Cahuilla Dogs

Dogs can not talk, but they understand everything that is said. They have a soul just as we have.

When the people left Mukat s house and came to this valley, there was one dog with them; his name was Hakliswákwish. The people on the Martinez reservation still name their dogs after that first dog.

From the very beginning, dogs were given certain names, either because of their looks or their individual actions. Sometimes people named their dogs after certain spots in the mountains which they considered their own.

Following is a list of dog names which are said to have originated in the beginning. These were given to me by Ramon Garcia of Morongo reservation

  1. Tukwusauel (Ramon’s dog), male. Tukwas is sky.
  2. Honwet-mihanwish, male. “Fights bear.”
  3. Honwet-mikish, female. “Fights bear.”
  4. Nishkish. “Ashes.” Dogs were appointed from the beginning by Mukat, to sleep outside and act as watchmen. People used to throw their ashes outdoors in a certain place. The dog would sleep on that spot because it was warm. After doing this, one dog became gray and looked like ashes. After that he was called Nishkish, as all such appearing dogs still are.
  5. Yoyetheki. “Spotted white.” Once, in the beginning, when a dog was sleeping outdoors, it snowed and made the little dog spotted with white.
  6. Isil. “Coyote.” Brown like a coyote.
  7. Isila, female. Brown like a coyote.
  8. Iste-mihanwish, male. Fights coyote.
  9. Iste-mimikish, female. “Fights coyote.”
  10. Lauelvanutkiwishve. “Cottonwood tree.” A name given to a large black and white spotted dog.
  11. Pauwetama. “Sore, small eyes.”
  12. Pulakalet. “White spots on head and neck.”
  13. Tamelkisol, female. “Small dog.”
  14. Yirhemhemke. “Small male dog.”
  15. Yuchemime. “Very small dog.”
  16. Chikutu. “Small dog.”


Hooper, Lucile. The Cahuilla Indians. Berkeley, California: University Of California Press. 1920.

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