Pets were an important part of Ancient Greek life. Accounts of ancient Greek pets are found in many contemporary writings. Starting from Homer’s Odyssey to the writings of Aristotle, descriptions are found of the different pets. Evidence of different types of pets are also found in pottery and excavated graves. According to the archaeological remains we even find tombstones and epitaphs along roadsides in memory of their beloved pets.

Pets ranged from commonly kept modern-day pets like dogs to very unusual ones like snakes, with the most common being the dogs. However, you should remember that cats were not prized and not kept as pets in Greece.

It is conjectured that the polytheistic nature of religion allowed the free entry of many animals into the Greek household. According to the Ancient Greek Writer, Xenophon the names given to them were not just random or according to whims but were conscious about its meanings with most of them being short of consisting of one or two syllables. They were deeply connected to their pets and even conducting burials with proper ceremonies was quite common as we find a number of graves of dogs and other pets.

Reasons for keeping Pets


deer in greece

The different types of ancient Greek pets:

Here are some facts regarding the different types of ancient Greece pets.

ancient Greece horse

Dogs as ancient Greek pets

Perhaps the most popular pets in ancient Greece were dogs. They were sometimes caged and often pampered. Interestingly, they were also sacrificed to cleanse any pollution caused by birth or death.


Here are some important facts concerning the dogs in ancient Greece:

Hermann's Tortoise

Mynah birds

Different breed of dogs used as pets in Ancient Greece

Cats as Ancient Greek pets

We all know about the popularity of cats as a pet in ancient Egypt but interestingly there is no mention of cats in ancient Greece. It is believed that the Greeks had no contact with any cats before the capture of Egypt by Alexander the Great. Only some remains of an Agean-bred cat are found but it is believed to have breaded without any human interference.

Apes as Ancient Greek pets

An interesting choice of pet among the ancient Greeks was monkeys or apes. Accounts of some even loving them like their child was found. They are even said to have trained to play musical instruments for entertainment.

Snakes as Ancient Greek pets

Another scary or even creepy choice of pet was the snakes which were very common among ancient Greeks. They were sometimes kept as normal pets but mostly were kept for killing rats and mice in their houses.

Birds as Ancient Greek pets

Birds such as herons and peacocks were quite popular among the ancient greeks although small birds were also kept. Engravings for such birds with their masters have survived even till today confirming the love of ancient Greeks for these birds. In many households, Geese and ducks were also kept as pets which even worked as a noisy alternative to dogs.

Insects as Ancient Greek Pets

In certain cases, insects like Grasshoppers crickets, cicadas, etc. were also kept as pets which added to the aesthetic essence of aristocratic households with their prized sounds. They were mostly kept in cages and we even find poems written about the sadness of cicadas by ancient Greek poets.

These are the different types of ancient Greek pets that were kept at that time.