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Ferelden Legend claims that Mabari are descended from wolves that once served Dane, a legendary hero from Fereldan. Mabari are viewed as a status symbol in present Fereldan. Anyone with a Mabari is assumed to be a distinguished person of worth. Mabari chose their masters through a process called imprinting, once this occurs they will serve their master loyally for as long as they can.
Dragon Age: Origins
It is possible for the Warden to have a Mabari, by default named Dog, join the party by completing a quest involving finding a flower needed to heal a sick Mabari hound. The Human Noble Origin story grants The Warden a Mabari without completion of this quest. It is also possible to have the hound join the Warden in the "Return to Ostagar" DLC. While at the Warden camp it is possible to witness various party member's interactions with the Mabari.
Dragon Age II
The Mabari War Hound can be used by Hawke in Dragon Age 2 as a summon-like ability. Once used, the Mabari will fight with the party until killed. Once killed, it can be summoned again after a short period of time.
The Mabari also can be found in Hawke's house, and party members or various NPCs can often be found interacting with the dog.