Undoubtedly, pets magically mesmerize us with their mere presence. But some breeds of cats and dogs were literally thought to be of magical origin since ancient times.
Learn about the 10 animals believed to have unusual mythological connections:
As its name suggests, this cat (photo above) originates from Egypt. In ancient times, the Egyptians revered them exceptionally, even depicting them in ancient papyrus. The breed has some unique characteristics. It is the only domestic cat with natural spots on its fur and is particularly fast - it can sprint up to 31 mi (50 km) per hour.
Norwegian Forest cat
The history of this cat breed has been loaded with mysticism since ancient times. The legend goes that it was Norwegian Forest cats who pulled the chariot of the Norwegian goddess of love and beauty - Freyja.
Russian Blue cat
The bright green eyes and silver-blue fur of the Russian Blue cat are truly magnetic. Besides being very beautiful, loving and aristocratic, this breed of cats in Russia were famed for their healing abilities. According to the local folklore, it brings luck as well. The legend goes that the Russian Blue cat traveled around the world along with the Cossacks, including on ships.
Korat cats are short-haired pets bearing the name of the Thai plateau Khorat. In their native Thailand, they were seen as a symbol of luck, prosperity and wealth. Tradition dictates that the kittens be given out only as gifts, in order not to waste the good luck.
This ancient breed of dogs are famed for being particularly disciplined and for making good guard dogs. It's then no surprise that the 3-headed mastiff, known as Cerberus, guarded the entrance to the underworld in Greek mythology.
The Shih Tzu is an ancient dog breed linked to Buddhist mythology. The fluffy companions were reared by Tibetan monks to look like lions but turned out to be more like mischievous pets. In those days it was also believed that they bore the souls of llamas, which had not yet reached nirvana.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The breed has been around since ancient times and as its named suggests, comes from Wales. The dogs have strange spots on their back, which according to Welsh folklore were a gift from the fairies that rode them as mounts.
Chinese Shar Pei
The Shar Pei are a breed of hunting dogs originating from China. In the past it was believed that the purple tongue and wrinkled skin of these Chinese dogs warded off evil spirits.
These small-sized dogs have a curious character. They are loving, exceptionally loyal and devoted to their masters, even in the afterlife. In ancient Mexico it was believed that the Chihuahuas were spiritual leaders who guarded the souls as they journeyed through the afterlife.
Mexican Hairless dog
The Mexican Hairless dog is another breed known since ancient times. In Mexico this breed was famed for its healing abilities. It was thought to help treat insomnia, toothache, rheumatism, arthritis and other diseases. It was also believed that the Mexican Hairless dog could scare off evil spirits and chase away intruders.