(Yes, I know Beowulf is actually Old English, but he was of Swedish extraction. Besides, I'm seeing it with a half-Swede and a Norwegian. Sort of a contact Viking high if you will.)
Someone has thoroughly trounced me in the research department on today's post. The Viking Answer Lady has every answer one could think possible on Vikings and their domesticated animals. For example:
In Scandinavian belief, the dog is the guardian of the underworld, and it
is speculated that one reason for including dogs in Viking Age burials was to
provide a guide for the deceased to lead them to the underworld.
Kittens were sometimes given to new brides as an essential part of setting
up a new household. It is especially appropriate that brides should receive
cats, since cats were associated with Freyja, the goddess of love.
The Norwegian Lundehund is the most ancient of the Nordic dog breeds. The
name Lundehund means "puffin-dog" after the dog's talent for hunting seabirds.
Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) were considered a noble gift for a king,
but brown bears (Ursus arctos) were widely domesticated, and were even
imported into Iceland as pets where they were known as "house bears."
In Iceland, the most common domestic animal was the sheep. The saying in
Iceland was, "A sheepless household starves."