Domestic Animals – Concept, characteristics and examples

We explain what domestic animals are, examples and some of the main characteristics of these animals.

Domestic Animals - Sheep
Domestic animals live with us in rural and urban environments.

What are the pets?

Domestic animals are understood to be all those who have gone through a domestication process, that is, they have learned to coexist with the human being to such an extent that in many cases it would be difficult for them to lead an existence far removed from human society.

The process of domestication is called accustoming an animal or plant species of wildlife to the terms of human existence, that is, to live with the human being and adapt to the type of activities that he performs. It is a process that began thousands of years ago, at the dawn of our species, when the discovery of agriculture led to the need for robust animals that would provide humans with the strength their bodies lacked. This process was also key in the invention of livestock and other similar activities.

Too plant species such as corn and wheat were domesticated, which adapted to proliferate in human-controlled spaces, rather than their natural environments. This process forever altered their evolutionary courses and subjected species to artificial selection processes according to our needs as a species.

Today, domestic animals live with us in rural and urban environments, serving us as company, food, transportation or workforce. In return, we offer them a diet without effort or competition, a safe habitat and certain comforts, especially those we consider everyday companions, such as dogs and cats.

Examples of domestic animals

Below is a list of the most common pets:

  • Dog (Canis lupus familiaris).
  • Rooster (Gallus gallus)
  • Cat (Felis silvestris catus)
  • Cow (Bos primigenius taurus)
  • Cebu bull (Bos primigenius indicus)
  • Goat (Capra aegagrus hircus)
  • Pork (Sus scrofa domestica)
  • Sheep (Ovis orientalis aries)
  • Guinea pig (Cavia porcellus)
  • Donkey (Equus africanus asinus)
  • Domestic duck (Anas platyrhynchos domesticus)
  • Horse (Equus ferus)
  • Dromedary (Camelus dromedarius)
  • Silkworm (Bombyx mori)
  • Common pigeon (Columba livia domestica)
  • Camel (Camelus bactrianus)
  • Call (Flame glama)
  • Alpaca (Vicugna pacos)
  • Guinea fowl (Numida meleagris)
  • Polecat (Mustela putorius)
  • Home mouse (Mus musculus)
  • Turtle dove rosigris (Sreptopelia roseogrisea)
  • Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)
  • Carp (Cyprinus carpio)
  • Domestic rat (Rattus norvegicus)
  • Domestic canary (Serinus canaria domestica)
  • Guppy fish or million fish (Poecilia reticulata)
  • Domestic bee (Apis mellifera)
  • Creole duck (Cairina moschata)
  • Peacock (Pavo cristatus)
  • Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita)
  • Macaw (Ara macao)
  • Land turtle (Chelonoidis carbonaria)
  • Swan (Cygnus olor)
  • Australian parakeet (Melopsittacus undulatus)
  • Fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster)
  • Capybara, chigüire or capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris)
  • Hamster (Mesocricetus auratus)
  • Red eared turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans)
  • Domestic parrot (Psittacidae spp.)

Differences between domestic and wild animals

Wild animals
Wild animals are those far removed from human intervention.

Although domestic animals are adapted to living with us, in some cases even inside our houses, and therefore forming a close bond with us, as if we were in some cases members of the same herd, this was not always the case. Before being tamed, animals lived in their natural habitat, subject to natural laws, that is, in the wild.

Most of the world’s animals still live in this way, which is why they are called wild animals, far from human intervention. Thus, while domestic animals live in our houses, on farms or in stables, wild animals live in their respective habitats: the jungle, the desert, the sea, etc.

The dog

Pets - Dog
The passing of the centuries ended up making the dog a companion animal.

We call a group of species of domestic canids a dog, related to the wild wolf, which around 10,000 years ago began a way of life close to the human being, probably understanding that an association with our species could be beneficial in terms of easy access to food, warmth and shelter, in exchange for protection and assistance in hunting .

The passing of the centuries, however, ended up making the dog a pet with enormous variety between one breed and the other, due in part to our meddling through selective breeding.

The cat

Pets - Cat
The cat was revered by numerous eastern civilizations.

Another of the most common companion animals is the cat, although of a less complete domestication, in appearance, than that of the dog, since keeps a good part of his hunting instincts intact. It is thought to have been introduced to human civilization as a way to hunt down rodents that infested the food stores of Ancient Egyptian civilization.

This type of medium-sized feline was worshiped by numerous eastern civilizations and condemned by Western Christianity, which saw in them a symbol of evil, probably due to their nocturnal and independent habits.

The parrot

Domestic animals - parrot
The parrot is capable of imitating various words quite faithfully.

One of the most sociable domestic birds known, typically green plumage although with other accessory colors, the parrot stands out for its strong curved beak and its ability to imitate human language. It is not, however, that the parrot really “talks”, since it is incapable of acquiring language; but he is capable of imitating different words quite faithfully, as well as making other sounds such as whistles, laughs, etc.


Domestic Animals - Cow
From the cow we obtain various types of meat to be able to feed ourselves.

Perhaps the most important domestic animal in human history is the cow, or at least cattle in general. Not just because from it we obtain milk, a source of many food products, and various types of meat or leather, to feed us or to protect us from the cold; but also because its introduction to primitive human civilizations allowed the plowing to be carried out much more efficiently, taking advantage of the brute force of the animal to open furrows in the earth and then be able to sow.


Domestic Animals - Horse
We usually intervene directly on the horse’s body, with horseshoes, for example.

Another of the most significant domestic animals in our history, associated with strength, speed and the wild spirit, served as transportation to humans for millennia, either by mounting it directly or using it as traction for various wheeled vehicles (carts, floats, etc.). The domestication of the horse reaches such a degree that we usually intervene directly on its body, nailing metal horseshoes in the hooves to protect them from wear, or removing teeth to insert the bridles.

The camel

Domestic animals - camel
The camel turned out to be key in the commercial development of the desert regions.

These African and Asian animals were domesticated by the cultures of the desert habitats, who saw in their strength, their passivity and their ability to go up to 10 days without drinking water, the ideal characteristics to serve as a beast of burden. This domestication is much more recent than that of other animals of similar use, but it was key in the commercial development of desert regions, such as the Sahara.