Lore and Legend of the Black Dog

Black Dog
Black Dog

Walking along a dark and lonely path one warm night, I saw a  flash of lighting up ahead in the distance. It was then that I saw the dog. He was huge, at least as big as a calf. Standing a little to the left of me just off the path he simply stood and stared, big red eyes shone in the flash from another bolt of lighting. Some how I knew that this wasn't anything of this world, but I did not feel any malevolence in the dogs demeanor. Slowly the apparition faded from sight and was gone. Almost in a trance I continued on my way to my home.

Although the above story is fiction there have been hundreds perhaps even thousands of stories like it about strange encounters with black dogs dating from the Medieval times.

One thing that I need to make clear is that I am not talking about real flesh and blood dogs nor am I referring to apparitions of beloved pets. These black dogs appear to be some sort of apparition some even say they are demons.

So What are Black Dogs?

Black dogs have been around for a long time the term is used to refer to apparitions of creatures that resemble a black dog tho' they may be different colours such as white, yellow, and grey. There have been headless dogs and two-headed dogs reported but the majority appear as black dogs. They are larger than regular dogs usually reported to be the size of a calf. Their coats have been described as shaggy,curly, glossy, shiny, smooth, soft and bristly. Eyes are fiery or flaming or glowing usually red and are very large some have described their eyes as being as big as saucers. A few reports have reported the dog to have foul-smelling or vaporous breath and even fewer reported the dog to be foaming or slavering at the mouth. The teeth are large and sometimes they appear to be grinning.

These dogs are silent or sometimes their feet can be heard. Few bark or growl and even rarer one will laugh or talk. Occasionally they can be felt or heard but not seen.

They are reported to simply fade away but have also been said to appear to sink into the Earth or even disappear with a flash or explosion. Appearances are sometimes accompanied by lighting, fire and explosions. Some walk on their hind-legs and may increase or decrease in size, shape-shift, and walk-through solid objects.

They have been reported in Ireland,Germany, Poland, Austria, Croatia, Italy, Scandinavia, Canada and the United States. However they are most widely reported in Great Britain.

Black dogs are associated to a particular area. They are often encountered near water, roads, crossroads, footpaths, lanes, doorways, boundaries, bridges, treasure sites, graves, gallows, gateways, fields, hedges, wells and trees. There is a theory that they may patrol Ley Lines.This is a solid theory and very possibly a correct one. Two of the most well known stories of the black dogs in Britain take place in churches. It is well known that older churches are built on Ley Lines or on the vortex's, where several Ley Lines intersect.

In Britain these dogs are called Black Shuck. They are known by other names including Black Shag, Trash and Padfoot.

Stories of Black Dog Sightings

Probably the very first account of a black dog appeared in the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" in 1127. The story goes that after the arrival of Abbot Henry of Portou at the Abbey of Peterbrough on Sunday. Many men reported both seeing and hearing a large number of huntsmen hunting.The huntsmen were huge and black and hideous and rode on black horses and he-goats and their hounds were black with eyes as large as saucers.In the night the monks could hear them sounding and blowing their horns. This went on until Easter.

The most famous account of a black dog encounter was in Bungay,Suffolk on Sunday morning on August 4,1577 just after 9am and there was a heavy thunderstorm.The large black dog was said to enter the church running down the aisle as it passed between two men who were kneeling in prayer it wrung their necks and then bite another man on the back of the neck at which time the man was said to have curled up like old leather scorched in a fire, but he still lived.

Then this same dog was said to travel seven miles to another church in Blythburgh and killed two men and a boy there as well as burned the hand of another person.

These stories are the exception and not the rule. A usual sighting takes place in a rural area a person is walking alone and notices that a large dog has suddenly appeared beside them. It will walk with them for a while and then fade away. Sometimes they even accompany the person going and coming on the same path in a certain area. Most are not threatening although it is always wise to be cautious if you encounter a strange animal.

Reactions to the Apparitions

As you can see by the stories above some people have very negative reactions to the appearance of the black dog. There is a belief among very superstitious people that these dogs are the manifestation of the devil or demons. Some experiencers have tried to pet the dogs, some have tried to hit them. Most evidence points to the black dog as being a friendly entity. If you are lucky enough to have one of these encounters just keep your wits about you and enjoy the experience!

Comments 29 comments

fierycj profile image

fierycj 7 years ago from The Fiery Heart of Africa

They are also known as Black Dandy Devil Dogs. I'm doing a hub series on Mythological Creatures where I started with the alphabet A. I just published D, and there I talked about the Devil Dogs. I enjoyed reading a different perspective of the Devil dog. Great hub, very fresh and informative.

kasey 7 years ago

i found your story cool

David Waldron 6 years ago

I will do the shameless book plug here to get the word out but the curator of the Bungay Museum and myself have just released a new book on the story of the Black Dog of Bungay. “Shock! The Black Dog of Bungay: A Case Study in Local Folklore” which is based in archives and interviews to trace the story from the 1577 event to the present.

You can read more about it here,


We are having a book launch in St Mary’s on the 27th of March 2010 at noon and well the more the merrier for people interested in the fascinating part of English history and folklore.



P.S sorry to use your thread to let promote the book i am just trying to get the word spread as far and wide for people interested in Black Dog legends in Britain. So please feel free not to post if you feel its inappropriate for your blog.

keara hodge / Nicole sotirova 6 years ago

is this true ? because i dont know if your joking or not but i was writing a story and on my way i thought "i should let them know ! ! ! ! !! !

Viper 6 years ago

My aunt has seen stuff like that. but i hope that one day i will see the Black Dog himself. and i hope he is walkin me to hell....for he seems to symbolize something....that has to do with night or dark. it seems as if he is a guardian or a helper. to get ppl where they are supposed to be. or where they are to end life ....but then again i am crazy and cant tell the difference between blue and green XD so i may be completely wrong

Christen Garcia 6 years ago

I use to not believe in black dog sitings, I thought that people were just crazy and needed a physciatriast. That was unitl I was driving down the road that runs beside Olympic Drive in Athens Georgia one night.I was on my way to go somewhere and I was alone. I looked ahead of me and to my right in an empty field at the time, I saw what appeared to be a huge black dog, bigger than any dog I had ever seen and that's including a grey hound and a great dane. It's coat was shiny black and its ears were kinda hunkered down. It's eyes were glowing red and about the size of saucers. It's nose was kinda short for its height, but its teeth were long and huge and sparkling white. He had a smile that went from ear to ear. Since this night I do not travel alone anywhere. I am too scared that I will see this dog again. I recall accelerating my speed, rolling up the windows,and locking my doors on that night.

Some Guy 6 years ago

Hmm, I myself have never seen a Black Dog but my friend said he has. His story that leads me to believe they aren't to be associated with doom. My friend's story: He was walking home from a park around 10 after 11pm when he came to a street. He was about to cross it when he looked up and noticed a giant black dog on the other side, just staring at him. He felt chilly (which I think was the night air) and he stepped out onto the road to go toward the dog when suddenly lights flashed to his right and he turned to see this car speeding at him. He jumped backwards to avoid getting hit, and the driver honked at him and yelled. But when the car had past my friend saw no sign of the dog. I believe that Black Dogs are sort of protectors. I think they appear to a person to warn them of tragedy before it strikes.

Phillip 6 years ago

While in Great Britain in Wales. I have seen the black dog walking on two feet with red eyes...It was only for a moment and three friends and I were returning from dorm room to go to eat. We had to walk shortly on a large foot path, which about a quarter mile ahead, sits a cemetary on one side. The walking dog-man slowed down and turned toward us and we saw his red eyes, it was only for seconds and the moment past...This is what I saw and to find many references to Great Britain and Wales in particular online has only confirmed even more the presence of the unseen, the otherworldly, the unknown.

keara hodge\nicole sotirova 6 years ago

hi its us again just to let you know we have finished writing the black dog all because of your info

its....... FAN DOO

erika 6 years ago

I believe the stories about this black dog. I don't know if he s a protector or not but I ve seen him twice...the first time I saw him I was going with my friends to a near town from where I live, we where going through a back road that was dark, suddenly I saw a very large black dog coming toward us, but as soon as we saw him we lost control of the car, flipped 3 times through the air...that's all I can remember from that accident, clearly the black dog...10 yrs later, I saw the dog again but far from the first place, I was driving and saw him through the side window, he was eating something but then he just stared at me, when I passed him I looked quickly through the rear view mirror and he wasn't there...my mom said that where she lived in mexico, they would follow a dark, large animal walking in 4 legs but shape shifted into a woman, whom they lost or dissapered before their eyes...

lauren  6 years ago

I also have seen the black dog, I have seen it twice. The first time I was driving with my mother, and I saw it on the side of the road. I told her about it, and described it by telling her it looked just like "sirius black" or "padfoot" is described in the harry potter book. He was large, black, with a medium coat. Definitely bigger than any dog I've ever seen (even bigger than a great dane or st. bernard) and was on four legs. To see that the black dog is also called padfoot is validation to me that this is the dog that I saw. The next day, a woman my mom works with said she saw the same dog several miles from where I saw it. I also saw the dog very recently while driving with friends. I saw him on the side of the road, and he just stared at me as we passed. I saw the eyes first, large round, and orangey red, then I focus on the whole body. It was one of those "slow motion" moments where one second everything is normal, and the next it seems like a dream. When we passed the dog everything was normal again, but I had an eerie feeling in my stomach, and I knew that it was the same black dog.

Noah 6 years ago

ok. i saw a black dog like 2 days ago on a -trail-near a river- and it was HUGE and had like shaggy fur. i was fallowing me on my left and just disappeared. it wasn't like a solid dog though. it was like a smoke of a sort in the shape of a dog in a sort.

Brendan 5 years ago

I had a very close encounter with one. So close i got to touch it. It wasn't pleasen't. The weird thing though was it had an owner. Its eyes when it was looking at me were emptey black pits and its paws were huge! I wasn't very old at the time so i was pretty scared. It was at my Uncle Joe's barn. One of his friends had it loose around the placce. I charged me a few time but i moved out of the way. I was maybe Nine when i saw it and i'm Thirteen now and i havn't seen it since. [luckly]

Paddy  5 years ago

The black dog is a harbinger. From way back in both Gaelic and native American cultures. Most stories and lores are passed through family and rarely are told outside of blood circles

kyra 5 years ago

im not sure if the black dog is something that only sticks to a certain area because one fallows me. ever since i was little, but like im not sure if it really is a black dog or something else. i have been trying to find more information on the black dogs so i can compare but none of the stories talk about a black dog staying with some one. i have never heard of one growing bigger as the person gets older. i mean its not like hes always close but when im alone sometimes he will get close and i can feel hes there. sometimes i feel chills and the hair on the back of my neck stands on ends. i have never heard him unless you count the whispers...the whispers are loud like they are in your ear but like you cant understand them like they are far away. and really that's my story. btw he never comes around when my dog angel is with me could that mean he is scared of her? i dont see why he would be though because angel is just a cocker spaniel.

blackmagicdog 5 years ago

its bad enough these silly myths and stories exist about a black dog. but who really suffers are the black dogs at the pound who may never be adopted to a good home.

Lauren A. 5 years ago

Last night while driving home late from work, I was having a hard time staying awake while driving. My eye lids where very heavy. When very near my exit I must have dozed off and when I opened my eyes there was a very large (size of a calf) black dog with bright red eyes in front of me. I slammed on my brakes in the middle of the highway and it just kinda disapated. I then continued to drive home. After I had such an adrenaline rush that I was no longer drowsy and stayed away for over an hour after arriving home. Maybe the dog was a protector and I was about to have an accient?

Sid 5 years ago

Interesting. I have had a number of experiences with a 'black dog', starting at age 12, and at random intervals since(i'm now 21). Often when I was walking home alone I would hear him walking beside me, nails clicking. Sometimes I'd see him, rarely very clearly, he'd dissipate or shrink. One day after a night I'd seen him, I got up and my suite smelled intensely like wet dog(and no we did not have one). When I was about 15 I had a boyfriend who'd leave me to walk home alone at night day after day. and I'd choose the ally, and the dog would often walk with me, and it actually made me feel comforted and protected- but the real shock I got from this experience was one night my boyfriend did walk me home, and he called me as soon as he returned to his place, completely freaked out because, "some creature wailed/growled and chased him all the way through the ally until (he) got home".

So in my opinion at least, they seem to be protectors. Just like 'Kyra' posted above, I've never seen the dog when I am accompanied with my real dog, Star. I've almost always seen him in alleys and always at night, sometimes in the woods.

beverly g. 4 years ago

i saw the black dog one time, i was at my grammas house, and i was only seven. i went to my grandpas room and looked out the window, and i saw it there, showing its teeth. it was HUGE and its teeth were big and sharp... its eyes were really scary because they were fiery red... i didn't see it disappear, because i closed the blinds after five seconds of looking at it... but yeah i saw it before. 0_0

Ashley 4 years ago

This is all extremely interesting to me. I have not encountered one, but my boyfriends grandmother is very religious and repeats stories of seeing one.. I have been looking into it as she says it started about 2 years ago when he and I started dating. Recently we took a break and got back together and she said it stopped and resumed with such. I would never not own a black dog because of folklore but it intrigues me as to whether this is an omen (good or bad) or a protector as I have heard both. Both my boyfriend and I are Irish.. I am also Italian (50/50). If anyone has insight please respond!

p 75 4 years ago

wow a black dog experience. I sat at bombfire at a party. 2 rotweillers there. they was weary of me at first. they then sat behind me either side. they had fire in there eyes. they could see my soul threw the fire. they did test me for truth. protecters. fire exposes ones true spirit. you be more than lucky to have this experience. they was protecting there masters. find a photo of this. developers dream ^^ i found a negative picture. but no photo. you cant understand these experiences.

Jay 4 years ago

I had never heard of this legend before today. But now that I have, I know what the Black Dog is and I know they are not malicious. I first saw the Black Dog when I was very young - I never thought much of it, however I was diagnosed with schizophrenia by age 11 because whenever i was tired, i would seem to become someone else. Until tonight, i never quite thought about it much. I am now 19 years old and i was driving my friend home and she lives in a very deserted area. While driving, I saw a large black dog just standing in the road watching me. I swerved to avoid it, and when i looked back, it was gone. However, i felt a sensation much like sleep, and my friend told me i wasn't myself. I had not slept at all the night before, so i was about to fall asleep at the wheel. But instead of my entire body falling asleep, my mind went into more of a trance, while my body stood conscious and spoke strangely to my friend.. i do not recall the drive home, except that there was an accident on the road i take to get home. But because of my strange behavior, i wound up leaving just a little later. When i got the the point of the accident, i found that it had happened just moments earlier. I was the first to call the police and report it. I believe these Black Dogs are guardians. It may just be coincidence, but i like to think not. That Dog saved my life more than likely. And all while i felt at peace, and quite frankly, asleep. I do not remember driving home.

yt 4 years ago

i found the article interesting and very informationable though i wouldve enjoyed like 2 or 3 more paragraphs

Hahastillhotmama profile image

Hahastillhotmama 3 years ago

I saw 2 black dogs once as well as many orbs. I was super depressed on a vacation with my fiancé at the time. I wrote my suicide letter and walk down to where the river was rushing in springtime from the winter melt. I know I already sound crazy but please bare with me. I love this page and I love what I found out about black dog I never thought twice about it before I saw something on TV. As I walk down to the river that night slowly solemnly and ready for anything I was stopped and frightened by 2 black dogs. They we're crossing my path and crossing my path where I was headed each in turn going their own way but regardless in front of me. I completely forgot about my emotions and what I was going through I was curious as to why these dogs were outside next to a rushing river in the middle of the night. I stood still and stared watching them crossed in front of me where I was going to be walking... the path that led to the river. I took only 1 step forward snapped a twig and both dogs look straight up and right at me it was terrifying. I was unsure if I was going to get bit they looked more like wolves then dogs really. Then bright orbs swirling and circling in the sky above the river where I hadn't visions myself banging my head bloody against the rocks floating down... it so bright the whole forest lit up and I could see the dogs much more clearly my first reaction was to believe that it was some kind of bomb going off or fireworks in the sky. I I knew it was something supernatural when I realized that I could see through the dogs they didn't have red saucer eyes they didn't have big teeth. they almost remind me of a drawing shade and shadow maybe from a pencil. I came from foster care and I don't have any family so I already feel bad enough and I'm embarrassed I ever tried to do what I did but that's what happened

priscilla 2 years ago

I'm always seeing these..at night on a highway

Anonymous 2 years ago

When I was living ing in my fathers house I kept having weird paranormal experience and one of them was a feeling that I kept getting that I had somewhere to be. One night when it had snowed I followed the feeling and it led me down to a local bridge. I walked a trail near the bridge for a few minutes then under one of the lamps twenty feet ahead of me was a large black dog no red eyes though and it was a little large. But the creepy part was when I went down there there were no footprints. For a brief time afterwards I had reoccurring nightmares of the black dog and a man in white but eventually my dad moved and the dreams stopped. I don't know if I'm just looking into it that much but I feel like now there may have been an evil spirit living there...

Dylan Kelley 2 years ago

I just saw one an hour ago and it was hunting me. I ran for my life but I'm a supernatural investigator and now I'm going to try to catch it on camera!

Tanner 2 years ago

who is the artist responsible for the image at the top?

Sarah 22 months ago

My boyfriend and I just saw a black dog on the side of a small hwy on our way home tonight. The very first thing we noticed was bright red eyes of an animal walking in grass right off the road. Closer we got it was clearly a dog. Black but also some greyish white. Fur was some what wavy and fringy. Not a very large dog but it started running towards our direction. As we passed him I told my boyfriend ti turn around so I could see if it was really what we saw. My boyfriend has a lot of native American in his family. I have native American great grandmothers myself. He told me bad idea. He turned and drove the pick up right to the very location he was .... Gone... No dog. Nothing but open fields. By the way which happens to be majority native land and burials. I've never heard of this demon dogs. But I can't get those bright red eyes out of my head yet. My boyfriend's heritage and what he was told by his family is that its bad having seen it. Looking for inscense or something!!! I'm grabbing my Bible for sure!

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