Canine chronicles: Unbelievable tales of dogs throughout history

19 Apr 2024

Dogs have held a special place in human society for millennia. However, their roles and societal standing have shifted dramatically throughout history. This article delves into the past, uncovering unbelievable "wow facts" about our furry companions. We'll explore a world where some pups led lives of such luxury that they'd make even the most pampered modern dog jealous.

Sharing the bedchamber and feasting with kings

During the Middle Ages, dogs occupied a remarkably privileged position in society, often enjoying luxuries reserved for royalty. Smaller breeds like pugs and greyhounds were prized possessions, earning the ultimate honor – a spot on the royal bed. These privileged pups were not merely pets; they were seen as symbols of loyalty, courage, and even good fortune. But the pampering didn't stop there. In some cases, dogs were even considered part of the family and dined alongside their human companions at the table. 


Early animal rights: A law in honor of dogs

Fast forward to the 17th-18th centuries in Japan, where we find the first known law on animal rights enacted specifically to protect dogs. The punishment for killing a dog? Execution. This law also mandated a surprising level of respect – citizens were required to address stray dogs as "Your Most Honorable Dog." This may seem strange to us today, but it highlights the deep reverence some cultures have held for canines.


King Saur – the canine ruler of Norway

History has its fair share of quirky rulers, and 11th-century Norway takes the “canine cake” with King Saur. This wasn't a human king, but a beloved dog who, after the human king abdicated, was appointed the official ruler for three years! While the exact details are shrouded in some mystery, it's clear that Saur held a special place in the hearts of the Norwegian people.

saur.jpg?format=webp@The Dog Kings of Scandinavia/

From temples to sleeves: the deified dogs of China

Moving to ancient China, we encounter another example of canine reverence. Small breeds like the Pekingese and the Japanese Chin were seen as sacred creatures and even worshipped in temples. They had their own personal servants and were offered as gifts to emperors. These pampered pups weren't just symbols of wealth but sometimes played a practical role. They were often hidden in the sleeves of their owners, ready to jump out and attack potential attackers – a rather unique form of self-defense!


King Henry III and his 2,000 dogs

Some historical figures took dog ownership to a whole new level. King Henry III of France (1551-1589) harbored a legendary obsession with canines. Throughout his life, he housed a staggering number of dogs, primarily miniature and toy breeds, with estimates exceeding 2,000. His passion was so strong that he was known for hiring someone to pilfer a dog he fancied in cases where it wasn't for sale.