Dog Meaning and Symbolism
Oct 20
Discover Dog Symbolism

Dog Meaning and Symbolism

Overview of the Dog Spirit Animal


When it comes to spirit animals the Dog totem may be the most pure.  People with this spirit animal are friendly and dependable – you can always count on them to be there when you need them.  They are also pure spirits who love easily and will stand by their friends and loved ones.  Just like there are variations in different breeds there will also be variations in this spirit animal depending on the specific breed.  It’s up to you to determine what specific breed your spirit animal is or if you are being guided by a general dog spirit!


Embrace Your Spirit Animal


Encounters with the Dog

What is the meaning of dog symbolism? Find out what symbol the dog spirit animal is trying to teach you, and gain some insight into your life.

Are you drawn to weary or hurting souls?

In ancient folklore the dog spirit was sent by Mother Earth to be a companion to mankind.  A gift of the dog totem is to be able to see past outward appearances and sense when others are hurting or in pain – emotional, physical and spiritual.  Because of this when someone is out of balance you will be able to act as a guardian – accompanying them on their journey to find balance!

Do you feel like life has been all work and no play?

When you’ve become bored in your daily routine the dog spirit is calling you to break out.  In the wild and domestically dogs are playful creatures that express happiness through play.  Find someone you enjoy being around and do an activity together – laugh and enjoy yourself!

Do you feel lonely?

Have you lost community with loved ones?  Dogs are incredibly social creatures and need to foster friendships!  When you’re feeling lonely it may be because you’ve grown distant from your once close relationships – reconnect with loved ones and make a point to strengthen those connections.

Is the dog spirit you’ve encountered a working breed?

When you’ve encountered is a working breed it can mean that you need to seek focus.  Working breeds like border collies, shepherds, cattle dogs are known for their intense focus and ability to accomplish incredible feats!

Is the dog spirit you’ve encountered a small breed?

Small breeds represent nobility and companionship.  Small breeds like dachshunds, terriers and schnauzer were bred for rooting out vermin and pests.  Seeing a small breed could indicate that you need to root out forces that are working against you or your loved ones.

Is the dog spirit you’ve encountered a mixed breed?

Often times mixed breeds will appear to people who need to address multiple areas of their life.  It means that you need to embrace focus, companionship or agility.  Ultimately you need spend time in meditation to see what your spirit animal is specifically trying to tell you!  Researching specific breeds, their origin, and their purpose can help you answer this question.

Dog Symbolism: The Dog Spirit

Could the Dog be my spirit animal? What are the traits of the totem? This might be your spirit animal if you are:


The dog totem is known for its friendliness – it’s easy for them to make friends and form strong bonds with several individuals.  When this is your spirit animal you also have a protective side – you will nobly stand by your friends and family whether they’re facing harmful gossip or someone who intends them physical harm.  Just like your wild ancestors you prefer the comfort and stability of a pack.  Your pack is made up of diverse individuals – even though you may not see eye to eye with everyone you will loyally protect and defend the people close to you!


Another undeniable quality of the dog totem is it’s kindness.  This is due in part to its ability to see past the walls others put up.  By looking past outer circumstances and into the hearts of those around them dog totem people can sense what others are going through!  This results in them understanding others and treating them with respect.

What is Dog Symbolism
Learn more about Dog Symbolism


Dogs are trustworthy by nature and form strong bonds with their friends and family members.  They are the type of people you want in your life!  It doesn’t matter when they’re at work, at home, or on a team.  Dog totem people are the type of people you can count on to get the job done.  In relationships they can be trusted to stand by their partner through thick and thin.


Dogs understand the importance of laws and the people that govern them.  In the wild we see this in the form of dog packs.  A pack is governed by a hierarchy made up of leaders and followers – each pack member understands their place in the pack and the duties assigned to them.  Someone whose spirit animal is a dog will understand the laws that are in place.  They are rule followers who find comfort in knowing what is expected of them.

What are the Traits of the Dog Totem?

Lessons from the Dog Spirit Animal

Dogs are:

  • Generous
  • Dependable
  • Faithful
  • Caring
What does the Dog Totem mean?

The dog totem teaches us to embrace our desire for loyalty and faithfulness.  Deep down mankind has a desire for faith and loyalty.  This spirit animal draws us to a deeper and higher understanding.  Truly wanting the best for others and wanting to see the best in others.  Dog spirit people are known for their faith in others, the world and in any situation that may arise.

What does the dog spirit mean? Have faith and embrace others! Dog spirit animal people are trustworthy and dependable.

Strengths & Weaknesses of the Dog




Dog spirit people are always dependable.  They are the type of friend that you can count on in a moments notice.  Whether it’s in the middle of the night or if they are hours away they will do what they need to to get to you and help you.  They think of others before themselves and are self sacrificing.


A common strength of someone with a dog spirit totem is their happiness!  These people find joy in everyday life and love to share it with others around them.  They thrive in environments where they are challenged and exude enthusiasm along the way.  When your connection with your totem is strong and you’re in balance with your energy the evidence is clear by the sign of a wagging tail.


Throughout history the domesticated dog has been renowned for its companionship.  That’s because dogs are pure spirits with selfless tendencies.  Don’t be surprised with others are drawn to you and seek out your company.  Your gift of companionship will help others find peace, restoration and acceptance.  As you grow closer to your totem animal it will guide you to others who need to be welcomed into a caring pack!



Dogs, especially high energy breeds, need plenty of exercise and simulation to keep them occupied.  A bored dog can result in destructive behavior – do you chew your nails, bite your lips or other self destructive vices?  The dog spirit is telling you to engage your mind and body in regular work and play in order to realign your spirit.  Don’t let boredom get the best of you!


The most common weakness of someone with a dog spirit totem is neediness.  Whether it’s seeking approval from others, attention for a particular person, or needing constant companionship – when it becomes neediness it isn’t good for anyone!  When the dog spirit is your totem animal beware that you don’t become needy!


While dogs have been domesticated over thousands of years they can still revert back to their wild nature – after all wolves are their ancestors!  When a dog spirit appears to you in an aggressive manner it symbolizes something is wrong and is triggering this behavior.  Spend time in meditation and your spirit animal will offer you guidance – it knows what’s wrong we just need to listen.

The Dog in Dreams: What it Means

When a dog appears in your dreams it’s important to take note of the dogs breed – knowing the breed, it’s history, purpose and temperament will help you understand what your spirit animal is trying to tell you.

When a dog appears to you barking or aggressive it is a sign of warning.  You need to evaluate your decisions to make sure you’re not making a decision that goes against your nature!

A playful dog is a sign of happiness and joy. It’s inviting you to make time to enjoy the things you love. Spend some time with people you love and do the things that make you happy!
animal symbolism in dreams

Cultural and Spiritual Symbolism of the Dog

animal meaning in your life

China – The eleventh creature in the Chinese Zodiac is the Dog.

Inuit – They played an integral part in the everyday life of the Inuit. During the summer they became pack animals, sometimes dragging up to 44 lbs of baggage and in the winter they pulled sleds.

Celtic – In celtic tradition it was an honor to compare a warrior to a dog.  Dogs have always played an important role in their culture.  From hunting to companionship dogs are interwoven into their history and lore.

Japan – Komainu, or lion-dogs as they are called in english, are statue pairs of lion-like creatures either guarding the entrance most Japanese Shinto shrines or kept inside the inner shrine.

Native American – They have countless stories of dogs faithfulness and companionship.  Dogs are portrayed as loyal guardians who protect children and their families.

There is a world myth that dogs choose willingly to be mankind’s companion.

Historical Facts

In 1944 a Yorkshire Terrier named Smoky was the first dog that served in active war and worked as a therapy animal.  She paved the way for future therapy dogs with her dedication and years of service – go here to learn more about Smoky’s journey.

Animal Quotes

Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent.
Milan Kundera
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
Roger A. Caras

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About The Author

We love you! The Totem Team is dedicated to expanding knowledge of, and connection to, the natural and spiritual world of animals. Whether you call it an animal spirit, totem, or guide, we aim to be THE definitive resource online for all animal dreams, meanings, and symbolism. Thank you for being a part of our wonderful community and sharing in our work!

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