Friday, November 24, 2006
Kynoid refers to any being whose body structure resembles that of a dog especially in the context of science fiction and fantasy fiction. It usually refers to sentient beings, while the rest is described with "canidae". The term (originally, in Russian) was coined by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky in their 1979 sci-fi novel Beetle in the Anthill (translated into English in 1980) to describe the extraterrestrial sentient species nicknamed "Headies".
Usually, a fictional kynoid species has four legs (all of them primarily used for walking, although other purposes, like fighting, are not excluded) or two legs and two paws (used for wielding instruments and weapons), a tail and a canine head. Very often kynoids possess also the ability to speak and communicate - even if only in their own language. Other details, like size, weight, fur color (if any), even the shape of the head, may differ from species to species.
In sci-fi universes, kynoids are generally shown as specimen of entire alien races, while in fantasy worlds they tend to appear as single supporting characters. Because dogs are assumed the human's best friend in the animal kingdom, many books and movies feature a kynoid as a partner and a friend-in-need of a human character, although wolves are often presented as adversaries. The common image of a werewolf can also be classified as kynoid (in the animal form).
List of fictional kynoid characters:
Frank the Pug, a typical example of a kynoid from Men in Black II; Angua (a werewolf, Discworld); Drimarondo (a talking dog, Labyrinths of Eho by Max Frei); Ein (a sentient dog, Cowboy Bebop); Fenrisulfr (a giant wolf, Edda); Frank (an alien in a dog suit, Men in Black and its sequels); Gaspode (a talking dog, Discworld); Gmork (a sentient wolf, The Neverending Story); Huan (the Hound of Valinor, Middle-earth); Maugrim (a talking wolf, The Chronicles of Narnia); Schyokn-Itrch (a Headie, Noon Universe); Sirius Black (transfigures into a black dog) and Remus Lupin (a werewolf, Harry Potter book series); Toto (a talking dog, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz); Wildmutt (a Vulpimancer, Ben 10).