Small brooches like this one, often in stylised animal forms, were worn by both Roman soldiers and subjects across the empire. They served both a decorative and practical function, being used to fasten articles of clothing, particularly cloaks. Archaeological evidence suggests that the centres of Roman brooch production were in the provinces of Britannia and Gaul. The hound was a popular symbol for the Romano-Celtic culture and it was thought that Roman soldiers when stationed in the British provinces would wear this type of hound pin.
The running hound type is aesthetically very similar to the running hare fibulae, sometimes making it hard to distinguish between the two. Generally, the hound type have upturned tails and a flatter snout, whilst hares have shorter tails. Based on the angular snout and muscular physique we can ascertain quite clearly that this represents a hound.
To discover more on Roman and Celtic brooches, please see our relevant blog post: Roman and Celtic Fibulae