They returned Simba the pug after Maria Smith launched a Facebook appeal to help find her pet.
The heartless gang, who had threatened to “slice the dog apart”, eventually returned it to get their identities off the popular social networking site.
Trainee beautician Maria, 23, of Walton, Liverpool, believes her beloved pet was taken by crooks who make their living stealing pedigree animals and selling them.
She said: “I let Simba out into the back garden with my other dog Junior one night. Afterwards I heard scratching at the back door but there was only one dog there when I opened it.
“Someone must have jumped over the back and taken Simba.”
The frantic owner took to the internet in a desperate bid to track down her missing pet and several days later she was contacted by people on Facebook who claimed to have been offered Simba for sale.
Maria said: “We heard the thieves were walking the streets of Walton asking people if they wanted to buy a dog. People got in touch with me to say they had been offered my dog.
Finally members of the alleged dog-snatching gang were named publicly.
Maria, who is single, said: “I got a phone call from one of the thieves saying, ‘If you carry on posting on Facebook I will slice your dog apart.’
“I offered them money. In the end they just gave me the dog back because they wanted their names off Facebook. They were worried about being identified on the internet.”
Simba is now happily back with Maria after two women returned the dog to her home late at night, nine days after he was stolen two weeks ago.
Maria said: “I have had no sleep. It has been horrible. It is heartbreaking to have a pet go missing. What is it coming to when you can’t leave your dog in your own back garden?
“I was lucky to get my dog back. There are people who never see their dogs again after they are stolen. I was worrying about whether they were feeding him properly or abusing him.
“I’m overjoyed he is back”
Merseyside Police said: “An investigation to establish the full circumstances of the incident is continuing.”