Thinking Out Loud

January 29, 2011

Dogs and Cats in the Bible

Filed under: bible, Humor — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 10:35 am


Some weekend fun with a post that first appeared in January of 2009:

Hands up everybody who has been told this at some point:

The cat is the only domestic animal not mentioned in the Bible

But I’d like to offer a corollary to this great axiom:

…but the dog is never exactly depicted in a positive way

In fact, given these verses, I’ll take the absence of a mention in scripture over what follows. Think about it:

Revelation 22:15
Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

Luke 16:21
and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

Matthew 15:26
He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”

Matthew 7:6
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

Philippians 3:2
Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.

…and those are just the New Testament examples; imagine if we include a few OT ones like:

Isaiah 56:11
They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough. They are shepherds who lack understanding; they all turn to their own way, each seeks his own gain.

Proverbs 26:11
As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.

1 Samuel 24:14
“Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog? A flea?

Exodus 22:31
“You are to be my holy people. So do not eat the meat of an animal torn by wild beasts; throw it to the dogs.

Psalm 59:14
They return at evening, snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city.

By the way, I think “dog” has got to be one of those words which doesn’t change according to various English translations of the Bible. (There are 40 instances in the NIV.)

Stay tuned next week for another chapter in Superficial Bible Studies.

Related post — April 2008 — Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates — where Charles Colson argues our pets won’t be in heaven

Related post — August 2008 — Remixing Cold Noses — where I backtrack on my endorsement of Colson after reading Randy Alcorn.

I included “Theology” in the tags… that’s gonna disappoint a few people; but if you’re one of them and that’s what brought you, now that you’re here, check out some other posts in this blog.  (It can only improve from here, right?)



  1. Very interesting, and then if we drop the ‘domestic’ category and stay with related species, we find the lions and tigers more positively portrayed than the wolves I think.

    Comment by John Anngeister — January 29, 2011 @ 7:55 pm

    • You took it to the next level, I guess. Just checked out your blog; there’s a lot of deep stuff there; I’ll have to check it out again.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — January 29, 2011 @ 8:41 pm

  2. As a “dog person” I now have the fuller picture – thanks :)

    Comment by Johnny Noto — February 6, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

  3. If you use the original 1611 King James Bible which includes the Apocrypha – you’ll find mention then of domestic Cat.
    Baruch chapter 6 verse 22.

    Comment by James Cater — May 13, 2011 @ 12:14 pm

    • That would make the 1611 widely different from how that reference reads in the Douay-Rheims (a Catholic bible):

      22 Whereby you may know that they are no gods. Therefore fear them not.

      But I do see something in verse 21

      21 Owls, and swallows, and other birds fly upon their bodies, and upon their heads, and cats in like manner.

      Not sure whether that means our domestic cats or the larger ones. It’s interesting that I’ve often heard the statement that the “cat is the only domestic animal not mentioned in the Bible,” but this is the first time anyone has challenged it; which, I suppose, points to the smaller percentage of people who use the Apocrypha.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — May 13, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

  4. Just ran across your posts. The reference to dogs in the New Testament is not, and was not meant to be, a negative comment. To understand this, you would have to know Aramaic and the nuances of the language. Christ was actually bantering with this woman and probably liked her personality, given her quick, and not offended in the least, answer to His comment.

    Christ could have answered in any way at all. For Him to use “dogs” as an example, speaks a positive to me, Aramaic aside. He may have appreciated the intrinsic loyalty seemingly inherent in domesticated dogs.

    Comment by LDowen — May 8, 2012 @ 11:52 am

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