Canine characters were a recurring theme among the Defenders.
As Beast began to consider himself a mainstay member of the group, he decided to get a pet dog. Introduced in Defenders #122, Sassafrass would remain a loyal companion and provide (unnecessary) comic relief throughout the run of the New Defenders.
Determined to stop ex-wife Patsy Walker (a.k.a. Hellcat) from marrying Daimon Hellstrom, Buzz Baxter assumed the criminal identity of Mad-Dog (#125).
The hero Red Wolf helped the New Defenders on one occasion. Although Beast indirectly asked Red Wolf to become a regular member of the team, Red Wolf's strong ties to Cheyenne nation prevented him from uprooting (#139).