The Egyptian Museum, Cairo

Man’s best friend enjoyed high esteem in Egypt, where dogs’ bravery and loyalty were prized and where they often appear with their owners in hunting and domestic scenes. On his painted wood sarcophagus, a wealthy 12th-Dynasty official named Khuy is depicted at center leading his favorite dog on a leash. The dog’s name, Meniupu, which means “He is a shepherd,” is written in blue hieroglyphs above his back. Meniupu’s coloring looks very much like that of a modern Dalmatian, a breed that may have originated in ancient Egypt.

In Egypt, dogs were also associated with the jackal-headed god of the underworld, Anubis, and numerous dog mummies have been found at cult sites dedicated to that deity.