Did Ancient Greece Have Pet Dogs?

Dogs are often referred to as man’s best friend and have been domesticated for thousands of years. The question that arises is whether the ancient Greeks had pet dogs as well In this article, we will take a closer look at the evidence and explore whether the ancient Greeks kept dogs as pets.

The Role of Dogs in Ancient Greece

Dogs played an important role in ancient Greek society. They were primarily used for hunting, guarding, and as companions for shepherds.

Greek literature is full of references to dogs, including their use in hunting wild game such as deer and boar. In addition, Greek art often depicts dogs accompanying their masters in everyday life.

Evidence of Pet Dogs

While it is clear that dogs were valued in ancient Greece, there is limited evidence to suggest that they were kept solely as pets. However, there are a few references to pet dogs in Greek literature.

The poet Hesiod mentions pet dogs in his poem “Works and Days.” He writes about a dog named Argos who was loved by his master but died while waiting for him to return home after a long absence. This passage suggests that Argos was more than just a working dog; he was a beloved companion.

Another example comes from the philosopher Aristotle who referred to small lapdogs as “companions of women” in his book “The History of Animals.” This suggests that these small dogs may have been kept primarily for companionship rather than any practical purpose.

Greek Dog Breeds

Ancient Greece had several dog breeds, some of which still exist today. These breeds include:

  • The Molossus – A large breed used for guarding and hunting
  • The Laconian – A hunting dog used for tracking and retrieving game
  • The Melitan – A small lapdog used as a companion


While there is limited evidence to suggest that the ancient Greeks kept dogs solely as pets, it is clear that dogs played an important role in their society. Whether they were used for hunting, guarding, or companionship, dogs were valued members of ancient Greek households. Today, we continue to love and cherish our furry friends just as much as the ancient Greeks did thousands of years ago.