The Cerberus (ケルベロス,keruberosu?) (development code: "MA-39") was an early attempt at creating a controllable Bio Organic Weapon by Umbrella USA, in a project led by the Arklay Laboratory. They should not be confused with "zombie dogs", which encompasses all dog breeds infected with any t-Virus strain in the secondary form. Pronounced as the Greek word, "Kerberos", this creature was named after the mythological guardian of Hades, a gigantic dog with three heads and a collar made of venomous snakes.
The Cerberus Project began in the early 1980s as the β strain was developed. It was hoped that the improved t-Virus strain would create mutants more adequate for sale as military products, and dobermans were specifically selected for the project due to their traits favouring military service. Though they suffered skin deterioration, their muscles were left largely intact, and this and their increased strength and aggression made them more dangerous. As this B.O.W. species was created from an existing animal, unlike the Hunter Program, the cost to create the Cerberus prototypes was low. Deemed a success, the later Cerberuses were created by cloning one of the prototypes.[excerpt 1] The Arklay Laboratory conducted testing on these dogs in the courtyard until the t-Virus outbreak in 1998 when they escaped. Hungry and lacking their Umbrella trainers, they turned feral and began killing and eating hikers out in the Arklay Mountains. Members of this pack fought with S.T.A.R.S., but it is unknown how many escaped the Mansion Incident.