Weredogs

Weredogs are dog shapeshifters. Despite the name 'were', they are not lycanthropes. The weredogs of San Diego do not have a clan.

Physique

Weredogs are those who inherit the ability to shapeshift into a dog. Unlike swanmanes, this is not typically the result of a curse, and therefore additional magical effects are minimal. are the recipients of the swan version of a shapeshifting curse. This conditions cannot be passed on via infection, but is passed from generation to generation. Weredogs can and do have children.

Although weredogs are faster and stronger than humans, the difference is minimal compared to that of lycanthropes. Their metabolisms are faster than human metabolisms, giving them rapid healing and a higher body temperature than humans, as well as increased appetite, but again not to the same extent as lycanthropes. Further, weredogs can be hurt by pretty much anything that hurts a human.

A weredog's natural form is human. In appearance, they are typically impossible to distinguish from any other human, although their faster metabolisms mean they are usually fit. Weredogs shapeshift into dogs, generally large black mastiffs, or a similar type (although other breeds make appearances). They can be mistaken for normal dogs, but no partial or hybrid form is known. Weredogs do revert to human form upon their death. The transformation is much smoother and less violent than a lycanthrope's transformation, and does not drain the weredog of energy. Changing shape does not heal a weredog's wounds.

All of a weredog's senses are heightened. They can hear a person's pulse just by standing nearby, they need minimal light to see, and they can track by scent (although all of these abilities are improved more if they are in dog form rather than in human). They can use their sense of smell to determine if a person is agitated or calm, and this helps them determine if someone is lying, although it is not universal.

Metaphysics

Because weredogs inherit their shapeshifting, they have the ability to shift at will. The lunar cycle does not affect their shifting patterns, and emotional states do not make it more likely that they will shift. Weredogs also maintain full awareness of themselves during their shifts, beginning with their first shift (sometime around the time of puberty).

Weredogs have a hot, bestial aura similar to that of lycanthropes (especially lukoi), but far less aggressive. Sensitives around weredogs notice the sensation, but may mistake it for that of a weak lycanthrope. Other shapeshifters are even more receptive to the aura, sometimes even feeling it as if it were a tangible dog, though other times simply feeling it as a sense of strength emanating from the weredog. The more powerful the weredog, the more powerful this aura.

Although some weredogs adopt the lycanthrope terminology of 'alpha' to refer to their leaders, in the strictest sense there are only stronger weredogs and weaker weredogs, without any special abilities. When weredogs do form a pack, however, their leader becomes a metaphysical figurehead as well as a political one. A powerful enough weredog can shield their pack from a vampire's call, but the position is a double-edged sword: the alpha can draw strength from the pack, and sense pack members, but the entire pack can be controlled or fed upon via the alpha.

Culture

Weredogs are rare, and typically live in nuclear family groups, or on their own. However, when multiple weredog families inhabit the same city, they sometimes form clans (specifically, packs) for security and social stability. Although not as territorial as lycanthrope clans, weredogs packs do guard their territory, and sometimes regard newcomers with caution. They do not generally adhere to strict formalities (for instance tithes or tributes), however, and usually won't declare non-pack weredogs to be rouge.

Packs and families are organized by their leaders. If a weredog 'alpha' wants their pack to be militaristic in structure, so it will be. Otherwise, packs typically operate like extended family units, with family patriarchs or matriarchs wielding the authority. The degree of democracy permitted is individual to each pack or family.

Although weredogs are not prey animals, they tend to keep lycanthropes at a distance, since the other clans are stronger, less controlled, and more aggressive. They are much more comfortable with each other than with any other type of shapeshifter. The touch of their family or pack is a metaphysical as well as emotional reassurance.

Calling a weredog "noseblind", or insinuating that their sense of smell/taste is useless, is a grave insult - it essentially translates to saying that they are in denial.

Interaction with Human Society

Weredogs are not well understood by human society. They are not lycanthropes, so they can avoid many of the prejudice associated with the disease, however not all humans see the distinction, and weredogs are considerably less dangerous to hunt than most lycanthropes. For this reason weredogs live a life of secrecy, aside from their own families.