Dog Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)

dog portrait

Throughout history, Dogs played an essential role in our society—an entire dog culture formed during centuries. Dog symbolism is a constant reminder of unconditional love and loyalty. Learning more about the Dog meaning is the way to honor the Animal Spirit that enters your life. So let’s dive into the spiritual meaning of dog.

Table of contents

Dog Symbolism and Meaning

The Dog spirit animal is a powerful symbol of unconditional love, loyalty, and protection. To understand what they symbolize, we must look into dogs in art history. 

The dog symbolism in art is related to safeguarding, devotion, fidelity, and strong faith.

A Faithful companion and reliable protector, the dog, is also a symbol of loyalty and truthfulness to yourself. The renaissance pet portraits depict dogs as companions of humans. 

Royals were always posing, accompanied by their pups or hounds. As a symbol of love, a dog appears to have a big heart and a lot of love to give. 

dog sitting

Being secluded is not an option anymore, so you should open your heart to others.

Another attribute associated with the dog is perseverance. Many dogs’ paintings depict hunting scenes where canines chase the prey, for example, dogs in renaissance art.

Lastly, but not less important, the dog symbolizes playfulness. It will always remind people of the importance of enjoying life. 

There will always be challenging times that cannot be surpassed without some smile and fun.  No wonder there is a massive presence of dogs in art, and we see so many dogs in paintings.

Dog Native American Symbolism

The Dog symbol is prevalent among the Native American tribes. To understand what dogs represent spiritually, we must first consider that all tribes had dogs. These animals were acting as guides, hunting companions, and camp guards. 

The Native American spirit dog is representing protection, unconditional love, and, most important, loyalty. A strong belief among the Native Americans was that the Great Spirit spoke to them through animals, and these were considered their brothers and sisters. 

This is why many Native American stories and legends are related to the proper treatment of dogs. People who mistreated dogs were harshly punished, while those who showed kindness to these fantastic animals were rewarded.

dog sitting

Occasionally, the dogs were used as clan animals and a symbol of the warrior societies. The fierce guardianship and self-sacrifice symbolism of this animal led the Cheyennes to name their highly respected warriors as Dog Soldiers. 

These warriors were responsible for protecting and guarding the villages. Rarely, some negative features were associated with the dogs, as depicted in various folktales. 

Dogs are sometimes gullible, easily distracted, or even tattletale. However, Native Americans consider dogs as a symbol of friendship and loyalty

Dog Eastern Symbolism

In China, Dogs are getting a mixed treatment: farmed for meat, a position in the Chinese zodiac; however, honors them. Chinese people consider the dog an auspicious animal, so if a dog comes to a house, it is believed to bring fortune.

One of the animals that represent loyalty, the dog, is an essential motif of Chinese mythology and folklore. 

A trustworthy companion of all great heroes of the Chinese legends, dogs are well regarded for their loyalty and courage. The ancient Chinese symbol of Foo Dog is supposed to depict a lion; however, it looks more like a stylized dog.

dog standing on the grass

In Japanese culture, the symbolism of dogs is related to devotion, honor, and diligence. White dog symbolism is especially crucial for the Japanese people who associate these animals with good luck and fortune. 

Komainu or the lion-dogs are guarding either the entry or the inner circle of many Japanese Shinto shrines.

What does a dog symbolize for the Korean people? The Pungsan dog is the national symbol of North Korea. 

These dogs are said to be pure, spontaneous, and loyal to their owners. This being the reason for which they symbolize the country’s proud spirit.

Dog Christianity symbolism

What do dogs symbolize in the Bible? Even though Dog symbols are usually lively and encouraging, the Bible has a different view. 

The dog symbol meaning is a negative one being mentioned as a wild dog. However, there is also a positive spiritual significance of dogs: the Bible says that all our sins can be healed after the confessions. 

And this is being represented as a dog licking our wounds to cure them. This being said, it is clear that the spiritual meaning of a dog is associated with healing. Saint Roch is known as the saint of dogs, and he is usually depicted with a canine companion by his side.

dog standing on grass

Saint Francis of Assisi is also known as a patron saint of animals.

Some medieval dog paintings depict Saint Dominic (the founder of the Dominican order, also known as “Dogs of Lord”) next to a dog carrying a flaming torch in its mouth. 

The dog is a trustworthy companion and a symbol of obedience.

To conclude, although the dog often has a negative symbolism in the Bible, many of the Church fathers and saints are being depicted next to their canine companions. Dogs are a valid symbol of faith, obedience, and loyalty.

Dog Celtic Symbolism

What do dogs represent for the Celtic people? Hounds are emblematic of courage, honor, and extreme loyalty. They were also associated with healing, Gallic gods of healing springs having sacred dogs.

Hounds have always assisted Celts when hunting or in battle. They were such revered that the highest compliment for a warrior was to compare him to this dog. Dogs were also seen as a symbol of good luck.

Many Irish legends include hounds, the most famous one involving the Celtic hero Cuchulain, known as the Hound of Ulster.  In Welsh mythology, the Underworld ruler, Gwyn ap Nudd, was escorting the souls of the dead in the Underworld, leading a pack of supernatural hounds.

dog sitting

The Celtic Hounds are seen as guardian figures and sources of healing powers being associated with gods, goddesses, and heroes. It was believed that some diseases could be cured by applying the saliva of a dog. 

Symbols of courage and loyalty, hounds, were offered as gifts to honorable men. In ancient Celtic Ireland, many chiefs and warriors adopted the name “Hound” as a title to demonstrate bravery and devotion. To summarize, the Dog meaning in the Celtic world is hunter, healer, and death.

Dog African Symbolism

Dogs’ spirituality is a positive one since this animal is being associated with fidelity and loyalty. However, the Afrikaans literature portrays them as diabolical creatures, the same as hyenas and wolves. 

Dog symbolism in literature is related to the dark side of human nature or even death. Ancient Egypt is well known for its association with cats, but dogs were equally highly regarded. 

This fact is being visible via the dog artwork left by the ancient Egyptians. Dogs were following their owners to the tomb, and they were honored with burials fit for nobles.

dog on the grass

The powerful god of death and afterlife, Anubis, is known as the “jackal god” although the ancient Egyptians did not distinguish between jackal and dog. 

He was referenced as “the dog who swallows millions.” Dogs were freely roaming near the temples of Anubis and were also bred for sacrifice.

Egypt is also the place where the first collars were found. The dog’s name was written on these collars, proving the strong relationship between dogs and their masters.

On every Egyptian mural, at least an ancient dog drawing can be found. Going towards the South, similar rock art can be found, depicting typical African hunting scenes.

Dog in Dreams

What is the spiritual meaning of dogs in dreams? Dreaming about dogs is usually a sign of protection, generosity, fidelity, and intuition. 

Sometimes dogs in your dreams represent you or someone close like a friend or family member. Let’s see what does a dog symbolizes in a dream.

When I dream of a dog biting me, it means that someone in my life is unkind, rude, degrading. 

This is also a sign of betrayal. The spiritual meaning of a dog attack is linked to an inner conflict within yourself or someone close to you being unfaithful or untrustworthy.

dog sitting

The German shepherd’s dream meaning is related to the openness to ideas, but it is also a sign that others are quickly influencing you.  

The Rottweiler dream meaning is associated with confidence, courage, and protection. This breed gives you the confidence to confront whatever lies in front of you.

Dreaming of dead dogs is a bad sign warning that possible conflicts with close people might follow. You should heed the warning to avoid quarrels.

If you dream about puppy symbols, it signalizes your parental or protective instinct. It can also symbolize a person in your life who is impulsive, needy, curious, or lacking discipline.

Dog Encounters and Omens

Going through any dog spirit guide, you will see that generally, these creatures have positive symbolism. However, some dogs are carrying bad omens.

What does a black dog symbolize? Usually, the black dog’s spiritual meaning is a dark one, related to death and evil. 

Black dog sighting meaning and the ghost dog meaning are the same in all the European cultures: a guardian of the Underworld crossing your path. 

The loyalty symbolism cannot be applied here. If a dog appears out of nowhere, there is an excellent chance to deal with an evil spirit or maybe a shapeshifter.

dog sitting

Another bad omen is hearing a dog barking and howling. This is a sign of death nearby. However, barking at the moon’s meaning is different nowadays, pointing out to protesting in vain.

The white dog’s spiritual meaning is a positive one associated with pure feelings, even magical abilities. White dog omen had been interpreted as a sign from the Creator of some religious purpose. The white dog spirit is the harbinger of positive change.

Another good omen is when a stray dog follows you. However, a dog that follows you on a rainy day could bring you good luck.

Dog Mythology and Folklore

Often seen as companions of heroes and gods, their presence is consistent throughout the universal mythology and folklore. 

Dog spirit guides are encountered in many stories and legends. Some of them are seen as trustworthy and loyal friends; others are depicted as creepy creatures who stalk the night. 

The black dog symbol is very pronounced as all these creatures are regarded as harbingers of death.

On the eastern coast of England, we could meet Black Shuck, a big creepy beast with flaming eyes. He roams around forests, cemeteries, crossroads, bodies of water.

happy dog

Barghest is the mythological dog said to inhabit the north of England. This magic dog can take many forms, and it is believed that he foretells death.

Cavall is King Arthur’s dog, who accompanied his master when he hunted the enchanted boar Twrch Trwyth.  Cerberus is the three-headed dog that guards the entrance to the Greek and Roman underworld. He prevents the dead from escaping and the living from entering Hades.

Argos was the faithful dog of king Odysseus. He recognized his master after twenty years of absence and died shortly after Odysseus passed by him.  Many renaissance dogs are depictions of these mythical creatures.

Dog Spirit Animal

The dog spirit animal meaning is directly linked to the qualities and attributes you may see in yourself.  Are dogs spiritual? Yes, they are. 

Furthermore, spiritual dog breeds will step forward when specific phases or occasions in our lives request it. The Husky spirit animal reminds us that the journey is more important than actually getting to the destination.

The Golden retriever spirit animal teaches you that you possess all the knowledge, skills, and support to achieve your goals. It would be best if you trust your instinct.

Sometimes you should follow your heart as it knows best what is right for you. If you tend to forget this, the Chihuahua spirit animal is there to remind you. 

Pitbull symbolizes that you should better trust your intuition, and you should investigate your feelings when you suspect that something is wrong.

Dog spiritual meaning varies; therefore, the black dog spirit animal represents evil while the white dog’s meaning is about love and devotion.

When we talk about the dog spirit animal, the keywords are unconditional love, devotion, and faithfulness. A dog will stay forever with you. The dog symbolism knows how to love without condition.

Dog Totem Animal

The dog animal totem has provided humans with symbolic renditions of trustworthiness, protection, faithfulness, and respect.

As a totem animal, the dog carries the medicine of the everlasting allegiance to family and friends, his affection and devotion exceeding those of all other animals. 

A dog will never abandon his master despite the mistreatment. However, a dog does not tolerate abandonment.

Knowing their animal totem is a natural process as they were always drawn to a specific animal or having a special feeling for it. Others need to wait for a dream or vision to discover what their spirit animal is.

two dogs

People who own a dog totem pole are capable of unconditional and everlasting love. The dog totem symbolizes the capability to commit to a spiritual path or personal belief without hesitation. 

Also, people with dog totems never stray from their circle of family and friends. People choosing a dog totem might find this as a reminder that true friendship still exists. 

Also, these people serving are quietly in the background, supporting others’ success. From this position, they have a clear view, watching for trouble.  The dog totem encourages dedication and advice, never to abandon faith.

Dog Power Animal

The dog medicine card is loyalty, fierce energy of protection, friendship, love. Those who have power animals for dogs help others and have a deep understanding and compassion for human frailty.

A dog is sensitive and intelligent, and people can learn from it the true meaning of unconditional love and forgiveness. 

Due to its ability to capture subtle energy frequencies, the dog was associated with the supernatural and magic.

If the dog chose you, it means that acts of kindness and love are more significant to you than material things.There is a risk, however, of people taking advantage of your good nature.

dog with a frisbe

The dog is a potent reminder that you should always be truthful and loyal to yourself by having self-respect and self-value.

By studying the dog breed attributes that entered your life, you can determine what qualities are needed or present in your life.

The dog might also be telling you that you have become overly critical and dreadful due to the company you are keeping. You might need to explore the patterns of fickleness in your life.

This medicine card asks you to look into how ready your need for approval countermands your sense of devotion.

Dog Tattoo Meaning

Most dog tattoo ideas go around personal affection for a canine companion, and sometimes it is a memory of a loyal friend who passed into the spirit world. 

Dogs are excellent companions on any journey, whether this is spiritual, physical, or emotional. A tattoo depicting a dog might be a good idea for those who lost direction in life.

Dog tattoo ideas can be associated with lunar and/or solar qualities. Moon dogs accentuate the need to break out of conformity. 

Solar dogs remind us of encouraging self-expression and clear communication. The color of the dog tattoo is also important.

dog in the yard

In this context, black dog symbolism is linked to a lunar flavor and represents those unafraid to boldly walk into dark places. White dogs are symbols of clarity, virtue, purification, loyalty, and commitment.

Associated with the sacred waters in Celtic mythology or Asclepius, the ancient Greek physician, the dog symbolizes the healing powers. In this case, a dog tattoo will serve as a powerful statement of your desire to heal others and/or yourself.

A dog representation might also illustrate an energetic playfulness attitude, a child-like good nature that many people lose over the years.

Conclusion

Meditate and get in touch with the dog’s energy. Dogs will guide you towards your maximum potential. They are willing to serve. When the dog spirit animal picks you, it is a sign that you should remain devoted to the relationships in your life. It would be best if you become an irreplaceable friend.

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2 thoughts on “Dog Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)”

  1. I have a pack of dog spirits in my bedroom, they are led by my deceased dog Miley, a papillon white, and brown. There are about 5 dog spirits around me all the time. They taught my puppy how to communicate with me. They trained my puppy to use the doggie door. Please tell me what you think this means.

  2. I had a strange experience today ..while meditating …I feel a dog around me …like a dog that i have in yard..yet..very familiar..he laid down like Protection and same time very happy to see me …I touched his head…and even put my hand in his mouth…and I gladly caress his head…like “ok, boy. Just let me do my meditation “…..as he stand up..I was afraid he will get blocked in the cables with laptop..phone etc…I’ve stand up..ups ..nothing. I come out in yard..our dog was sleeping…what’s that????

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