December 13, 2022
Dogs In Folklore | Dog Edition #76

According to story experts, every time we tell a dog tale, we’re also creating folklore. It’s a feature, not a bug, of the human brain that affects how we think about and behave toward our best friends.

Some say humans learns best through story, and when you look at the history of dogs in folklore, you see plenty of evidence.

One story about one single dog can influence the way humans feel about dogs – or that type of dog – for years, decades, centuries, even millenia.

For thousands of years, seeing seeing a black dog was a good sign, a helpful warning from the spiritual world … or something quite sinister. Author D.S. Nelson calls forth some ancient stories so we moderns can see just how far we’ve come.

Or have we? Dr. Stanley Coren pitches in with a thoroughly contemporary tale of a vicar’s wife who saw a ghostly dog figure and attributed a death to it. New folklore tales like this have impact on the daily life of millions of black dogs. Superstitious human folk are not lost to the mists of time, as folklorist Mark Norman reminds us.

Of course, some folklore is positive, like the guardian dogs you find in tales throughout the centuries, and even in contemporary literature. Why, even Disney’s eternally popular Lady & The Tramp is based on a folk tale about a loyal Welsh hound.

Folklorist Ceallaigh MacCath-Moran weighs in with insight about how folklore is created every day in unusual ways. For example, every episode of Dog Edition creates lore … so listen today, and every week, to find out what tall tails future humans will tell.

Episode Links

Folklore & Fiction podcast and website by Ceallaigh S. MacCath-Moran

Stories From Lore podcast by DS Nelson

Dawn Nelson website (aka DD Storyteller)

What Do Dogs Know by Dr. Stanley Coren

Gods, ghosts, and black dogs by Stanley Coren

The Folklore Podcast with Mark Norman

Dog Edition Episode #70: Why Are Dogs So Loyal?

This episode is sponsored in part by EverPup and BarkBox.

About Ceallaigh MacCath-Morran

Ceallaigh MacCath-Morran is a PhD candidate in the folklore department at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She is a published writer of fiction, non-fiction and poetry and recently worked with the Odyssey Theater in Ottawa to write a folklore radio play. You can find out more information at

Other Guests

DS Nelson (aka Dawn Nelson) is an author, storyteller and host of the Stories From Lore podcast

Mark Norman is a folklore researcher and author of Black Dog Folklore. He also hosts The Folklore Podcast. Mark is currently working on a book which explores the connection between folklore and Scooby Doo!

Dr Stanley Coren is Professor Emiritus from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He is the author of several books including Gods, Ghosts & Black Dogs


0:00 Introduction

0:58 Black Dogs

6:32 Black Dog Syndrome

13:52 Dogs as Guardians-Cerberus

18:29 The Loyal Hound-Gelert The Choking Doberman

23:59 What is Folklore?

About Dog Podcast Network (DPN) 

Check out Dog Podcast Network for other dog-adjacent shows:

The Long Leash where we rescue tasty scraps from the editing room floor in an unscripted interview show

Dog Cancer Answers which offers vetted advice from real veterinarians who answer your questions about dog cancer

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