"These fiery beasts can't resist chasing after Air Defenses, providing excellent protection for other troops. Once destroyed, they erupt into many smaller, weaker menaces."
Level 1 & 2
The Lava Hound is like a flying fiery Golem, except its favorite target is specifically Air Defenses.
The Lava Hound is a pyrotechnic (volcanic) hound-like creature with wings.
Like the Golem, the Lava Hound deals additional splash damage when it dies, before splitting into Lava Pups.
When the Lava Hound attacks buildings, it bounces up and down slightly while shooting little fireballs at it like a Minion.
Lava Hounds prioritize Air Defenses above all other targets, and will bypass all other enemy buildings and troops while any Air Defenses remain on the battlefield. This is true even if they are under attack by enemy Clan Castletroops, heroes or Skeleton Trap skeletons. Once all Air Defenses are destroyed, they will continue to attack any other remaining defenses. Note that like all troops that prioritize defenses, Lava Hounds do not consider the Clan Castle to be a defense regardless of whether or not it contains enemy troops, but do consider the defending Grand Warden to be a defensive building. Once all remaining defenses are destroyed, Lava Hounds become like any other troop with no preferred target; they will attack the nearest building to them regardless of type, and will turn and attack enemy units if they become aware of any nearby.
Be sure to keep it away from a single targeting Inferno Tower which can kill it with ease. It may be a good idea to bring a Freeze Spell if a single target Inferno Tower is present. The supporting troops will be able to destroy the Inferno Tower before it can take out the Lava Hound. A Multi-target Inferno Tower, while not being much problem to Lava Hounds, is very strong against the Lava Pups it splits into, so don't ignore it.
It's a good idea to send Lava Hounds in pairs so it can soak up twice the amount of damage and to longer distract defenses from other air troops. However, don't use too many, as they are extremely weak offensive units and will be destroyed before they do too much damage to your enemy, even given their prodigious hitpoints.
Lava Hounds may make high-level Giant-Healer strategies more viable, as one of the major reasons it previously failed at high levels was Air Defense damage and number of Air Defenses becoming too many. A Lava Hound may be able to keep the Healer alive substantially longer, giving the Giants enough time to clear a path for the damage dealers.
Be sure to use at least one single-targeting Inferno Tower, which will destroy a Lava Hound with ease.
Lava Hounds are a good choice as a Clan Castle troop for level 5 Clan Castle or higher. While they do virtually no damage on their own, their tremendous hit points allows it to soak up a lot of damage from the attacker while the defenses fire upon them and upon popping, they break down into a Lava Pup which can deal a good amount of damage to the attackers particularly Wizards and Archer Queen.
At level 1 and 2, the Lava Hound looks like a large dog like creature, with a body made of rock. Also on its body are cracks filled with lava. A row of rocky scales climb down its back.
At level 3, the spikes on its back turn into lava color. Its eyes also become larger and more orange. The lava under the skin of the forearms also disappear, and its wings grow in size. Its glow changes a bit.
At level 4, the lava on its body turns a deep red.
The Lava Hound was added in the 16 September 2014 update.
The Sneak Peek picture of the Lava Hound features its head, bearing the words "I smell fireworks..."
You can have a maximum of 8 Lava Hounds at one time in a complete set of fully upgraded Army Camps. This number increases to 9 if you include the 1 that can fit into a level 5 or higher Clan Castle. On the battlefield, you can clone an additional 2 Lava Hounds with two level 3 or higher Clone Spells.
The Lava Hound bears a strong resemblance to the Lava Dragon from DragonVale, another popular mobile game.
The Lava Hound is often compared to the Golem due to its similar statistics and concept (e.g. they have a lot of health but low damage, both taking 30 spaces, and once defeated, they do death damage and subtroops will continue to fight.)
When clicking on an Army Camp, the Lava Hound turns away from the screen.
Some refer the Lava Hound as the offspring of a Golem, Minion, or possibly an Inferno Tower because of the lava similarities.
In the Russian localization of the game, the Lava Hound is called "Hell Hound" literally, sharing the same adjective as the Inferno Tower.
The level 4 Lava Hound has the highest hitpoints among all troops; however, it has lower DPS per housing space (0.53) than any other troop, even lower than the level 1 Golem at 1.27 DPS per housing space.
The Lava Hound takes up the most space of any troop in the Army Camp, along with the Golem (30 housing spaces).
Part of the May 4th 2016 update, the Lava Hound's training time has been decreased from 45 minutes to 15 minutes.
It is only troop that have three preferred target stages (Air Defense - Other Defensive Buildings - Any).
It is also the only troop that targets a specific type of defense.