Kilayim 8:6, in listing various animals and whether they are considered wild or domesticated, says:

כלב מין חיה

A dog is a type of wild animal

Why is this? We’re not talking about wild dogs or wolves - just ordinary dogs. Why are they not considered domesticated?

(I should note that R’ Meir argues with the Tanna Kamma. I am asking specifically on the Tanna Kamma’s opinion.)

  • 1
    Dogs in the time of the Mishna may have been more wild than modern dogs, especially considering that they were kept for a reason - to fight other animals/robbers and not as a "toy" to play with. Aug 22, 2017 at 17:45
  • @ShmuelBrin Perhaps, but they were still kept as pets, even if they were guard dogs. Just because it’s a danger doesn’t mean that it’s a חיה necessarily.
    – DonielF
    Aug 22, 2017 at 17:48
  • I think the answer is here - zomet.org.il/?CategoryID=160&ArticleID=8350 - but I have no time to figure it out. It seems to says that all non-Kosher animals are a Chaya (according to one definition.) Aug 23, 2017 at 8:16
  • @DannySchoemann That very Mishnah I cited lists a pig as a Beheimah
    – DonielF
    Aug 23, 2017 at 12:29
  • Maybe becouse it has nails (although it does not have poison) sefaria.org/Shulchan_Arukh,_Yoreh_De'ah.57.1 see halcha 4 and 6 here chabad.org/971831
    – hazoriz
    Aug 23, 2017 at 22:11

1 Answer 1


Perhaps because the Mishnah in 1:6 compares the wolf with dog, and categorizes them together inasmuch as they cannot be bred with one another. Meaning a dog is similar to a wolf, it is a wild animal.

(I might have thought that since the dog and wolf are similar they would be allowed to be bred.)

Ramban (Ber. 1:24) categorizes the general differences between wild and domestic animals.

בְּהֵמָה הם המינים האוכלים עֵשֶׂב בין ישובי בין מדברי וְחַיְתוֹ אֶרֶץ אוכלי הבשר יקרא חיות וכלם יטרופו

Beasts (behema): These are the types that eat grass, whether they reside in human settlements or in the wilderness. The animals (chayot) of the earth: Those that eat meat are called animals and all of them prey.

See also: Dog Food

  • "inasmuch as they cannot be bred": did you mean "inasmuch as they can be bred" or "although they cannot be bred" perhaps?
    – msh210
    Feb 3, 2019 at 12:36
  • I’m afraid I don’t follow your comment@msh
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Feb 3, 2019 at 14:29
  • "inasmuch as" means "because" or "to the extent that". I don't understand why a mishna categorizes two things together because, or to the extent that, they can't be bred together. Does it categorize mouse and wolf together too? They can't breed. (Admittedly, I didn't check the mishna.) Hence I suggested that maybe you have a typo and meant to say "inasmuch as they can be bred" or "although they cannot be bred".
    – msh210
    Feb 3, 2019 at 15:50

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