In Mandarin Chinese, 戌 (Pinyin: xū) is the eleventh of twelve earthly branches. It corresponds to the Year of the Dog (狗) of the Chinese zodiac; the ninth month; the hour of the Dog (7 pm to 9 pm, “the time when Dogs carry out their duty of guarding the houses”); and the direction 300° (where 0° is north). Its associated “fixed element” is Earth, 土.
The character 狗 refers to any actual dog while 戌 refers to the “zodiac dog”. 戌 is thought to be derived from a pictogram for axe, as can be seen in many historical forms of the character.