Ancient Egyptian Domesticated Dogs

This small dog now resides in the Walters Art Museum, in Baltimore, Maryland. 71.622
Also in the museum is a small figurine of a lioness, believed to be a figurine from an Ancient Egyptian board game known as, “Mehen”.

To this very day, despite the domesticated dog being a pet to some Egyptians, you will see free independent dogs roaming the streets of Egypt’s cities. Known as the Baladi dogs, they are rather unique to Egypt, as they fit under no specific breed and have evolved rather differently from domesticated dogs, as they are able to survive alone and are seemingly content living their life among Egyptian society as free roaming beings. Yet, it seems that the Ancient Egyptians had long domesticated the species, as this ivory dog with a collar was discovered in El Balyana, Abydos and dates from the very early beginnings of unified Egypt, approximately c. 2850 B.C. (late 1st Dynasty – 2nd Dynasty).

Made from the ivory from a hippopotamus, this dog was a figure piece from a game called “Mehen”, also known as The Serpant Game. Knowing the game pre-dates the period from which this collared dog was likely created in, it tells us that Egyptians had domesticated the dog possibly long before the unified Egypt even began as a kingdom.

Egyptian street dogs, 2023.
Egyptian street dogs, 2023.