Dog Symbolism and Folklore

Dog Symbology and Folklore
Dog Spirit Guide

I have written quite a bit about cats in other blogs including a bit about cats as spirit guides. Today, dogs get their turn.

Dog Symbolism and Folklore


Dog Symbolism and Folklore
The Empowerment of One

We have heard of Cerberus, the so-called ‘hound of Hades’ that according to the ancient Greeks guards the entrance to the underworld, letting in the dead but not letting them out! Although spoken of as a dog, Cerberus has three heads, a serpent’s tail and the claws of a lion. Oh, not forgetting the mane of snakes. I wonder if you could get him to sit for a biscuit (if so, perhaps he could give my Ringo tips). Oh cripes, which head would you feed first?

To counteract the image in your mind of Cerberus, here is a cute chihuahua in a mystical setting, I have called it ‘The Empowerment of One’.

Dog Spirit Guide

Dog Symbolism and Folklore
Dog Spirit Guide

Many people believe in the concept of animal guides and spirit animals. The dog spirit guide is for those who love unconditionally and brings awareness and protection. It also reminds you that it is okay to play (boy can dogs play)! Typical attributes of the dog spirit guide are protection, alertness, bravery, devotion, integrity and faithfulness. Some believe that Angels can turn themselves into dogs to safeguard a family.

This goes with the idea of the dog as mystic. The Ancient Egyptians used to worship Sirius (the Dog Star) because its position in the sky could predict the flooding of the Nile. Babylon also attributed psychic abilities to dogs. You can read more about the symbology and spirituality of dogs here.

I look at my two little horrors with new eyes! Perhaps there is hope for them yet!

Dogs and Hunting Depictions

Dog Symbolism and Folklore
The Watchful Companion

Dogs in mythology often appear as companion animals, particularly hunting dogs. Orion has his faithful hunting dog Sirius (mentioned earlier).  Greek gods like Artemis had hunting dogs. There was even a dog in greek mythology called Laelaps who would always catch what she was hunting.

In Celtic folkore, the gods had their dog companions, usually hunting dogs. Celtic hounds symbolize hunting and healing and appear in Celtic jewelry designs and paintings.

Black Dog

Coming nicely back in a circle, there is ‘something’ called ‘black dog‘ in the British Isles, a nightime apparition (ghost if you like) that is associated with the devil and if you saw it, it was symbolic of death. It was said to be larger than an average dog with big glowing eyes. This goes with the general European perspective of a dog as a symbol of death (blimey, bring back the hunting dogs…).  Black dog as a piece of folklore is said to have inspired Arthur Conan Doyle to write The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Dog Symbolism and Folklore
Two Means Trouble

Black Dog has different names and attributes depending upon which British region you look at. In Lancashire the black dog has a whole host of names including Barguist, Gytrash, Padfoot, the Grim, Shag, Trash, Striker or Skriker. All negative connotations of course. This compares with the lovely Gurt Dog (Great Dog) of Somerset which is said to be benevolent.

Phew! To think I have two black dogs…

The images in my blog today are available for sale as prints. Click on any image to be taken to the sales page for that image.

Before you go

Mid-week Reflections
Dorothy and Barnet Boy

My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Thank you for reading!

About Dorothy Berry-Lound 371 Articles
I am having fun living half way up a mountain in Central Italy with my husband Barnet Boy, Stevie Mouse and the rest of my fur family. I am enjoying creating art that people will love having on their walls. I also love storytelling through my blog and short stories.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.