Pets, wild, tame, pets: what differences?

Verified 22 December 2023 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

Pet of a non-domestic species

Published on 10 December 2021

The law no. 2021-1539 provides that, among animals of non-domestic species, only animals of species included in a list laid down by decree may be kept as pets or on approved farms.

This page will be updated when this Order is issued.


A domestic animal is an animal belonging to a species which has undergone modifications, by selection, by humans. It is an animal that, raised from generation to generation under human supervision, evolved to form a species, or race, different from the primitive wild form from which it originated.

A domestic species is a species all of whose representatives belong to selected animal populations or are derived from relatives of selected animal populations.

The list of domestic species of animals is limited by ministerial order. Thus, for example, dogs, cats, horses are domestic animals but also pigs, camels, white peacock, koi carp, silkworm, etc.

Wild animal

A wild animal (or non-domestic animal) is an animal belonging to a species which has not undergone modification by selection on the part of man. Any animal not included in the list of domestic animals laid down by ministerial decree is a wild animal.

Tamed animal

A tamed animal is not necessarily a pet. A wild animal can be tamed.


A pet is an animal held or intended to be held by man for his approval. It's not necessarily a pet, or even necessarily a tamed animal.