Oscar Pistorius is comforted by his brother Carl, back, as he listens to evidence by a pathologist in court in Pretoria. Photo: Themba Hadebe/AP

Pretoria - Paralympian Oscar Pistorius is a dog lover and finds refuge in God, he told the High Court in Pretoria during his murder trial on Monday.

Prompted by his lawyer Barry Roux, he told the court he had a Jack Russell, a bull terrier, and an American pitbull, which he rescued from a breeder where it was being kept under poor conditions.

He got the Jack Russell in 2005 when he bought his first townhouse.

“Two years later I got a bull terrier because they're a better watchdog.” Three years afterwards he got the pitbull, a breed he described as “very placid, loving dogs”.

As Pistorius moved on to the subject of his religion, he became tearful when he mentioned his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He is accused of murdering her in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year. He shot her through the locked door of his toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder.

Pistorius told the court his mother Sheila sang in the Methodist church choir.

“It doesn't matter what may come of life, we always find refuge in the Lord,” he said his mother had taught him and his two siblings.

He said Steenkamp “was a very good Christian”.

“She would pray about my travelling and all of the small things in my life,” he said through his tears.

“My religion is what's gotten me through this last year... my God is my refuge,” he said.

Pistorius is also charged with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, and two counts of discharging a firearm in public.

He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013. On September 30, 2012 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

He has denied guilt on all charges.