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What Dog Breed Is Anubis? Interesting Facts & History

Written by: Sarah Psaradelis

Last Updated on May 14, 2024 by Dogster Team

anubis head, egytian god of death

What Dog Breed Is Anubis? Interesting Facts & History

Anubis (also called “Anpu”) is one of the ancient Egyptian deities that is often depicted as a black dog or a man with the head of a canine. Anubis is also commonly referred to as a jackal rather than a dog, so there is no simple answer as to what type of dog breed Anubis is. Many people believe that Anubis is not a dog but a jackal, as they were associated with death and graves in ancient Egypt, but some will agree that it appears to be one of four different dog breeds that we will discuss in this article.

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What Is Anubis?

anubis of ancient egypt
Image By: Mia Stendal, Shutterstock

Anubis is described as a black canine that is a guardian of tombs and was the God of Death that oversaw the mummification of the deceased and judged the soul of the person in the afterlife. Anubis also protected the corpse and assisted them to the afterworld.

You will find depictions of Anubis from the Early Dynastic period and the old kingdom as the ancient Egyptian God of Death, where he is either featured as a black canine or a man with a black canine head.

This has led many to wonder whether the appearance of Anubis is about a specific dog breed. Although not everyone agrees that Anubis is depicted as a dog, it does appear that the classic black head or animal body is of a canine, whether it is a jackal or dog breed that looks similar in appearance.

Is Anubis a Dog?

The most popular symbol given to represent the Egyptian God of Death is the canine. Anubis appears in Egyptian hieroglyphics to have a similar appearance to the Pharaoh Hound with the slim body, long legs, and tall, pointed ears and is pictured in black to represent the color of death. Anubis can either be depicted as a black dog with pointy ears and a slender body, or a jackal, with either the body being the entire animal or only the head with the body of a man.

What Dog Breed Would Anubis Be?

Given Anubis’s appearance, it can look like the modern-day version of the Pharaoh Hound. The Pharaoh Hound is referred to by the Maltese as the “Kelb tal-Fenek” which is translated to “rabbit dog.” This is a primitive European dog breed that is believed to have originated from the Middle East and was imported roughly 3,000 years ago.

The name “Pharaoh Hound” is derived from the legend that this dog breed was popular amongst Egyptian pharaohs. However, if this was true, then the dog breed would have existed 8,000 years ago, which could be true since the Pharaoh Hound came from Malta—a region defeated by Phoenicians—and since the groups crossed paths, the timeline could be true.

There is another possibility that Anubis was a Greyhound since this dog breed was worshipped in ancient Egypt and three Greek gods (Pollux, Hecate, and Artemis) kept Greyhounds as companions.

It is also believed that Anubis could be a Doberman Pinscher; however, the history and uncanny resemblance of the Pharaoh Hound to Anubis is what makes people believe that it could be a cross between different dog breeds to produce the black coat.

paroah hound lying on the beach
Image By: Ivanova N, Shutterstock

What Is the Anubis Hound?

The Anubis Hound, also referred to as the Basenji, is also thought to be Anubis, as this dog has a similar appearance to the Doberman Pinscher, Greyhound, and Pharaoh Hound, who could all be depicted as Anubis. The Anubis hound has long, pointed ears, a muscular body, and a head with a similar shape to the one we see in pictures of the god Anubis.

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Final Thoughts

Overall, there is no specific dog breed that is guaranteed to be Anubis. Many believe that Anubis is actually a jackal, as these animals used to dig up shallow graves, associating them with death—just like Anubis.

However, Anubis has a resemblance to four different modern dog breeds: the Pharaoh Hound, Basenji, Greyhound, and the Doberman Pinscher. However, many lean more toward the Pharaoh Hound or Basenji having the strongest resemblance to this Egyptian god of death.


Featured Image Credit: Fer Gregory, Shutterstock

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