A hellhound is a supernatural dog in folklore. A wide variety of ominous or hellish supernatural dogs occur in mythologies around the world.
Features that have been attributed to hellhounds include mangled black fur, glowing red eyes, super strength or speed, ghostly or phantom characteristics, and a foul odor.
Certain European legends state that if someone stares into a hellhound's eyes twice or more, that person will surely die. In cultures that associate the afterlife with fire, hellhounds may have fire-based abilities and appearance.
They are often assigned to guard the entrances to the world of the dead, such as graveyards and burial grounds, or undertake other duties related to the afterlife or the supernatural, such as hunting lost souls or guarding a supernatural treasure. In European legends, seeing a hellhound or hearing it howl may be an omen or even a cause of death.
Hellhounds first appeared in a variety of forms in Super Castlevania IV:
- The first one encountered was the Zombie Dog, which replaced the Black Panther in the entrance halls. It ran straight forward and could be struck down easily. However, after a few moments, it always revived and resumed charging in Simon's direction.
- The second one was the Dead Mate, which could be found guarding a hidden treasure area of that stage, along with its ghost master. It charged through the air in a diagonal direction throughout the area, passing through the floors. You received no points for killing it. Its master, who could not do damage on his own or be killed himself, first sobbed and then disappeared after the dead mate was killed.
- The third one was a red version of the zombie dog, called the Candle Hunter. Whenever it ran past a set of candles, it would knock them down and they would fall to the bottom of the screen.
Twin immobile hound statues could be found at the gates of hedge maze in the villa section from Castlevania (Nintendo 64) and Legacy of Darkness. These would come to life upon unlocking and entering the hedge maze during Reinhardt's or Carrie's quest. They would give chase and, if they touched the hero, they would bite his or her leg, paralyzing them for a few moments, allowing the Frankenstein-like Gardener to take an easy swipe with his chainsaw arm. Like the zombie dogs of Super Castlevania IV and the Gardener, they could be temporarily disabled, but would come back to life and continue their chase.
Fire-breathing hellhounds could be found in Lament of Innocence.
The Dead Mate returns in Dawn of Sorrow. It acts similarly to the Zombie Dog from Super Castlevania IV. It can be found in a couple of rooms in the Silenced Ruins. In order to make the "Dead Mate" entry be recorded in the Enemy list, Soma has to kill the old man instead of the dog, which is more difficult due to the constant appearance of Ghouls and other enemies roaming the area, all while the dog lunges at him, making it more susceptible of being killed first.
|Enemy Data: Hellhounds|
|Image||Name - Game|
|'|| HP: 48|
| 7. Unliving Quarters|
|'|| HP: 16|
| 6. The Halls|
|'|| HP: 8|
| 6. The Halls|
|'|| 1. Ruins of the Castle Dracula|
|'|| HP: 4|| Villa|
|'|| HP: 1|| Villa (Reinhardt and Carrie only)|
|A dog that breathes red hot flames.|| Weak: Ice, Knife, Axe|
| Anti-Soul Mysteries Lab|
|A zombie that protects graveyards together with its beloved dog.|| Strong: Dark|
Weak: Piercing, Slashing, Stone
| Rare Drop: Pudding (4%)|
Soul: Hellhound (32%)
| Silenced Ruins|
- The Dead Mate (called Old Man and Dog in the original Japanese version) from Super Castlevania IV, appears to have been inspired by one of Disney's Haunted Mansionʼs most iconic inhabitants, the Caretaker and Dog.