I've created a chart listing many of these occurrences. The list is not meant to be comprehensive as I regularly encounter mythical themes hidden in some lost study buried in the available literature.
Some of the motifs occur much more frequently minus the dog theme, but I only include those with canine connections as they correspond to the direction of this blog. For example, the gourd boat and gourd birth motifs are found many more times throughout this region particularly in Southeast Asia without the dog motif.
Also, we do not find the dog motif linked as such with the theme listed below in the regions of the Far Pacific. There are examples in Papua New Guinea and among the Maori of New Zealand and also in the islands of the Bering Sea.
There are dog-man examples from Hawai`i where we find Kuilioloa, Kaupe and Poki. At least one example has Kuilioloa saving a woman and her children from a flood, but he does not marry the woman. I have not been able to find examples where Kuilioloa, Kaupe and Poki are said to have descendants although Poki is sometimes linked with the legendary chief Boki. In the Pomotu Islands of Eastern Polynesia, there is a myth of the first race of people having been turned into dogs. The dog husband motif is missing to my knowledge, but maybe it can be inferred.
My view is that all this indicates the dog husband motif was added on to a preexisting flood myth. Although I think this happened before the expansion into the Far Pacific the motif never penetrated into the Pacific voyage cultures as it did further West. At some point though it did venture northward along Nusantao trade routes and spread even into Far North cultures. In the Americas, the theme is concentrated along the Pacific Coast particularly in Alaska, the Aleutian Islands and the Pacific Northwest. However, it is found elsewhere especially among the Chippewa and related peoples and the Plains Indians.
The relationship of these Circumpacific myths to the widespread dog-man beliefs of Central Asia is unclear. However it does seem like the Circumpacific themes are related and result from a regional diffusion of which other evidence also exists. The complimentary evidence suggests the spread of this myth could have taken place starting in the Neolithic.
Key to Motifs
A -- Dog or Dog-Man Husband
B -- Dog and Woman as survivors of Deluge
C -- Dog and Woman survive deluge in gourd, bamboo, mortar, drum, hollow tree, etc.
D -- Woman who marries Dog is goddess, princess, chief's daughter
E -- Brother and Sister who survive flood (usually in gourd, bamboo, etc.) give birth to dog
F -- Primeval couple give birth to gourd, shapeless lump or dog-shaped lump
G -- Gourd, lump, dog, etc. becomes people, geographical locations, clans, etc. usually after being divided.
I -- Dog husband/child/messenger brings agriculture, rice after/during flood
J -- Dog husband/child/messenger brings fire after/during flood
K -- Dog and Woman as ancestors
L -- Weredog families, Weredog ancestor
List of Motifs by Location and Ethnic Group
|Sedang, Gie, Trieng, Kayong |
(Mon-Khmer speakers, Laos)
|A, B, K |
(14 variants, Dang N. V.)
|Mien (Yao) |
(Hmong-Mien speakers, scattered through Southeast Asia)
|A, B, D, F, G, I, K(43 variants, Dang N. V.) |
Lump of flesh becomes Mien and other peoples
Mon-Khmer in southern Laos
|A, B, K(30 variants, Dang N. V.) |
(Tibeto-Burmese speakers in Yunnan and Burma)
|A, B, I, K|
|Cor, Hre |
(Mon-Khmer groups in Vietnam)
|A, B, K(5 variants, Dang N. V.) |
|Moro, Bukidnon |
(Malayo-Polynesian speakers in southern Philippines)
|A, B, C, D, K |
Woman and dog survive flood in bamboo and become ancestors of Moros.
|Igorot, Tinguian |
(Malayo-Polynesian speakers in northern Philippines)
|Sorsogon in Bikol region of northern Philippines||G, K |
Humanity originates from dog's tail.
(Malayo-Polynesian speakers in New Zealand)
|A, D, K |
Maui changes his brother-in-law, Owa, into a dog. Owa's wife Hina, in despair, jumps in the sea and floats around for many months before saved by her brothers. This may be an allusion to the deluge. Owa and Hina have a son, a dog named Pero who becomes the tutelary deity of dogs. Many Maori considered themselves descendants of Owa and Hina. Multiple variants of this story.
|New Guinea||A, J, KDog also said to discover fresh and/or sea water. Dog rescues people from flood. Many variants. |
|Dusun, Murut, Kadazan, Dayak |
(Malayo-Polynesian speakers in northern Borneo and Sabah)
|A, B, C, D, E, G, I, J, KMany variants among Dusun and Kadazan. Among Rungus, myth of dog bringing rice plants on tail during deluge with similar beliefs among Meo of Vietnam and in Chinese literature. Rituals involving removal of dog's tail found in Borneo, also "tail-less dog" motif is common in Bornean tattoo. |
|Nias, Aceh in Sumatra |
|A, B, D, KThe dog in this case is usually a red dog something also found not only in Java and Lombok but also in Siberia, Central Asia and even the Americas. |
(Formosan speakers in Taiwan)
|A, D, K|
|Bisayan, Kapampangan, Tagalog and other lowlanders in Philippines (Malayo-Polynesian speakers)||G, L |
Belief in weredog families, lineages or whole communites, or of descent from the same is widespread with many variants among lowland Filipinos.
|Java, Lombok |
|A, B, D, K |
Many variants of the red dog theme can be found in the region both in folklore and traditional written literature.
|Ainu in Japan||A, B, D, K |
Goddess comes on boat from sea to Ainu homeland, possibly allusion to flood. She is saved by a dog who leads her to freshwater and brings her food. She marries the dog and the children are ancestors of the Ainu.
|Ancient China||A, B, D, E, F, G, H, I, K |
Most myths are attributed to southern region both within China i.e. the Man peoples, and those beyond China, i.e. Fusang or Dog Fief Country. The brother and sister, Fu Hsi and Nu Gua give birth to formless lump after the flood, at least in one instance called "Hundun" the name of the dog-shaped deity in other versions who is divided to make the world. The name of the dog ancestor Panhu contains the word for "gourd."
|Eskimo, Koriak, Nivki, Chuckhi in Siberia||A, G, K|
|Besisi, Jakun, Semang of Malaysia||A(?), B(?), C(?), K(?) |
The Jakun call the hole in the bamboo from which their ancestors arose the "Dog Hole in the Ancestral Bamboo." This may be related to a Semang word that means "dog bamboo." The Besisi believe their divine ancestor fell out of Heaven along with his dog.
|Alaska and Aleutian Islands||A, B(?), C(?), D, G(?), K |
Flood may be alluded to when woman is thrown into sea by her father for marrying a dog. In some versions, the woman saves her children by sending them away in two boats. It is the woman's body i.e. her fingers that become whales, seals and whalebones when hacked by her father.
|North and South America||A, B, D, G, K |
In some versions like that of the Huichol, a dog-woman survives the flood. Among the Aztecs, the dog deity Xolotl takes the bones of humans after the Great Flood to create a new man and woman to repopulate the Earth. In the Dogrib Indian version, the dog-man and woman give birth to bear pups. The skins of these children become Indian tribes. Among the Tlingit, Haida and Nootka the children of the dog and woman union become phenomenon like thunder and earthquakes.
Paul Kekai Manansala
Dog as deity, ancestor and royal animal
Dang, N. V. "The Flood Myth and the Origin of Ethnic Groups in Southeast Asia," The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 106, No. 421. (Summer, 1993), pp. 304-337.
Ho, Ting-jui. A Comparative Study of Myths and Legends of Formosan Aborigines, Orient Cultural Service, 1971.
Leach, Maria. God had a Dog: Folklore of the Dog, Rutgers University Press, 1961.
McHugh, Susan. Dog, Reaktion Books, 2004.
Realubit, Maria Lilia F. Bikols of the Philippines, A.M.S. Press, 1983.
Rutter, Owen. The Pagans of North Borneo, Hutchinson & Co., Ltd, 1929.