dog lover tattoo ideas

101 Best Dog Tattoo Ideas To Commemorate Your Love

Need inspiration for dog tattoo ideas? I have six tattoos with unique features and styles including canine tats. Sometimes it’s easiest to actually see tattoos of dogs and other tattoo styles so you can honor a beloved pet.

I have a lot of experience knowing how to choose a tattoo artist and what body parts hurt the most and least for a tattoo. People often ask me for different ways to showcase the love they have for a dog. A detailed tattoo is one of the most personal and intimate ways to showcase your dog love in a meaningful way.

I’ll be sharing the more important thing to know when choosing an experienced tattoo artist, tips to keep in mind, and then 300 different dog tattoo styles and designs.

best dog tattoo ideas

Dog Tattoo Ideas: Do Tattoos Hurt?

“The physical pain is really more temporary and passes much quicker than the pain of losing your companion,” tattoo artist Andrea X. Tasha told me when I visited the Mooncusser Tattoo shop in Provincetown, Massachusetts for my first dog tattoo back in 2008.

I completely agree with that sentiment. However, it seems that the location on your body where you have the tattoo placed has a lot to do with the amount of temporary pain you feel.

My own dog tattoos were not that painful, and I will show you those in detail further down in this article. The unconditional love I have for my dogs and that they have for me diminished the uncomfortable feeling for me during the tattoo process.

According to Fredrik Glimskär, founder and CEO of online tattoo marketplace Inkbay, “There’s no place on your body where you won’t feel the scratch of the needle to some extent, but there are certain places that hurt more than others.”

tattoo pain chart
Source: Cosmopolitan

Pain is subjective to the individual and it also matters who is doing the inking. Therefore, a skilled tattoo artist knows their stuff and will do their very best to inform you of the pain level expected.

Of course, the amount of work, the detail and coloring all contribute to pain or the lack thereof. There are a surprising number of nerve endings in the inside of the wrist, so keep that in mind.

Location of My Tattoos

Here are the locations of my six tattoos to date:

  • Upper outer left arm
  • Upper outer right arm
  • Three on the top of right thigh
  • Side of lower right calf
my heart beats dog trademarked
I own this trademark and had it forever marked on my skin.
wonder woman tattoo
I wanted a Wonder Woman tattoo, so even though not dog related, showing this so you can see all my tats.
Darlene butterfly tattoo
My wife’s name with rainbow colors.
dog tattoo of pawprints

Over on Cosmopolitan, they shared a general tattoo chart indicating the most painful areas, as shown below. Some areas of the body have more nerve endings than others, which you can see above.

The most pain I felt during an inking session was with my large Wonder Woman piece on the side of my lower right calf. It felt like hot metal digging into my lowest layers of skin.

I did not look, and my leg was elevated so the tattoo artist could work his magic.

The least painful dog tattoos are located on the top of my outer right thigh. They both felt like cat scratches and then a bit like sunburn. I do agree with Andrea X, for instance, in that the pain of losing a dog is nothing compared to the pain of a tattoo.

The woman who does my nails at a local salon has tattoos on the outer portions of both hands. She tells me the pain was so intense she actually passed out. Here are a few photos of me at my very first tattoo session for my Cocker Spaniel’s pawprint:

does a tattoo hurt
My face says it all. It really wasn’t that bad, this area.
tattoo time

I felt ultimate peace when my dog tattoos were complete. I coupled my dog pawprint tattoos with the dog’s name for each (or their initials.) They say dogs are man’s best friend but they are woman’s best friend, too!

Is Getting A Dog Tattoo Safe?

According to WebMD, “The FDA regulates the inks in tattoos, but the actual practice of tattooing is regulated by local jurisdictions, such as cities and counties. That means there is no standardized certification for those doing the tattooing or an overall governing body supervising the health and safety of tattoo parlors.”

In consideration of a tattoo location and size, attention to detail is achieved on a larger area of skin, such as the deltoid or shoulder region.  The tattoo artist should be experienced, clean, and meet the FDA guidelines for intradermal tattoos.

You should always talk to your doctor to ensure that any type of tattoo you plan to get on your body will not cause you any side effects or risks depending on your overall health and medications you take.

When searching for a tattoo artist, I read online reviews, called and asked a ton of questions of the tattoo parlor, and felt confident in my final selection. A good artist will tell you how to care for the wound after completion of the work.

What To Look For In A Dog Tattoo Artist

Pay a visit to the parlor if you can to book the appointment and ask questions. I like to look around, see what the place looks like, and if possible, meet with the artist in advance if possible.

  1. Look at the artist’s portfolio. These days, most folks put their tattoo portfolios online, or at least a sampling of them. You can get an idea of the artist’s style and specialties and decide if they are a great option for you.
  2. Reputation is important. Look on social media and what customers have to say in reviews.
  3. Cleanliness is paramount. The artist should use disposable needles, wear gloves, and follow strict hygienic practices.
  4. Licensing and Certification. I made sure my artists were licensed by the relevant authorities. Most artists display their certifications and licenses on the walls of the establishment.
  5. Pricing. You get what you pay for, so be prepared for sticker shock if you’ve never had a dog tattoo before. Tattoo artists tend to give you a flat rate based on how involved the tattoo along with their skill and experience.

In conclusion, remember too, that a permanent tattoo is forever and removing a tattoo is a painstaking process, and complete removal without scarring may be nearly impossible.

How Much Does A Dog Tattoo Cost?

Medium sized tattoos like my Wonder Woman clocked in around the $350 range. Most tattoo parlors require a non-refundable deposit to book an appointment. That deposit should be applied toward the overall cost of the work.

Smaller pieces like my dog pawprints cost me around $200 each.

Larger, more detailed pieces go upward in price from $300 on. Sometimes the artist can finish the work in one sitting. Other times, you will need to book multiple appointments. Detailed lengthy work can take a lot longer. Some artists charge by the hour.

Always ask for an estimate and give a good tip at the end. Here’s what one source says about tipping your tattoo artist.

Now the good stuff: Ideas of what type of dog tattoo to get on your skin. Hopefully, you’ll get some ideas from this collection that includes everything from remembrance to pawprints, tattoos for men, and more.

Memorial Tattoo In Honor of Your Dog

One of the most devastating days in a dog parent’s life is when your dog passes away. One way to honor your beloved dog is with a remembrance tattoo. I have three pawprint tattoos, but here are others for inspiration:

tattoos in remembrance
tattoos in remembrance
dog angel tattoo
dog memorial paw print
angel wings dog tattoo
dog tennis ball tattoo
dog tattoo rainbow bridge
dog remembrance tattoo


Pawprint Dog Tattoo Ideas

If you are anything like me, you want to remember and honor your dog and prefer a pawprint theme. Here are some examples from a minimalist design to extraordinary art.

pawprint tattoo
pawprint tattoo
Pawprint dog tattoos
Pawprint dog tattoos
Pawprint dog tattoos
Pawprint dog tattoos
Pawprint dog tattoos


Dog Portrait Tattoos

A realistic portrait-style tattoo of your dog, whether deceased or living, is a beautiful way to honor your love, devotion, and relationship.

dog portrait tattoos

dog portrait tattoos

french bulldog dog tattoo

line of dog tattoos

dog portrait tattoos

colorful dog portrait tattoos

hand dog portrait tattoos


Me And You Dog Tattoos

Some tattoos pay respect to the relationship with your dog as the focal point, such as these examples:

dog love ink
dog mom pencil art
best friends dogs
mommy and me
touching paws


Floral Dog Tattoo Ideas

A floral tattoo brings out the beauty in the bond you share with your dog. Here is a bunch that intertwines flowers and your dog. The result is priceless works of art.

true to life dogs
dogs in flowers
flower dogs
floral dog


Clever and Abstract Design Dog Themed Tattoos

For a more off-the-beaten path look at tattoos, these pet parents went for something clever.

dog collar ink
art with heart
realistic tattoos of animals
pack of dogs
cute pug ink
pencil art

Cocker Spaniel Tattoos of Your Loyal Friend

If you love Cocker Spaniels like I do, use these beautiful permanent tattoos for your next ink session.

cocker spaniel faces
Photos: Chantelle Howorth
cocker spaniel designs
Photo right: Mike Davis
cocker spaniel tattoo
different cocker dog work
Photo: Becky Corwin Adams
brown cocker spaniel
cocker spaniel inspiration
cocker spaniel ink


Dog Tattoo Ideas For Guys

Although we call these dog tattoo ideas for guys, anyone can get inked using these examples for inspiration.

dogs in rockets tattoos
dog lovers tattoo
clever tattoo for guys
extreme detail tattoo
image heavy tattoo of canines
scruffy tattoo of dog
animal tattoo for guys

Completely Unique Dog Tattoo Designs

Now for something completely unique and different when it comes to ink marking the spot.

beautiful art tattoos
hand to paw tattoo
freeform tattoo
unique tattoo designs
dog back tattoo
pencil art tattoo


Dog Name Tattoo Inspiration

A rose by another name would smell as sweet, Shakespeare wrote. Infuse your dog(s) name into your next canine tattoo. These are head-turners for sure.

hearts of dogs
collar with names for dogs
fading pawprints
dog memorial
dog names
dog name tattoo ideas

Dog Quote Tattoo Ideas

If you have a favorite canine or inspirational quote, consider get inked with it like these dog moms and dog dads.

dog quotes tattoo
dog quotes tattoo ideas
dog quotes tattoo ideas


Extreme Great Detail Dog Themed Tattoo Art

Some tattoos look like they belong in the Louvre. If you want a true gallery-style piece, check out these stunning tattoos.

extreme tattoos for dog lovers
extreme tattoos for dog lovers
extreme tattoos for dog lovers
extreme tattoos for dog lovers
extreme tattoos for dog lovers
extreme tattoos for dog lovers
extreme tattoos for dog lovers
extreme tattoos for dog lovers

So there you have it: At least 101 ideas for dog tattoos. Do you have any? Would you get one (or more)?  Let me know in the comments below!

Links to the art above may be found in the section below.


Resources for this page.


  1. Wow some of these tattoos are absolutely amazing and I really like some of these ideas for my own tattoo one day of Coco!! Some of them are so detailed they had to be painful and take hours! Wow! Amazing!

  2. These are all amazing! I have one on my left inner wrist. It’s my Delias’ pawprint. I plan on getting one for my Chewy, too.

  3. Incredible blog, thank you very much for sharing this awesome blog with us. I will share it with my fellow mates. I hope all this information would be helpful for them.

  4. This is great, Thanks for sharing! These tattoo designs are so cool and stunning. Just the puppy temporary tattoos I recently got and it also looks amazing.

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