Let’s start with the story: what was the attitude to the "four-footed friend" in ancient times?
The Greeks loved dogs and surrounded care. Enough to read Homer. The Romans wore even armor on combat dogs.
But here among the peoples who honored the Bible as a holy Book, the attitude was exactly the opposite. In the Old Testament of the thirty mentions of the dog, only in two cases it does not have a negative meaning. The hatred of the ancient Jews to their enemies, the Egyptians and Romans, who bred and honored dogs and used them in battle, was probably transferred to animals. According to the law of Moses, these animals were considered unclean. For a Jew, comparing someone with a dog is the height of insult. Even the money earned from selling the dog, equivalent to the fee of a harlot, could not be brought into the Tabernacle – "to the house of the Lord your God for no vow, for both are an abomination to the Lord your God" (Deut. 23:15). But if the dog was sold, it means that they still kept it with them.
Shepherd shepherd absolutely necessary, otherwise the herd did not save. And in ancient Jews, cattle-breeding labor is actually the main one. And, nevertheless, it did not affect their attitude to the four-legged "guard-men": "My younger years now laugh at me, those whom I would not agree to put fathers with my dogs" (Job 30: 1). But according to the Bible, dogs appear as pets late, and with the same protective function: when Tobias began to follow the path to Raguel, he was accompanied by an Angel "and the young man’s dog with them" (
By the time of the earthly life of Jesus Christ, the four-footed watchmen were often kept at their homes, as evidenced by the Canaanite woman’s response to the Savior’s refusal to help her: “Lord! But the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the table of their masters ”(Matt. 15: 27). And in Christianity the dog does not become a lion. The Apostle Paul warns: “Watch out for the dogs!” (Phil. 3: 2), referring to false teachers. Ap. Peter is even stronger when he denounces sinners with the old adage: “the dog returns to his vomit” (II Peter 2:22).
The Christians of the first half of the 5th century believed that the leader of the Huns, Attila, was born as a result of the “criminal connection between a girl and a dog”  – he was so hated.
The words of the Savior sound like an edification for all times: “Do not give the holy things to the dogs and do not throw your pearls before the pigs, lest they trample them under their feet and, turning, will not tear you to pieces” (
The words of the Savior also contain the concept of the hierarchy of man and animals. He spends this thought more than once, and when he heals a dry-handed Pharisees, he says directly: “Who among you, having one sheep, if it falls into a hole on Saturday, will not take it and pull it out? How much better is a sheep man! ”(Matt. 12: 11, 12). He says to the disciples: “How many birds are you better?” (Luke 12:24).
Therefore, when it comes to derogatory attitudes towards dogs, it is in vain to take him for evil. It would be absurd if the all-good Creator hated his unpunished creation. The Bible points us exclusively to the hierarchy, the violation of which “is an abomination before the Lord your God”. Man is mentally and spiritually healthy, naturally loves the creatures created by God. Therefore, the death of domestic animals makes people sad. However, it is sometimes clearly excessive. In such cases, there is reason to think about the correctness of our spiritual life. First of all, the Lord commanded us to love our Heavenly Parent: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (
The issue of classification for "clean and unclean" animals in Orthodoxy is revised. The holy Patriarch Photius wrote: “Much by nature is very good, but for the users it becomes a great evil, not because of its own nature, but because of the depravity of those who use … The clean began to separate from the unclean not from the beginning of the universe, but received this distinction for some circumstances. For since the Egyptians, in whom the Israeli tribe was in the service, gave divine honors to many animals and used them badly, which were very good, Moses, so that the people of Israel would not be attracted to this nasty use and would not ascribe wordless reverence to the divine, in the legislation justly he called them unclean — not because the impurity was inherent in them from the creation, by no means, or unclean was in their nature, but since the Egyptian tribe did not use them purely, but very badly and unholy. And if Moses attributed to some of the things deified by the Egyptians as pure, like a bull and a goat, he did not do anything disagreeing with real reasoning or with his own goals. Calling something of their idolized abomination, and betraying the other to slaughter, and bloodshed, and murder, he equally protected the Israelites from serving them and the harm arising from here — after all, neither vile nor slaughtered and subject to the slaughter could be considered a god to those who so treated him. " 
The biblical understanding of the hierarchical place of the dog was also characteristic of our ancestors. But the abundance of forests in Russia, it would seem, increased the role of the four-legged assistant where much more significant than in ancient Palestine. If there “dog business” was limited to shepherd’s and guard-guarding functions, then on Russian soil, in addition to protection, it included amateur and trade hunting (pets were avoided to be cut for food, consumed mostly game), and in the Far North, hunting was added a. Nevertheless, even the cold climate was powerless to soften a Rusich-Christian: the dog did not dare to step further beyond the canopy into the most severe frosts; her settlement in a residential area is a sign of a blurred religious consciousness, the fruit of which is the breeding of decorative dog breeds.
Today you can hear: “While living in the city, we cannot keep our dog somewhere outside the apartment, although in the villages they are usually kept in the kennel in the yard, as before. That, apparently, out of such purely practical and traditional considerations, appeared the opinion that the dog should not be kept in the house. There can be no prohibition on this. ”
There are no bans on many things in our life, which every decent person will not allow himself, but from “perestroika” they began to repeat: “What is not forbidden is allowed”. So, resolving what is not forbidden, we have flooded Russia for the third time since the Civil War with a wave of homeless children. If there is a need to keep a dog in a city apartment, then it is reasonable to take her place in the hallway, but for some reason she lies on the couch or fondled to the owners in bed. How many times have I heard confessions that the dog has become another “family member”. No, the common saying “a dog is a man’s friend” to a Christian should be understood not literally, but conditionally, bearing in mind the biblical values. Animals do not have the image of God. From earthly creations only man is created in the image of God. One of the properties of this image is the immortality of the soul. But the souls of animals are mortal, as Palamas taught. And St. Basil the Great warned: “Run away from the nonsense of the gloomy philosophers who are not ashamed to honor their soul and the dog’s soul homogeneous between themselves”.  M. A. Bulgakov vividly showed the vulgarity of humanization of the four-legged “friend” in the once forbidden novel “The Heart of a Dog”.
It is quite possible that the word “dog” that has entered the Russian language, used as a curse word, is of Tatar origin, but this is not what explains its derogatory tone, as some people think. Tatar origin and "robe", and "barn", and "shoe", and many other household words, but no one because they do not use with derogatory shade. But abusive abuse is “doggy abuse”, the language of dogs, their verbal behavior. As an abusive language, in Slavic languages there is an expression “pesya faith”, referring to the Gentiles.
Attention to animals, care for them should not divert moral consciousness from attention directly to the person himself. Sometimes one of us gets annoyed at people, insults them, and always caresses his dog. This speaks only of the indisputable inferiority of the spiritual and moral life. “Understand, beloved, into the intellectual essence of the soul; and penetrate not lightly. The immortal soul is a precious vessel of some kind. See how great heaven and earth are, and not God favored them, but only about you. Look at your dignity and nobility, because you didn’t send angels, but the Lord himself came to intercede for you, to appeal to the deceased, wounded, to return to you the original image of the pure Adam. ” [four]
When paganism again affected Russia, then “popular occultism” also declared itself. So at Svyatki girls thought: "Gavkni, bark, doggy, where is my betrothed!". And how many of the most incredible signs would people associate with their yard guards, starting from their howling and ending with their gait! The same swearing was widely represented in all sorts of ceremonies of clearly pagan origin – wedding, agricultural,
The case with the elder Paisiy Svyatogorts is instructive. Once he was asked:
– Father, will the joys of this life and the attachment of our souls to them succeed in Christianity?
– No, if you manage to hierarchically correct things. For example, you will love your children as children, your wife as a wife, your parents as parents, friends as friends, saints as saints, Angels as Angels, God as God. It is necessary for everyone to pay homage and respect, which are due to him, – answered the elder. [five]
Today, there are voices: “The“ discrimination ”of dogs by Orthodox Christians has no basis.”  That’s right, “discrimination” doesn’t have, but the hierarchical consciousness should not leave Orthodox Christians. Otherwise, it is necessary to reconcile with such cases, similar to what happened in the UK, when the dog acted as the bridesmaid at the wedding.  How to agree with the assignment of dogs human names, and people – dog nicknames? Writing about what has become a banality, but still it is necessary to recall that this is nothing but a blasphemy. Names are taken from the calendar. And this is a reproach of Christ in man and an insult to the King of Heaven on the Throne, spitting at the saints – friends of the Son of Man. What then hope at the Court to justify?
Here, unwillingly, I want to cite the catch phrase of M. Scott: “Do not look at your dogs as people, otherwise they will look at you like dogs.”
Despite the symbolism, hierarchical consciousness and banned the image of St.. martyr Christopher with a dog head. Religious-magical complexes, such as eating female breasts, feeding puppies by women, ritual murder of infants, are connected with the “head-headedness” of Slavic pagans, for example, according to written sources.
Although in early Christian times the dog was a symbol of loyalty to church creeds and vigilance towards heresies (dog images are frequent at the foot of the grave monuments, which AS Uvarov, who considered these images to be the symbol of the Christian himself, was the focus of attention).
However, what was permissible at the dawn of Christianity does not permit its use today.
We must understand one simple truth: without a hierarchically correct understanding of the world, there is no salvation for man.
And the attitude to the dog is one of the links in this understanding.