cynocephaly – the dog heads

There’s lycanthropy, and then there’s Cynocephaly. Cynocephaly means having the head of a dog (or a jackal) and the body of a human.

dog headed animalCynocephaly is often depicted in ancient religious works and renderings. The most likely place you may have seen this is in the artwork and sculptures of ancient Egypt. In fact, two Egyptian gods – Hapi and Anubis are often depicted in this form. In addition, a Christian Saint – Saint Christopher is also depicted as dog-headed!

Werewolves are closely related to Cynocephaly, and sometimes the two are interchanged for each other.  The key difference however is that for the most part, with the werewolf, the entire body is transformed, not just the head.  In Cynocephaly, it’s specifically the head that takes on the animal appearance.  Perhaps a closer cousin to the dog-heads would be the Scottish wulver which also has an animal head – specifically the head of a wolf, and body of a human.

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2 Responses

  1. darkmoonman says:

    Some drawings show St.Christopher as a cynocephalic.

  2. ArgharnaWelyn says:

    @darkmoonman: thats amazing you learn something new every day

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