Genre painting of the 16th and 17th centuries (kinsei shoki fûzokuga 近世初期風俗画) is one of the most attractive categories in Japanese art. Among the many topics painted in bright colours on large, richly decorated folding screens or sliding doors we find a number of so-called inuoumono, dog-chasing events. This paper tries to shed some light on the background of inuoumono. What exactly is going on there? And what can we learn from these paintings about the relationship between man and dog, between man and animal in Japan – in connection with written documents? This, of course, is not a question of art history, but of general cultural history.