Top 5 Most Essential Animals for Your Fort in Dwarf Fortress

Dwarf Fortress artwork
Image via Bay 12 Games

Dwarf Fortress is a notoriously complex game that attracts more and more fans despite its difficulty. One segment of the game, particularly useful for the resources, is animals. Still, due to the sheer number of options, you may get overwhelmed and confused regarding which animals you should focus on or embark with.

This guide brings you our selection of the most essential animals for your fort in Dwarf Fortress so that you can reap benefits and speed your progress up right away.


It’s gobble-gobble time up in this fortress! These animals are quite low-maintenance but come with valuable benefits—eggs and meat. They only require nest boxes, which you can easily make after you embark, but don’t keep them in a small area, or they will start fighting. Start with one hen and one gobbler and then forbid your dwarves from touching the eggs. Soon, you will have a real turkey farm that will bring more eggs than any other domestic birds.


As another great option for resources, sheep will most likely make you glad you chose them very early on. Each animal requires a small patch of land for grazing (2×3), but this requirement is nothing compared to what you get—milk, wool, and meat. You can also consider replacing sheep with goats since they cost fewer points.


If grazing area is the problem in your biome, pigs are great animals to begin your game with as they don’t require much. You can easily keep them underground but still get a constant supply of meat and milk (no wool in this case, unfortunately). Another great point is that they cost the same as sheep.


Just like in real life, these small creatures are adorable and useful for keeping vermin in check, but they are so independent that you can’t turn them into pets—cats choose their dwarves and not the other way around. It is a good idea to bring only one cat when embarking. If you have too many and they all become pets, let’s just say that your fort will not be a happy place if something bad suddenly happens to all those cats.


When embarking, you can get a regular dog or an already-trained version (war or hunting). Even if you choose the basic version, these man’s best friends will keep your fortress safe—not just by defending but also by recognizing thieves and ambushers.

And that concludes our list of essential animals for your fort in Dwarf Fortress. Let us know which animals you like to embark with and feel free to check out our other Dwarf Fortress guides, including How to Get Unicorns in Dwarf Fortress or How to Get and Use Magma Smelter.

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Top 5 Most Essential Animals for Your Fort in Dwarf Fortress


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