This thesis focuses on the defining characteristics of relationships between humans and animals. The argument is based on a review of scientific literature according to pedagogically relevant criteria. The material is reviewed from a critical pedagogical standpoint, and positive and negative aspects for humans as well as animals are discussed. Furthermore, ethical viewpoints are examined in conjunction with legal requirements, and interdisciplinary findings are highlighted. Approaches from philosophy, psychology, biology, medicine and law are assessed from a pedagogical point of view. For a better understanding, the historical evolution of animal domestication is outlined, as well as the accompanying changes in the relationship between humans and animals. Different stages and areas of life, in which animals are an integral part of human society, are used to illustrate the current state of human-animal relationships and to emphasise the pedagogical relevance of the topic. The thesis concludes with a note on animal-assisted therapy to show the potential of human-animal relationships.