I think it’s been remarked elsewhere in other studies that historically at some point or another lapdogs were despised for being nothing more than old maids’ pets and playthings. (I remember the word for minx also meant a lapdog.) Even this very blog contains excerpts on this phenomenon. But there are extensive studies on that phenomenon in Germany. Both in English (The Surplus Woman) and German (Hagestolz und Alte Jungfer).
Whilst the Anglophone book contains only a chapter on old maids and their lapdogs, the German book seems to have several more. Maybe that’s based on my experience excerpting it (as Google Books only offers previews and sometimes briefly so) and having it translated on Google (that’s where I know about those stray dog incidents in Europe). Heck that’s even true for both German language and Anglophone documents about pugs being old maids’ dogs.
That even a close bond with such dogs is even laughed at, especially if the dog’s rather useless save for alleviating loneliness. Karen Lupo pointed out something in her study ‘A Dog is For Hunting’ where the community she studied, the Aka Pygmies, seem to have rather ambivalent attitudes to dogs. Though dogs were used for hunting, they’re not always reliable. They’re deliberately excluded from homes and may sometimes get attacked for pestering others.
If dogs were trained to hunt, they’d even be drugged or socialised to other dogs to do so. In another, albeit Ugandan and Ivorian accounts, dogs may even be starved to do the same. Also her informants and interviewees were wary of the idea of treating dogs as family members. (Or maybe they do treat them like family* that’s by giving them chores to do and forcing them to be independent so soon and quick.)
That and dogs being linked with witchcraft. These alone reveal why Europeans also had the same or similar attitudes in the past. I remember somewhere that women who’ve got close relations with their dogs and cats get targeted for witchcraft. Some like this Ghanaian man deliberately use their pets to commit witchcraft like cursing Cristiano Ronaldo.
There’s even an account somewhere about the role of dogs and boas in witchcraft (at least somewhere in the DRC where in another account, children are accused of witchcraft if they turn into dogs, owls and mice). Not to mention there were early modern documents about lapdogs named Minny just as there’s an account of a witch and dog familiar Minny.
Keep in mind that even then, like today some people either had positive opinions of or were tolerant of cats and dogs. Conversely speaking in Europe, there are still people who can’t stand them as to dispose them with shooting or poisoning.
*Some Western families encourage their children to be independent so and have them forced out soon enough, hence why the idea of an adult who still lives with their parents weirds them out.