Dogs are not uncommon in folklore and mythology. They are often seen as companion animals to heroes, gods or goddesses, or are depicted as creepy, foreboding creatures who stalk the night.
A ghostly black dog who is said to stalk the coastline of eastern England is known as Black Shuck — as well as Old Shuck, Old Shock or Shuck. He is depicted as having flaming eyes, and he’s a big, creepy beast. He prefers forests, cemeteries, crossroads, coastlines and bodies of water.
Barghest is a mythological monstrous dog that is also known as Bargtjest, Bo-guest, Bargheist, Bargeist, Barguist, Bargest or Barguest. It has been said to inhabit the north of England, particularly around Yorkshire. It can take many forms and many legends surround it — and it is sometimes thought to foretell death by laying across the threshold of a doomed individual’s home.
Cerberus is the multi-headed dog that guards the entrance to the underworld in Greek and Roman mythology. Typically depicted with three heads, he prevents the dead from escaping, and the living from entering.
The Qiqirn comes from Intuit mythology and is said to cause fits when approached by humans. One way to get rid of it is to call out its name.
Argos was the faithful dog of Odysseus, who, as chronicled in Homer’s Odyssey, recognized his master, who returned to his home in disguise after 20 years of absence. Argos wagged his tail but was unable to get up to greet his master, who, in return, was unable to greet him lest he give his disguise away. Argos died shortly after Odysseus passed by him.
In early lumberjack folklore, you’ll find various “fearsome critters.” The Axehandle hound was one such creature, who is said to have a handle shaped body, topped by a head shaped like an axe blade. Its diet? Discarded axe handles, of course.
Luison is a monstrous creature that is featured in the mythology of the Guaraní people, who live in south-central South America. He was said to inhabit cemeteries and other burial grounds, and was noted to feast exclusively on rotten flesh.
The Pesanta comes from Catalan folklore, and is said to be a giant dog who creeps into people’s homes, sits on their chests — and gives them breathing problems and nightmares.
Cavall was the name of King Arthur’s dog who he used hunting for the enchanted wild boar, Twrch Trwyth. Legend says the dog left his footprint in a stone during the hunt — a stone that would always return to its original place, even if moved.