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Viking Pets – Vikings Loved Dogs by Rob Shackleford

Viking Pets – Vikings Loved Dogs by Rob Shackleford

Why Vikings?

Who Were the Vikings?

What did Vikings Look Like?

Viking Ginger Connection

Vikings Loved Bling Part 1

Viking Hygiene

Viking Clothes – Looking Good!

Viking Men’s wear

Viking Women’s Wear

Vikings Loved Bling Part 1

Viking Jewellery Part 2

Inked Up – Vikings and Tattoos

Were Vikings Inked?  Part 2

Viking Health

Viking Teeth

Viking Medicine

Vikings at Home Viking Society Viking Thralls Viking Karls
Viking Jarls Viking Women Part 1 Viking Women Part 2 Viking Women Part 3 Viking Villages and Towns
Viking Fortresses Vikings and Cats

Vikings loved their dogs by Rob Shackleford

Dogs were important as pets for the Vikings and are featured in Norse myths as well as serving as faithful companions and guides to the afterlife.

Vikings loved their Dogs - by Rob ShacklefordThe best-known dog from Norse mythology is Garm (or Garmr), who guarded the gates of the afterlife realm of Loki’s bizarre daughter, Hel. Garm is said to have kept the souls of the dead safely behind Hel’s walls while also keeping the living from trespassing in trying to bring a soul back to the land of the living.

Garm is called “best of hounds” by Odin in the Grimnismal section of the Poetic Edda when he lists the best things in all the cosmological realms.

Dogs were closely associated with the gods and the afterlife. The great Icelandic sagas mention dogs accompanying their masters to Valhalla after death. The dog acted as a kind of psychopomp, guiding the soul from the realm of life to the land beyond death.

More dog remains have been found in Scandinavian burial sites than in those of any other culture. Graslund notes how they obviously played an important sacrificial role in funerary rites but also how often they are depicted, sometimes in great detail, in rock carvings which show hunting scenes and also ritual ceremonies. According to German chronicler, Adam of Bremen (c. 1050 – c. 1085 CE), dogs were among the sacrifices at the Temple of Uppsala in Sweden dedicated to Odin, Thor, and Freyr, the fertility god and brother of Freyja.

Mother Goddess figures, or protective female deities in general, are often depicted with a dog, and in Norse mythology, they are linked to the powerful goddess Frigg, Odin’s consort who is sometimes depicted in a chariot drawn by dogs. It may be that Frigg’s association with dogs is a later development intended to further differentiate her from Freyja and her cat-drawn chariot but utilizing similar imagery. There are so many similarities between the two goddesses that scholars believe they might be the same deity.

Vikings loved their Dogs - by Rob Shackleford

Dogs were not only honoured through mythological and spiritual connections, however, but were an important part of everyday life in Scandinavia. Dogs were companions as well as working animals, and farmers who could afford it would keep both hunting and herd dogs.

Vikings loved their Dogs - by Rob Shackleford
Swedish Elkhound
Hunting dog breeds still exist today and were:

  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Swedish Elkhound
  • Karelian Bear Dog
  • Finnish Spitz Dog
  • Danish bird Dog
  • Norwegian Lundehund

Vikings loved their Dogs - by Rob Shackleford
Swedish Vallhund
Herd dog breeds were:

  • Lapphund
  • Lapp Reindeer Dog
  • Vallhund
  • Icelandic Sheep Dog
  • Norwegian Buhund

These dogs were highly valued and became status symbols among the Norse. The more dogs one had, the greater one’s show of wealth and success.

Excavations of graves show dogs were imported to Iceland as skeletons of dogs have been found with their masters. The importance of the dog to its master is emphasized by the inclusion of dogs in Odin’s great hall of Valhalla in the afterlife.

It is not only the soul of the warrior that lives on in the hall but also that of his trusty dog.

Vikings loved their dogs by Rob Shackleford

About the author:

Hi, I’m Rob Shackleford. I am author of a number of novels, though so far only Traveller Inceptio and Traveller Probo have been officially published. As Traveller Inceptio looks at the fates of modern historical researchers sent to the early 11th Century Saxon world, Vikings do feature.

Below are the Amazon links for the two novels so far.

In reading my novels, I ask if you wouldn’t mind posting a review and, perhaps, a picture of yourself with my book – either paperback or on kindle. Link to me on Social Media. I most welcome your comments and images.

I hope you enjoy.

Rob Shackleford Traveller Inceptio - a novel by Rob Shackleford Traveller Probo - Book 2 of the Traveller Series by author Rob Shackleford

Check out my web site at

In my vain attempt to attract attention and promote my books – please check out my brief skit video:

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Short Stories

Rob Shackleford - The Coin short story

Travelling New ZealandRob Shackleford and Deborah-Jane Mackay Travelling with Traveller Inceptio on Brecon Beacons Travelling the UKRob Shackleford and Deborah-Jane Mackay house sit Anglesey in Wales India by Royal EnfieldShacklefords ride India - Royal Enfield Bullet

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