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Our dogs are our best friends. They’re sweet cuddly, friendly, and bring light and life into our lives. Moreover, they’re also great guardians. They serve and protect. In fact, some dogs are trained in the field of safety and are better guardians than any human could ever be. As lovable as they are, there is something about them that makes them the perfect addition to a spooky tale. Such as can be seen through the Grim in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and Stephen King’s Cujo. They can easily double back from friendly companions to creepy, foreboding creatures that stalk the night.
Ancient mythology and folklore are no foreign territory for dogs. While they can be depicted as paranormal and foreboding, some dogs in mythology and folklore can also be shown as companions to heroes and guardians to forbidden treasure. Here are a few legendary dogs from ancient myth and folklore.
1. The Guardian of the Underworld
Cerberus is one of the most popular dogs in mythology. The three-headed beast stands guard at the entrance to the Underworld. Cerberus allows spirits to enter and sees to it that they never leave. However, he’s no mere dog. He has three heads, a serpent tail, lion claws, and a mane made out of snakes. He is one of the most prominent canines in Greek mythology. This hellish hound is the original guard dog.
2. The Bad Omen
The Barghest is one of the most chilling creatures seen in English folklore. Also called the Boguest, Bargtjest, Bargheist, Barguist, Bargeist, Barguest, or Bargest, this monstrous canine is said to roam the north of England, appearing in any form. The Barghest is most known for being able to foretell death. If a Barghest is seen laying on the threshold of a person’s home, the legend dictates that the person will die before the end of the day.
3. The Nighly Stalker
The black shuck is deathly black, has flaming eyes, and can be seen stalking the eastern coastline of England. Also known as the Old Shuck, Shuck, or Old Shock, the giant beast prefers bodies of water, coastlines, cemeteries, crossroad, and forests.
4. The Faithful Companion
Argos is the famed creature from Homer’s Odyssey. He was a faithful companion to Odysseus, recognizing his master even though Odysseus had been gone for twenty years and was in disguise when he returned. Argos showed his recognition by wagging his tail, not wanting to approach his master, as that would ruin his disguise. He was intelligent and faithful until the very end.
5. The Fearless Hunter
Cavall was a great hunter. He belonged to King Arthur, who used him to hunt the elusive Twrch Trwyth, which was a much sought after, enchanted wild boar. There are numerous legendary dogs in mythology, folklore, as well as history. Dogs are guardians and as history dictates, they do that job very well.