|Official Name||Calemberger Ardhund|
|Common Nicknames||Snub-nosed Hound, Calemberger Berhednar|
The Calemberger Ardhund is a medium to large-sized breed, whose history goes back to the days of the Wirtemcaller Kingdom. What began as a hunting dog in the various forests, this breed was later developed to be a faithful guard against the incursion of the Skagger Horde and their aggression towards the Wirtemcaller generals by the year 70 AC. In the modern-day, the Calemberger Ardhund has continued its original design as a hunting dog of choice for big game hunters in the Calem regions as well as a guard dog for those with aggressive foes on the field of battle.
The Calemberger Ardhund’s origins is hard to track, but it is widely accepted to have been around since before the beginning of the conflict between the Skagger Horde of Drixagh and the Wirtemcaller Kingdom to its immediate southern border. Initially the dog was used to hunt large game in the forests that dotted the landscape. The flat-faced breed was especially useful against bears and boars; the game that is otherwise considered deadly for the average huntsman. Over time the Wirtemcaller Kingdom would shift in terms of power, weakening internally by the succession crisis of 40 AC before the Skaggers began to look to expand by the next two decades. By the time the Horde went south, the Wirtemcaller Kingdom was heavily fracturing, not being able to withstand the brunt of the forces that pierced through its northern border. Facing this new adversary, the Wirtemcaller generals quickly realised they were outpaced by the aggressive Skagger Berhednars that were able to make quick work of disposing of their command chain on the battlefield. A handful of these generals looked at the noble Calemberger Ardhund and saw potential to train it to take care of these fierce Skagger warriors. The Calemberger Ardhund was quickly trained and bred to go from fighting against bears to fighting against ‘bear-headed’ men. With this transition of function the breed saw much success, being at the side of some of the Wirtemcaller Kingdoms top generals, keeping them safe from assassination by Skaggers in their war camps. While the Calemberger Ardhund proved successful, it inevitably wasn’t enough as the Wirtemcaller Kingdom collapsed in the year 105 AC. When the Regalian Empire stepped in to push back against the Skaggers, the disenfranchised Wirtemcallers joined them along with their Calemberger Ardhunds. While not as popular as it once was, there were still a handful of Regalian generals and marshals who held onto the idea of having a guard dog protecting them. Powerful noble houses such as Cadar and Treppewitz accepted the Calemberger Ardhund as their own, albeit more so as a pet than a tool for war. The latter family later gave rise to the Calemberger Hausweiler. In the modern-day, the Calemberger Ardhund still fulfills its dual function as a capable hunting companion as well as a suitable guard for the most prominent of generals, even stretching its influence to Cultures such as the Dressolini, though with less prominence than the Wirtem who accepted the breed as a part of their storied past.
The Calemberger Ardhund is a medium to large-sized dog two to three and a half feet in height, being the same in length proportionately. The breed weighs in between seventy-seven and one hundred and forty pounds, scaling up between the various height ranges with the tallest being the heaviest, naturally. The head of the dog is round in shape with medium length ears that hang loose off the sides with the muzzle coming off as a short, squashed form, being described as ‘snub-nosed’ a key feature. This feature is believed to be what allowed the Calemberger Ardhund to stand toe to toe with bears and boar, the shorter face allowing for more controlled bites of the jaws and keeping out of the range of claws or tusks. It is this level of control and range that allowed the breed to be useful for engaging with Skaggers, who are highly maneuverable when entranced. The legs of the animal are long, allowing for greater speed when chasing down prey, while also allowing for greater maneuverability as a means for survival. The tail comes off the rear and is medium in length, curling upwards slightly along the length. The coat of the breed is white, black, and a tanned brown shade, being short and coarse along the full body as the adult coat. There is a rare coloration where the black shows signs of dark brown that has a marbled appearance evenly throughout the coat. The snub-nosed snout is exclusively either black or white depending on the majority coat with the white varieties being the only one with a white snout, though some varieties exist that show patches of pinkness where the skin beneath shows through. The chest of the animal is always white regardless of coloration or pattern.
The diversity with the Calemberger Ardhund is standard for most mammals, with the males of the breed being larger than the female with a higher amount of weight. It is the males that can reach the pinnacle height known as the ‘Gargantuan’ size, which maximizes at three and a half feet. It is these massive dogs that were the pride of the Wirtemcallers during the Skagger Wars. Despite being so popular, these breeds never lasted past the fall of the Wirtemcaller Kingdom. Over the years it has become accepted that when the Skagger Horde swept through, they slaughtered this generation of dogs that had posed a threat to their military for so long. Despite this, the genetic makeup to produce one of these Gargantuan classed dogs is still present, however, the idea of doing such is unpopular as military technology has advanced so much that breeding these massive war dogs is unnecessary. A majority of the Calemberger Ardhunds that exist are a modest two to three feet in height.
Life Span and Development
The Calemberger Ardhund is born in a litter of two to three pups. Immediately after birth, the puppies are blind for approximately two weeks and do not open their eyes until after this time. At first, their eyesight is poor but eventually will develop to match the adults. After nearly a year, they’ll have grown to their full height and will shed their softer puppy fur, having it replaced by their adult coat of a more thick texture. At this point, their personalities will also be determined, having reached social maturity. Universally the dogs show a playful personality and can begin training within the first six months.. The lifespan of these dogs is between eight and ten years.
The Calemberger Ardhund is a highly intelligent breed, being able to begin training for their chosen fields of life within six months. The training process to create either a hunting dog or a guard dog is relatively similar as the idea is to be able to latch on and take down large threats such as bears or Berhednars. Despite this aggressive training, the Calemberger Ardhund is anything but, often friendly and playful much of the time, only showing aggression when it calls for the defense of their master. In fact, the dog is considered so gentle that it is often left to play with young children along the forest edge.
Territory and Groupings
The Calemberger Ardhund is a fully domesticated breed, living primarily with the Wirtem. This living arrangement has been in place for generations and shows no chance of ending, being found in both noble castles in the north of Calemberg and in the isolated townships and forest manors of the south. No matter where they are, one thing is certain, that the Calemberger Ardhund is highly territorial as it has been bred this way from early generations.
- Despite being from the fallen Wirtemcaller Kingdom the dog takes the name of the Calemberg Lordship, likely due to the region's history within the old kingdom as a direct border to modern-day Drixagh.
- The Calemberger Ardhund is considered a peasant variety of guard dog with both the Calemberger Dobs and the Calemberger Hausweiler being more popular with higher profile groups in both the nobility and military.
- In an ironic twist, the patriarch of House Zastorzy owns a Gargantuan Calemberger Ardhund. It is alleged that the beast roaming along the southern border of their territory is what saved the house from being destroyed during the Burning of the North.