The Big Dawgs

The Big Dawgs Slot Review

Slot Provider: Pragmatic Play

RTP: 95.97% | Variance: High | Maximum Win: 5,000x

Our Score: 8.4

Play at Barz Casino

WHY YOU CAN TRUST THIS REVIEW: The information and opinions on this page are the result of an comprehensive process of information gathering and live game testing by the gambling experts who work at Find out more here.

About The Big Dawgs

Reviewed by:

Published Date: 18th December 2023

How We Review Slot Games

We test and rate all slot games across 5 criteria, assigning a score out of 10 for each and an overall score that is an average of the 5. To build an accurate assessment of each game we gather information from the supplier and play in real play or demo mode. Find out more.

The Big Dawgs is a cartoon hip-hop themed online slot from Pragmatic Play played on a 5×5 grid with a unique system of horizontal and vertical win ways to score pay outs on. Tumbles follow every win where multiplier wilds drop into spaces left by winning lines. Clear the grid and you could enter the two free spins rounds with up to 10 free plays and a progressive multiplier.

This really fun slot was highly volatile in testing but great fun to play. It has a 5,000x max win and spins start at 20p. It will be available in UK slot sites from 8th January 2024 – check out more January releases by Pragmatic Play.

The Big Dawgs Game Information

  • RTP: 95.97% | 95.01% | 93.99%
  • Variance: High
  • Maximum Win: 5,000x
  • Progressive Jackpot: No
  • Reels: 5
  • Rows: 5
  • Paylines: 2,304
  • Minimum Stake: £0.20
  • Theme: Music
  • Features: Wilds, Multiplier Wilds, Colossal Wilds, Free Spins, Tumbles

Testing Notes: Here’s What Happened When We Played The Big Dawgs

IMPORTANT: To give you an accurate assessment of the games we review our writers play 200 spins. Whilst this is a useful tool to help us review games and to give an example of what might happen when you play, keep in mind that 200 spins is only a very small sample and cannot be used to accurately predict what might happen over another 200 spins. The outcome of all slots play is always random.

Boom Or Bust? Our Session By The Numbers

I played 200 spins on The Big Dawgs on Pragmatic Play’s test servers prior to release to test the game. This is what happened.

  • Stake Size: $1
  • Start balance: $100,000
  • End balance: $99,995.90
  • Hit Rate: 18.5% (37 winning spins in 200)
  • Biggest Win: 11.9x
  • Free Spins Round: 1
  • Session Time: 17 minutes 17 seconds

This was a really fun game to play though I should warn it feels like a tight play. It could have just been an unlucky run but a hit rate sub 20% is quite unusual. Anyway, to offset that, when you do hit a win it I found it can grow quite quickly thanks to the wild and multi wild feature. The colossal wilds which landed 4 times were always a massive help in that respect. The biggest win I landed – an 11.9x – came from landing a 2×2 on reels 1 and 2. OK, the win isn’t huge but it did trigger lots more wilds firing off which was fun and with a bit of luck the win could have been much better. Other colossal wild wins were 6.05x, 3.75x and 5.3x.

An 11.9x win in The Big Dawgs
An 11.9x win from a Colossal Wild in testing

The free spins round dropped just once when I cleared the DAWGS letters on the middle reel but amazingly it produced absolutely NO wins at all!! Another indication of how tight this slot can be.

A 5.2x win in Big Dawgs
The free spins round didn’t add to the 5.2x win from the triggering spin

Overall, though this was an enjoyable 200 spins on a game that has some real originality about it, and whilst the hit rate felt too low and the volatility a little too high, it’s still one I would come back to.

What We Liked

  • Fun horizontal and vertical win ways game engine
  • Colossal Wilds are powerful in scoring big wins
  • Free Spins come with progressive multipliers
  • Fun cartoon dog and hip hop theme
  • Wilds and multi wilds come with each tumble

What We Didn't like

  • Only 5,000x top win
  • High volatility makes this a tight play

The Big Dawgs Review Scores

  • Theme and Design 9
  • RTP and Variance 8
  • Maximum Win 7
  • Symbols and Paytable 9
  • Features and Gameplay 9

What Our Reviewer Says ...

"An unusual high volatility slot with a fun cartoon theme, great tumble and wilds features and win ways that makes it stand out from the crowd!"

Overall Score: 8.4

Theme & Design

Our Score 9

A Fun Back-Alley Design And Cracking Hip Hop Sound Track

The Big Dawgs is a hip-hop themed game featuring a pack of rough-looking back-alley dogs all wielding dangerous weapons and led by a vicious cigar-smoking pit bull. In the back drop its night time, street lights flicker and trash cans and graffiti tell you this is not the kind of place you want to be hanging around on your own, whilst the cartoon style still keeps things fun. There’s a nice hip hop soundtrack for those who like their beats, complete with scratching and barking dog sounds. Animations are fun too and production is of a high standard. As far as audio and visuals go, I’d say it’s one of Pragmatic’s better efforts.

The BIg Dawgs by Pragmatic Play
The Big Dawgs – a fun cartoon style excellent soundtrack

RTP and Variance

Our Score 8

What is RTP?

RTP (Return to Player) refers to the amount a game will pay out in cash prizes expressed as a percentage of all the money wagered on that game. For example, a 96% RTP means a game will pay out £96 for every £100 wagered. This is an average number and will vary from one session to the next.  Read more here.

What is Variance?

Variance refers to how far a game will deviate from its RTP over time. High variance games deviate a lot and produce uneven win distributions and unexpected windfalls. Low variance games provide a more stable and even distribution of wins. Read more here.

The Big Dawgs has THREE RTP settings – 95.97%, 95.01% and 93.99%. It will be your slot sites’ choice which level you play at so check the game info page once you load up to find out where the RTP level is. I don’t recommend playing at less than 95.97% which itself is just a little under average. My research has shown that MrQ from Lindar Media consistently offers the best RTP for Pragmatic Play slots. That would be a good place to play this game.

And the volatility is cranked up to the max – no surprise there as Pragmatic Play are on a roll with their high variance games. Expect an uneven win distribution like we found in testing.

Maximum Win

Our Score 7

What Is Maximum Win?

Maximum win refers to the maximum amount a player can win from one spin. It is expressed as a multiple of the stake. For example, where the maximum win is 100,000x, from a £1 stake, the maximum win would be £100,000.  

This game has a maximum payout of 5,000x. That is not impressive for a high variance slot, certainly well short of the highest potential games available right now, but it is what we are used to from this developer.

Symbols and Paytable

Our Score 9

The Big Dawgs plays out on a 5 reel and 5 row grid with a unique and innovative win ways game engine. You can score wins by landing 3 or more identical symbols on adjacent reels from left to right starting from ANY reel, or on adjacent rows from top to bottom starting on any row.

That gives you 2,304 win ways on each spin.

Pay symbols have great value in this game. There are 10 in total. Low value ones are the paw print, scissors, baseball bat, knuckle duster and grenade. These are valued at from 0.15x for 3paw prints on a line up to 5x for 5 grenades on a line.  The 5 premiums are the dogs themselves, valued at from 0.25x for 3 of the dozy one up to 25x for 5 of the toughest-looking of all!

There are also TWO types of wilds to look out for. The standard wild substitutes for all pay symbols to help complete win ways. The multi wild does the same but also carries a 2x multiplier which comes into play when two or more are part of a win.

Features and Gameplay

Our Score 9

There is some exciting feature action to understand before you start spinning, including tumbles, colossal wilds and TWO free spins rounds. Here is how they work.

Special Tumble Win Sequences

First up is the Tumble Win which is a little different to what you might expect. After each win, winning symbols drop off and existing ones drop down to fill the spaces. However, this is not a game where new symbols drop in too. Instead, any new winning combinations are simply paid out and the process repeats until either no more wins are formed OR the grid is totally clear.

You get a helping hand here from the wilds.

So, if a win way is formed which is made up of low paying symbol then the middle position in the line is replaced by a standard wild before the other symbols are removed. And if a win way is formed made up of premium symbols then the middle position is replaced by a Multi Wild before the other symbols drop off.

Look Out For Random Colossal Wilds

Watch out for The Big Dawg colossal wilds which comes in 2×2 or 3×3 size and drop at random. They perform the standard role of a wild .. just bigger!

Colossal Wild in The Big Dawgs
A Colossal Wild lands on reel 1 and 2 in testing

Extra Multiplier For Screen Clears

I like this one! There is a special bonus if you clear the grid completely of all symbols except for wilds and multi wilds then you will have a random multiplier of 2x, 3x or 5x applied to the total win value.

Two Free Spins Rounds With Extra Multipliers

Another feature that makes this game stand out from the crowd is the free spins configuration. As you are playing you will notice that the word DAWGS is printed on both middle reel and middle row.

If by the end of your spin and tumbles you can reveal the word EITHER horizontally OR vertically then you will get the Dirty Dawgs Free Spins. If you can reveal it BOTH horizontally AND vertically then you get into the Double Dawgs Free Spins

Dirty Dawgs Free Spins

How does it work?

You start with FIVE free spins and you have a progressive multiplier on each one. Every tumble will increase your multiplier by 1x. Sadly, it RE-SETS between spins which is kind of annoying. However, you can get yourself an extra FIVE spins by revealing the word DAWGS horizontally or vertically. And, again, if you reveal the word BOTH horizontally and vertically then you will set up the Double Dawgs Free Spins to be played when your current free spins round ends.

You can actually line up multiple Double Dawgs Free Spins in this way.

Clear the middle reel or row to trigger free spins
Clearing the middle reel to trigger free spins in testing

Double Dawgs Free Spins

So, the headline feature is this one. It works the same as the rest of the game but you have TEN free spins in this instance and your progressive multiplier that grows by 1x with each tumble DOES NOT re-set between spins. So, you can see how you can grow a huge multiplier here and score some really big wins.

The Final Verdict

The Big Dawgs is my pick of January 2024’s releases from Pragmatic Play. Putting aside the unforgiving volatility that showed itself in testing there is a lot to like here. The production is excellent and the gameplay itself is exciting thanks to the system of win ways both horizontal and vertical. Once you get going with a sequence of wins including those multi wilds it can be a real thrill. The Colossal Wilds were my favourite moment, always delivering a nice win, and whilst my glimpse of the free spins round was brief and not lucrative, the configuration itself tells you that it can really go off on a good day thanks to those progressive multipliers.  Overall a great game and one that is definitely worth spending some time on.

Useful Tips When Playing The Big Dawgs

Remember, online slots are games of chance, there is NO strategy that can improve your odds of winning. However, reading our review and following these tips will help you get the most out of your time playing this slot game.

1. Start With A Low Stake

I felt like this game had a very high volatility – check the hit rate in testing for proof of that (18.5%). So, to absorb those tight spells with no return and stretch your balance further I recommend setting a low stake. The minimum is just 20p.

2. Watch Out For The Powerful Colossal Wilds

Good things always happened when I landed a 2×2 or 3×3 Colossal Wild in testing. These always triggered a win and set off a sequence of tumbles, wilds and multi wilds and whilst the biggest win was just 11.9x the potential was obvious.


3. Remember Win Ways Go Horizontal AND Veritcal

It can feel a bit disorientating at first but remember that wins can be triggered by landing identical symbols on adjacent positions both vertically AND horizontally. That makes for exciting sequences when you add in those tumbles!

4. Only Play This Game At Licensed UK Slot Sites

We have chosen the sites on this page and others on our site because they are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission which means that they offer fair, safe and secure slots play under UK law. Never play at unlicensed sites.

Who Made The Big Dawgs?

  • Name: Pragmatic Play
  • Established: 2015
  • UK License: Remote 046683-R-325951-014
  • Total Games: 500 +
  • Known For: Wide range of themes and styles, live casino including gameshow formats, and bingo
  • Popular Slots: Fruit Party, Dog House Megaways, Big Bass Bonanza, Release the Kraken
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