The Canis Major is a small austral constellation that skims the Milky Way, visible in all the temperate regions of Earth. It is one of the 48 constellations listed by Ptolemy and is included in the 88 modern constellations.

The brilliant Sirius (The Resplendent), which formerly wasn’t very famous since its first morning sighting corresponded with the hottest and torrid period of the year, indicates its snout. The other main stars that compose it are: Mirzam (The Herald), Adhara (The Virgins), Wezen, Aludra, Furud.

We don’t know much about astrophysics so we limit ourselves to the things we are presenting above. We are interested, however, on how the design of the constellation resembles a greyhound because, according to the myth, it was created by Zeus’s intervention towards a dog named Laelaps. The dog’s name means Storm’s Wind, and Rhea entrusted the dog with the custody of baby Zeus.

One of many Zeus’s loves was Europa, a phoenician woman, and tried to win her heart by transforming himself in a beautiful white bull. He ran off with her in Crete, where he managed to seduce her. From their union three children were born, notably the famous Minos. Unfortunately for him Hera, wife and sister of Zeus, to take revenge on the husband’s betrayal, tried to transmute Minos’s seed into waves of thousands of spiders but Prokris, the spouse of one of his generals, managed to heal him. Zeus then rewarded her with Laelaps.

So the dog started a new life. He was the fastest dog ever existed and no prey could ever escape him so Prokris went hunting with him for very long periods of time. The expeditions, in time, increased in quantity as well as in duration, and slanderers told Cephalus, Prokris’s husband, that his wife was cheating on him. Chephalus faced his wife which, irritated and upset ran away in the forest with the dog and the javelin to meet the goddess Artemis. The separation from her husband didn’t last long: Prokris came back to Cephalus and, to demonstrate how much she cared about him, she gifted the javelin and Laelaps to him.

In the meantime Hera had a grudge towards Zeus, haven’t forgotten the umpteenth rudeness but remembered the love he had for Laelaps she created, along with Gaea, an animal that appeared to be uncatchable by the dog: the Teumessian fox.

Hera gave the fox to Dionysus, so that he may free the beast into Thebes to destroy the city and to cause unrest in Zeus.

Nothing and no one was able to catch the Teumessian fox, so Cephalus was asked to bring Laelaps in Thebes: the dog that could catch every prey against the fox that nothing could catch!

The destruction of Thebes was sure to happen if it wasn’t for Zeus that asked Gaea to destroy the fox. She refused, so he created a “ramp” so the two animals could run on it and reach the sky, transforming into stars. For the first time, Zeus cried. He cried so much for his dog that Gaea decided to arrange the stars in a way that resembled Laelaps chasing the Teumessian fox.