|Official Name||Yuen Doge|
|Common Nicknames||De'nn'ie Te'ing'ku, Doge|
|Current Status||Rare (in the Regalian Empire)|
Yuen Doges are unique canines and the most well-known breed of all the varieties that exist in distant Dexai. Originally bred for hunting by the War Dynasty, the animal was ultimately adopted by the wider populace as a general pet, where it has grown very popular. This popularity extends to wider Aloria, where the animal’s reputation as a clean-freak and an independent spirit in addition to its cute physical appearance makes it highly sought after.
The Yuen Doge has a relatively long history in the Far East, where it was originally developed on Dexai under the care of the War Dynasty. They desired a hunting dog to accompany them in their expeditions into the mountains, and so bred this species from those available. In the following millennia the animal expanded in popularity, its original purpose still completed serviceably by those specimens under the care of the War Dynasty, but the Common and Guo Dynasty came to also enjoy the animal due to its pleasant features and sociability. It featured rises and falls in popularity and population over the tumult within Dexai, but when the New Dynasty emerged they exploded into popularity. Their similarity in general appearance to the Htai was noticed by many, and the court itself accelerated the process by taking a few of the animals into their halls as official pets. It was there that the Altalar encountered the animal when they reached Dexai, and later when they were forced to depart spread tales in wider Aloria of cute, obedient, and happy dogs. Later when travel and trade with the outside world began, these happy dogs were quickly sought out. For a time the Sihai blocked their sale to outsiders, but gradually they leaked into Aloria, either through Sihai living outside the homeland having the animal as a pet or by rare, one-off trades. Thus while in Dexai the animal is fairly common, it is extremely rare in wider Aloria.
The Yuen Doge is a medium-sized dog, standing at fifteen to eighteen inches tall, with a weight of fifteen to twenty-five pounds. Their heads possess a medium, square snout, a wide mouth with a small upturn to it, two black or brown eyes, and two pointed ears at the top of their heads. They also possess several prominent black whiskers on each side of their face from the area just behind their large black nose. Their heads are connected to their athletic bodies by a short neck. The animal stands on four-pawed feet and their body ends in their characteristic “twisted” tail. Said tail when not being moved is flat backwards and fully splays the hair on it up before curling toward the right. The animal is covered in a double layer of hair and has a very particular pattern to it. There are three primary colors that a Yuen Doge can have: red, cream, and “earthen.” The red coat is most populous (and is not truly red but instead a peach or red-infused shade of tan), while the cream color is actually pure white, with the “earthen” tone being black and various shades of brown. All types though have a white or cream underbelly, inner ear fur, inner leg fur, and tail underside fur.
Yuen Doges are divided into three groups based on coat coloration. The red variety is the most populous, while the other two varieties are equal in minority, the population perhaps being 70% to 15% and 15% respectively. Additionally, there is no obvious external sexual dimorphism between the two genders.
Life Span and Development
Yuen Doges are liveborn in litters of up to four, and as puppies, their hair is often very light. However, within a few months, their adult fur colorations come in, though they are conversely fairly dominant. As they mature, which ends at the age of three, they will have their proper coat patterning and matured size. Yuen Doges can live for up to fifteen years, if given plenty of exercise.
Yuen Doges are interesting as dogs due to possessing a number of well-known quirks. The first is their obsession with cleanliness. They will often clean themselves when seated, and when large messes occur in their domain will almost always notice and actively bother people to have it cleaned up. Additionally, they are highly independent, capable of walking around after their owners without the need for leashes, which is useful for a mountain hunting dog. They will pursue their prey diligently, and be able to find their way back to their masters in most circumstances. Finally, there is the Yuen Cry, the sound they make when they are unhappy or being mishandled, which is ear-rattling and often very shocking. Sometimes, though very rarely, they make this unique sound when they are extremely happy. Beyond this, the animal is highly sociable and loving and makes an excellent companion.
Territory and Groupings
Yuen Doges can be found across Dexai in a variety of surroundings, from humble hunting dogs to pampered imperial pets. In Regalia though they are far rarer, and are most commonly seen in the possession of Sihai. However, a few hundred exist in private hands, mostly among the nobility and aristocracy of Aloria, though a few merchant families also possess the animal thanks to their trade ties.
- The Yuen Doge’s name is believed to be a corrupted understanding of a trade gone bad. Apparently, early into the Regalian trading relationship with the Sihai Empire, the Ailor asked about the dog the Altalar spoke of. Not understanding Common effectively, the Sihai men asked if they meant this “young dog”, pointing to the closest member of the species. The Ailor took that to be the animal’s name, and so the animal has been known as a Yuen Doge for the past 200 years in Aloria.
- Many Regalian children know of the Yuen Doge thanks to the works of acclaimed Sihai artist and poet Yquian. Their children’s books, which exist as a set of five, show a variety of scenes with Yuen Doges being cutely anthropomorphized with simple poetry in Common describing some aspect of Sihai life.