Laelaps (mythology)

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The Death of Procris with Laelaps on her right.

Laelaps[pronunciation?] (Greek: Λαῖλαψ, gen.: Λαίλαπος) (Lelaps, Lalaps, Lailaps) was a Greek mythological dog who never failed to catch what he was hunting. In one version of Laelaps' origin, he was a gift from Zeus to Europa. The hound was passed down to King Minos. Procris's husband, Cephalus, decided to use the hound to hunt the Teumessian fox, a fox that could never be caught. This was a paradox: a dog who always caught his prey versus a fox that could never be caught. The chase went on until Zeus, perplexed by their contradictory fates, turned both to stone and cast them into the stars as the constellations Canis Major (Laelaps) and Canis Minor (the Teumessian fox).[1][2]

At least one version of the Procris story asserts that Laelaps was a gift to her from the goddess Artemis.


  1. ^ Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3,192.
  2. ^ DK Publishing (2012). Nature Guide Stars and Planets. Penguin. p. 275. ISBN 978-1-4654-0353-7.