History: It is said that Jackals and Dune Dogs come from the same ancestor. Tyamar, one of the first born at the oasis, brought to the attention of the tribe the Ancestor that lived nearby. Even though they did well living on the plants, it would not sustain them alone. They figured that meat would help. Unfortunately, the elves did not have the skills to hunt ravvits and other such creatures. Luck seemed to be on the elves side, when Tyamar stumbled across a litter of five Ancestor pups. A short way away the body of their mother lay next to a dead snake. He took this litter of pups and raised them. They proved to be an asset to the tribe. But like in most animals there were flaws and Tyamar wondered if he could breed these characteristics out of them. And so it was that these animals were bred into what they are today, whether it was done magically or naturally. Tyamar never completed his changing of the Dune Dogs, he vanished about 1000 years before the Slaughter. No one took up the reins of his work. But what he left behind is an intelligent creature that adores its elfin companions.
Appearance: Grace and beauty, is a fair description of these creatures. A thin and streamline body made to race the winds. Long legs made to aid in that need for speed. Large four toed (Includes dew claw) paws made for traveling the loose sands. The pads of their paws are thick to help against the heat of the sands. Their long, thin heads are toped by a pair of comically long ears. These ears, like for many desert creatures, regulate the temperature of their bodies. This regulation allows them to stay out longer in the scorching heat. Though they are mostly covered bristle-like short hairs they have a loin's mane of longer and softer hair. They also posses this hair on the ends of their tail. There is no set color to their fur, but largely they are different shades of tans and brown.
Behavior/Social: Though like any other creature they have individual personalities, Dune Dogs on the whole are easy going and good nature. When they bond with an elf they bond for life (about 40 years max). They feel a need to protect their elf-friend. The loyalty to the elves is so fierce they will risk life and limb. They are easy learners and pick up on things quickly. Some elves have taught their Dune Dogs to respond to calls and whistles. They are lead by an Alpha pair. Unlike most canines, if one of the Alpha pair is defeated they both are. If puppies are orphaned, other members of the pack adopt them.
Mating: Their breeding behavior is not unique to the animal world. When a pair mate, they mate for life. It is thought this behavior came from the elven influence. Gestation after mating is about 3 months. A female Dune Dog can have 1-2 puppies. This is probably their biggest flaw. The female Dune Dog can have only 1 litter a season. The puppies stay with their mother for a year before they are left on their own. The puppies are born helpless. They are blind and their ears are sealed. In about six weeks the puppies eyes will be open. However, their ears take a year and a half to stand up straight. This is caused by their size. They are bondable after 6 weeks, however, the best time for bonding is age six months. Also, there are no half-breeds among the Dune Dogs ... their ties to jackals have long ago been forgotten ... they only breed with other Dune Dogs.