Greek Mythology >> Bestiary >> Golden Dog (Kyon Khryseos)


Greek Name

Κυων Χρυσεος


Kyôn Khryseos

Latin Spelling

Cyon Chryseus


Golden Dog

THE KUON KHRYSEOS (Golden Dog) was an animal set by Rhea to guard the infant god Zeus and his nurse, the goat Amaltheia, on the island of Krete (Crete). When Zeus reached maturity he placed the dog amongst the stars as the constellation Canis Major.

The Golden Dog was sometimes identified with Lailaps (Laelaps), a magical dog which Zeus gave Europa upon her arrival in Krete and which was afterwards passed down to Minos, Prokris and the hero Kephalos.


Perhaps forged by the metal-working Kouretes, though nowhere stated


THE GOLDEN HOUND. Pandareus is said to have stolen the golden dog which Hephaestus had made, from the temple of Zeus in Crete, and to have carried it to Tantalus. When Zeus sent Hermes to Tantalus to claim the dog back, Tantalus declared that it was not in his possession. The god, however, took the animal by force, and threw mount Sipylus upon Tantalus. Pandareos fled to Athens, and thence to Sicily, where he perished with his wife Harmothoe. (Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1875.) Antoninus Liberalis (11) calls him an Ephesian, and relates that Demeter conferred upon him the benefit of never suffering from indigestion, if he should take ever so much food. The whole scene of his story lies in Crete, and hence Pausanias (x. 30. § 1) thinks that the town of Ephesus is not the famous city in Asia Minor, but Ephesus in Crete.

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


Pausanias, Description of Greece 10. 30. 2 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"I must tell you that Pandareos (Pandareus) was a Milesian from Miletos in Krete (Crete), and implicated in the theft of Tantalos [i.e. of the golden hound] and in the trick of the oath."

Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 36 (trans. Celoria) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"When Rhea, fearing Kronos (Cronus), hid Zeus in the Kretan (Cretan) cavern, a goat [Amaltheia] offered her udder and gave him nourishment. By the will of Rhea a Golden Dog (Kuon Khryseos) guarded the goat. After Zeus drove out the Titanes and deprived Kronos of power, he changed the goat into an immortal, there is a representation of her among the stars to this day. He ordered the Golden Dog to guard this sacred spot in Krete (Crete).
Pandareos (Pandareus) son of Merops stole the Dog and carried it off to Mount Sipylos. He gave it to Tantalos (Tantalus), son of Zeus and Plouto (Pluto), to guard. After a time Pandareos went to Mount Sipylos and asked for the Dog. Tantalos swore he had neve received it. To punish him for the theft Zeus turned Pandareos into a rock where he stood. Tantalos, for going back on his oath, he struck down with a thunderbolt and set Mount Sipylos on top of his head."




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