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The Muslims do not have swine but they do have cats and dogs. Something to do with not touching haram animals. I know that Jews also consider pigs unclean, as well as cats and dogs. Is this uncleanness only about eating them or does it apply to owning them as well? Can they keep cats, dogs, swine?

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Cats and dogs, yes. Not swine (at least not in Israel). –  Seth J Jul 23 '13 at 2:39
Pigs are singled out as a quintessentially non-kosher animal in a way that cats and dogs aren't. I think it stands to reason that people have always had a greater aversion to them than to other non-kosher beasts, whether justified or not. For a similar question to this one (not a dupe, but maybe useful to you), see my question here: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/20596/… –  Shimon bM Jul 23 '13 at 11:16
Dogs are not so simple. Many poskim recommend against it unless they are serving some self-defense purpose, based on Rav Ya'akov Emden's concern for the danger they pose. –  WAF Jul 23 '13 at 11:58
Also, no chickens in Y'rushalayim (assuming the maintenance of the mikdash) and no small livestock in [the populated part of] Eretz Yisra'el. Both are for practical reasons of the animals undermining order. –  WAF Jul 23 '13 at 12:01

3 Answers 3

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Very generally and speaking just from personal experience (so this isn't a halachic source), pet ownership even in Orthodox families is very widespread. This includes dogs (domestic, not wolves obviously), cats (domestic, not dangerous cats), parrots, rabbits, mice, and hamsters. None of these are Kosher. Even our Orthodox Rabbi owned parakeets (not Kosher). So right off the bat, I can tell you that the conventional understanding is that being not kosher does not preclude owning the animal as a pet. There may be exceptions, but this is the general practice.

A relevant Gemara at Bava Kama 80a/b goes into the permissibility of owning animals (there is some back and forth permitting and forbidding, and there is an implication that it's dependent on whether they're useful for keeping pests away) as well as some back-and-forth discussion about whether one may own a cat (seemingly depending on if it's the type that may injure children). I however am not in a position to make a judgement about what the Gemara's final conclusion and implications are.

This article by Rabbi Yehuda Shurpin (he brings original sources there) explicitly says that one may own non-Kosher animals as pets (he mentions a horse), but one may not make a business out of owning non-Kosher animals if they are normally consumed for food. However, in the case of swine, one may not own them at all (there are various instances in Tanach and the Talmud where swine are singled out in unfavorable ways, see the article for details of the ruling and sources). Also Bava Kama 79b explicitly states one may not raise pigs anywhere.

(Mishnah): We may not raise small animals (i.e. that do not work) in (settled parts of) Eretz Yisrael, but we may raise them in Surya or wildernesses of Eretz Yisrael. We may not raise chickens in Yerushalayim lest they cause Tum'ah to Kodshim. Kohanim (who eat Terumah) may not raise chickens anywhere in Eretz Yisrael; One may not raise pigs anywhere. One may raise dogs only if they are tied on a leash. We may not set traps for doves within four Mil of a settled area.

Another exception is the case of an "evil dog." This article by Rabbi Howard Jachter goes into detail with sources defining what is an "evil dog" and the prohibitions and conditions surrounding owning one. In fact there are many varying opinions on whether one may own any dog at all, but it appears that the majority of modern poskim permit (outright or with reservation) owning dogs that don't bite or cause damage.

Shulchan Aruch and most authorities limit the talmudic prohibition to ownership of "evil dogs". The clear implication is that one may own a dog for any reason, provided it is not an evil dog.

As a side note, as explained with sources in this other answer, simply touching non-Kosher animals doesn't impart impurity. It has to be dead (and then there may be differences depending on the kind of animal, but that is another issue).

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There is a klala on those growing pigs (and learning Greek Wisdom, whatever that is). –  Shmuel Brin Jul 23 '13 at 4:51
Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/7110/3 –  WAF Jul 23 '13 at 11:56
This answer is un-sourced, contains mis-information and assumptions and in-so-far as it has been unjustifiably chosen as "correct" it should be retracted. judaism.stackexchange.com/a/30119/899 –  Yirmeyahu Jul 24 '13 at 0:37
btw, the issue isn't touching not-kosher animals. It's not having children see not-kosher animals. So adults can touch not-kosher animals while children shouldn't see them at all –  Shmuel Brin Jul 24 '13 at 1:41
@ShmuelBrin Thanks for clarifying; updated based on your comment. –  A L Jul 24 '13 at 2:02

One may not raise pigs anywhere. (Shulchan Aruch CM 409:2)

One may not raise vicious dogs unless they are always enchained. If one lives in a border town (where he fears the nearby enemy) he may release the dogs at nights. (:3)

Animals do not impart or contract ritual impurity while alive (at least not in any situation remotely likely for a pet owner (or anyone) to encounter). (Leviticus 11, Rambam Tum'at Ochlin 2:6)

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What about non-vicious dogs, house cats, etc? –  Monica Cellio Jul 24 '13 at 0:54
Your answer doesn't address raising non-Kosher pets in general, it just focuses on the exceptions. –  A L Jul 24 '13 at 2:11
@AL Michlal lav ata shomeya hein –  Shmuel Brin Jul 24 '13 at 5:35
For the curious, my caveat was to exclude cases such as using an animal as a wall in a house which gets Tzara'at. –  Double AA Jul 24 '13 at 6:59
@AL I didn't know I had to. –  Double AA Jul 24 '13 at 7:00

Yes, Orthodox Jews can touch pigs, but not eat or touch food from pigs. Orthodox Jews eat lamb and love lambs. Orthodox Jews love goat and eat goat too and they own Cows. They don't eat pork, or any biscuits with pig gelatine but they do love living pigs as animals who are lovely clever animals as living things, but not for food. Jews consider pigs and dogs equal. They also keep dogs sometimes. Jews, They love living pigs.

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Welcome to Mi Yodeya - sources would greatly enhance the quality of your answer. –  Danny Schoemann Feb 25 at 10:55
Orthodox Jews eat lamb and love lambs. Orthodox Jews love goat and eat goat too and they own Cows I don't love lambs or own cows. Am I Orthodox? –  Shmuel Brin Feb 25 at 17:31

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