What Was The Most Common Pet In Ancient Rome Time

The idea of pets and domesticated animals has existed since ancient times and evidence of pets have been found in ruins and archaeological sites, which have shed light on what some of these animals were. In ancient Rome, keeping pets was both a hobby and a status symbol. In Rome there was no “best” pet and different kinds of animals had different roles and meanings. Gladiators kept lions, tigers, wild boar and more at home while the nobility owned exotic birds and even monkeys. The most common pet in Roman times, however, was the dog.

Dogs were worshipped by the Romans and were kept as both guard dogs and pets. They were often depicted in Ancient Roman art and were viewed as a symbol of loyalty and safety. Dogs were believed to be able to protect their owners and keep intruders away from their homes. They were also highly intelligent animals and were known to be very playful and affectionate. Dogs were a popular and well-known pet in Roman times and many households owned at least one dog.

The Romans also kept other common animals such as cats and birds. Cats were believed to be symbols of good luck and were often kept as pets in Roman homes. Some Romans kept cats for religious purposes or to ward off rats and other pests. Birds were kept as pets as well and served various purposes including as messengers or as entertainment. Genuine exotic birds, such as parrots and macaws, were status symbols of wealth.

Aside from common pets, Romans also kept more unusual animals such as giraffes and elephants as status symbols. It was common for wealthy Romans to have exotic pet animals in their homes. They were also known to keep antelopes, snakes, and even elephants in their homes. These animals were kept to demonstrate the owners’ wealth and power and they often served as entertainment in the courts of kings and queens.

Roman households also kept animals for entertainment. They often hosted shows and performances featuring exotic animals such as tigers, elephants, bears, and other animals. Animals were also kept for their meat, milk or wool, and were used for hunting or warfare. Some animals, such as horses, donkeys and mules, were used for transportation and in sport.

In conclusion, the most common pet in ancient Rome was the dog. Dogs were revered by the Romans and were kept as both guard dogs and pets. They were believed to protect their owners and keep intruders away from their homes. Besides dogs the Romans also kept cats, birds and more unusual animals as pets and they used them both for entertainment and to demonstrate their wealth and power.


The Romans bred their dogs for a number of reasons. They often used dogs for sport and for hunting, and some of the most popular breeds were the Greyhound, which was used for hunting, and the Mastiff, which was a powerful guard dog. Dogs were also bred for their appearance, and selective breeding produced a range of different breeds, such as the Poodle, which was originally bred as a hunting dog.

The Romans also kept exotic dogs such as the Tibetan Mastiff and the Saluki. These breeds were seen as a status symbol and were kept by the wealthy to demonstrate their wealth and power.

In addition to breeding dogs, the Romans also bred other animals such as horses and cats. They bred horses for different purposes such as war, transportation and sport, and they bred cats to ward off vermin and to bring good luck.

The Romans also kept exotic animals such as lions and tigers as pets. These animals were seen as a status symbol and were often kept in cages or in enclosures.


Dogs were treated with respect and care in Ancient Rome and were often given the same rights as members of the family. They were usually fed high quality food and were groomed regularly. Some of the higher classes even had their dogs dressed in silk clothes and decorated with jewellery.

Cats were seen as lucky animals, but were also sometimes treated cruelly. They were often kept in cages or tied up and force-fed, and were kept mainly as status symbols or as pest control.

Birds were kept as pets by the Romans and were popular among the upper classes. They were often kept in elaborate cages and enjoyed by the owners.

Exotic animals were kept in enclosures and cages and were sometimes forced to take part in fights or gladiator shows. These animals were seen as status symbols and were often treated cruelly.


In Ancient Rome, there were traders who were able to supply a variety of different animals to the public. These traders supplied exotic animals such as lions, tigers and elephants, as well as more common animals, such as cats and birds.

These traders would travel to different cities and markets and offer their animals for sale. They would often come from other countries or regions and import the animals for sale in the Roman Empire.

These traders had to abide by certain laws, such as ensuring the animals were healthy and free from disease. They also had to provide the animals with adequate food and care while they were in their possession.

The traders had to pay taxes and tariffs on their imports, as well as customs fees and other charges. They also had to pay for shelter and food for their animals while they were being transported.


The keeping of animals in the Roman Empire dwindled after the fall of the empire in 476 CE. During the empire’s decline, war, poverty and famine led to a decrease in the number of animals kept in Rome and other Roman cities.

The animals that did survive were often killed for food or used for sport and entertainment in the arena. The keeping of pets was seen as a luxury at this time and many people were too poor to own them.

In the centuries that followed, the keeping of animals in the Roman Empire gradually declined. This can be attributed to several factors, such as a lack of resources, diseases and poverty.

During the Middle Ages, the keeping of animals increased again, and by the 16th century, it was very common for people to keep a variety of animals as pets, such as dogs and cats.

Moshe Rideout is a professional writer and historian whose work focuses on the history of Ancient Rome. Moshe is passionate about understanding the complexity of the Roman Empire, from its architecture to its literature, political systems to social structures. He has a Bachelor's degree in classic studies from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a PhD in classical archaeology at UMass Amherst. When he isn't researching or writing, he enjoys exploring ruins around Europe, drawing inspiration from his travels.

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