Dogs were the first domesticated species, and historians believe that the domestication first started over 15,000 years ago by hunter-gatherers.
Since then, dogs have been living with us humans and have been playing an important role in our lives.
Dogs are even mentioned in the Bible several times, but only one specific dog breed is mentioned as such in the Bible.
If you are wondering what is the only dog breed specifically mentioned in the Bible, go ahead and read on.
What is the only dog breed which is mentioned in the Bible?
There are multiple mentions of dogs in the Bible, but the only place where a particular breed is mentioned is in Proverbs 30:29-31, and the dog breed is the Greyhound.
It is mentioned in the King James Version of the Bible as follows:
“There be three things which do well, yea, which is comely in going; a lion, which is strongest among beasts and turneth not away from any; A greyhound; A he-goat also.”
The text was translated as close as possible from the original Hebrew “girt in loins” phrase and is assumed to refer to the Greyhound.
In other versions of the Bible, the same Greyhound character is supposedly mentioned as well, namely under the name of “strutting rooster.”
The Greyhound is believed to be one of the oldest dog breeds in history. There are burial sites containing Greyhounds found by archaeologists dating back to the Ubaid Period in 5000 BC in Mesopotamia, and images of the Greyhound dogs in ancient Egyptian hunting and battle scene imageries dated from 4250 BC.
Historical records show that this dog breed was a popular one in the King James court when the version of the Bible was first published. As such, the Greyhound was among the most commonly recognized dog breeds by the public, presumably including the translators of the Bible.
So, whether or not the dog breed referred to specifically in the Bible was a Greyhound or other is hard to tell.
According to some researchers, other dog breeds which existed during those times could have been similar to the Greyhound. One of them could have been the Saluki dog breed, which existed then, but was not as well-known and as common as the Greyhound. The Saluki is another ancient breed from the hound group which was used for hunting by the kings and other members of the court.
Where is the specific dog breed mentioned in the Bible?
To summarize, the only dog breed mentioned explicitly in the Bible is in Proverbs 30:29-31 in the King James Bible version.
How many times are dogs mentioned in the Bible as a whole?
While the specific mention of the Greyhound as a dog breed in the Bible can be found once, there are many other references to dogs in the Bible, without the indication of a particular dog breed.
According to researchers, the number of times in which dogs are mentioned in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible is 41, including:
- 32 mentions in Hebrew in the Old Testament
- 9 mentions in Greek in the New Testament
If you are interested in the exact quotes from the Bible mentioning dogs, here is an excellent infographic by DoggySaurus.com with every single one of the 41 mentions of dogs in the Bible.
What roles did dogs play in the Bible?
Dogs are mentioned 41 times in the Bible and are most commonly mentioned referring to the following themes:
- For hunting, herding, and farming use
- There are references suggesting that violence to dogs was acceptable
- The word dog is used as a reference to a lower status and even as an insult
- The dog is considered to be a synonym for evil, according to mentions in the New Testament
Overall, it is not completely clear whether people kept dogs as companion dogs or pets during those biblical times. It seems more likely, according to the mentions in the Bible, that dogs were used as working animals. And also that they were often considered evil or bad because they were left running wild in packs.
So, when did dog domestication, as we know it, actually occur?
Scientists are still arguing about the exact time and the exact place where the humans and dogs began bonding and the process of domestication of dogs began.
What most researchers agree upon is that today’s dogs evolved from ancient wolves. Some believe that hunter-gatherers took wolf puppies and started training them to hunt and work, and gradually they started becoming tamer and tamer. Others argue that wolves are still hard to train, that the evolution from wolf to dog occurred in a more natural way and that dogs actually “invented themselves.” This could have occurred by the more timid wolves getting closer to the hunter-gatherers and scavenging from their camps, gradually becoming friends with them.
Today’s dogs are very different from wild wolves. They can eat in the presence of humans (unlike wolves), they do not tend to live in packs, and they have shorter snouts and wider skulls.
Overall, scientists and other researchers of canine history and development agree that dogs became domesticated about 15,000 years ago.
There is historical evidence that dogs were buried along with humans 14,000 years ago.
There are some biologists who claim that the domestication process occurred much longer ago, about 30,000 years ago. This claim is backed by the DNA findings and the skulls found from those times.
The locations where the oldest historical evidence of the domestication of dogs has been found include East Asia, Siberia, Mongolia, Africa, and Europe.
Plus, depending on the different views of when Biblical times actually occurred, dogs could have been domesticated or, in some cases, may have still not been domesticated.
So, it is a matter of opinion and belief.
What are the other animals which have been mentioned in the Bible?
As noted, dogs have been mentioned in the Bible over 40 times, including the Greyhound’s specific reference, but there are various other animals that have found their place in the Bible as well.
Some of them are:
The full list of all animals and species mentioned in the Bible can be found here.
As you can see, dogs have been present since or before biblical times, and the specific breed mentioned in the Bible is the Greyhound, but there are a total of 41 mentions of dogs in the Old and the New Testaments.
While not all mentions refer to dogs in a kind and loving manner, some mentions of dogs in the Bible refer to dogs as most dog parents today see their favorite companions.
One quote is closer to what dog owners today can relate to more closely, namely:
Mark 7:27: And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
Mark 7:28: But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”