National Breeds

Dogs in ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptian dogs were a big part of society. The ancient Egyptian word for “dog” was iwiw – representing the sound of a dog’s bark. Though dogs were trained for functional roles such as hunting, guarding, and working with the police and military. They were also kept as pets and taken care of. Most of us picture cats when we think of ancient Egypt – the goddess Bastet immortalized the image of the seated, jeweled cat. Cats were mummified and deified, and of course kept as pets. But the fact is, the ancient Egyptians loved their pet dogs so much that they sometimes mummified and buried them with their owners. At Abydos, part of the cemetery was set aside for dogs, though other cemeteries with many mummies of ancient Egyptian dogs can be found across the country. At the Giza necropolis the dog Abuwtiyuw was given a beautiful and ceremonial funeral and burial, more so than the average ancient Egyptian person. He was apparently a guard dog, as the inscription calls him, and goes on to describe the offerings that were buries with him: The dog which was the guard of His Majesty. Abuwtiyuw is his name. His Majesty ordered that he be buried, that he be given a coffin from the royal treasury, fine linen in great quantity, incense. His Majesty gave perfumed ointment and [ordered] that a tomb be built for him by the gang of masons. His Majesty did this for him in order that he might be honored. He apparently lived sometime during the Sixth Dynasty, thought we don’t know which pharaoh he served. The way he is described gives the idea that he was a Tesem-like dog, similar to a greyhound, with pointed ears and a curly tail. Tesem was the name of hunting dogs in ancient Egypt. These are the curly-tailed dogs that looked like sighthounds. Another canine was Wepwawet, his name meaning “Opener of Ways”. He would go forward to make a path for the army, and he also protected the deceased and showed them the way into the underworld. In the latter capacity, he was also involved in the Osirian Mysteries, where he lead the procession of the dead Osiris towards his grave. He is closely associated with the God Anubis, and his image is very similar to that of a jackal. Still, there has been some confusion and he was sometimes identified as a wolf, hence the ancient Greeks naming the city of his cult center Lycopolis (city of the wolf). Lycopolis is now modern day Asyut. The god Set was sometimes shown as a fantastical animal called Sha, also called the Set Animal. This Sha resembled a type of canine with erect ears and a pointed tail.

Types of ancient Egyptian dogs

With the exception of the Sha, different types of jackals, wolves and dogs were found across Egypt. So far, other than the Tesem we mentioned earlier, the dog breeds most closely associated with the images of ancient Egyptian dogs that we have are: The Saluki, a sighthound and one of the oldest known breeds of domesticated dogs. It is also called The Royal Dog of Egypt, or The Persian Greyhound. And the Sloughi, another sighthound originating from the North Africa region.

Egyptian Shepherd Dog (ARMANT)

The Egyptian Shepherd Dog (Armant) was originally located in upper Egypt, presicely in Armant town that belongs to Qena governerate which the dog obviously bears its name.

The Egyptian Kennel Federation has adopted the breed since it was established and worked so hard on collecting all information about the breed also gathering all the breeders from allover the republic in order to collaborate in this national project.

The national club of the breed has done a great job by approaching the breeders in different governorates in order to collect information about dogs and give them the assigned identifications. Armant dog is a real family dog which carries lots of meaning such as loyal and protective. In the real life Armant dog is one of the best shepherds ever you could see in the fields. 

Thebes Land Dog (Baladi)

The Thebes Land Dog (Baladi) is one of the most incient breeds on earth, it has beed shown on the pharaonic walls and temples with ancient Egyptians helping them in different fields. Since, ancient Egyption after the era of lack of rains they have moved to the delta where they had the Nile that moved them forward with agriculture and we could easily see them as drawn on the pharaonic  walls using as dogs as other animals too. Thus, we could say they have used them mainly for two main purposes herding & hunting. Baladi dogs are more than we might call smart & intellegient, very beautiful companions and could be easily used in both utility and rescue dogs.

 



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