Dog/Pet Tattoos: Meaning and Symbolism

They say that a dog is a man’s best friend, but these days we would say that a dog is everyone’s best friend. Dogs really are amazing creatures and have been living and working with humans for thousands of years.

Their common ancestor is the grey wolf, but it’s thought that thousands of years ago, early human societies started to domesticate the friendliest and most adventurous wolves. Natural selection over many generations led to animals that also evolved with us and were friendly to us.

What Does a Dog Tattoo Mean to You?

There’s no doubt that people love their dogs. In fact, dogs are the only other animal on the planet that we know of that can react to and interpret human body language. Not even our closest primate relatives can do this without intense training.

Dogs are highly adaptable creatures and have learned to communicate with us far more easily than other animals. Did you know that dogs, unlike wolves, have even developed a special eye muscle that causes them to look sad so they can appeal to our emotions?

The importance of dogs, and indeed other animals, goes right back to our most ancient beginnings. For this reason, dogs have become associated with many meanings, including the following:

  • Loyalty and Commitment
  • Curiosity
  • Communication
  • Trust and Unconditional love
  • Truth
  • Adventure and Friendship
  • Protection

Should You Get a Dog Tattoo?

Given the long association between humans and dogs, it’s no surprise that dog tattoos are one of the most popular kinds of tattoos.

Indeed, many dog owners simply want a dog tattoo to be reminded of their beloved furry friend. And many people get dog tattoos inked in memory of a great dog friend that has passed through the veil.

Related Post: Portrait Tattoos and Their Meanings

Dog tattoos are not just about memories though. People have close relationships with dogs, and many people feel a kinship with them in a spiritual sense.

As dogs are also considered guides on the road of life, a dog tattoo can symbolize your dedication to living in the present moment and practicing unconditional love.

Related Post: 8 Tattoos as Symbols of Love

The Dog Paw Tattoo

The dog paw tattoo is ideal for a first timer or someone who simply wants a much smaller and less visible tattoo. The dog paw is immediately recognizable and can represent your own dog or your association with dog qualities such as playfulness, loyalty, communication, and so on.

Some people even get their own dog’s paw tattooed on them to serve as a reminder of their beloved furry friends. A simple paw print can easily be translated to a tattoo and can serve as a lifelong reminder of a special dog.

Related Post: Tiny Best Friend Tattoo Ideas

What about Other Pet Tattoos?

Of course, dogs are not the only companion animal that gets the tattoo treatment. Cats are also a popular tattoo design choice for many of the same reasons.

Undoubtedly, cats have been important in ancient times, such as in Egypt, and people will often get cat symbols inked if they feel a deep kinship with them.

Related Post: Egyptian Tattoos: Symbolism and Meaning

It’s also not unheard of for people to have other types of pets inked on their bodies as well.

Whether you’re remembering a favorite hamster or a long-lived goldfish, there’s no doubt that a tattoo is a good reminder of your relationship to them. And in the case of so many animals, there are also many meanings associated with them.

Related Post: The Symbolism Behind Koi Fish And Goldfish Tattoos


Animal tattoos have been used for centuries by many human cultures, but the concept of the pet is relatively recent.

Most types of animals aren’t domesticated, so our pets tend to be companion animals, such as dogs, cats, and so on. As such, both the dog and the cat are very popular subjects as tattoos.

Those who have a deep affection for their pet may want to remember them through a tattoo. And those who get a dog tattoo may feel a profound relationship to the character of the dog and what they represent.

Related Posts:

Recent Posts Protection Status