The pet term indicates that a special relationship exists between an animal and its human owner, relationship where the quality of social interactions between humans and the animal is more important than the economic value or usefulness of the animal. To access the status of a respondent’s man, the dog must be fully available to humans, don’t serve anything else to his company.
During the Neolithic, sedentarisation of prehistoric man, the development of animal husbandry and agriculture make the dog a pet useful for the defence of the village for hunting to keep herds. Some may benefit from a status of pet, but the phenomenon remains accessory and it shows that the tendency of man to closer emotionally to his dog already exists.
In antiquity, dogs had already function to keep human company. For example, Malta or Maltese bichon dog was referred to as “the Roman ladies dog. In the 5th century BC, the Latins attributed the curative bichon putting them on their stomach to fight against burns.
It is from the middle ages that the status of the dog began truly to change. Of many arms, tapestries, paintings testify to the look of esteem now attributed to the dog. The Renaissance began to develop breeds of company. The dog loses its utility function in this case.
The appellation “pet dog” originated in this era and would have been primarily associated with small breed dogs. This is why at that time selection effort focuses on the miniature breed development. In Europe, between the 16th and 18th centuries, the passion of great for these small dogs contributed to their fame. This was the case of Charles I of England, Henry III of France who loved dwarf spaniels.
The new phenomenon is the appearance of a stable status of pet dog recognized by the society for some dogs. This status granted to the dog is truly a luxury. The generalization of the status of the dog as a companion of the man will be at the end of the 19th century. From 1850, we are witnessing the first dog shows. The last fifty one hundred years have produced the majority of the current breeds of dogs.
The popularization of the pet dog is certainly linked in part to the rural exodus of the end of the 19th. the former rural take their dog with them in the city and their utilitarian role becomes secondary to the benefit of their mere presence which maintains a link with nature. However, until the period between the two wars, the pet dog is defined in negative compared to the dog. Little by little, attitudes change and the number of pet dogs starts to increase between the two wars.
Massive urbanization following World War II made the dog’s a very valued partner. Indeed, we are witnessing a change of lifestyle: urban habitat, little contact with the neighbours, family contacts often reduced to the family. This social change would be at the origin of the extent of the ‘pet ‘.