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Celebrating the Egyptian Baladi on International Dog Day

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Celebrating the Egyptian Baladi on International Dog Day

Photo credit: Egyptian Baladi Dogs for Adoption Facebook Page

August 26 is International Dog Day, which is a great opportunity for dog owners around the world to show off their furry best friends – not that they need a reason to do that!

We believe there’s no better way to celebrate this day in Egypt than by commemorating the nation’s most common dog type: the baladi dog.

Characterized by their slim build, curled tails and oftentimes pointy ears, baladi dogs originate from several different breeds, estimated to be descendants of the Egyptian Saluki, Pharaoh Hounds, and Canaan dogs. Baladi dogs are also believed to have originated in ancient Egypt as hunting and herding dogs and are sometimes referred to as Thebes Land Dogs.

Photo credit: zanisfurryfriends.org

In fact, one baladi dog called Amal (Hope), who was rescued off the streets of Cairo, showed fascinating results when her owners got her a DNA test at Embark, which carries out DNA testing on dogs for breed identification. Her DNA showed that she is an indigenous ancestral dog with roots tracing back 15,000 years.

Like Amal, many of Egypt’s stray dogs are walking pieces of history.

Amal. Photo credit: Embark

Baladi dogs are the most common type of stray dogs in the streets of Egypt and still struggle with a negative image among many locals, especially due to beliefs that dogs are unclean and impure. However, in 2020 the country’s Grand Mufti stated that dogs are pure, and that they can live in households without nullifying one’s religious practices, which many believed they did.

Fortunately, and thanks to several of Egypt’s dog shelters and animal rescue organizations, more and more Egyptians are starting to appreciate the value of baladi dogs as alert guards, smart creatures, and loyal companions.

Photo credit: Adopt a Baladi Dog Facebook page

Baladi dogs are known for their intelligence, which is marked by how they manage to continue surviving in the harsh streets of Egypt. They’re also characterized by their powerful immune systems, which are also due to their lives on the streets, and how they are so well-adapted to Egypt’s hot climate.

Dogs have long been appreciated on Egyptian lands, even in ancient Egypt. While many of the dogs owned by ancient Egyptians were hunting dogs, some researchers believe that some historical drawings show a more intimate and affectionate relationship between the ancient Egyptians and their dogs akin to the human-dog relationships of today.

Photo credit: Mary Harrsch

We hope more Egyptians begin appreciating the value of these intelligent creatures and consider welcoming baladi dogs into their homes.

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A writer and editor based in Cairo, Mona is passionate about providing people with a platform to share their stories. Her interests include cultural issues, mental health, environmental sustainability, and animal welfare. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Journalism from the American University in Cairo.

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