An affectionate and dextrous puppy, Dogmeat's skills as a four-legged scavenger and ferocious fighting companion were not lost on his first master, who was recently killed by raiders in the vicinity of the Scrapyard. Dogmeat has tracked the raiders down, loyal to the end.
His name is a homage to the Dogmeat from Fallout, and, according to the developers, he is a descendant of the Vault Dweller's original canine companion that died in a horrible accident involving a force field.
If enemies are nearby, Dogmeat will growl. Since he's coded to be a higher priority target than the Lone Wanderer, Dogmeat will draw attackers' attention away from the him/her.
When instructed to find something, Dogmeat is capable of bypassing locked containers and doors, allowing access to items in containers beyond the Lone Wanderer's ability to pick.
Dogmeat can sometimes go missing for long periods of time when asked to find something, sometimes even days.
The point being: Use Dogmeat to find things nearby that you cannot locate, such as corpses.
At level 22 (with the Broken Steel add-on installed), the Puppies! perk can be taken so that when Dogmeat dies, a puppy appears at the main door of Vault 101. However, since installing Broken Steel makes Dogmeat (along with several other followers) virtually indestructible, the usefulness of this is debatable, especially considering that Dogmeat has a lot of health at that level.
In Dogmeat's dialogue, there are "Scold" and "Praise" options. These however, do nothing at all and appear to be there purely for flavor.
His right eye is brown, while his left eye is blue. This is known as complete heterochromia.
If you tell Dogmeat to wait in Megaton, and then blow the town up, Dogmeat will be alive outside of the Megaton ruins.
If the Lone Wanderer attacks Dogmeat until he becomes hostile, but you decide not to kill him and run intstead, then he may seem to disappear. Simply wait three days and return to Vault 101. He will be waiting in his usual spot.
The following is based on Fallout 3 cut content and has not been confirmed by canon sources.
Before the release of Fallout 3, the process of how to recruit Dogmeat had only been shown as a small clip as the player holds something out to the wounded dog. The item is not revealed. Dogmeat was said to be found in a random encounter, which would appear in different places depending on where the player ventures to, but was meant to appear early on to help develop your bond with the dog. This was scrapped in the released game.
End of information based on Fallout 3 cut content.
Dogmeat is modeled after the dog in Mad Max 2 (aka The Road Warrior). The main character Max, played by Mel Gibson, had a dog that wandered with him. Dogmeat is the same breed as Max's dog, an Australian cattle dog.
The namesake for "Dogmeat" is Vic's canine companion, "Blood" (also called "Dogmeat" by Vic) in the movie "A Boy and His Dog" (1975) starring Don Johnson and based on the novel by the famed sci-fi author Harlan Ellison. This movie dealt with post-nuclear war survival with "Dogmeat" apparently conversing with Vic as they both scour the wasteland for food and women.
pcps3xbox360 In Little Lamplight, if Dogmeat is following you and you go into the testing chamber to explore, Dogmeat may appear dead while exiting. Then while leaving a room or house, Dogmeat's dead body will spawn outside next to where you entered. This bug does not mention to you that Dogmeat has been killed resulting in Dogmeat's body still taking up a companion slot. Dogmeat will also still be shown blinking. This also can happen to Jericho.
xbox360 During the Blood Ties quest Dogmeat may disappear from the game after talking with Vance about making a deal with Arefu. Loading a previous save doesn't fix the problem.
ps3 The game might crash if you try to talk to Dogmeat while the battle is still ongoing in the Scrapyard.
ps3xbox360 Through use of the Paralyzing Palm perk (or any weapon with a knockdown affect), Dogmeat can store items whose weight total exceeds 10,000 lbs. However, asking him to fetch you an item at any time will return all stored items. If you ask Dogmeat to return to Vault 101, you can pickpocket him and store items too.
ps3 Despite being sent back to Vault 101, Dogmeat has shown up inside of the West residence in Arefu. After going outside, Dogmeat does not follow.