Isn’t it fascinating that the word “dog” spelled backward is “god”? Well, this actually makes sense if you are a mythology nerd. During ancient times, several canines were more than just the man’s best friend. They were often the most-worshipped divinities. Read on and get to know 4 celebrity dogs who were venerated by early civilizations.
1. Fenrir, the monstrous wolf
Fenrir of the Norse mythology was the son of Loki (a demon god) and Angerboda (a giantess).
When he was born, along with two other siblings, the wise men of Asgard had a prophecy that the three of them would be responsible for the destruction of the Norse cosmos in the future. Afraid of Fenrir’s strength, the gods bound him with a magical chain made of the sound of a cat’s footsteps, the breath of fish, the beard of a woman, and other mystical elements.
If we will classify Fenrir based on the list of dog personality types first compiled by the American Kennel Club Gazette (AKCB) in March of 1979, he will fall under the aggressive group. Dogs that belong to this category are aggressive, extremely dominant, and can easily be provoked.
2. Anubis, the god of lost souls
Regarded as one of the oldest deities of ancient Egypt, Anubis is the god of mummification and the afterlife. He is depicted as a black dog with pointed ears. His color was associated with the decay of the dead body and the fertile soil of the Nile River Valley, which represented life and regeneration.
Anubis’ job was to ensure the proper burial of the dead. He also stood by them in the afterlife to assist their resurrection. A familiar image of this Egyptian god is the kneeling or standing man with the jackal’s head, holding the golden scales on which the heart of the departed was weighed against the white feather of truth.
Anubis could be classified as an adaptable dog based on AKCB’s list. Adaptable canine’s demeanor is gentle and affectionate.
3. Kerberos, the fearsome watchdog
One of the most popular deities in Greek mythology is Kerberos (or Cerberus). It is the three-headed hound whose job is to guard the entrance to the underworld. In most literary pieces, this mighty watchdog is often illustrated moving along the riverbanks of Styx, which was the established boundary between the living and the dead. Kerberos prevented those who were dead from escaping and kept the living from crossing the river.
Kerberos’ father was Typhon, a large fire-breathing dragon who had big glowing red eyes, a hundred wings, and a hundred heads. Being a dominant and self-assured watchdog, its personality type according to AKCB is confident.
Xolotl was considered to be the twin of Quetzalcoatl, one of the most significant divinities in the Aztec pantheon. Depicted as a man with the head of a raggedy-eared hound, he was worshipped as the god of fire and lightning and was often linked to illness, deformities, and misfortune.
According to a different myth, Xolotl also had the important task of guiding the sun on its precarious night journey through the realm of the dead. He can be considered as an outgoing canine based on ACKB’s classification. Dogs under this personality type possess a flexible temperament that adapts well to different types of environments.
If you wish to know more about other celebrity dogs during ancient times, you may look for Bau of Babylon, the Morrigan of Ireland, and Kitsune of Japan.