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Canis Familiaris, the domestic dog

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Chapter Summary

The domestic dog is basically like the other members of the dog family; actually, the name of the family is derived from that of the dog. The majority of dog sculptures in a Hindu context illustrates the dog's role of companion of Shiva in his terrible manifestation as Bhairava from the ninth century onwards. The early examples are difficult to tell apart as dogs, they may equally well be jackals. The later examples represent without doubt domestic dogs. Next in frequency are the carvings of hunting dogs, mostly figuring in scenes with Revanta, the god of hunt from the seventh or eighth century onwards. Shala, the founder of the Hoysala dynasty, has a hunting dog for assistant when he kills the lion. Dogs as temple guardians are extremely rare, and seem limited to Nepal.

Keywords: Bhairava; domestic dog; stone sculptures; temple guardians

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