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Dogs in ancient Egypt

Dogs are the earliest domesticated animals (maybe around 10 000 BC in the Near East). They were used as guardians, helper at hunts, and pets. There is some discussion about the ancestors of the dog, but it is most probably the wolf (canis lupus), because their social behaviour and anatomy are very similar. Dogs are attested in Egypt already from the Naqada Period, in paintings on pottery. Bones of dogs have been found at Merimde.

In the Old Kingdom (about 2686-2181 BC) the greyhound (Egyptian: Tsm - long narrow muzzle, nearly straight facial profile, long neck and limbs) was very common. From the Middle Kingdom (about 2025-1700 BC) onwards there is attested a greater variety of dogs (different types of ears, ring-tailed, saber-formed tails).

Head and forequarters of dog (perhaps a greyhound) carved on split half of hippo tusk. Found at Hierakonpolis. Pre- or Early Dynastic.
Dog (greyhound) on a relief fragment found at Koptos.
Stela of Nadjet. Nadjet is shown with a bow and a quiver (?), maybe indicating a position as hunter or soldier. Behind him are depicted three dogs, lop-eared and ring-tailed.
Faience figure of a dog. Such small figures showing animals (most famous: hippopotamus) are a common burial good of the late Middle Kingdom (about 2025-1700 BC).
Dark glazed faience domed gaming-piece with seated dog motif. New Kingdom (about 1550-1069 BC).
UC 2041 Red clay ring-bezel mould; motif of dog leaping on fleeing gazelle. Found at Amarna.
Dog with collar. Roman Period
Bronze buckle or brooch with foreparts of two dogs (?) joined. Late Roman Period.



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