Dog Tattoo Ideas

Written by sarah thompson
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Dog Tattoo Ideas
Tattoos are an expressive way to commemorate your dog's life. (Photodisc/Valueline/Getty Images)

Tattoos run the gamut in terms of style, colour and subject. Dogs are a popular subject among tattoo-wanting individuals. These dogs may commemorate a lost pet, convey a feeling, represent your favourite animal or portray a funny or interesting concept. Regardless, many are seeking to imprint the animal on their bodies, leading to an array of dog tattoo ideas. If you're not sure what you want your dog tattoo to look like, tattoo ideas can help you build a concept and eventually the piece of art you want.

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Wild Dog with Surrounding Wilderness

If you'd like your tattoo to convey a sense of adventure, freedom or mystery, look into a tattoo that features a dog in the wild. The "wild" aspect can incorporate green foliage, trees, water, a moon or exotic flowers. These images will surround a large front-view of your ideal breed. Because it emphasises an exotic location and contains a lot of imagery, consider adding multiple colours that delineate and enhance the different elements. If you don't have a breed in mind, consider adventurous ones, like huskies or German shepherds. Because of the nature of this tattoo, you could span past a dog breed and showcase a wolf.

Walking Puppy Paw Prints

Whether you want four or six small puppy paws on your feet, or a trail of puppy paws from your neck down along your side to the small back, the nature of this tattoo makes that possible. There is no start and stop to the paws, so adding pairs when you're comfortable is always possible. While these can be coloured in any tone, try browns or blacks. You can add a little dirt to lend a real feel. Want to personalise it? Stamp your dog's paw in some ink and blot the paw on a piece of paper. Take this into your desired parlour to have it tattooed.

Dog Silhouette

For a more modern or simple tattoo, grab a side image of your favourite breed and have your tattoo artist make a silhouette out of it. The tattoo would feature the dog from a side profile, with the middle filled in using one colour. Since this style is modern and essentially a simple shape, try using bright or whimsical colours, like pinks, purples, oranges or greens. If you'd like more definition, ask your tattoo artist to do a profile of the dog, but to portray the dog's features. This would likely be toned in the dog's natural colours.

Dog with Tribal Designs

Instead of flowers and wilderness, try surrounding a front-view of your favourite animal with tribal designs. The symbols would likely sit above, below or at the sides of the animal. These could expand as far as you'd like them to go. These tribal designs may have a tendency to overpower the tattoo; make the head shot of the dog slightly larger than the design, and have the design look as though it rests behind the animal.

You and Your Pet

If you have a pet you are or were close to and have a picture of you two together, take that picture in to your artist. This tattoo will likely be large because of the picture's motley details. Have your artist cut out much of the unnecessary detail, or zoom into the image so that much of the detail will feature you and your pet, not the surrounding environment. Having the tattoo represent the actual colours in the picture can actually enhance it, such as if you and your pet were outside. However, if this proves too noisy with the picture's detail, try using a monochromatic palette.

Cartooned Dog

Have your favourite breed interpreted into a cartoon. Your artist may be able to draw a cartoon version, or you may be able to find an image or clip art online of a cartoon puppy. Since the cartoon vibe lends a sense of playfulness, use a variety of shades and incorporate some whimsy elements, like a large collar, enhanced growl or enlarged eyes.

Dog and Date

If you've lost a pet, commemorate it by tattooing a head-shot of your pet, or the breed, and have the name of your pet written above or below image. In addition to or in place of the name, incorporate the birth and death dates. Further evoke your sentiment by adding "We miss you," "RIP" or "In Memory Of."

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