Dogs before the 19th century were largely functional, such as hunting, guard, and watch dogs. The Oxford Dictionary, in the oldest quotes in the oldest Proverbs and phrases, dogs were rarely depicted as faithful or as man’s best friend, but as vicious and aggressive hunting dogs.
In 1870, a dog was killed by a neighbor, and it went to court, suing for damages. Old Drum was the name the dog. It had been shot and killed. The lawyer said in his statement in defense, “The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog”.
In 1958, a statue of Old Drum was erected in the town in Missouri, and it said the best closing speech in the trial was: “A man’s best friend is his dog”. And women can be included.