What do dogs symbolize in the bible?

In the Bible, dogs are often associated with impurity, Gentile/negative characters, and spiritual unfaithfulness.

What do dogs symbolize in the Bible

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Dogs have appeared in various contexts throughout the Bible, often symbolizing impurity, negative characters, and spiritual unfaithfulness. These associations can be observed in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, shedding light on the symbolism attributed to dogs in biblical literature.

In the Old Testament, dogs were considered unclean animals. They were often associated with scavengers, and their presence was viewed as a sign of degradation. For instance, in the Book of Exodus, it is mentioned that the Israelites were to “throw to the dogs” the meat of the Passover lamb if any remained until morning (Exodus 22:31). This illustrates the idea that dogs were seen as a lowly and unworthy recipient of sacred offerings.

Furthermore, dogs were associated with Gentiles, who were perceived as outsiders by the Jewish community. In the narrative of the Syrophoenician woman, Jesus uses the analogy of dogs and crumbs to convey the priority of his mission to the Jews. In Mark 7:27, Jesus says, “First let the children eat all they want, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” This analogy highlights the distinction between Jews and Gentiles.

In addition to impurity and Gentile associations, dogs were also used as metaphors for spiritual unfaithfulness. In the book of Isaiah, for instance, the prophet denounces false prophets, describing them as “watchdogs without a bark” (Isaiah 56:10). This implies that they were failing in their duty to warn and guide the people, thereby signifying their lack of loyalty to God and His teachings.

Interestingly, the negative symbolism associated with dogs in the Bible is not solely limited to the physical animals themselves, but rather the characteristics they represent. Dogs were emblematic of qualities such as impurity, spiritual irresponsibility, and a Gentile identity, which were viewed as incongruent with the righteous path of faith.

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To further explore the significance of dogs in different contexts, here are some interesting facts:

  1. In ancient Israel, dogs were often considered unclean and were generally not kept as pets.
  2. Dogs were frequently used in symbolic language to depict unfaithful or wicked individuals.
  3. The word for dogs, “keleb” in Hebrew, was sometimes used as a derogatory term in the Bible.
  4. While dogs were often associated with negative characteristics, there are instances where they are portrayed more positively, such as the story of the faithful dog who accompanied Tobit in the Old Testament Apocrypha.

Overall, the symbolism of dogs in the Bible is multifaceted and reflects the cultural context and religious beliefs of the time. By examining these associations, we gain insight into the attitudes towards impurity, Gentiles, and spiritual faithfulness in biblical literature.


“The dog is a symbol of fidelity, and servility.” – Sir Francis Bacon

Watch a video on the subject

In the YouTube video “Why did Jesus call the Canaanite woman a dog? | GotQuestions.org,” the explanation is given that Jesus referred to the Canaanite woman as a dog metaphorically. This was not meant as an insult, but rather as a test of her faith and to emphasize the priorities of His ministry. He wanted to teach an important lesson to His disciples about the importance of faith and the inclusivity of His ministry. Despite this initial response, Jesus ultimately acknowledged her faith and granted her request, demonstrating that His ministry was not limited to the people of Israel. The video also provides additional resources for those interested in delving deeper into this topic.

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View the further responses I located

So, what does the dog symbolize in the bible? The terms as mentioned severally both in the Old and New Testaments symbolize uncleanliness. ‘Dog’ was a term used by the Jews to refer to the Gentiles during the first century. According to Isaiah 56:10, dogs were used to watch over houses and guard the flock (Job 30:1).

When a dog is used as a symbol in the Bible, it typically signifies loyalty, faithfulness, and devotion. Dogs are used to represent qualities such as patience, listening to authority, and unwavering obedience.

5 symbolic meanings of dogs in the Bible

  • Death and doom Dogs have also been used to symbolize death in the scriptures.
  • Hopelessness and insignificance 2 Samuel 9:8 is one verse that shows how David described himself to his King Saul.

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In this way, What is the significance of dog in the Bible?
Answer to this: Metaphorically speaking, the dog signifies worthlessness and offence. Abner is offended by Ish- Bosheth, “Am I a dog’s head – on Judah’s side? This very day I am loyal to the house of your father Saul and to his family and friends.” (2 Sam 3:8).

What does God say about dogs in the Bible?
The reply will be: Revelation 22:15: “For without [are] dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Philippians 3:2: “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.” Proverbs 26:11: “As a dog returneth to his vomit, [so] a fool returneth to his folly.”

Moreover, What is the spiritual meaning of a dog? Dogs are also symbols of strength, courage, and tenacity. They show us that it’s okay to be afraid but to face our fears anyway. The dog is a powerful totem when facing our shadow side too. Dogs have an uncanny ability to sense when something is wrong.

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What does beware of dogs mean in the Bible?
The answer is: Those who come proclaiming and enforcing circumcision are not ‘the circumcision’ but ‘the dogs’, which serves as a vulgar, phallic epithet. This biting insult aids Paul in building his case against those whom he sees as a threat to the saints in Philippi.

Hereof, What does the Bible say about dog?
As a response to this: What Bible say about dogs? Philippians 3:2: “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.” Proverbs 26:11: “As a dog returneth to his vomit, [so] a fool returneth to his folly.” Do dogs have souls Bible? Except for the consecration of all firstborn animals in Exodus 13, we do not see the ]

What does the word ‘dog’ mean in the Bible? The word “dog” is commonly used in a negative context, as an insult, or to indicate a low status. Some parts of the Bible portray dogs as predatory animals that live in packs and feast on the blood and the flesh of people. In the New Testament being called a dog could mean you are evil.

What does God say about dogs?
In reply to that: Dog ownership is not beneficial for the Kingdom of God. The Bible says, ‘All things are lawful for me but not all things are beneficial and do not edify’ (1 Corinthians 10:23). Here is a fact we need to pay close attention to. In the Bible, where there were domestic dogs, there was idolatry, evil and sin.

Similarly one may ask, What breed of dog is mentioned in the Bible? The only dog breed mentioned in the Bible is Greyhound. This word appears in Proverbs 30:29-31, King James Version. Greyhounds are approachable and friendly pooches that were produced as hunting mutts, and today they are very prevalent family dogs.

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