Maschiff and Mabostiff

I mentioned there were three different two-stage dog lines in Paldea, and that I actually liked them all, so here's #2! Maschiff is a dark type based on a mastiff, though its chunky, squat-legged, neckless proportions are more along the lines of a bulldog or a pug. It has a proportionately rather large mouth full of jagged teeth, but it's modeled so its eyes always make it look worried and nervous. The dex says it's difficult for opponents to take it seriously and it goofy expression tends to make children laugh, but it can actually "crunch through boulders."

Maschiff evolves into Mabostiff, and what a charming dog Pokemon! It retains that compact bulkiness we were talking about with thick legs, a very large face and no obvious neck, but most of that is probably fur. It's a thickly shaggy dog with an even more worried-looking face, its big black mustache-like jowls and upturned grey eyebrows giving it this look like it just heard you were terminally ill and it's waiting for you to reassure it that you're going to be just fine. Of course, that sweet demeanor only hides bigger and nastier teeth than before:

I'm not sure any Pokemon shifts quite so dramatically between an innocent and ferocious persona in its attack animations, snapping from tired, worried grandpa to pure murder as soon as it opens its mouth. This ties into its subtle motif as a "mafia boss," which is in its name, a bit of Marlon Brando's Godfather character in its face, and that it's said to be ferociously protective of whomever it considers its family. Awww!

There's even a major questline in Scarlet and Violet where you help another character nurse his beloved dog back to health, and they chose Mabostiff for the role. I appreciate that dark Pokemon are seldom treated as actually villainous. They're ruthless, but sometimes that's a good thing to be when it protects something important. This is a Pokemon that would canonically take a hit out on anyone who disrespects it at its daughter's wedding but it is also a good baby who deserves cuddles and a minimum of "too many" treats!

All Scarlet/Violet sprite animations ripped by adamsb0303!