Skyrim has plenty of companion and pet options for you. You can ride across Skyrim on a Dwarven horse, be flanked by a goblin follower that sounds like Gollum, and return home to be greeted by your pet mud crab.
But sometimes, people like to keep things simple. Even in a world filled with incredible fantasy creatures, nothing quite beats man’s best friend. Dog companions have always done well in the Fallout series, and with Skyrim, they’re in Elder Scrolls, too.
There are many dogs in Skyrim that you can acquire as companions or pets, but one stands out as the grandfather of them all. I suppose you could consider him the Dogmeat of Elder Scrolls (Who else would like it if Meeko made recurring appearances in Elder Scrolls titles moving forward? Even if only by name?). Today, I’ll be telling you all about Meeko.
You can find Meeko on the road near Meeko’s Shack. The shack is slightly southwest of The Apprentice Stone. If you haven’t discovered this standing stone yet, you can travel northwest from Morthal.
If you’re into Alchemy, I strongly suggest you thoroughly explore the wetlands in this area as it’s a gold mine for alchemical ingredients. Chaurus are prowling around here, though. If you’re a low-level Dragonborn, try to avoid them.
Tracking Down Meeko
Head for the road east (Or west if coming from the north) of Meeko’s Shack as he isn’t inside yet. You’ll find Meeko sitting on the side of the road as if waiting to get the attention of a passerby. Meeko runs away as soon as you get close, back in the direction of Meeko’s Shack. He wants to show you something, so follow him.
The shack is a modest abode with food and dishes on the shelves and not much else. Unfortunately, a dead Nord is lying on the bed. Reading the journal on the nightstand near the bed reveals this Nord was Meeko’s previous owner. He somehow caught a case of Rockjoint and couldn’t get his hands on a cure disease potion, resulting in his death.
He seemed to have been at peace with his death since he was alone except for Meeko’s companionship. He’s sad that he’s leaving his dog behind by himself but was confident Meeko will be fine.
You’re darn right he will be. He’s coming along with us. Speak to Meeko after reading the journal, and you can tell him that he can follow you from now on. And congratulations! You have a dog follower now.
A copy of A Dance In Fire, Book 6 is on a barrel near the shelf. It’s a Speech skill book, and I recommend you not read it unless at a high Speech level. Intentionally saving skill book level-ups can be a pain if the books are in out-of-the-way locations, but this one isn’t, so there’s no point wasting it.
Let’s leave Meeko’s Shack behind and check out the stats of man’s best friend.
Meeko The Companion Dog
Meeko starts at level 10 and will level up with the Dragonborn up to level 25. Once he reaches his level cap, he will have 250 HP.
As you would expect from a dog companion, Meeko is a melee fighter who rushes in to attack anyone hostile towards you. Since he is an animal companion, you can also use a humanoid companion alongside him.
His damage is respectable, even at higher levels. In the early game, he functions decently as a tank if you need to step back for a moment to heal.
In Fallout 3, Dogmeat is a pseudo-god (So long as you have Broken Steel installed) and unkillable in Fallout 4. Meeko is, unfortunately, neither. Meeko suffers from having a bottom-tier level cap of 25 and a low max HP of 250. He cannot be armored like horses and has zero protection against attacks.
He falls off heavily in the late game, and you will find yourself in a perpetual state of John Wick to ensure enemies don’t take him down. While there is some appeal in channeling your inner Keanu Reeves (Because who doesn’t like Keanu Reeves?), the constant babysitting Meeko requires will slow the pacing of adventuring.
As a melee-only companion, Meeko is a sitting duck against dragons until you ground them and can only perform basic attacks. Meeko’s habit of rushing into combat is a death sentence against stronger enemies, and you also have to worry about accidental attacks from you or a humanoid companion.
Mages who use AOE spells will have to do the most tiptoeing, but even a stray arrow or sword slash will do Meeko in since he jumps up to attack enemies and often puts himself in your hit range. You can also kiss stealth gameplay mostly goodbye so long as you have him since, you know, he’s a dog.
Companion AI in Skyrim is pretty horrible, especially regarding traps, and Meeko is worse in that regard compared to humanoid companions. He will quite literally sit on a flame pillar trap and kill himself. Unlike Dogmeat, Meeko does not have an inventory and cannot be a secondary pack brahmin for you. He also will not pick up items for you either.
Meeko also has a habit of disappearing at random. Sometimes you’ll head inside a ruin and look behind you to find Meeko gone. Heck, sometimes he disappears when you leave Belathor’s. Sometimes he will show up shortly after you fast-travel somewhere else, and other times he will go back to Meeko’s Shack.
In this way, he’s at least better than the Stray Dog in his disappearing act since the latter is lost forever if this happens to him.
The only thing Meeko inherited from Fallout 3’s Dogmeat is the tendency to sit in front of doorways or openings and make it hard or impossible for you to move until he does. Sometimes you’ll need to dismiss him to get him out of your way.
I would say that Meeko starts to fall off once you hit level 40. If you want to get the most out of him as a companion, take the carriage from Whiterun to Morthal, and recruit him immediately after leaving Helgen.
Is Meeko The Best Dog Companion In Skyrim?
No, he isn’t. He’s on the same level as the Stray Dog, but both are inferior to Vigilance, who has double the max level and max HP. Bran and Sceolang from the Dawnguard DLC are also better than Meeko. They have the exclusive advantage of being armored war dogs and, as a result, are significantly more durable than Meeko.
Barbas isn’t an official companion, but you can keep him around forever by ignoring his quest, A Daedra’s Best Friend. And unlike Meeko, he’s marked as essential and cannot die.
But let’s be honest; Meeko is a woodlands pet dog, not a Stoutland. It’s not surprising he isn’t the best companion in Skyrim. What really suits him and what he needs after losing his previous master is a new home. Once you have your share of fun with him as a companion, it’s time to retire him to the life of a house pet.
Making Meeko A Pet
Skyrim isn’t a perfect game, and one of the biggest criticisms the launch version of the title received was that you couldn’t make Meeko a pet.
For an unexplainable reason, you cannot task a spouse or housecarl with looking after Meeko at one of your homes. You can’t tell him to stay at one of your houses either. When you dismiss him, he goes back to Meeko’s Shack to wait for you.
Talk about cruel Bethesda.
That all changed with the release of the Hearthfire DLC and the ability to adopt children. If you want to make Meeko a pet, first adopt a child. After that, head home with Meeko as your active follower. Your child will then ask you if they can keep Meeko, to which you can agree.
At that point, Meeko will be your child’s pet and follow them around the house. Unfortunately, pets do not ever go outside their abode, which is a bit of a shame. But at least you can rest assured knowing that good boy Meeko has a loving forever home.
Can You Ever Have Two Dogs At Once?
I guess everyone at Bethesda is a one dog per family kind of guy or gal because you can only have one dog at a time as a pet. You can however have both Meeko and Barbas as followers since Barbas exists outside the standard non-humanoid companion system.
I never quite understood the restriction when Meeko or another dog is a pet since adopted children can each have one pet. But for whatever reason, there’s only enough attention for one canine.
But it’s Meeko. He deserves it.
Meeko Guide: Conclusion
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed in the somewhat underwhelming performance of Meeko in the endgame. If I just had the option of giving him some gear that I could enchant with health buffs, I’d be willing to keep him around. I haven’t had this much trouble keeping a dog alive since the first Fallout (To this day, I can’t get Dogmeat through The Master’s base alive).
In future installments in the series, I hope Bethesda adds more depth to animals as both followers and pets because it’s pretty barebones in Skyrim. If Meeko is going to be the animal mascot of Elder Scrolls moving forward, he needs quite the buff.
Regardless of his flaws, I always take Meeko for some adventures in every playthrough of Skyrim for purely sentimental reasons. I’m a sucker for dogs, even in videogames. After all, who can say no to this face?