What Were Dogs Called in Ancient Times?

Dogs are one of the oldest domesticated animals and have been human companions for thousands of years. But have you ever wondered what dogs were called in ancient times? Let’s explore the various names and terms that were used to refer to our beloved canine friends in the past.

Canis Familiaris

In ancient Rome, dogs were referred to as “Canis Familiaris”. The term Canis Familiaris means “domestic dog” and was used to distinguish them from their wild counterparts. The Romans valued dogs for their loyalty and hunting abilities, and they were often depicted in art and literature.


The ancient Greeks also had a term for dogs, which was “kuōn”. This word was used to describe hunting dogs specifically. In Greek mythology, the three-headed dog Cerberus guarded the gates of the underworld, emphasizing the importance of dogs in Greek culture.


In ancient Egypt, dogs were associated with Anubis, the god of mummification and afterlife. Anubis was often depicted with the head of a dog or jackal, highlighting the significance of these animals in Egyptian religion.


One breed that has maintained its name throughout history is the Greyhound. This breed has been around since ancient Egypt and was highly valued for its speed and agility. The name “greyhound” is believed to have originated from Old English words meaning “grey” and “dog”.

Other Terms

Dogs have also been referred to using other terms throughout history. In medieval times, they were called “canes”, which is where we get the word “canine”. In Norse mythology, a wolf-like creature called Fenrir was said to be a great enemy of Odin.

  • Canes – Medieval Times
  • Fenrir – Norse Mythology


Dogs have been an important part of human society for thousands of years, and their names and terms have evolved over time. From the ancient Romans’ “Canis Familiaris” to the Greeks’ “Kuōn”, our furry friends have been referred to using various names and terms throughout history. Regardless of what they were called, one thing is certain: dogs have always held a special place in our hearts.