This worthy philosophy has been attributed to many different people, depending on which book of quotations you pick up. Its origins appear to be French. In the late 1600s the Marquise de Rabutin-Chantal, better known as Madame de Sevigne, wrote in a letter to her daughter: plus je connais les hommes, plus j’aime les chiens – the more I know of men, the more I love dogs.
Decades later, in 1740, King Frederick of Prussia offered a version: the more I see of men, the better I like my dog’. (Frederick owned an estimated 30 Greyhounds and certainly loved them – he instructed that he was to be buried next to his beloved Greyhounds.) In 1765 Pierre Belloy and Voltaire both took up the notion that the company of dogs was often preferable to that of people.
From then on a who’s who are credited with originating the phrase: French political activist Madame Jeanne Marie Roland, Baroness Madame de Stael, and French writer Alphonse de Lamartine. Some even attribute the sentiment to General Charles de Gaulle! The quote from him (in English) simply amplifies the original: ‘The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.’
The list doesn’t end there. Different sources credit the line to Joussenel, Erik Satie, Sacha Guitry and American lawyer, Gloria Allred. Doubtless all of them support the sentiment, but it would appear that all of them are actually quoting Madame de Sevigne.