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Popular Ancient Myths Regarding Wolves and Dogs
Source: Wikipedia

Popular Ancient Myths Regarding Wolves and Dogs

Wolves and dogs come from the same ancestor. They are loyal to their masters and thus featured constantly in various mythologies worldwide and revered in many of those as well!

So, let us look at some of the most talked about ancient myths regarding wolves and dogs. You would find plenty of stories, sculptures, and carvings depicting the existence of dogs in human history. According to legends, dogs were among the first animals that humans petted, dating back to 15,000 years.

However, modern research shows that it may have happened even earlier than that! The dogs we see today have descended from the domesticated versions of the wolves.

Cerberus

The Most Prominent Dogs in Greek Mythology
Source: Wikipedia 

This three-headed hound is a part of Greek mythology. His master is Hades, and his parents are Echidna and Typhon. Legends say that Cerberus may have had 50 – or even 100 – heads, and his tail looked similar to a snake. He guarded the gates of the underworld.

He was a faithful watchdog for Hades, the master of the underworld. Anyone who was allowed to enter Hades was never allowed to leave. However, some individuals could do so, such as a musician named Orpheus, who put him to sleep by playing soothing music.

Hermes, the herald of gods, also achieved this by using water from a river named Lethe that would make you forgetful. The means used by Hercules were not as subtle. He had been given 12 laborers as a punishment for the terrible violence he had committed, and the final one was to bring Cerberus from the underworld. He wrestled and captured him and then dragged him away from Hades. When his saliva dropped on the ground, it created the first poisonous plant.

It is said that anyone who looked at the dog turned to stone.

Argos 

Argos
Source: Wikipedia

He is a faithful hound from Greek mythology. His master was Odysseus. This dog had made its place in Odyssey, an epic poem written by Homer, and was known for how good a hunter he was. Odyssey had left Troy so he could return to Ithaca, his homeland.

He was coming back home after 20 years. Most of Ithaca, except Argos, his wife Penelope, and his son Penelope had thought he had died. Even when Odyssey appeared disguised as a beggar, Argos recognized him after 20 years.

Unfortunately, Odysseus could not greet him properly, as doing so would have exposed his identity. However, Argos was simply happy to see him live, and when he finally saw him after such a long time, he let out a loud cry before he breathed his last.

Laelaps

Laelaps
Source: Wikipedia

He is a golden hound from Greek mythology who can always catch his prey. Zeus was his master. He was given to Zeus when he was a baby. There is a good chance that this is the dog that Zeus gifted to his lady love- Europa. Zeus was deeply in love with Europa. He took her to the island of Crete and gifted her the dog, and she then gifted it to the king of Crete, Minos. Minos gifted this dog to Procris when the latter cured him of a terrible disease.

Procris, who knew his abilities, sent Laelaps to capture the Teumessian fox. Now, the fox was never “captured” before by anyone. It created a paradoxical situation where a dog who never missed his prey was hunting a fox who was never to be caught. Zeus, who understood this would be an endless cycle, turned them both to stone, and as such, they were both forever frozen in the chase.

Read Also: The Most Prominent Dogs in Greek Mythology

Faerie 

Faerie 
Source: Wikipedia

This breed of dog is a part of English mythology. These dogs looked much like wolves. They were as big as young bulls. Locals feared these beasts as they were supposed to be bad omens. If you saw them, you could die before time as well! These dogs barked three times, and you could hear them from a mile away.

If you heard the terrifying sound, you needed to move to safety from where you could not hear the third bark. Otherwise, you are doomed.

Nursing women in their vicinity are usually locked up in their rooms. Because if you do not do so, the women would be kidnapped and forced to supply milk to the dogs.

Gwyllgi

These dogs are part of Welsh mythology. These are dogs – as big as bullocks – with red eyes. They haunt the lonely roads of the country, and if a traveler ever saw one, it was supposed to bring bad luck to them.  

Basenjis 

Basenjis

It is a breed of dog found in Africa. It cannot bark because its larynx is said to be shaped unusually. Instead of that, they produce a sound that is similar to a yodel. As per myths in Africa, a Basenji named Rukuba stole fire and made the fire god angry. As a result, the god took away his ability to vocalize the way other dogs.

Anubis

Anubis
Source: Wikipedia

He was a god from ancient Egypt who looked like a combination of a wild jackal and a dog. He was associated with and worshipped as the deity of burial rites and deaths.

He is the son of Osiris, one of the principal gods of Egypt and Nephthys. Both were related to death and worshipped as deities of such. They accompanied dead kings in the underworld, where Osiris judged the kings. Anubis usually placed a feather and the king’s heart on either side of a scale. Based on the results observed by Thoth, the messenger of the Sun and god of wisdom and learning, the king’s place in the afterworld was determined.

Black Shuck 

Black Shuck
Source: Wikipedia

It is a dog of doom that was supposed to roam the coastal areas of Suffolk, Essex, and Norfolk in England. Legend has it that he presages great misfortune and death.

Fenrir

Fenrirx
Source: Wikipedia

This giant wolf is the son of a giantess named Angrboda and Loki, the god of mischief in Norse mythology. He is said to be the most infamous in that particular pantheon. No one could contain him from wreaking havoc across all the nine worlds, and he once swallowed Odin entirely as well.

Gelert 

Gelert
Source: Wikipedia

He is a deerhound from an 18th-century Welsh folktale killed by his master Prince Llewellyn because of a grave mistake. It is mentioned in the mythological text that the prince left him in charge of his newborn son while going out on a hunt. When he returned, the room was in chaos, the baby was nowhere to be seen, and Gelert had blood on his muzzle. The prince murdered the dog for supposedly killing his only son before he heard the baby cry. He soon found that Gelert had killed a wolf and saved his son.

The prince was so distraught with his mistake that he buried Gelert and erected a small shrine at his gravesite. Even now, tourists visit it when they come to Beddgelert.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Narrate a legendary wolf myth

It is said that the son of Pelasgus, Lycaon, served Zeus, the king of gods, a meal made using the remains of a sacrificed boy, and this angered Zeus, who turned him and all his sons into wolves.

Q: Name some dogs who feature in Greek mythology

Cerberus, the three-headed dog who was a pet of Hades and a guard of the underworld, is a prominent name. You also have the goddess Artemis who used dogs for hunting.

Q: Who is the most famed wolf in all mythology?

Fenrir, or Fenrisulfr, is a monstrous wolf from Norse mythology. He is the son of Angrboda and Loki. He is the most well-known wolf in all mythology.

Q: Narrate an ancient legend regarding dogs

According to Greek mythology, a three-headed dog named Cerberus guarded the underworld’s gates. If a human ever set their eyes on him, they would turn to stone. He was the final labor of Hercules too.

Q: Narrate an Indian myth about wolfs

Krishna had created thousands of wolves from his hair to convince the people of Vraja to migrate to Vrindavana. The wolves were used to frighten and coerce people to do so.

Conclusion

Dogs were always superior intellectually. The mythological texts truly depict the heroic deeds of the dogs of the bygone time. It also reflects the process of domestication of dogs that started in the earliest times.

Swati Kaushal is a blogger who loves writing about Dogs. She is happy to amplify her unique knowledge and experience through DogExpress in the hope of helping and educating concerned pet owners. She has two dogs and believes dogs are a source of unconditional love.
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