For many centuries, and in many cultures, the image of a dog has been the emblem for a loyal and jovial spirit. They have also been seen as the protectors and companions of man. Dog tattoos are often meant to be a symbol of this; they are meant to show either these qualities in the wearer’s own personality, or their love of the animal itself.
Many dog tattoos are culled from real life images. These are often of the wearer’s own pet, and are usually done in a portrait style. Quite commonly, these pieces show the image of a dog in action; that is, running through a field, jumping to catch a ball, or rolling around on the ground. Sometimes these depictions are more aggressive and show the dog growling, perhaps even foaming at the mouth, or on the verge of attacking. Sometimes this
style is used as something of a memorial to a pet that has died, and show only the head, neck and shoulders alongside a name and possibly dates.
Some dog tattoos feature a more cartoon-like style. The features of the animal in this design tend to be more exaggerated, and they frequently exhibit human attributes. One of the most commonly used images show a goofy beast with large, shining eyes, pricked up ears, and a long tongue. A more aggressive variation is also popular, and is favored when creating an amalgamation between animal and human. They sometimes show a large, muscular upper body, and small, bent legs dressed in boots and blue jeans, often wielding a weapon.
You may also use a more elegant style of dog tattoos. These images range from simple outlines to something akin to the brilliantly colored Chinese Fu dogs. Fu (or foo) dogs are a few closely related breeds that resemble the ancient guardian lions of China. For this image you could take the visage of a chow chow (said to be the original model for the guardian lion), pekingese or even a pug, and create a male and female pair with large eyes, streaming mane and a ferocious expression. These are usually done in bold colors of reds, yellows, blues and sometimes greens. However, for a slight variation, you could use the natural colors of your preferred breed, and perhaps set off the natural hues with a vivid flash of red flame, or blue lightening in the background.
Although dog tattoos can feature a favored breed, they are most commonly used to express a special bond felt with a particular furry and endearing beast.