ferocity, Tenacity, and Cunning — will all deal the same DPS and have the same amount of baseline health and armor, but they will be differentiated by new and powerful abilities. Additionally, every pet family now has some a special family ability (even if many of them are duplicates of others). All Exotic pet families (Beast Mastery only) have at least 2 special abilities.

As we are still in beta, none of this is final. This post will be updated whenever new pets are added or changes are made.

Latest Update (June 28): 10 MORE STABLE SLOTS!

New Pet Families

Blizzard is adding 4 new pet families to Battle for Azeroth. These aren’t fully implemented yet, but we can gather most of the info from datamining.

Pterrordaxes (Exotic)

Specialization: Cunning
Special Abilities: Ancient Hide and Updraft

We don’t yet know the full extent of what’s tameable here, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that the 3 main styles of pterrordax will be available: Classic, MoP, and BfA.

View looks @ Petopia

Krolusks (Exotic)

Specialization: Tenacity
Special Abilities: Bulwark and Calcified Carapace

This is a new creature type being added in Battle for Azeroth and they have their own family.

View looks @ Petopia


Specialization: Tenacity
Special Ability: Swarm of Flies

The long requested toads are finally here! This includes the MoP style toads you will remember from the Timeless Isle and elsewhere on Pandaria and Draenor, and it should also include the new style of toad seen above.

View looks @ Petopia


Specialization: Tenacity
Special Ability: Grievous Bite

In addition to the new Saurolisks (shown above), this family also includes Diemetradons and Sabertusks.

View looks @ Petopia

Pet Specializations Overview

Blizzard is simplifying each the specs by giving them all the same core abilities and differentiating each one with a strong passive and active ability.

All Specializations

  • All pet families have a set specialization that cannot be changed.
  • All 3 specs will deal the same damage and be equally effective as tanks.
  • All specs have Growl and Dash, plus their appropriate basic attack (Claw, Bite or Smack).
  • When you enter a dungeon, Growl’s auto-cast is automatically turned off to avoid pissing off your tank (you can turn it back on if you want). When you leave the dungeon, it gets flipped back on automatically. Now if they could just populate the pet bar when you get a new pet.
  • Avoidance has been changed to also reduce the range at which enemies will aggro your pet by 6 yards. This should help with your pet accidentally pulling mobs when you try to sneak by them.
  • Each family will have a special ability. They’re all just clones of the same handful of abilities. For example, Bats have Sonic Blast and Spirit Beasts have Spirit Shock. Both do the same thing.
  • All Exotic families have at least 2 special abilities.
  • Battle resurrection is being removed from Hunter pets completely.
  • Heart of the Phoenix, Last Stand, Roar of Sacrifice and other old passives have been removed. Worth noting that Quilen retain the Heart of the Phoenix but are the only pet to do so.
  • All hunters get 10 more stable slots.

Ferocity Specialization

Ferocity is best suited for situations where your group needs blood lust, or just general usage. The leech will help keep your pet alive while soloing, but it won’t add up to much healing for a BM Hunter since so much damage is pet based. MM and SV Hunters should actually see a noticeable effect from this healing.

  • Predator’s Thirst: Passively gives you and your pet 10% leech.
  • Primal Rage: Increases haste by 30% for 40 sec for the group (Blood Lust). Yes, all Ferocity pets now bring Blood Lust.

Cunning Specialization

Cunning is best suited for PVP, or any PVE encounters where you are frequently slowed or rooted.

  • Pathfinding: Passively increases you and your pet’s movement speed by 8%.
  • Master’s Call: Removes all roots and slowing effects from your pet and your current target (it will default to the Hunter if you have no friendly target selected). Can also be used to quickly recall your pet to you.

Tenacity Specialization

Tenacity is best suited for dungeons and raids for the extra health and damage reduction cooldown, which could easily help you survive some of the more hard-hitting mechanics.

  • Endurance Training: Passively increases you and your pet’s maximum health by 8%.
  • Survival of the Fittest: You and your pet take 20% reduced damage for 6 seconds (3 min cooldown). This will be valuable in dungeons and raids for extra survivability.

Pet Family Ability and Specialization List

Pets are sorted by their primary ability type. If any families have extra abilities, those will also be listed. Exotic pets are highlighted.

Ability Categories
50% Damage Reduction 60% Damage Reduction 30% Dodge Chance
50% Snare debuff Tranquilize & Dispel Mortal Wounds debuff

50% Damage Reduction (1 min cooldown)

Your pet takes 50% reduced damage for 12 sec on a 1 min cooldown. Can be manually cast or auto-cast when the pet’s health gets low.

Family Specialization Abilities
 Beetle  Tenacity
 Boar  Cunning
 Mechanical  Cunning
 Scalehide  Ferocity
 Shale Spider  Cunning
Krolusk Tenacity
 Turtle  Tenacity
 Core Hound  Ferocity

60% Damage Reduction (2 min cooldown)

When falling below 40% health, your pet takes 60% reduced damage for 15 sec on a 2 min cooldown. Cannot be manually activated. Note: The cooldown is twice as long as the other style of DR, but it lasts 3 sec longer and reduces damage by 10% more.

Family Specialization Abilities
Bear Tenacity
Clefthoof Ferocity
Goat Cunning
Gorilla Ferocity
Oxen Tenacity
Pterrordax Cunning
Quilen Tenacity

Note: Stone Armor only gives 40% DR, but it also gives a 45% heal. This is a unique ability. Eternal Guardian is the same as the (now removed) Heart of the Phoenix, and is unique to Quilen.

30% Dodge Chance

Your pet gains 30% additional dodge chance for 20 seconds. Can be manually cast or auto-cast when the pet’s health gets low.

Family Specialization Abilities
Cat Ferocity
Dragonhawk Tenacity
Feathermane Tenacity
Fox Cunning
Monkey Cunning
Serpent Cunning
Toad Tenacity
Wind Serpent Ferocity

50% movement speed debuff

Your pet reduces the movement speed of its target by 50% for 6 seconds on a 10 second cooldown.

Family Specialization Abilities
Basilisk Cunning
Bird of Prey Cunning
Chimaera Ferocity

Note: Froststorm Breath is still not really useful for combat since your beast cannot do any other attacks during the channel.

Crab Tenacity
Crocolisk Ferocity
Dog Cunning
Silithid Cunning
Spider Ferocity
Tallstrider Ferocity
Warp Stalker Cunning
Wolf Ferocity
Worm Tenacity

Note: Burrow Attack is still not really useful for combat since your beast cannot do any other attacks during the channel.

Tranquilize and Dispel

Your pet removes 1 Enrage buff and 1 Magic buff from its target on a 10 second cooldown.

Family Specialization Abilities
Bat Ferocity
Crane Tenacity
Moth Cunning
Nether Ray Ferocity
Spirit Beast Tenacity
Sporebat Cunning
Stag Tenacity
Water Strider Cunning

Mortal Wounds debuff

Your pet reduces the healing taken by its target by 25% for 10 sec on a 6 sec cooldown.

Family Specialization Abilities
Carrion Bird Ferocity
Devilsaur Ferocity
Direhorn Tenacity
Hydra Tenacity
Hyena Cunning
Lizard Tenacity
Raptor Cunning
Ravager Ferocity
Riverbeast Tenacity
Rodent Cunning
Scorpid Ferocity
Wasp Ferocity
Ability Categories
50% Damage Reduction 60% Damage Reduction 30% Dodge Chance
50% Snare debuff Tranquilize & Dispel Mortal Wounds debuff

Updated Pet Models

In addition to new looks for existing families to be found on Kul Tiras and Zandalar, several old world pets are having their models revamped. If you’ve already tamed them, their models will update automatically once patch 8.0 hits the live realms. Below you’ll find a selection of a few of the revamped models.

Petopia also has a full list of all the model revamps.


  • May 25, 2018: Silithids and Clefthooves now have new exotic abilities, Rylaks now merged with Chimaera (actually happened a couple weeks ago but I missed it). This means all exotic families now have at least 2 abilities. Primal Rage for Ferocity pets no longer has a Focus cost associated with it (a much needed change).
  • May 16, 2018: Added the new BfA pet families: Krolusk, Toad, Pterrordax, and Lizard. New exotic ability for Shale Spiders.
  • May 8, 2018: Improvements to the 2-minute cooldown damage reduction abilities. Pretty quick turn around after I sent in this feedback! Was 50% for 12 sec, and is now 60% for 15 sec. I still think the other style of DR is better, but this helps.

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37 thoughts on “Guide to Hunter Pets in Battle for Azeroth”

  1. In the alpha, and also so far in the beta I have found that while out questing/leveling Ferocity pets had MUCH better survivability than Tenacity pets. The leech was far more useful than the extra health. The damage reduction definitely has it’s place when fighting high-damage mobs, but just out in the wild, I found myself switching over to Ferocity for 99% of the time.

  2. Hey Bendak!
    Thank you for the summary.
    My future team will look like this: Quilen (tanking with own spontaneous battle rez), Spirit Beast (for raids where you often have to dispell) and Nether Ray (for raids where I have to put bloodlust because again there is no mage or shaman). The other two spots will remain open for new beautiful skins. Don’t usually look at them before a new expansion begins and then let me be surprised what’s new around me.
    What will your team look like?

    Greetings from Northern Germany!

  3. Thanks for the nice overview.

    Sadly it looks like pet family choice is being removed :(.

    I wonder how tanks/groups will react with multiple bats flapping in front of them.

    P.S. the mouse-over/link for Updraft for Rylaks points to “Sonic Blast”.

    1. I feel the same way about Mechanicals being Cunning. If you don’t spend a lot of time PVPing, it feels like 1/3 the pets are sort of unavailable to you. I guess PVPers feel the same about the Ferocity and Tenacity pets.

      I think the changes to the specs are fine, but I wish you could still change specs. Actually, I think it would be a neat perk for BM to be able to change specs of their pets.

    1. yeah i think if they had to take one or the other away from us with lust and brez i would rather have lost lust tbh

  4. Long story short
    Get used to run your stag as sv/mm and spirit beast as bm in pve dungeons – permanently for the expansion.
    More health and an additional defense timer to assure your survival (tenacity) and the dispel …

    With Tranq shot on the pet instead of the players it will be expected of you to run with the dispell option. Especially since – for a hunter – dispelling doesn’t require a ‘player character gcd’ to purge a buff.

    But I need ferocity for bloodlust/heroism
    Yes you will just swap pets for that on m+ groups – no way in hell will groups pass on the dispell option if it just forces you into a simple pet swap.

  5. Bendak, quick question about tamable pets on beta. I found there are wild versions of the feral and protection spec forms that the zandalari trolls are supposed to be using and the feral version is tamable! I play a troll hunter (sv ) and really love this pet model but feel it won’t make it to live. Any info on this particular pet tame making it to live, or is this just a big tease?

    Thanks for your awesome posts!

    1. I tamed one too! I have no idea if they’ll make it, but beta tends to be filled with teases when it comes to taming so my gut says it will be fixed. But you never know. There is a new family coming as well.

      1. I noticed when I did tame mine that it has cat abilities up until today! Now it has no family talents or even base pet things.. so I’m thinking it’s to be reversed to untamable.. it was once a cat with a tiger skin before as well. I’ll enjoy it’s look while I have it though!! Cheers!!

  6. Why they chose to give Direhorn mortal wounds over a DR is sad. Don’t get me wrong, Mortal Wounds makes perfect sense with the family but we are talking about a Triceratops, one of the heaviest armor plated dinos in RL, only the Ankylosaur comes in at the top. Direhorn should have gotten some sort of DR either the better “shell” or the lesser it wouldn’t have mattered. Plus we have an abundant amount of families bringing the healing debuff.

  7. Hi there! Excellent write up, I have been waiting for something like this. I did some hasty comparisons of each tree and their abilities, and attempted to find the optimal families for various situations. This is the quick, short list I made. Note that (x) indicates BM is required:

    * Cunning + MW: Rodent/Hyena/Raptor

    From what I can gather, cunning would be the best spec and reducing healing would likely be the best ability, given the fact that many classes have abilities to escape movement debuffs, while reducing healing is a less common debuff and might be able to impair the enemy more greatly (especially if their healer is overwhelmed and has to make the choice between dispelling that debuff or spamming heals: either option is a reduction in the healing received per time prior to the debuff’s application).

    PvE (group):

    * Dispelling and Lust: Bat/Nether Ray
    * Dispelling and Tenacity (if Ferocity is undesirable): Spirit Beast (x)
    * General use: Quilen (x)

    If Lust is needed, then ferocity is a given. If it is not, though, then it would be most likely better to run with tenacity in raids or dungeons. I could not think of a scenario where dispelling would not be beneficial in a raid or dungeon compared to say a damage resistance ability, so I did not include it in this section. Also, among those that fit both the dispelling and tenacity categories, only the spirit beast comes with extra features, so it stands out as the better choice. The general use choice is based on the 40% reduction, 45% heal, tenacity, and also self-res feature which allows the hunter to avoid having to use focus or a GCD on reviving their pet.

    PvE (solo):

    * Lust + DR: Scalehide/CoreH(x)
    * Lust + Dodge: Cat/Wind Serpent

    For soloing, I have heard that the pet leech from ferocity is more beneficial than tenacity’s benefits so I went for ferocity pets only here. I then looked at the damage mitigation categories and chose the dodge chance and 50% DR categories, as I feel that the 60% DR is comparatively weaker still, as you said in your post as well. Whether or not the dodge or the DR is better would have to be observed in game, and it may change depending on pet level due to dodge’s diminishing returns.


    * Water Walking: Water Strider (x)
    * Slow Fall: Feathermanes (x)/Rylaks (x)

    These are just pet families that provide some nice utility for things like getting around before unlocking flight, or for fishing out in open water.

    If there is anything else I should consider, let me know! I love doing stuff like this.

    1. I have what may be a stupid question here. If and when I choose to use a bat or nether ray, should I just leave their dispell on autocast (assuming it goes off whever there is something to dispell) or should I work to trigger it myself? Thanks!

  8. Can we take a moment to complain that Primal Rage, the lust ability, costs 50 pet focus.

    Ugh. Probably an oversight, but ugh. Impossible to use on time.

  9. Hey Bendak. Are Skyscreamers becoming tameable for the New Exotic Pterrordax family. I really wanted these new creatures when the pre patch for BfA comes live.

  10. The gun in that latest screenshot looks amazing. What is it called, and where do you obtain it?

  11. Hey Bendak, I would like to point out that Sabertusks are NOW in the lizard family. Speaking of lizard, your is stunning, where did you tame that coloring? My girl, yes girl was the Sauralisk matriarch, has the Gila Monster skin color and I LOVE her, I know the current size isn’t going to go live but make you wish there was a mount. One problem I have with the sauralisk is they are using the current Warpy animation and the nature geek in me is saying monitor lizards don’t move or run like that. Btw my white Krolusks’ skin color change, its now a sandy dune hue which is very nice.

    1. Those Lizards are in Drustvar, on the central coast, near where that quest is to stop the girl from being lynched for witchcraft.

  12. Those Sabertusks are the Bomb guys. I really love those pets. I am not getting those until I buy the Expansion for BfA at August 14th, 2018.

    1. Yes, while the Sabertusks and Bramblebark bears are awesome there is a chance Blizzard could place a “Cannot Be Tamed” flag on them come live even though the hunter community has been asking for tamable “druids” for a long time, they could still switch the code come live.

  13. Having this information in chart-form as you set it up is very handy, I’ve been referring back to it whenever I consider what pets to use next expac. Thanks for setting it up

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