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Scientific NameCanis lupus familiaris Linn
Common Name Dog, Kutha (Hindi), Naai (Tamil), Kukuraha (Sanskrit)
DistributionThroughout India
Conservation StatusDomesticated
Lord Bhairava with his dog

In religion and mythology

Lord Bhairava, the guardian deity to the abode of Lord Shiva, is usually depicted with a dog or riding a dog as his vahana . Feeding and taking care of dogs is believed to be a way of showing our devotion to Lord Bhairava.

Lord Indra is believed to have a divine dog named Sarama. Sarama is said to have pursued and recovered the cows stolen by the asuras and hidden in the nether world of Patala.

Lord Yama, the Hindu God of death is believed to have two ferocious dogs – Sarameyas (described as the offsprings of Indra's dog). The dogs have four eyes each and they guard the road to Yamaloka.  Lord Yama himself took the form of a dog, while guiding Yudhishtra to swargaloka .

Lord Dattatreya with the four dogs symbolising the vedas

Lord Dattatreya, looked upon as the incarnation of the holy Trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, is usually followed by four faithful dogs, which symbolically represent the four Vedas and his complete mastery over them.

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