A mabari warhound is a breed of dog. Though said in legend to have been bred from the wolves who served Dane, in truth they were bred magically by the Formari in Tevinter, and brought to Ferelden during an invasion. Each chooses their master for life, in a process known as "imprinting." They are extremely loyal to their masters, defending them and following their every command.
Mabaris are fierce combatants, and highly social companions as well. Though incapable of speech, they communicate via growls, whines, barks, and body language. They are said to be "as smart as your average tax collector." They are highly prized, especially in Ferelden where dogs are a major part of the nation's culture. Kaddis -- a special warpaint -- is used by a Mabari's handlers so that the mabari can tell allies from enemies in battle.
The mabari are an essential part of Fereldan military strategy. Trained hounds can easily pull knights from horseback or break lines of pikemen, and the sight and sound of a wave of war dogs, howling and snarling, has been known to cause panic among even the most hardened infantry soldiers. Ferelden Ash Warriors -- who draw upon the dwarven berserker tradition -- have adapted their talents to fight alongside their hounds.