The relationship between dogs and Jews has been a fraught and complicated one. Though dogs fared poorly in the Hebrew Bible, of late, they have been honored as family pets and even granted “bark mitzvahs.” In order to better understand the history of the People of Canaan and their changing attitudes towards the Beasts of Canine, we asked Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman, co-editor of “A Jew’s Best Friend?: The Image of the Dog Throughout Jewish History” to offer his Top 10 Jewish dogs.
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10. Anubis This jackal-headed Egyptian god of the underworld shepherded thousands of our oppressors to eternal justice by weighing their heart against a feather.
9 & 8. Lun Ying and Jofi Sigmund Freud’s chow bitches surely found their way into his dreams.
6. Kufri Dog The Talmud thinks it’s a dog (Babylonian Talmud, Bava Qamma 8a), but scholars think it’s a porcupine!
5. Caleb b. Jefunneh A hero in the book of Numbers whose tracking skills earned him a doglike name.
4. The Egyptians’ Pets Exodus 11:7 reads “no dog shall snarl any of the Israelites”; what could be more supportive of God’s plan to redeem the Israelites?
3. Balak The protagonist of Nobel Prize winner S. Y. Agnon’s novel “Only Yesterday” (Tmol Shilshom), his name is the Hebrew word for dog spelled backwards.
2. The Canaan Dog Recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1997, the creation of this breed was a natural part of the founding of the State of Israel.
1. Azit This paratrooping dog of children’s book and popular movie fame, conceived by General Mordechai Gur, saved Israeli soldiers from capture time and time again.