What Dogs Symbolize in Dreams and How to Interpret the Meaning
What do canines symbolize in dreams? This article seeks to give the reader background into the mythological history of dogs and to provide insight into their common usage as a symbol. That being said, the reader should bear in mind that when it comes to interpreting the meaning of a dream about dogs, the final authority is one's own self. No dream guide, not even this one, should ever be used as a substitute for one's own intuition and wisdom.
What Do Dogs Mean in Our Dreams?
To see a dog in your dream symbolizes intuition, loyalty, generosity, protection, and fidelity. The dream may suggest that your values and good intentions will bring you success. Canines in dreams can be viewed as guardians, guides, symbols of fidelity, and death omens. On the other hand, seeing a dog in your dream may also indicate a skill that you may have ignored or forgotten. It could indicate an inner conflict or a betrayal.
Below you can read about the main interpretations of dogs in dreams and also explore how different cultures have imagined dogs in their mythologies.
Different Canine Breeds in Dreams
If you see a Chow Chow in your dream, this may highlight a sense of unwavering loyalty. Perhaps you are also a little overly protective.
To see a Dachshund in your dream highlights your sense of loyalty and devotion. You are most likely well grounded and rational in your thinking.
Seeing a German Shepherd in your dream highlights your protective instincts. Perhaps you are very attentiveness to a situation. However, this is no time for you to be nervous. To dream that you are training a German Shepherd means that you are open to new ideas. Maybe you are seeking some reassurance.
To see a bulldog in your dream signifies that some protective force is helping you move forward in life.
Golden Retrievers are considered one of the friendliest and most loyal dogs. Dreaming of Golden Retrievers is most likely a good omen about an important friendship.
Doberman Pinchers symbolize your fears. It may also represent someone in your waking life who is giving you orders. Alternatively, the dream could indicate that you have your guard up. Perhaps you are protecting yourself from a painful situation.
A pack of dogs
Perhaps you are searching to belong. Perhaps you are being reminded about the need to reconnect with your family.
Great Danes symbolize an easy going, strong-willed nature. He may appear in your dreams to remind you not to let people walk all over you.
The Poodle is a highly intelligent dog and can visit your dreams to remind you there is nothing wrong with expressing your individuality.
These dreams are reminders to accept that life is a journey. They show you how to make the right choices along the way. How to avoid conflict and obstacles in your path.
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Dogs as Guardians
The Chinese Foo Dogs, whose statues often sit outside temples in China, are perfect examples of dogs as guardians. If the dream dog is one associated with comfort, and it appears calm and at peace, then the dream may indicate that the dreamer is enjoying similar feelings. He or she feels safe and satisfied. Perhaps, in the waking world, the dreamer feels particularly secure.
Dogs are not only mythological guards but are also trained by everyday people to guard homes and their owners. Some dogs are trained to guard by force, others guard by barking.
Check to see what the dog is doing in the dream. Is it barking? If so, the dog dream may be trying to call attention to something awry in the subconscious or it might be calling attention to an unsafe situation in the waking world.
Dogs as Guides
In waking life, dogs are often used as assistance animals. In dreams, the dogs that help guide in waking life can become entities that help one navigate the subconscious.
Just like dogs who can alert one to seizures or sniff out tumors in the waking world, dream dogs can help one to see what is hidden in the realm of the unconscious.
That which is hidden can be surprisingly pleasant, such as unused gifts or talents. Alternatively, dream dogs can help point out the unpleasant aspects of the personality, or the subconscious ways in which the dreamer is engaging in self-sabotage.
Dogs as Fidelity Symbols
Faithfulness and dogs go hand in hand. When dreaming of dogs, check to see if the dog has a companion. If so, and if the dog is healthy, that person can be symbolic of someone the dreamer has abject faith and trust in. Make sure that trust is well-founded.
If the dream dog is injured in some manner, this can indicate betrayal, a breach of trust, or a damaged relationship with the dog's companion.
If the injured dream dog has no companion, the dreamer should check to see if he or she is engaged in self-sabotage.
Black Dogs in Dreams: A Symbol of Death and Change
Dogs not only inhabit a place in the heavens, as in the cases of Orion's Sirius and the constellations of Canis Major and Canis Minor, they are also figures of the underworld as the fearsome three-headed Cerberus who guards Hades's entrance and the Cŵn Annwn. The dogs of the Celtic Otherworld, Annwn, will attest.
Since the dog is associated with the underworld, and since the color black is often used to symbolize grief and death, it may only be natural for the coupling of black and dogs to end up as harbingers of death.
This is in fact the case in both Irish and British folklore. Variously called the "Churchyard Beast," "Padfoot," and "Cu Sith" amongst other names, "The Black Dog" is an entity whose encounter means that death is on the way.
Usually, tales of encounters involving this entity occur during waking life, happening in much the same way that reports of ghostly encounters are reported. The experience is usually of an eerie nature. The dog is usually reported as being of a monstrous size with glowing red eyes.
While dogs symbolize loyalty, black most commonly symbolizes mourning or depression. Therefore, dreaming about a black dog might symbolize a disloyal friend. Perhaps your are mourning over this betrayal, or perhaps you are mourning over a lost or unfaithful lover. One might even do well to consider it a warning.
Even if it is heralding death, it is most likely a symbolic death. Death symbolizes radical change, the leaving behind of that with which one is comfortable and familiar with in favor of the complete unknown. Black can symbolize the void, or the unknown.
Change and transition often involve loss. If, for instance, one is moving to a new location in favor of pursuing a career or relationship, the loss of friends that will result from the change might be interpreted as a black dog.
What is encouraging, as dour as dreams of death may sound, is that death is actually a natural occurrence. Therefore, this can indicate that the transition may be a more natural state of change, rather than an out-of-the-blue jolt.
Meaning of Different Colored Dogs in Dreams
White is a positive color and a dog symbolizes friendship and happiness. When these dogs appear in your dreams they indicate that your relationships with your friends or family are entering your subconscious mind.
Are you in control of your relationships? The brown dog normally appears when we are feeling out of control in relationships, or if a new friendship is on the horizon.
Multicolored dogs often represent a mixture of the interpretations related to each color. They tend to be more difficult to interpret.
Goldens are considered one of the friendliest and most loyal dogs. Dreaming of them is a good omen about an important friendship.
Since dogs, like cats, have a rich mythological heritage, they are also symbols with deep roots in the collective unconscious. When dogs appear in dreams, the message they symbolically carry can have deep meaning for the dreamer.
Each of these mythological dogs is an embodiment of archetypal imprints left on the psyche through the collective unconscious. Unraveling the meaning of that blueprint will yield information valuable to uncovering the meaning of a dream involving dogs.
Some important mythological canines include:
- Sirius: The hunter, Orion's, faithful. Sirius is so important in Greek mythology that he has his own constellation
- Anubis: Egyptian mythology's god of the Underworld, who is pictured with a jackal's head.
- Fu Dogs: China's part dragon, part lion guardian dogs, whose statues are often found guarding temples.
- The "Black Dog": Known as "Black Angus," according to Irish and British folk tales, this dog visits just before death.
More Mythological Dogs
The Adlet (or Erqigdlet)
The lower part of the body of the canine Adlet is like that of a dog and their upper part is like a man's. All Adlet run quickly, and their encounters with men usually end with man as the victor.
Inuit mythology of Greenland, as well as the Labrador and Hudson Bay coasts.
Dog-like creatures, or spirits, in Armenian cultural beliefs or in the Armenian mythology, who live in the sky, or on mount Massis (Mount Ararat). Aralezes descended from the sky to lick the wounds of dead heroes so they could relive or resurrect.
One of the realms of heaven, the kingdom of darkness, was called Gamangnara (the Dark World). The king of Gamangnara got weary with darkness and desired the light of the sun and moon. He sent one of the gigantic fiery hounds, the Bul-Gae, belonging to one of his dark world subjects, to chase the sun and bring it to his realm.
There is a good white cadejo and an evil black cadejo. Both are spirits that appear at night to travelers: the white to protect them from harm during their journey, the black (sometimes an incarnation of the devil) to kill them.
In Catalan myth, Dip is an evil, black, hairy dog, an emissary of the Devil, who sucks people's blood.
a hound-whelp owned by Lugh Lámhfhada of the Tuatha Dé Danann in the Mythological Cycle of Irish literature. The hound was invincible in battle, caught every wild beast it encountered, and could magically change any running water it bathed in into wine.
The waheela is a wolf-like cryptid reported from Nahanni Valley in the Northwest Territories of Canada.
Midwest U.S. and Canada
Common Nightmares About Dogs
If the dog is vicious and/or growling: This indicates some inner conflict within yourself. It may also indicate betrayal and untrustworthiness.
To see a sick dog in your dream: This symbolizes a neglected friendship. If the dog is dead or dying, then it means a loss of a good friend or a deterioration of your instincts.
Dreaming that a dog bites you on the hand: symbolizes disloyalty. To dream that someone is bitten by a dog indicates a betrayal. You feel that you have been wronged by this person. To see a happily barking dog in your dream symbolizes pleasures and social activity.
Dog Fight: To see a dog fight in your dream implies that you are desperately rejecting an aspect of yourself. You are feeling ashamed.
To dream of fighting dogs signifies a conflict of interest between you and someone close to you. You need to step away from this situation.
Killing a dog in a dream: Dogs can represent immoral issues which are trying to overtake you. Sometimes the dogs can be immoral people that you know. But killing the dogs with your hands represents you taking the initiative to put certain issues that are plaguing you to death.
What Does It Mean to Dream About Puppies?
A dream of a puppy may suggest there are basic instincts which are just beginning to emerge or grow within you. This may represent an aspect of yourself that needs to be trained or developed further. This may also represent a new friend in your life. A puppy in a dream may symbolize a brash or conceited young man.
Trust Your Own Dream Interpretations
In dreams, dogs mean far more than just loyalty. However, dogs still retain characteristics they have in waking life.
To discern what a dog means in a dream requires one to be completely honest with one's self and always use one's own personal associations rather than blindly adhering to what is written in a dream encyclopedia.
Articles, such as this one, should only be seen as a starting point.
We Dream, But Do Dogs?
Most dog owners have noticed that at various times during their sleep, some dogs may quiver, twitch, or even growl at something. During sleep, a dog's brain wave pattern is similar to that of person's. Actually, it would be a greater surprise if dog's didn't dream, since animals much simpler than dogs experience dreams.
During the course of a dream, dogs actually begin to execute the actions that they are performing in their dreams. Thus, researchers found that a dreaming pointer may immediately start searching for game and may even go on point. A sleeping Springer Spaniel may flush an imaginary bird in his dreams. A dreaming Doberman pincher may pick a fight with a dream burglar.
There may be odd muscle twitches, and you can even see the dog's eyes moving behind its closed lids. The dog's eyes are moving because the dog is actually looking at the dream images as if they were real images of the world. These eye movements are most characteristic of dreaming sleep. When human beings are awakened during the REM sleep phase, they virtually always report that they were dreaming. Dogs are no different on this issue.
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- Instinct As Guide: Animals in Women's Dreams
Jungian psychotherapist Barbara Platek explores the ways the appearance of animals in the dreams of women evokes the power and potency of the deep feminine and its connection to body and instinct.
- Do Dogs Dream? | Psychology Today
It appears that dogs not only dream, but just like humans, they dream about the activities which they are most familiar with and things that have gone on in the previous day.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
My black Chihuahua passed away the day after my birthday in 2018. She appeared in my dream last night. She was in my bed with me while I was sleeping and I could see us lying together. (We used to do this all the time together.) At the end of my dream, she was sitting on top of a high, bunched up blanket on my bed. Her fur was healthy and shiny, her eyes looked clear, and she looked healthy over all. Can you please tell me what this means?
To answer your question about your dream, I'll give you a personal story about a dream I had after I lost my dog, Oisin. Oisin is the dog in the photos at the beginning and end of the article. Oisin was my service dog, and we were incredibly bonded. In fact, I've never bonded with an animal like I was bonded with him. A night or two after Oisin died I dreamed that he was in my kitchen. He was only there for a split second, but in the dream, I touched him just before he vanished. The dream shifted, and I was sitting with a friend on bleachers outside a high school. I was telling her that Oisin had been in my kitchen for a second and that I knew he had been there and that it wasn't a dream and that I knew this because I felt his fur when I touched him. When I woke, I did have the sensation of having just touched Oisin's fur. The feeling of having touched him stayed with me for days. Do I believe my beloved dog truly appeared to me after death? I do not know. I do know that although the dream did not eliminate my grief, it did give me peace over Oisin's passing because it gave me hope that I would one day be reunited with him. It is entirely possible that your dream is attempting to reassure you that your beloved dog is somewhere, healthy and restored, waiting for the day when you and she can lie together like you did when she was here with you. I see absolutely no reason why this could not be the case and the meaning of your dream. Love to you and love to your beautiful, beautiful doggo.Helpful 27
© 2011 Aisling Ireland