The name “dogs” are mentioned in the Bible multiple times, however, only one breed is specifically mentioned, which is “greyhound” in Proverbs 30:29-31. You may be wondering the context in which “greyhound” is mentioned. It is mentioned by Agur, the son of Jakeh who describes a list of traits that he commands his audience to possess.
The greyhound is mentioned for its comely appearance. It is elegant and it has a majestic appearance. Its speed can only be matched by a cheetah and it targets its prey with an exceptional level of precision.
It used to be a favourite pet owned by Mediaeval English Lords and Egyptian Pharaohs. They bred it to hunt and chase by sight
Recently, I took a deep dive to research about the greyhound and how many times it was mentioned in the bible. Let’s dive in.
What is the Only Dog Breed Specifically Mentioned in the Bible?
The dog breed specifically mentioned in the bible is the “greyhound” in Proverbs 30:29-31: There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going. A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any. A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.”
The word “greyhound” is translated from the Hebrew phrase “girt in the loins”. The question is, ” does that mean a greyhound (if we are to believe the literal meaning from Hebrew translation)?
Perhaps not. I can only say that could be the closest the Hebrew translation got. And interestingly, other Biblical versions described a greyhound character as a “rooster” or “strutting rooster” which King James’ translators preferred not to call him with that name.
Also, from my research, it’s worth saying that the greyhound breed was popular in the court of King James during the period of Bible translation. And probably this breed was a common name among the translators.
How Many Times is Dog Mentioned in the Bible?
Based on my Bible research, the word “dog” is mentioned 41 times, both Old and New Testaments. To be precise with the numbers:
- In the Old Testament, dogs are mentioned 32 times.
- While in the New Testament, dogs are mentioned 9 times.
The question remains, “what was the role of dogs in Bible days?”
When you read the Bible, you will understand the word “dogs” are mentioned in different contexts to mean represent different things:
- Dogs were used by both farmers and hunters.
- The mention of dogs in the Bible suggests being violent to them was acceptable.
- A dog is a word used to mean insult or low status.
- In the New Testament, when one is referred to as a dog, it means evil.
There’s no Biblical reference where it is recorded that people kept dogs as pets and from my research they were perceived negatively, unlike nowadays, we keep dogs as pets.
Do Dogs Go to Heaven According to the Bible?
For years, this question has been debated by a lot of people. Some people believe that dogs go to heaven because of their kind and loving nature. Others believe that dogs can’t go to heaven because they don’t have a soul.
From my research, there is no place in the Bible where it’s stated that dogs go to heaven. Over the years, people have expressed this belief that dogs do go to heaven with no Biblical references backing it up.
However, some Biblical passages speak of “living creatures” being present with God, which has led many to claim that the living creatures are animals including dogs. Others believe that the Bible is referring to humans.
If you believe that your dog will go to heaven, there are plenty of people who agree, including some religious who have come out openly to say that all kinds of animals will go to heaven when they die.
What matters most is you keep loving your dog till the day it will die and understand that life is temporary and one will leave someday.
Is It a Sin to Buy or Sell a Dog?
No, it isn’t a sin. No Biblical verse or verses condemn the buying or selling of dogs. From my findings on this question, I found out the origin of this misconception, which is:
The Bible says in Deuteronomy 23:18 – and I quote verbatim in different versions of the Bible;
- King James Version – “Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abominations unto the LORD thy God.”
- New King James Version – “You shall not bring the wages of a harlot or the price of a dog to the house of the LORD your God for any vowed offering, for both of these are an abomination to the LORD your God.”
- New International Version – “You must not bring the earnings of a female prostitute or a male prostitute into the house of the LORD your God to pay any vow because the LORD your God detests them both.”
- International Standard Version –“Don’t bring the earnings of a female prostitute nor the income of a male prostitute into the house of the LORD your God as payment for any vow. Both of these are detestable to the LORD your God.”
- English Standard Version – ”You shall not bring the fee of a prostitute or the wages of a dog into the house of the LORD your God in payment for any vow, for both of these are an abomination to the LORD your God.”
From the above Biblical verse, you can see the origin of the question and this has made a lot of people argue about Christians paying tithe from their dog business and have concluded that it’s a sin to sell or buy a dog.
Now, let’s examine this from the Amplified version and it puts it this way;
“There shall be no cult prostitute among the daughters of Israel, neither shall there be a cult prostitute (a sodomite) among the sons of Israel. You shall not bring the hire of a harlot or the price of a dog (a sodomite) into the house of the Lord your God as payment of a vow, for both of these (the gift and the giver) are an abomination to the Lord your God.”
For more clarification on this, the Moffatt Translation says,
“No woman of Israel shall be a temple prostitute, and no man of Israel shall be a temple prostitute. You must never pay a vow into the house of the Eternal your God with money that is the hire of a prostitute or the wages of a catamite: both are abominable to the Eternal your God.”
The Bible puts it this way in King James Version of Genesis 1:26,
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and overall the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
The above Bible verse indicates that we have power over all animals on earth. We are superior to them. And when you look up the word “dog” according to Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon, it means “a male cult prostitute” and verse 17 shows that the context in question is religious rites that involve sexual acts that were common among many idolatrous peoples:
Additionally, the New Testament also records a similar thing in Revelation 22:15 where it says:
“But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral…”
Referring to unrepentant and degenerate humans who won’t be qualified to enter God’s Kingdom.
So dogs, a member of the canine family, are a part of God’s creation, over which we have been given dominion. To sell or buy a dog is not a sin according to the Bible.
Dogs have lived with men as domestic animals. Tracing the origin is as good as finding the time that the existence of man started. In the Bible, they were seen as evil or perceived negatively because of the contexts they were used in but that didn’t stop humans from having them around.
That’s why it’s said that life is a mystery and we keep evolving, nowadays dogs are pets in many homes. Unlike in the Bible people associated dogs with evil or perceived negatively. What matters most is you keep loving your dog till the day it will die and understand that life is temporary and one will leave someday.