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In the 1700s, pets had already entered the lives of the human population.  Their presence can be noted on many paintings from the era in which sleek-coated dogs sit on ladies’ laps, or accompany their master on a hunt.

Marie Antoinette was one of the prominent figures in the 1700s that not only owned a pet; she adored it.  Royal canines such as those owned by Amie slept in a lavish plush little house, fit perfectly for the dog.  Pets in the 1700s were already displayed as adored family members, particularly by royalty and distinguished individuals.

Canines and Felines

Both dogs and cats portray an extensive history well beyond the 1700s.  These two types of mammals have long since been domesticated from the earlier times when European settlers arrived in North America and brought their animals with them. Felines can be traced back to the ancient Egyptian era, where at one point they were considered sacred and were worshipped.  Dogs have been domesticated in the pre-colonial era as well.  Dogs were used as companions and pets, for hunting or for breeding. Pets during the 1700s generally served as dual purpose animals; as pets and as workers.


Wild to Tame


One of the most commonly used methods of obtaining new pets as well as taming them was to take the young of wolves and wild dogs.  The objective was to raise them in an environment surrounded by people and other animals, with the main focus on taming the animal enough so it could be used and appreciated and so that biting would not become an issue.  This practice was accomplished long before and well into the 1700s to increase the number or working animals.  Horses, wolves, coyotes, wild cats, foxes, and many other interesting animals started appearing as tamed pets during this period.


A New Desire

Horses, canines, and felines were among the most prevalent of pets, but during the early 1700s. There was a noted shift in the types of pets that people acquired.  The continuation of catching and taming wild animals grew in popularity immensely during this time, and animals such as deer, squirrels, and wild birds could be seen in residences. Squirrels became a favorite of children, and if caught young enough they could be tamed. Nests were often raided and the young squirrels brought into the human world to be raised as pets, often for children.  Miniscule collars and leashes were placed on the squirrel, and they would hover near their owner, sometimes sitting on their shoulder. This can be seen too in paintings during the 1700s.


Song Birds


The design and creation of cages began to emerge.  These were used to house the pet squirrels that loved to chew through fabric and needed sturdier housing quarters during the night, and also for a new favorite pet, wild birds.  Many people thought that certain song birds could play a tune that was repeated.  This notion saw an increase in the number of birds such as mockingbirds and the beautiful cardinals that could be housed in ornate cages or that could be seen at the markets.  Birds were either caught as adults in traps or robbed from their nests when young.  They became more adept and reliant on humans, but they did not show companionship as many of the other wild  but now tamed creatures had.

The glamour and excitement of owning what should be a wild animal as a pet was prevalent in the 1700s.  Squirrels, otters, deer, beavers, birds, and many other creatures were caught, tamed, and trained.  Many could do dual purpose as a work animal and as a pet.  Cats, dogs, and horses, continued their reign as some of the most popular and useful pets during this era.


Bio: Sarah is the owner of Crazy Pet Guy, a treasure trove of information on pets and how to take care of them. Learn more about how to take care and own a pet on her blog today.