|Official Name||Snowpaw Felicis|
|Common Nicknames||Snowdog, Whitefur|
The Snowpaw Felicis is a canine creature that originates from the snowy plains of Ithania. It bears a close resemblance to the many wolves of Aloria, though it is drastically different in its behavioural patterns. The Felicis plays a part in the Ithanian way of life and culture, especially through interaction with the highborns of the realm who prize the creature for various reasons; not limited to merely its fur, but also for its loyal behaviour and mating patterns. Richer families also have been known to involve the Felicis heavily with any hunting sport they may partake in, although the animal is less than ideal for this. The canine is especially close to the Valeur population of the Ithanian culture, and it is hardly uncommon to see an Ithanian family crest decorated with the animal.
The Snowpaw was originally encountered in their natural habitat of the Ithanian tundra when culture was just beginning to sprout, after the population had been split from their Elven masters. The first encounter with the Snowpaw was in 12 AC by tribal humans, whereas they first started becoming truly domesticated by 60 AC. Whilst the creature is now domesticated as a house pet, this was not the case previously. The Felicis acted as a vicious adversary for the people attempting to capture it, and gave them no quarter when they were hunted. This is partly why the white pelt of the Felicis is prized in Ithanian society today, as they have been hunted ever since the Ithanian culture crawled out of the mud, and were an abundant animal during this time. As time went on, however, the Snowpaw became a target for domestication due to its dog-like appearance. A Snowpaw Felicis can be found in the wild as they still have very wolf-like instincts, though their domesticated cousins are just as commonly sighted as pets among high ranking Ithanians. Due to their mating habits, they’re becoming far less common in the wild, though their cultivation in modern society as housepets is leading to a steady rise in their population exclusively in domestication.
This particular breed of dog is heavily suited to its native tundra environment, as it sports a thick, snowy white pelt that easily conceals its presence in areas blanketed with snow. Variations of the fur come with lighter ginger tones or occasionally darker and more greyish tones. These colour dissimilarities are often spotted in patterns across their back or tail. There have been purely grey Felicis spotted over the years, though they’re particularly rare to find and infamously harder to domesticate. Their pelt universally comes in whiter tones, bar their black snout and whatever color eyes, (curiously ranging from blue and brown to green,) that they may have. The Felicis’ ears are pointed and long, as well as their snout which is equally as slender. Their paws are exclusively white in tone; it’s not uncommon for hunters to find patches of Snowpaw hair scattered about during the summer months, which is when the Snowpaw takes a week long hibernation period. During this timeframe the Felicis sheds its winter coat, which gives it a thinner layer of fur during the summer seasons-- coincidentally making it a poor target for pelts, until its winter coat returns.. This behaviour further carries over into domestication, and can lead to more than a few white patches of fur on an unlucky owner’s carpet.
The Felicis don’t seem to catch disease easily, though are notoriously susceptible to wound infections. When a Snowpaw is wounded and without a veterinarian close by, they’re more than likely to succumb to their injuries. Their claws are also highly sought after as a trinket for necklaces or jewellery, as they are known for being sturdy and take long periods of time to deteriorate in comparison to other animal claws. Snowpaws often range between one foot and eight inches to two feet in height.
The Snowpaw Felicis vary drastically with gender. One of the reasons the Ithanians took to it as a cultural symbol is that the female variant is much larger, more dominant and aggressive when compared to its male counterpart. Females make up the majority of pack leaders in the wild, there are little to no “alpha” males within the average Felicis pack. The female consorts with all other males, and there is always one designated alpha female. The alpha female gets the pick of whichever male she wants, unless the male wishes to catch her ire, though other females in a pack are left to impress their mates. Curiously, females are also more prone to developing darker shades of white and grey in their fur, while males are often more white or ginger.
Life Span and Development
As their physiology changes drastically with gender, so too, does their lifespan. . Male variants are only likely to last around ten years, whereas females are documented to last much longer-- even over two decades in rare instances. Females often begin to seek out a mate in their second year of age, and their gestation lasts about two months. The Felicis takes a one month recovery period after birthing, whereafter the female will seek out another mate. Males are often monogamous to a single female, though females seek out whomever they wish. It’s frequently seen that males are much more protective of their young if their chosen female mate birthed it, regardless of if they are actually the father. Felicis last about a year as puppies, after which they will be considered fully matured adults. Each litter has about eight to ten pups, though not all of them are liable to survive as the mother is much more fickle with her children than the male. Felicis are always born with a pure white pelt. Any patterns and tertiary colors begin showing in their first year, and as a result this white pelt and the fashion-based demand has often lead to many prospective hunters seeking out the young instead of the adults. This is also a heavily contributing factor to their continuing decline in population, especially in the wild.
While the Felicis was notoriously known as a hostile animal at the dawn of Ithanian culture, it was domesticated through many years of migrating closer and closer to Ithanians. As a domesticated animal, it loses most of its predatory instincts, though the Snowpaw maintains reactionary behaviours such as howling, making ‘nests’ out of paper and carpet, and even interacting with other canine species as if it were another Felicis in captivity. The reason the Felicis has taken to domestication near inherently is due to their recent decline in the wild; they have therefore begun adapting to the concept of accepting human encroachment as a tactic to keep their species alive. In the wild, the canine has rather erratic instincts. It exclusively hunts animals as a carnivore, though has a strange attraction towards avian animals. There have been observed cases in the wild in which their preoccupation with birds spans so much of their mental capacity, that Snowpaws have attempts to climb up trees to near their targets, and then jump from a branch to attack a bird, often mindless the height. This behaviour has even carried over into domestication. If avians are not frequent the Felicis hunts for whatever meat is available, though as a survival instinct it refuses to attack anything larger than itself.
Territory and Groupings
The Snowpaw often operates in packs of ten, with a 1:3 ratio of males to females. They create “nests” in areas that they wish to roam in with various accessible plant matter such as sticks or leaves. They often have a large unified nest area that they then operate around, providing them with a place to sleep, along with a space to do other activities. They rarely leave the nest area other than to hunt for food or water, which they usually, (and rather uniquely,) do through the snow surrounding them. This nest mentality is another universal trait carried over into domestication, wherein the Felicis will often designate a “nest” around the area it roams most often. Once a Felicis has made a nest, it doesn’t migrate. A nest is for life, though a domesticated Felicis will always choose a master over an old home. The Snowpaw is very aggressively defensive of its nest, which makes them very attractive as guard dogs.
- Snowpaw Felicis make horrible hunting dogs, as they are more liable to try and chase the birds surrounding the hunter rather than attacking the actual game.
- There’s an Ithanian children’s tragedy surrounding the Felicis wherein it is mistaken as the killer of an owner's child. It is later revealed that the dog is falsely accused, so the tale instills a sense of loyalty into the children, which makes the dog a common and traditional favorite among them.
- Due to the thickness of the Felicis coat, Ithanian seamstresses have been spotted filling small pin-cushions with the shedded hair for added fluff.