Group: Parade of Ailoa
General Info: Although the finished result is unlike any animal on Whazzit or Earth, the easiest way to describe the Ailoa is to start with an African Wild Dog. They are more delicate-looking than most dogs and their ears are big and round, almost comically large in proportion to their bodies. They have long legs and slender bodies, with females being smaller and having a more petite appearance. Unlike the bushy tail of a dog or the fluffy tail of a fox, Ailoa have a thin and short-haired tail that ends in a tuft of fur. They also have a mane of fur that is short and erect, running along the top of their head and down their nape. Sometimes the mane grows long enough to flop over their eyes, resembling bangs. Some Ailoa prefer this to the more rigid mohawk style. This species also has a ruff of fur around the wrist that drapes down over them, partially covering the paws from view. When grown long enough, this ruff can become a curtain of fur that obscures the feet entirely and swishes when the Ailoa moves, giving an overall elegant picture. While an Ailoa's coat is soft, the hair around their feet and in their mane is especially silky. What really sets Ailoa apart from other shinies are their markings, which determine their ranks.
Beauty doesn't come without a price though. Ailoa, even the lowest ranked ones, are incredibly high maintenance. Their coat requires constant attention and grooming, a time consuming but necessary job. Because of this, most Ailoa prefer to bond rather than be forced to groom themselves. When Ailoa do go wild, they always join a pack with members of the same gender. Members of the opposite sex rarely meet in the wild and try to avoid each other even when they are bonded. Male and female Ailoa have a natural animosity for each other and tolerate one other only marginally after puppyhood. Households with both genders tend to be fraught with tension between the two, unless they are kept sufficiently separated and distracted. Occasionally the rare few will get along with another of the opposite sex, but the constant scuffling of all the rest is enough to discourage a person from having more than one gender of Ailoa, although it may be done (Different feeding and grooming schedules is a must for those wanting to keep their sanity intact!).
Ailoa communicate with canine noises (barks, yips, whimpers, etc.), body language and thought-speech. Their grammar isn't very good and they don't have an extensive vocabulary (except for Ainus), but most aren't ashamed of this and talk willingly. However, Ailoa will rarely give any insight to what they are thinking and prefer to leave people guessing, even their bonded. Instead they mention trivial things or anything they observe, pleased to just talk about nothing.
Mating Info: Ailoa mate by holding a chase. A female will howl to attract nearby males, who will all arrive looking as impressive and well-groomed as possible. Here most wild males will have a problem, not having a bond to groom them nicely. Their chance to prove themselves usually comes with the more physical aspect of the chase: a running free-for-all battle. The female will lead the males through a forest, hiding among the plants and randomly leaping out and attacking the males following her. While it is encouraged for males to fight each other, the most aggressive participant is usually the female. The male's objective is to pin the female on her back, which is difficult due to her shorter stature and low center of gravity. Usually a female will let herself be pinned by the male of her choice, as it is very hard to knock a female down and keep her there.
Bonding Info: Ailoa puppies grow very quickly and are bonded off as soon as they can mind-speak. It is not much later than that the quarreling between genders begins. To attend the bonding, hopefuls must dress up as nicely as they can. Whether that means wearing the latest fashions, a home-knit sweater or just trying a new hairstyle is completely up to the attendees, but Ailoa are most impressed by someone who obviously put a lot of effort into their outfit and overall appearance. Ailoa want to bond to someone who can take care of their grooming needs and this is best proven by how well people take care of themselves. Someone not dressed up will be shunned, although not completely. A leftover puppy, or one who doesn't require extensive grooming might take pity on those unprepared souls, but more likely than not they will leave empty-handed. Ailoa are carnivores but will also appreciate other small food gifts, although smaller portions are better. They wouldn't want to ruin their dainty figures, would they? Items might impress a more material Ailoa, but most will base their decision on the person's personality and the effort that went into their outfit. It isn't wise to bring another Shiny to an Ailoa bonding. The puppies, even when they are full grown, like to believe they are the center of attention and other shinies will just make them jealous and resentful.
The undisputed rulers of the Ailoa, Canaan can be described in one word: determined. They know what they want and won't settle for anything less than the best. They can come off as holier-than-thou because of this, but Canaans generally aren't bothered by what others think of them. They consider themselves above most people and aren't willing to compromise with anyone they don't respect. Canaans can be brutally honest at times and aren't afraid to defend their family and bonded. However, they are very gentle and maternal with lower females. They tend to pick fights with males and are typically aggressive. Canaans require constant brushing to keep their shiny fur in the best condition possible and can spend hours grooming. A Canaan's coat is a soft blend of pastel pinks, yellows and purples. Their markings are intricate swirls that are concentrated around their back and branch out to their lower limbs. The fur the swirls grow on becomes sparkly as they age and Canaans go through a period in adolescence where they shed glitter everywhere. Canaans are small by Ailoa standards and are built lowest to the ground. Their litters are anywhere from 8-15, although Canaan mothers have been known to steal pups from other litters and try to pass them off as their own.
The larger of the two lords, Karelians tend to be very mellow and cool. They're the charismatic ones, although they're not all that bright. Karelians take life as it comes and try not to think too far ahead into the future. They're of the philosophy that nothing good ever comes from worrying and have the ability to find humor in any situation. They are thrill-seekers when they're not busy entertaining others, and have little regard for their own safety. It's not unusual to see a Karelian with various bruises and cuts being doted upon by a Laika. Karelians usually form the closest bonds with the other lord, their personalities balancing each other nicely. They only chase Canaans and are typically the ones who win the queen's chase. A Karelian's coat is like the night sky: usually dark blue or grayish-blue. Their markings are small, star-shaped splotches that form a constellation connected by thin black lines. They are the largest and most athletic Ailoa, towering over others with their muscular figures.
While it is tempting to say Laika are the more sane and calm of the two lords, it's untrue. While they are the less likely of the two to kill or seriously maim themselves, they are more mentally on edge than Karelians. Laikas are in a state of constant worryŚ over their friends, their family, the sky falling, etc. The littlest thing can set them off and they are always fretting about something. While their concern can be endearing, it also causes them to be wound tighter than a clock and they're on a never-ending quest to mother-hen everyone. When they relax enough to enjoy themselves, they are loyal companions and are actually fairly smart. They like to be loved but are embarrassed by any public display of affection and are easily flustered by more outgoing companions. Their pelts are any hue of yellow, ranging from mellow to electric, broken by tribal tattoos of black that cover most of their body. While it gives them a more exotic look than most Ailoa, it also makes them appear more intimidating than they really are and anyone who invests in a Laika as a guard will be severely disappointed. Laikas will chase Canaans occasionally but will also go after Azawakhs and Catahoulas.
The first of the common males, Laekenois have a wide variety of personalities. They're generally high-maintenance and enjoy flattery, but aren't easily won over by petty compliments. Although they sometimes come off as clueless airheads, they're usually more aware of the situation than people give them credit for. However, most of their personality is based on their markings. Laekenois have a light purple coat with a large flower on the middle of their back. Occasionally, smaller flowers appear on their pelt in other places, but it's always the same kind of flower. A Laekenois' flower represents their personality, but usually retains or compliments their natural purple coloring. Violets and azaleas are the most common marking, but Laekenois are trend-setters and like their flower to be unique. They chase Azawakhs, Catahoulas and the occasional Ainu.
The first common females, Azawakhs are the smartest of the Ailoa. They enjoy being appreciated for their intellect and being recognized as the genius they are. They would like nothing better than to spend the day learning and completing difficult mental challenges. Azawakh aren't very social and prefer reciting facts to actual conversation. They like their environment to be neat and orderly and keep their appearance impeccable. They can be strict at times and are easily frustrated by those not as smart as them. Oddly enough though, they often form close friendships with Catahoulas, especially if they're sisters, and look out for them. Litters are usually born with the same amount of Catahoulas and Azawakhs so that each Catahoula will have someone to look after them. Their coats are red with darker tiger-esque stripes running down their sides. They chase more than queens but less than the other common females and never have litters.
The complete opposite of their Azawakh sisters, Catahoulas are the social butterflies. While not the sharpest tools in the shed, they make up for it with unwavering devotion and affection. They can become overly fawning and clingy and aren't for the easily annoyed, but they are charming in their adoration. Catahoulas are immensely curious and are always asking questions, eager to learn about the world around them. They are child-like in their innocence and are easily amused, content to occupy themselves for hours with the simplest toy. They Chase often but never have more than one pup, who usually dies when its mother forgets about it. Their coats range from light orange to off-white and are decorated with random splashes of citrusy colors. Their true markings are a basic shape or drawing somewhere on their body, commonly a sun or heart.
The lowest in Ailoa society, Ainu are bitter about their social position and generally aren't the most cheerful Ailoa. Females are typically bitter about their rank and usually don't get along with queens, while males tend to be melodramatic and moping. Their coats are equally drab, an olive green with a few small splotches of gray. Their saving grace is their gift with words. They are the most likely to speak to their bonded and can use sentences with proper grammar. Ainu are typically good story-tellers although their tales usually have an undertone of despair and repression. It is hard for Ainu to let anyone get close to them but they refuse to let go once they've decided they like someone and can't handle rejection. Females lead chases often. The males mostly chase other Ainu but sometimes pursue an Azawakh or a Catahoula.
Rebellious and rowdy, Aidi are the black sheep of the Ailoa family and they couldn't care less. Unlike their proudly marked siblings, Aidi are a pristine white, unmarred by any coloring. Their eyes are a typical albino pink or dark red and their noses and manes are pale pink. They are looked down on by the rest of the Ailoa population because of this and, in turn, they've rejected their species. They are trouble-makers and believe rules are made for breaking. Their attitudes are generally snobby and they think they're above most other shinies despite the fact that they aren't queens or lords. Who needs royalty anyways? Sometimes they try too hard and end up in bigger trouble than they can handle. That's where their bonded comes in though. Why else would they bond? Aidi come in both male and female but never lead or participate in a chase. They are semi-rare, with only one showing up in every litter, if at all.