The ur-dogs were the ones who sided with humanity, who became their best friends and protectors at an early time in the life of Enigmundia, who decided early on -- in the many multi-sided battles waged between the rebels and rejected of the Heavens -- that they would protect this strangely favored race of mortals.
Something took offense, and corrupted a whole race of dogs and transformed them into a mockery of the humanoids that the dogs had pledged themselves to.
|"Okay, little doggie. I trust you."|
They have senses beyond those of mortals, and in their role as protectors, they can sense approaches and attacks that untrained (and even trained mortals) miss.
Pay attention to the wandering dog that seems to have taken you under its care and is suddenly barking madly at the supposedly injured old man at the crossroads. It is warning you.
Superstition #3: Dogs that have been accepted into a human family can sacrifice themselves to save a member of the family from spiritual attack.
It can opt to interpose itself between a targeted human and a psychic or mystical or spiritual attack, even if not necessarily in proper "line of sight". The more modern city-dwellers think nothing about a mysterious series of maladies befalling their beloved dog, and will do little more than grieve at a sudden death -- but those who come from the jungles and the more distant settlements know that something bore them ill will, and that their animal friend sacrificed itself for them. They will seek revenge.
In fact, in some provincial areas, it is considered high praise when newborns are gifted with puppies -- a sign that the gift-givers wish the child will overcome the hardships of infancy and become a productive family member and a valuable part of the community.