Why don’t I see pet dogs in Iran?
While the scene of a collared dogs strolling down a street is a common scene for modern urban areas, this is not a scene you’re most likely going to see while visiting Iran. You may think this means Iranians don’t have many pets or at least not many dogs, But let me explain why that isn’t the correct explanation.
Iranians do have a wide variety of pets at home but the most controversy causing ones are pet dogs in Iran. Historically the use of dogs in herding, hunting, war and dog fights shows the existence and importance of dogs in ancient Persia.
In ancient Persian myth it was believed that one third of a dogs’ essence is human and that the dog was created to protect man’s possessions against wolves, and that a dog can repel evil by it’s mere gaze. In the Islamic culture although kindness towards animals is greatly rewarded but pigs and dogs are unclean animals.
There isn’t as much emphasis on other animals but since Islam as a religion emphasizes time after time on sanitary conditions, the traditional common culture cannot ease with the concept of having a strolling animal at home. Specially that the acceptance of daily prayer is conditional to specific sanitary conditions, which would restrict prayers or the pets extremely. Yet he younger generation is very open to the idea but the older the generation reluctance is stronger. Its no unusual to hear “I don’t have a pet , if I had my grandmother would not visit my home, because she says she can’t pray here.”
Legislation on Pet Dogs in Iran
For decade’s pet owners specially dogs were rare therefore tolerated. But after increases in number of dog owners, In 2010 Iran banned all advertisements for pets, pet food and pet products. Officials argue that they pose “a cultural problem” that it is imitation of the Western culture. Since then, penalties will follow, if pets are seen on streets or in cars.
But still pet owners are increasing and unlike what it may seem, many people in Iran have pets, proof of it is that there are official pet stores that sell all dog supplies and food in Iran!