Some of the oldest known dog breeds are Egyptian dog breeds. There aren’t many breeds that trace all the way back to ancient Egypt, but the ones that do have likely been around for longer than we can imagine. In fact, it’s even suggested that Egyptians were the ones to first domesticate dogs. This is because there are lots of Egyptian paintings depicting men walking dogs on leashes, including one on a tomb from 3500 BC. Plus, the Egyptians were known for keeping a wide range of domesticated animals. So, it’s no wonder that there’s lots of evidence of domesticated dogs in their history.
The following five dog breeds are all suggested to have originated from Egypt originally. However, some are more commonly seen around the world today while others are fairly uncommon. What’s certain about all of these Egyptian dog breeds is that each breed is especially unique.
#1 – Saluki
The Saluki is thought to be one of the oldest dog breeds, dating back at least 5,000 years. Plus, there are plenty of Egyptian tombstones and sculptures depicting a dog that looks a lot like a modern-day Saluki. They have a majestic appearance with long, skinny legs like a Greyhound. They also have beautiful silky coats, often with short hair on their body, but longer flowing hair on their ears and tail.
This breed is a hound dog with an exceptional sense of sight. They are incredibly fast, so they can chase down prey at ease. Even in a household environment, they love chasing small, furry animals, so they’re not a good dog to have around smaller pets. If they get plenty of exercise on a daily basis, they can be calm and docile companions. They love playing, but curling up on a comfortable couch is just as exciting for them.
Unlike most dog breeds, the Saluki is fairly independent. They’re known to be stubborn and sensitive, so they don’t like it when things don’t go their way. Therefore, they need plenty of patience and positive reinforcements when it comes to training. Otherwise, they might think that they run the house.
#2 – Basenji
The Basenji is another well-known dog breed that’s also known as one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. They’re commonly seen on Egyptian paintings, especially on the tombstones of Egyptian pharaohs. Basenjis are another hound dog breed that excels at both sight and sound. If needed, they can even run fast enough to hunt birds. Therefore, they were often sought after by tribesman in Africa.
For many years, this breed was hidden away in African villages, where they were only used for selective breeding. However, breeding pairs were eventually brought to new locations. The present-day Basenji closely resembles its Egyptian ancestors. One notable trait it has besides its exceptional hunting skills is its noise. These dogs almost never bark, but instead, they speak using a yodel or chortle sound.
Basenjis are medium-sized and easygoing. Because of this, they’re able to easily adjust to new surroundings. They even make great apartment dogs. Despite being so small, they still require plenty of exercise and playtime to keep their minds busy. They can also be independent from time to time, preferring time to themselves rather than with groups of people.
#3 – Ibizan Hound
This breed can easily be traced back to ancient Egypt, but they’re more commonly considered native dogs of the Balearic Islands, which are off the coast of Spain. Like the other breeds, they closely resemble some drawings found on tombstones and ancient artifacts. Like the Saluki, this breed is a sighthound, making them determined hunters. They’re able to run and jump at high speeds, allowing them to retrieve rabbits for their owners.
Ibizan Hounds are known for their long, skinny legs and brown and white coats. They are generally quiet and graceful, so some people often compare them to deer. Since they’re hunting dogs, they need plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy. They prefer to have a family that loves to exercise and go on adventures. However, after a long day of running around and exploring, these dogs love to curl up next to you for a well-deserved nap.
Despite their strong history, these dogs are actually extremely sensitive. They get stressed easily, so they don’t do well in new situations. Therefore, they’d prefer a home that’s laidback and not too chaotic. Plus, they probably shouldn’t live with small pets due to their high prey drive.
#4 – Pharaoh Hound
As the name implies, the Pharaoh Hound is one of the most recognized Egyptian dog breeds. They aren’t classified as native to Egypt, but they can easily be traced to Egyptian heritage. Plus, they have an appearance and personality that’s similar to the Ibizan Hound. They were also thought to be used for hunting rabbits on the Island of Malta, which would explain their high energy levels.
The main difference between the Ibizan Hound and the Pharaoh Hound is that the Pharaoh Hound is friendlier and more outgoing. They love to run around and play, and they quickly bond with their family members. Their friendly personality also makes them great around children. However, they love to chase wildlife, so they probably won’t do well with small animals in the household.
These energetic dogs need a family that’s just as active as them. They need plenty of time and space to run around daily, otherwise they could easily get bored and destructive. With enough exercise, these dogs should live a long, healthy life because they don’t have many common health concerns.
#5 – Baladi Street Dog
The Baladi Street Dog is not an official breed recognized by the American Kennel Club, but it’s the most common dog in Egypt. These dogs are strays that are native to Egypt and are often found along the streets and in the rural countryside. They share some common characteristics with other Egyptian dog breeds, but they’re not commonly kept as pets. In fact, many locals are not fond of them.
Since these dogs are increasing in population without being adopted enough, people are trying to find ways to fix the overpopulation problem. There are multiple successful spay and neuter campaigns in place for these dogs to help prevent too many dogs from breeding. Through those campaigns, people quickly learned that these dogs can make good companions in the right home, so they’re also trying to adopt them out to good families.
There are several dog breeds that trace back to ancient Egypt, and these five dogs all played significant roles in Egyptian culture. They all seem unique and different from most of the popular dog breeds today, but that doesn’t stop them from being great companions. All dogs can make great family members if given the chance, so take some time to consider the unique and lesser known dog breeds when choosing a new dog for your family.