Arcanine is a quadrupedal, caninePokémon with an orange pelt marked by jagged black stripes. It has diamond-shaped ears with beige insides, black eyes, a round, black nose, and two pointed teeth protruding from its upper jaw. Its head, muzzle, and chest are covered in shaggy, beige fur, except for two oval sections around each eye and ear. Long tufts of fur grow behind its elbows and around its ankles. Its underside is black, and it has a billowing, beige tail that is bent in the middle. Each paw has three toes and a round, pink pad.
Arcanine is a fiercely brave and loyal Pokémon. It is capable of running 6,200 miles in 24 hours with a speed and grace reminiscent of flight. In Generation I, Extreme Speed was its signature move. Arcanine has long been admired for its beauty and speed, and anyone who hears its bark will grovel before it. The source of its power is a flame blazing wildly inside its body. Being the result of an evolution via Evolution stone, Arcanine is rarely found in the wild, but when found, it is usually seen living in prairies, and Pokémon Snap has also shown it living in active volcanoes. In the anime, it was shown that it stashes food in its mane and carries it to its nest for its young.
In Hisui, Arcanine has a slightly different look due to the volcanic activity of the environment it lives in. Its body fur is red-orange while its muzzle, mane, tail, eyebrows, and tufts of fur behind its elbows and around its ankles are gray, and the insides of its ears are light gray. The gray fur is made out of igneous rock components. Its cheek mane, ankle fur, and tail form into curls. Its elbow fur resemble wings. It has a large horn in the center of its head and three small horns between its head and ears. Its mane form into curled clumps at the back of its neck and large rectangular clumps on the sides and bottom of its neck. The rectangular clumps have light red-orange markings on them.
Hisuian Arcanine uses its fangs while engulfed in flames to snap at foes. Despite how deceivingly bulky Hisuian Arcanine is, it moves around nimbly like a dancer. This allows it to lead opponents in a merry chase while avoiding them at the same time.
A special Hisuian Arcanine is worshipped by the Hisui people due to it being one of the 10 ancient Pokémon who received a blessing from Arceus. It is one of the Noble Pokémon who resides in Cobalt Coastlands watched by a Warden.
In The Stolen Stones, Keegan owned an Arcanine, while Ramona owned two others. Keegan's Arcanine was nicknamed Arcky. The Fire-type Pokémon were used to deliver some Fire Stones that were meant to be used as prizes for a local Fire Pokémon tournament. Keegan and Ramona later used their Arcanine to save Ash, Misty, and Brock from falling off a cliff.
In flashbacks in Keeping In Top Forme!, Marley used an Arcanine when she was first attacked by Team Rocket, in order to send them blasting off. Later, she used Arcanine to escape when she was confronted by them again.
Crystal has an Arcanine, nicknamed Archy, which first appeared in Slugging It Out with Slugma. She uses him for transportation at times. He is able to hit targets fast and hard using Extreme Speed. As explained in a flashback in Lively Larvitar, Arcanine was a wild Pokémon from Mt. Mortar whose left eye was injured five years before. The cause was revealed to be a Larvitar prankster, which Crystal later managed to catch, regaining the confidence that was ruined by her failed capture of Suicune.
Arcanine may be based on the Ryukyuan シーサー shisa, or 狛犬 komainu, mythical creatures that resemble a mix between lions and dogs. Statues of them in pairs are used as guardians that invite good spirits and repel evil ones. Its stripes and coloration are reminiscent of tigers. It could also be based on the Xiezhi, a mythical fire-eating dog with similarities to lions and tigers. It may also draw inspiration from dogs with brindle ("tiger-striped") coat patterns, such as the 甲斐犬 Kai Ken. Growlithe and Arcanine also share traits with the now-extinct canid species known as tasmanian tiger, given its orange fur with black stripes.
In its Hisuian Form, its Rock typing and appearance may be based on the Komainu statues. Its ankle fur and tail resemble plumes of smoke.
Arcanine may be a combination of arcane and canine. It may also derive from arson, given its Fire-typing.