The sniffy (Canis parvus) is the smallest member of the genus Canis (canines) and the canid subfamily Caninae. Sniffies are herbivorous mammals with a medium-length muzzle, an extraordinarily acute sense of smell, a thin, fuzzy coat, a short tail, and a high-pitched voice. Though the sniffy is not known to have been selectively bred, their olfactory capabilities exceed the average domestic dog's, and parallel those of scent hounds. It is thought that the sniffy has the most sensitive nose of all canines, though this has not been scientifically tested.
Though sniffies are able to follow a smell or scent very effectively, there is no record of a sniffy having ever hunted prey for sustenance. As a result, the prevailing theory is that the sniffy's sense of smell is a result of having evolved to be able to discern from non-poisonous plants to poisonous ones. Unlike domestic dogs, sniffies are not attuned to Talltowers' behaviour and cannot survive on Talltower dog food. It is also thought that sniffies' lack of association with Talltowers has led to increased intelligence and independence. Sniffies vary less in size and shape than domestic dogs; there is a lack of diversity within the species. The vast majority of sniffies have short, almost frizzy fur due to higher average global temperatures in the Wildworld, and have short tail. It is a prevalent scientific belief that this is due to a need of aerodynamics taking evolutional priority over a stronger sense of balance. Sniffies' eyes are almost always a medium to dark shade of brown.
The average sniffy voice has a frequency registering at approximately 16.8 kHz (16800 Hz). This pitch is at the upper end of most adult Talltowers' hearing ranges. The sniffy's voice is perceivable by Talltowers, but is more easily heard by younger Talltowers.
Sniffies are unusual in that they are both bipedal and quadrupedal. However quadrupedalism comes more naturally to sniffies, being members of the genus Canis. They also have excellent manual dexterity, shared only by Talltowers. This enables them to use tools at a significantly more advanced level than other canines. Sniffies also have their own language, dubbed Sniffese. Interestingly, Sniffese is the only official language used by sniffies, though there are several regional dialects. These dialects are not particularly nuanced nor difficult to learn; thus, communication is quite simple. Sniffese is an uncomplex language; syntax is similar to that in languages such as English and Chinese, and exceptions to grammatical rules are rare. However, like English, spelling is not straightforwardly phonetic.
Surprisingly, the modern sniffy brain is extremely similar to the Talltower one. Sniffies possess the behavioral and cognitive traits of behaviour modernity to an extent that, in terms of mental prowess, they are very easily distinguished from other members of Canis. Sniffies are easily capable of symbolic behaviour such as visual art, superficial decoration, and the appreciation of music which indicates abstract thinking abilities. Sniffies can also create plans with many elements and are impressively accomplished in original invention.
The cognitive and cultural foundations of sniffy societies differ considerably from those of Talltower societies. Therefore, there are a few notable disparities between sniffies and Talltowers, though they are fewer in number than either might assume.
Social norms are far less common for sniffies than they are for Talltowers. It is theorised that herd mentality was endangering sniffies, so the sniffy brain developed a slight but useful immunity to societal pressure.
However, this theory could be said to conflict with the fact sniffies are naturally inclined towards cooperation and unity. Very little internal research has been performed upon this matter.
Sniffies exhibit a certain apathy towards the moral laws of the Talltowers. They are not inherently malevolent nor benevolent, though they are sociable and like to form close bonds like humans do. Sniffies enjoy chaos more than they do order, and are generally unpredictable. They are given to sudden changes of mind and in mood, and generally have short attention spans. However, sniffies are also resourceful and innovative; their technology easily rivals that of Talltowers'.
For now, sniffies hide from the Talltowers. But, as the sniffy population increases and Talltowers become more and more aware of the world around them, this may no longer be possible.