To see them as shadows in the dark, you would know them to be a large dog. The breed stands 24 to 28 inches at the withers (60 to 71 cm). Females weigh anywhere from 70-100 pounds (30-45kg). Males are 75-120 pounds (35-55 kg). They have wolfish lines. At a distance in the dark one could think they were a Worg or similar creature. Upon more careful observation, one can see the head and muzzle are broader than a wolf’s narrow snout.
If you catch them in the light, you know they are different. They are a true blue grey in color varying from light to dark blue grey. They have touches of white on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, the neck, chest, and tail. Their bulky coat consists of two layers. The first layer is made up of tough guard hairs designed to repel water and dirt. The second is a dense, water-resistant undercoat that insulates. This makes the Gate Hounds tremendous shedders in the late spring. Every temple will have a great deal of free floating fluffs of hair. The apprentices are often charged with sweeping up after the hounds. A distinctive feature is a "fur ruff" down their back. This ruff is akin to a wolf’s: a stripe of longer coarser hair. When being threatening, the ruff can raise up. This can also be called The Hackels; as in the phrase, "Don’t get your Hackels up." They are also more digigrade (less flat footed) than most domestic dogs, being lighter their large paws.
If you see them and they in turn to see you, even in the dark, you will know they are not from here. You will see a cat’s golden eyes looking back at you from this large wolfish dog. The oddness and power in these near glowing eyes are part of the proof that this breed is a gifts from The Others. It is the eyes make them truly special.
Gate Hounds are a working dog. They are territorial. Any place they are familiar with is considered "Theirs" and they will defend it. They are friendly with people associated with "their place". They are stand offish, dismissive, and sometimes aggressive to people not of their place. Given their size and strength, they can be quite a foe.
The familiarity can be "tiered". The Gate Hound can be trained to be intensely associated with the temple, and fairly familiar with the surrounding village(s). Thus the hound will protect and defend the villages with slightly less ferociousness than they would the temple.
Gate Hounds are very quiet dogs, only barking "when there is something to bark about". When a Gate Hound barks, everyone responds.
Gate Hounds are almost "cat-like," as they are clean and odorless. They will housebreak themselves, as they want to be undisturbed and as far away from their food or water as they can be to do their business. Give the opportunity, they will even bury it. Thus strategic placement of bowels of water or food can ensure that a pup will learn to go in certain places.
Gate Hounds tend to be stubborn and require a firm but loving education where "no" always means "no" and never "whatever".
The loyalty and devotion displayed by Gate Hound is phenomenal. They can (and will) follow you from room to room, yet not be underfoot. The Gate Hounds lives their life to protect their place and those in it. They will defend their place with their lives. They will also attack any small animals in their place. They even have a decent success rate hunting birds that land on the ground in their place.
It is the eyes of the beast that give it is power. It has "The Sight" or "The Vision". Gate Hounds can see "The Unseen". They are able to see (and sense) Ghosts (and other spirit forms including demonic spirits), Gates (All passages, paths, and gatefaults), Magic, and Ley lines. They will often see these as a threat. Being territorial, they will defend their space against these other intruders.
The Gate Hounds seem to have a limited ability to harm non material beings, either through bite or bark. Somehow they are able to deter such things.
Most Gate Hounds will howl when a gateway (to/from another realm) opens nearby. It is said they can hear the doors open or the wind from the other place. Either way, they can serve as warning guardians that things from the other realms are about on the world.
They are also top notch trackers. This ability is so overshadowed by their guarding abilities, that people forget about it. While they are good trackers of game and other material things; they are best at tracking magic and supernatural things.
These Dogs are kept as Temple Mascots and Guardians by Priests. There abilities with the supernatural help the priest protect their community from "Outside" forces.
Witchhunters often have a brace of these dogs to assist in their search for dark magics.
Certain Nobles have taken to keeping the animals as well, to watch over their households as well.
Those that practice sorcery (magic of any stripe really) shy away from these animals, as the Hounds usually have an adverse reaction to the person, until they get to know them or they become associated with their place.