|Common Nicknames||Three-headed Demon, Demon-Dog, Kathar War Dog, Dread Dog|
In the war-torn lands of the Dread Empire, there lives a range of dog-like creatures called the Cauruvos. These dogs, though three-headed, fulfill many of the same purposes as canines in Ailor lands; as docile domestic pet animals, and as frontline warbeasts, shredding the flanks of the enemies of the Kathar. Away from the warfront, the smaller breeds of Cauruvos can be found in the homes of many Zolathar and Saivalthar as house pets and in the camps of Bakrathar, guarding their masters while they sleep. Cauruvos come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, the result of selective breeding from the Kathar per their needs. However, one trait, despite all their efforts, has prevailed through all breeds; the Cauruvos is bred for war.
The Cauruvos has no beginning origin that is documented, whether it is because these creatures were a freak accident or if they were the result of a Void ritual gone wrong. What is known about these dogs, however, is that they exploded onto the forefront of the various war efforts the Dread Empire has led, shedding the Altalar custom against pet ownership. Thanks to their versatility in terms of size and fearlessness, the Cauruvos was quickly incorporated into as many facets of Kathar society as possible, from the classic domestic pet, to herding Shadow Bovine like mundane sheepdogs, to running the field of battle alongside their Dread masters. There even exists a sect of religious fanatics that utilise the Cauruvos as temple guardians. In the present day, Cauruvos can be found all across Saivale, largely domesticated thanks to their theorised artificial origin, though some packs of larger, feral canines roam the continent.
Cauruvos as a species come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, sometimes directly lending off of the physical appearances of other dogs, and can be placed in four different categories: War-bred, Hunting-bred, Herding-bred, and Toy-bred. The smallest known Cauruvos was rumoured to have only been nine inches tall, fitting in the palm of its owner’s hand without so much as an issue, with a distinctly unpleasant and shrill bark. The smaller variations that do exist, known as the Toy Cauruvos, are incredibly hard to find, as they tend to be functionally useless beyond looking cute and, as such, do not live very long, unsuited to the harsher lifestyles and uses the other breeds face in wider Kathar society. Several such sub-breeds of the Cauruvos live a cushioned life in the upper echelons of Kathar society, pretty house pets for the Saivalthar ruling classes. These breeds tend to come in much, much smaller ranges. Despite any variations of fur quality and type, they all share the same colouration across all classifications. Due to Void Essence that mutates their species, all Cauruvos have a black base coat with a slight purple sheen. Some patterns exist within the standard black coat, but all tend to lean on the darker side - dark gold, deep auburn, and a red-rust being the most common mutations in the fur patterns, but always leaning towards black.
Even with the wide range of traits from the different classifications, the Cauruvos all have three separate heads with three very distinct personalities from one another, and three different possible eye colors: red, gold, and pitch black. They do not always get along, sometimes leading to the three heads fighting over food or toys.
As mentioned earlier in the article, there exists four separate classifications for the Cauruvos, each filling a particular niche or job across the Saivale continent and within Kathar society as a whole.
- War Class: Ranging from thirty-eight to forty-three inches tall and weighing an average of one hundred and fifty pounds, the War Class is favoured for exactly what they are named for; war. This breed is known for its vicious behaviour and wretched temperament toward anyone that is not their bonded handler or breeder. This class of Cauruvos sports three boxy heads with shorter, sturdy muzzles meant to assist in gripping a victim, with ears that fold over. Being the largest of the breeds, they have stocky bodies with thick front legs and incredibly muscular haunches and back legs to assist in propelling them forward. The most common fur type for this subspecies is short and sleek, though some are known to have longer fur more alike to the Herding Class. This class of Cauruvos is known to be vicious, bonding to only one or two people throughout their lives and only barely tolerating others in their peripheral. Females of the War class tend to be larger and more vicious than the males, often chosen first in litters over males. This particular breed is widely accepted as the military’s favourite class of Cauruvos and it is exceptionally rare to see a Zolathar General without at least two at their side.
- Hunting Class: Hunting Cauruvos share the same proportions as the War Class, though are generally slimmer and sleeker, sometimes difficult to distinguish from their bulkier relatives. These Cauruvos, being the second largest of the classes, have stocky bodies with strong front legs and haunches to assist in propelling them forward. Their muzzles tend to be longer than the War Class, to allow them to flush out prey hidden in burrows or holes. Hunting Class are born with large, upwards-pointing ears and long tails, though depending on the breeder and owner, some of these dogs may have their ears and tails cropped. The Hunting Class Cauruvos exclusively have sleek, short fur with no variation of length or texture, but come with a variety of different patterns. They are sometimes mistaken for their larger War Class cousins, but their pointed ears and sleeker body build, as well as their mild temperament, set them apart. It is common to see half-breed Hunting and Herding class Cauruvos, as these two are favoured amidst the Shenathar and Bakrathar people.
- Herding Class: Herding Cauruvos have smaller heads and longer muzzles, a more streamlined silhouette body style to assist with their speed and to help them avoid getting kicked in the head by the Shadow Bovine they herd. These Cauruvos have thinner, sleeker body styles built for speed, and while still broad chested, the rest of their body tends to be more narrow than that of the War and Hunting classes, with long tails of soft, flowing fur. Herding Cauruvos have lengthy, thick fur that gives them a fluffier appearance and have the most notable mutations in fur patterns. Certain Herding Cauruvos are known to be prized herders, with particular lineages highly sought after.
- Toy Class: The more pampered Toy Cauruvos species are significantly smaller, with even smaller heads, some with flattened muzzles that make them good for nothing but companionship, and typically have horrendous snoring and breathing problems. Toy Cauruvos are useless outside of the home, with short, stubby legs, and plump bodies with typically curled tails. They grow no taller than twenty-two inches and can weigh up to fifteen pounds. Toy Cauruvos have a variety of fur types, from short and coarse to long and silken. While they are still of the Cauruvos species, their fur tends to be inverted in colours - with blackened muzzles and paws and a lighter base coat, as opposed to the larger working classes of the species. This is due to the selective breeding to have the dogs be nothing more than pretty trinkets and pets to play with, rather than actual functionality. This particular class of Cauruvos are the favourite among the Saivale and ruling classes.
Lifespan and Development
Female Cauruvos go into heat every other month and often have to be separated from one another, as they grow far more temperamental and vicious during these times. Their gestation period lasts only two months, after which they give birth to a litter of anywhere between two to ten pups, depending on their habitat. Wild or feral Cauruvos give birth to litters of only two or three, with the scarcity of resources leading to only one or two of the litter living. These pups will remain with their mother until they are approximately four to five months old, after which they are separated and taught their various jobs. Wild Cauruvos pups remain with their mother until they break off to create their own pack or simply remain at their mother’s side. The standard lifespan for any Cauruvos is twenty years, barring illness or job-related death.
While most Cauruvos today have been domesticated, there still exist stray and wild Cauruvos that lean more into the feral mindset of their forefathers. These are incredibly difficult if not impossible to tame as Cauruvos pups tend to bond to an owner within the first six weeks of their lives; if they fail to, these pups are generally considered lost causes, feral and unable to be salvaged. Feral Cauruvos are decidedly hostile and will attack anyone and anything if they feel their territory is threatened.
Territory and Groupings
Cauruvos are inherently pack-minded creatures, despite their heads not always getting along. It is not strange to find stray Cauruvos wandering around in packs of three to four, but the more feral of the species can have packs of numbers well into the dozens. These packs are never too far from civilization, nor are they ever too close, preferring a safer middling distance that allows them to raid travel routes free of attention from heavier armed guards in the cities.
- Exceptionally large Cauruvos are rumoured to protect the various tears in the Veil across the world, the infection of Void and Exist Essence so intense that they are three or four stories tall.
- There is a variation of Cauruvos that are Exist-infested, rather than Void-infested, which exist on Drowda, that are white and silver with glowing blue eyes.
- Kathar that keep Cauruvos as pets have four separate names for them. One name for each head and a fourth name that the dog responds to as a whole.