This story is told everywhere in Jamaica, but I find no African version and Mrs. Parsons says (JAFL 32:391) that, although she heard it "over and over again" in South Carolina, it was altogether unknown in North Carolina; see Sea Islands, 1-5. Such a distribution argues a fairly modern origin for the complete form of the story.
The story has two parts. (1) Two friends, who have, one a dog and the other a dog-head, go hunting, and the owner of the dog-head claims the spoils for his own. (2) His companion, who dares not dispute him, recovers the spoils by pretending that the owner is come to punish the theft.
An introduction sometimes tells how the friends come by the dog and dog-head. Each gets a present of a dog, but one is so greedy that he eats his down, beginning at the tail, until only the head is left. When his friend jeers at him, he makes a bet that his dog-head will catch the prey. The business of deciding at which end to begin to eat the dog is used as a humorous episode detached from the rest of the story, the victim sometimes escaping in the meantime.
The trick of claiming the cow as the prey of the dog-head may be related to such stories as that of Basset 2:88, in which the man lays the new-born calf beside his own bull and declares that the bull has mothered it.
For the revenge, compare Rivière, 11; Harris, Nights, 131-132.