It is not unusual to find dogs in mythology and folklore. They were widely revered and seen working as companions to heroes and gods, and at times they were depicted as foreboding and creepy creatures that stalked during the night.
Vigilant, Loyal, and diligent are qualities that dogs possess or are known for and were recognized since ancient times. These curious creatures played a significant role in different eras and thus gained prominence in folklore and mythology.
Let’s find out about the most prominent canines in mythology and folklore and their daring life.
When you think of mythological and folklore dogs, this is the first name that comes to mind, and this one here belongs to the latter category. It is a ghost-like black dog who goes by other names, such as the following:
- Old Shuck
- Old Shock
According to mythology, he stalked the coastline of eastern England. He is supposed to have flaming eyes and a creepy and big beast.
He preferred the following locations:
- water bodies
The earliest report of the animal comes from the burial grounds of Blythburgh in Suffolk, where he supposedly inhabited the cemeteries. Local legend has it that it is Devil himself who appears as a great black dog. A story says that on August 4, 1577 – a Sunday – he burst into the church at Blythburgh during the service and killed a couple of people before vanishing as suddenly as he had come.
It is a mythical and monstrous dog known by several other names, such as the following:
He is said to have been an inhabitant of Northern England, specifically around Yorkshire. He is capable of taking many forms, and there are several legends surrounding the same. At times, it could even predict death by lying across the threshold of the home of an individual who was supposed to die.
Cerberus, the multi-headed dog who guarded the “Gates of the Underworld” has made it in Roman and Greek mythology. More often than not, he is said to have three heads.
He was fearless and undaunting and would ensure that the dead could never escape the underworld while the living never enter it. In Greek mythology, he is the child of monsters Echidna and Typhon. He is supposed to be a large animal, and snakes protruded from each of his heads. According to folklore, he carries a large chain that he would use to trap anyone trying to escape from the underworld.
Despite its fearsome appearance, he was rather loving and gentle to people he was close to. Hence, it is in the mythological texts that he was especially fond of children.
He also played with them whenever he had any free time.
He comes to us from Inuit mythology. When humans approach him, they would suffer fits. The only way to get rid of him is to call his name. They are small humanoids who resemble rodents in appearance and are from the Planet of Fire. They are known for their love of trickery, mischief, and preference for fire.
They are small; as has been said already, standing at around 2-3 feet. They are supposed to have furry bodies along with long tails, and they have reddish-brown fur.
He was the faithful dog of Odysseus. He was depicted in Odyssey by Homer as well. He was able to recognize his master when he came back in disguise following 20 years of absence.
When he saw his master, he wagged his tail but could not get up to greet master. Odysseus couldn’t greet him in return as he could not afford to give his disguise away. Argos died after Odysseus had passed him by.
They are supposed to be as big as calves and are black with flaming eyes and horns. They are considered immensely aggressive and would attack both people and animals. Some opine that they are the souls of evil people who have died and have now come back as demons. They are found in Central America, especially in the following countries and regions:
- El Salvador
- Costa Rica
- Eastern England
In some cultures, it’s still believed that if you kill one, they would return to haunt you.
So, if you ever see one of them, you should steer clear of them.
These are mythical creatures hailing from South America and Central America. They are supposed to be large white dogs who have burning eyes. Some people believe they are evil creatures who try to kill people, while others believe them to be helpful animals that are supposed to protect travelers from any danger. No matter what, they are supposed to be rather dangerous and strong creatures.
This creature comes to us from South America as well!
He is half wolf and half man and aggressive with glowing eyes. It is said that he attacked the Guarani people. Moreover, he could transform into a human. In some tales, he is the soul of a person who is dead but has not gone to either hell or heaven and remains in burial grounds inhabiting the cemeteries.
According to some, he is a myth, while according to others, he is a monster. To date, there have been zero confirmed sightings of Luison, but plenty of stories about him.
He was a dog from Greek mythology that Zeus gifted to King Minos. He could kill any animal, no matter how strong or fast it happened to be. His real test came when he was assigned to hunt the Teumessian fox, an animal that could not be captured or killed.
Both of them ran around in circles till the time both turned to stone. This particular story is a reminder of the fact that even the strongest creatures have their limits, and there are some things that we cannot control. The moral of this story is that we should be careful what we wish for.
He is a mythological creature from Scotland and looks like a humongous black dog. He haunted the Highlands, and he is related to misfortune and death. According to folklore, he is an omen of death. If someone sees him, it means death is forthcoming to the person.
Some tales also say that he can kill people with a mere glance. As far as Scottish folklore goes, he is a feared creature. His name comes from a Gaelic word that means evil spirit or demon.
He is a part of Native American folklore and is said to be a giant creature with horns who lived in the Mississippi River. Legend has it that he would attack and kill any human he came across. Native Americans were so petrified of him that they would offer humans as sacrifices to appease him.
The first recorded sighting of Piasa was in 1673 by a French explorer named Father Marquette. He described it as a creature with the body of a lion, wings, and the head of a man.
Read Also: How Are Dogs Related to Hindu Mythology?
Dogs have always held a special place in human culture and have been a part of mythology and folklore for centuries. From the three-headed Cerberus to the ghostly Black Shuck, these incredible dogs have captured our imaginations and become iconic symbols of loyalty, protection, and godliness.
Their legends continue to inspire and entertain us, reminding us of the special bond between humans and dogs that transcends time and culture.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who was the strongest dog in mythology?
Cerberus of Greek mythology was the most fearsome dog in that pantheon. He was fearless and had three heads and a snake for a tail. He guarded the gates of the “underworld” to ensure people never escaped from there.
Who are the fiercest dogs of mythology?
Also known as Pulgae, Bulgae is a fire dog from Korean mythology. They come from the kingdom of darkness and always chase the moon and sun causing eclipses.
Which is the most famous mythical creature based on dogs?
The most famous among all these creatures is Cerberus, the three-headed hound who guards the underworld. He originated in Greek mythology and is the child of monsters Echidna and Typhon.
Who is the most famous dog in Greek mythology?
Cerberus is the most well-known dog in Greek mythology. His primary responsibility was to guard the underworld. He was the most trusted servant of Hades. He is depicted to have been moving along the banks of the River Styx.
Who is the dog of Zeus?
Laelaps, also known as Golden Dog or Kuon Khryseos, was the dog gifted to Zeus by Rhea. His responsibility was to protect the infant Zeus and his nurse – a goat named Amaltheia.