Lost Dogs is a double-disc collection of B-sides and other released and unreleased rarities. Lost Dogs sold 89,500 copies in its first week of release and debuted at number fifteen on the Billboard 200 chart. Lost Dogs has been certified gold by the RIAA.
A number of songs included on Lost Dogs differ from the originally released versions, including "Alone", "U", "Wash", and "Dirty Frank". The album includes the hidden track "4/20/02" at the end of disc two, a tribute to Alice in Chains frontman Layne Staley. It was written by vocalist Eddie Vedder during the recording sessions for Riot Act on the day that he heard the news of Staley's death. The song features only Vedder singing and playing the guitar in a ukulele-inspired tuning. According to Vedder, the reason why it was not included on Riot Act was that the band already had too many songs. According to guitarist Mike McCready, the reason the song was only featured as a hidden track on Lost Dogs is because Vedder "wouldn't want it to be exploitative."
"Angel" (from the 1993 fan club Christmas single) was supposed to appear on disc two, but was deleted before release. There is still mention of it on the "lost dogs" flyers on the back cover. Besides "Angel", some notable omissions from the album include various songs only available on other fan club Christmas singles by the band, "I Got Id" and "Long Road" from the Merkin Ball EP, and "Leatherman" from the "Given to Fly" single.
Allmusic staff writer Stephen Thomas Erlewine gave the album four and a half out of five stars. He said, "This is further proof that Pearl Jam consciously turned away from the big, anthemic sound and spirit that won them a mass audience with Ten—they still had the songs and sound, they just chose to bury it. Lost Dogs crackles with that passion and it has another advantage: unlike most of Pearl Jam's albums, it's a fun, compulsive listen. More than any other album in its catalog, Lost Dogs captures what Pearl Jam stood for and what it felt like at their peak."Rolling Stone staff writer David Fricke gave the album three out of five stars, saying that "for an album of odds 'n' sods, Lost Dogs sure sounds a lot like a pack of hits."
Originally from the "Go" single. This version has new vocals and slightly different lyrics and is shorter than the B-side version. The music from this version is from the Ten sessions. Drummer Dave Abbruzzese gets writing credit for this because it wasn't published until 1993 (when all members were getting equal credit), even though it was written a year before he joined the band.
Originally from the Chicago Cab soundtrack, which is from the Vitalogy sessions. This version is an outtake from the Vs. sessions.
"Footsteps" (Gossard, Vedder) – 3:54
Originally from the "Jeremy" single. Recorded live during Pearl Jam's appearance on Rockline on May 11, 1992. The harmonica was not present on the B-side version. The song's music, with different lyrics, also appeared on Temple of the Dog's self-titled LP under the name "Times of Trouble."
"Wash" (Ament, Gossard, Dave Krusen, McCready, Vedder) – 3:48
Originally from the "Alive" single. It also appeared as an extra track on European releases of Ten. This version is a different one than the B-side version.
Originally from the "Even Flow" single. It also appeared as an extra track on European releases of Ten. This version is slightly longer than the B-side version and features quite a bit of the lyrics removed.
Previously unreleased.Ten outtake. All vocals were removed from the original outtake version, making this version of the song an instrumental. McCready recorded a new lead guitar part for this version. Another version of "Brother" with vocals appears on the 2009 Ten reissue and became a radio hit that same year.
"Bee Girl" (Ament, Vedder) – 9:55
Previously unreleased. Recorded live during Pearl Jam's appearance on Rockline on October 18, 1993. "Bee Girl" contains the hidden track "4/20/02" at 6:04, roughly four minutes and twenty seconds after "Bee Girl". "4/20/02", a Riot Act outtake, is a song honoring Layne Staley of Alice in Chains, who was found dead on that date.