Dogs in Hindu, Indian, and Asian
Traditions: a Bibliography
Contributed by Ithamar Theodor, University of Haifa
Below please find a collected list of bibliographical items as well as
some relevant helpful remarks.
An excellent starting point (and place to mine for other bibliographic
references) is David White's Myths of the Dog-Man.
Also, see Sarah Cheang's "Women, Pets, and Imperialism"
Journal of British
Studies 45.2 (2006): 359-387 (for Chinese references).
Stephanie Jamison's The Ravenous Hyena and the Wounded Sun has a great
Hopkins, Edward Washburn. "The Dog in the Rig-Veda." The
American Journal of
Philology 15, no. 2 (1894): 154-63.
Nelson, Lance. 2006. "Cows, Elephants, Dogs, and Other Lesser
Atman: Reflections on Hindu Attitudes towards Nonhuman Animals." In A
of Subjects: Animals in Religion, Science, and Ethics, ed. Paul Waldau and
Kimberley Patton, 179-193. New York: Columbia University Press.
David Gordon White did a series of articles on the story cycles of
in the Ramayana and deals with Brahmins who eat dog meat, and are
associated with dogs. See his 'Myths of the Dog Man' where at least some
this material is collected:
Much of the material he covers appeared as articles in the 80s before
published in book form and thus may be a cheaper route (the book is listed
87.50$!). Sorry I don't have these article references at hand.
You might have your colleague look also at David Dean Shulman's the
Hindu tales of filicide and devotion" which has a section on the
the boy Shunahshepa (dog-penis).
See here: http://tinyurl.com/3oxjlv9
There was an extended discussion on dogs ("dogs as psychopomps")
in India and
Iranian mythology and iconography on the Indo-Eurasian Yahoo list a few
ago; you might have your colleague check the archives as that may render
additional sources of value to them. Here is where you can catch part of
thread (scroll to bottom to see further discussions):
Dogs were vital assistants in the royal hunt throughout Eurasia (Thomas
"The Royal Hunt in Eurasian History", University of Pennsylvania
and are mentioned in this capacity as early as the Rigveda (7.55.4 and
10.86.4). But although the Mahabharata contains narrative accounts of many
different hunting expeditions, the only one that mentions a dog is the
Pandavas' hunt at Mbh 1.123, in which the dog sniffs out Ekalavya and gets
mouthparts perforated as a reward. I presume this reticence to mention the
hunter's canine companions -- except where an affinity with the nishada
be suggested -- is to do with the dog's reputation as an 'impure' animal,
explored in White's aforementioned book.
Wendy Doniger covers dogs fairly extensively in her recent book The
is her custom, she explores a variety of narratives and presents a complex
on dogs in Hinduism.
I recently had a discussion with somebody who claimed that his
always fed "ritual food" to dogs, crows, ants, and cows.
Although most other
traditional Hindus did not prefer dogs as pets and regarded them
Dog was (perhaps most famously) the last companion of Yudhishthira in
journey before encountering heavenly gates at the end of the Mahabharata.
Dog was also adopted as one of the companions by Lord Dattatreya, a
deity in South India.
Like many other animals, dog is portrayed as a faithful companion in
Hindi film: Teri Meherbaniya.
Revised: October 13, 2011