Greetings from the ancient world! For thousands of years, dogs have been man’s best friend as both a companion and a hunting dog. Even in the most mysterious and mystical places of the ancient world, you’ll see dogs depicted in artwork and religious practices. Some archeologists even found evidence of their accessories like leather dog collars which depicted names like “Reliable,” “Good Herdsman,” “Antelope,” and even one calling the dog “Useless.” In many ways, it seems that the ancient Egyptians took care of their dogs much like how modern-day people do. They were considered part of the family. Sounds like our kind of people.
In ancient tombs, archaeologists have found remains of these ancient breeds sitting alongside the pharaohs in ancient jars meant to preserve them for the afterlife. Archaeologists even found some mummified right next to their master’s sarcophagus. It’s no doubt that dogs were an important part of everyday life in ancient Egypt, especially for the nobles, but this doesn’t mean that they had any less important for the middle class. Even the commoners loved their dogs so much that a local cemetery in Abydos was designed with a section dedicated to them. Today’s Egyptian breeds are no less important to everyday life. So let’s take a look at some of the breeds that have kept guard over the vast sands of one of the most ancient civilizations of the world.
Ancient Egyptian Dog Breeds
Egypt was once considered the cradle of civilization—even dogs. Almost all dog breeds in the world have some kind of connection to Egypt, and in some cases, it really shows. We’re starting off with some of the most commonly known Egyptian dog breeds with close ties to their ancient lineage.
While not as well known as some other breeds on this list, the Armant is an important part of any Egyptian farmer’s life. They are also called the Egyptian herding dog breeds, and that’s exactly what they are used for. They are valued herding and guard dogs with a shaggy coat instead of the usual sleek and slender shorthaired coats most other Egyptian dog breeds have. That might be due to the fact that this breed’s origin actually comes from France. They were likely traded during Napoleon’s reign and mixed in with the local dogs. There they were eventually named after the city of Armant and have become valuable working dogs. These dogs have a great temperament and do well in homes with children.
The Ibizan Hound is actually a Spanish breed, but the hounds can still trace their lineage back to ancient Egypt. Phoenician sea traders likely traded them to the Balearic Islands on Spain’s coast. They are a sighthound with a sleek build and fast pace gait that is perfect for hunting small game. They are a quiet and gentle breed that makes excellent pets for an active home. There are two types of coats for this dog-smooth and wire. The smooth coat is characteristic of its ancient heritage.
This breed is often considered one of the oldest dog breeds in the world and is appropriately nicknamed The Royal Dog of Egypt. They are a sleek and elegant-looking breed with long wisps of feathered hair hanging from their ears and tail. They are strikingly beautiful, earning them the name Saluki meaning “noble,” in Arabic. Even Alexander the Great was known to have the Saluki breed. They are highly active and need plenty of exercises to avoid boredom. They have a docile temperament and make great companion dogs as well as hunting dogs. These dogs are sensitive and respond well to positive reinforcement dog training.
While the name sounds impressive, Pharaoh Hounds are actually closely related to the Ibizan Hound. They look the same, behave almost the same way, and are used for the same purpose of hunting small game. Pharaoh hound is specifically known to hunt rabbits, earning the name “kelb tal-fenek” or “rabbit dog.” Their main difference is that Pharaoh Hound is more sociable and friendly than its close relative making it a dog better suited to homes with children. These dogs are very popular in Malta, with most breeders agreeing that this is where the hound originated from. They are good with hunting on rocky terrain and have a unique feature in which they are known to blush with their ears and nose turning a bright pink color.
These unique dogs are native to various parts of Africa, including Egypt. They bear a striking resemblance to artworks depicting ancient dogs. The Basenji is a valuable hunting dog . What makes it so unique? Basenjis are one of few dogs who cannot bark and instead emit a high-pitched yodeling sound. So, get your best bark collars out for this one even if they don’t bark. These dogs are often referred to as the cats of the dog world due to their neatness and overall cat-like temperament. Another unique trait about this dog is that its DNA is relatively untouched by selective breeding, meaning that this dog closely resembles that of real ancient breeds. If you’re looking for a special dog, then you’ve found it right here in this ancient dog breed.
Baladi Street Dogs
While not purebred, Baladi Street Dogs are a mixed breed from various other Egyptian breeds throughout the years. However, they are so numerous that they are becoming a nuisance to everyday people, and efforts have begun to humanly take care of the population. Maybe you can help by adopting one? They share similar traits with most other Egyptian purebreds, including a sleek build, short hair, and pointed ears. Their mixed genes give them a less refined look, but that doesn’t make them any less great companion dogs.
While not a dog breed, jackals are closely associated with Egypt due to one of the most famous of the ancient Egyptian gods, Anubis, being depicted as a man with a dog-like head. Some archeologists think the head could resemble a basenji or a Pharoah breed. Jackals are also called wild dogs. There are at least three different breeds of jackals: the golden, black-backed, and side-striped. They are scavengers of the desert. Don’t ever attempt to domesticate these animals as they are wild, and any attempt to approach one could end dangerously.
While most of these dogs have origins in different countries, most breeders agree that these dogs have at least some Egyptian blood in them due to their similar looks and hunting prowess. Like the Egyptian dogs, these breeds are active and need a trainer who is patient with them and has enough space to let them run free. Most of these breeds are actually hound dogs proving just how valuable these sleek and fast types of dogs were to everyday life in the deserts of Egypt. Keep in mind that most of the breeds on the notables section are only speculated to have bred with some Egyptian breeds.
These dogs are some of the fastest dog breeds in the world—they are utilized as racing dogs. They can reach speeds of up to 45 mph, so like most breeds on the list, you might want to invest in a big backyard for them to run and romp in. However, they are one of the most popular dogs even in early times and, like many hounds, are prized for their speed and hunting abilities.
This small dog breed is another hound dog with a small thin build. They are often jokingly referred to as “the poor man’s racehorse” due to their popularity in racing events. They are English dogs but looking at them reveals a hidden ancestry that compares easily to the dogs of ancient Egypt. They are the smallest dog breed on the list.
Spanish Sight Hound
Like most hounds, these breeds may have very well originated in Egypt. This may even be due to the fact that traders brought the Ibizan breed to the peninsula of Spain, and from that, the Spanish Sight Hound was born. Just like their name implies, they are a sighthound and come in many different coat varieties. They are calm and gentle, and therefore they make great house pets—even ones with children.
The Afghan Hound is right up there in elegance with the Saluki. Some people even mistake them for being the same dog due to their similar style, but there is a notable difference. Afghans were raised to withstand the cold mountains of Afghanistan and therefore have more fur to help keep them warm. They are one of the world’s most beautiful dog breeds and are often sought out in dog shows. Unlike their cousins, they do not usually have a smooth coat and instead are encouraged to grow their own out for the sake of shows.
This breed is often mistaken for a smooth-coated Saluki, but they are, in fact, a different breed. Like many other breeds on the list, they are mostly known to be great guard dogs and, as such, need good socialization from a very young age as they tend to be naturally wary with people. They are mostly found in Morrocco.
These dogs are very popular in Africa and Arabic nations. They are the national dog of Israel and one of the most popular ancient dogs, with a cemetery filled with around 700 skeletons of the dog breed. They also have a more fluffy coat which is unusual for most dog breeds on the list.
Are there any dogs that we missed? While most dogs on this list have at least some Egyptian heritage, there are some that are almost direct descendants from the original ancient breeds and are therefore very rare and expensive. That means you need to be prepared to spend a lot. However, it’s worth it if you put in the proper time and necessities needed for these amazing dogs.
As you can easily tell, most of these breeds share a lot of common traits, such as appearances and activity levels. Let’s not forget each and every one of these brilliant breeds makes its home among the sands of time. If you’re ever looking to get an Egyptian breed, be aware that these dogs need their space to run free, so be sure you have the equipment necessary to train your dog to stay well within your perimeters, GPS dog fences, so they don’t wander off like. These dogs are also better off without homes with small pets due to their hunting instincts.
What is an Egyptian dog called?
Egyptian dogs come in a variety of breeds, including the Saluki, Basenji, and Pharoah Hound. Some of these breeds were around even during the time the great pyramids were built. Most Egyptian dog breeds share similar traits with each other, including looks and their value as being a working dogs.
What dogs were in Egypt?
It’s unknown exactly what breeds of dogs were around during ancient Egypt. However, some artistic depictions closely resemble some Egyptian breeds that are still around today, like the Saluki and Basenji. So it’s possible that there were other breeds of dogs, too though their bloodline is thought to be mixed in too much with other dog breeds making any of those unknown breeds extinct for good.
What kind of dog is Anubis?
Anubis is likely not even a dog at all but a jackal. Specifically, a golden jackal is native to areas around Egypt. However, while golden jackals are, well, golden, Anubis is often depicted with black fur. Wild dogs or jackals roam the deserts of Egypt for as long as anyone can remember and have been depicted in many ancient myths and legends, including being the god of mummification, who is often depicted as a man with a jackal’s head.
What Egyptian god is a dog?
Anubis is the god that comes to mind when people think of Egyptian dog-headed gods, but he isn’t the only one. Most people don’t know the fact that in the early depictions of Egyptian gods, Anubis had a brother named Wepwawet who had white fur instead of black. They were combined into one later in history. So these two gods are the only ones closely associated with dogs.