Romans already had miniature dogs as pets over 2,000 years ago

Related Articles

Related Articles

Like many dog lovers today, the Romans had ‘miniature dogs’ as pets that were similar in size to Pekingese or some types of Chihuahua.

A study by archaeologists from the University of Granada present a zooarchaeological, osteometric, paleopathological and biochemistry study related to various burials of dogs and human remains in the Roman necropolis of Llanos del Pretorio located outside the walls of Roman Cordoba.

The study looks at the morphological approach to the dogs existing in the Roman cities of southern Hispania, in which at least two different morphologies have been extracted; one of medium size, similar to that of different hunting and racing breeds of today, and another of very small sizes.

 

One of the dogs exhumed is of particular interest, being around 20 centimeters in height, with shortened limbs and a flat nose that was discovered close to human burials. The UGR finding is one of the oldest recognized cases of micromorphic dogs in the whole of the Roman Empire.

It is difficult to know the external appearance of this animal only by the bones (long or short fur, color, morphology of the ears, etc.), but its skeletal structure is similar to current small breeds, such as the Pekingese or individually considering the skull, some types of Chihuahua.

“The existence of small dogs as pets, objects of affection and special consideration for their owners, has been known since classical antiquity, a fact corroborated by texts, epigraphy and iconography,” says Martínez Sánchez.

Classical authors such as Pliny the Elder and Claudio Eliano cite the taste of the urban classes for these animals, of which even funerary epigraphs have come to be known not unlike those known to beloved servants or slaves.

The discovery, among other examples, of a small animal with a brachycephalic skull in a necropolis from the first half of the 1st century AD in southern Hispania opens up new interpretations regarding the role of this type of animal in relations between dogs and humans. at the beginning of Our Age in the western Roman world, and its symbolic implications in funeral rituals.

University of Granada

Header Image – Public Domain

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

Tenochtitlan – The Aztec Capital

Tenochtitlan was the capital of the Aztec civilisation, situated on a raised islet in the western side of the shallow Lake Texcoco, which is now the historic part of present-day Mexico City.

Archipelago in Ancient Doggerland Survived Storegga Tsunami 8,000-Years-Ago

Doggerland, dubbed “Britain’s Atlantis” is a submerged landmass beneath what is now the North Sea, that once connected Britain to continental Europe.

Cereal, Olive & Vine Pollen Reveal Market Integration in Ancient Greece

In the field of economics, the concept of a market economy is largely considered a modern phenomenon.

The Annulment of Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon at Dunstable Priory

The Priory Church of St Peter (Dunstable Priory) is the remaining nave of a former Augustinian priory church and monastery, that today is part of the Archdeaconry of Bedford, located within the Diocese of St Albans in the town of Dunstable, England.

Teōtīhuacān – Birthplace of the Gods

Teōtīhuacān, named by the Nahuatl-speaking Aztecs, and loosely translated as "birthplace of the gods" is an ancient Mesoamerican city located in the Teotihuacan Valley of the Free and Sovereign State of Mexico, in present-day Mexico.

Chetro Ketl – The Great House

Chetro Ketl is an archaeological site, and the ancient ruins of an Ancestral Puebloan settlement, located in the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico, United States of America.

The Gila Cliff Dwellings

The Gila Cliff Dwellings is an archaeological site, and ancient settlement constructed by the pueblos Mimbres branch of the Mogollon, located in southwest New Mexico of the United States of America.

Rare Cretaceous-Age Fossil Opens New Chapter in Story of Bird Evolution

A Cretaceous-age, crow-sized bird from Madagascar would have sliced its way through the air wielding a large, blade-like beak and offers important new insights on the evolution of face and beak shape in the Mesozoic forerunners of modern birds.

Popular stories

Teōtīhuacān – Birthplace of the Gods

Teōtīhuacān, named by the Nahuatl-speaking Aztecs, and loosely translated as "birthplace of the gods" is an ancient Mesoamerican city located in the Teotihuacan Valley of the Free and Sovereign State of Mexico, in present-day Mexico.

Legio IX Hispana – The Lost Roman Legion

One of the most debated mysteries from the Roman period involves the disappearance of the Legio IX Hispana, a legion of the Imperial Roman Army that supposedly vanished sometime after AD 120.

The Secret Hellfire Club and the Hellfire Caves

The Hellfire Club was an exclusive membership-based organisation for high-society rakes, that was first founded in London in 1718, by Philip, Duke of Wharton, and several of society's elites.

Port Royal – The Sodom of the New World

Port Royal, originally named Cagway was an English harbour town and base of operations for buccaneers and privateers (pirates) until the great earthquake of 1692.