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Dogs in a Dream and the Black Dog as a Dream Symbol

Updated on January 5, 2013

The Meaning of Dreams About Dogs

What does that who ran into your dream mean?
What does that who ran into your dream mean? | Source

I Love My Dog

My very own beautiful, beautiful boy, Oisin the Wonder Dog
My very own beautiful, beautiful boy, Oisin the Wonder Dog | Source
Oisin says, "Dream interpretation is as much fun as a rubber chicken."
Oisin says, "Dream interpretation is as much fun as a rubber chicken." | Source

Introduction to Dog Dreams

While loyalty may be the first word that springs to mind when one contemplates the dog's attributes and symbolism, it does not encompass the entire meaning of dogs dream symbolism nor does it encapsulate the dog's place in mythology.

Dogs in dreams do indeed symbolize loyalty, but they may be viewed as:

  • Guardians

  • Guides

  • Fidelity symbols

  • Death omens

While this article seeks to give the reader background into the dog's mythological history and provide insight into its common usage as a symbol, reader should bear in mind that when it comes to interpreting a dog dream's meaning, the final authority is one's self.

No dream guide, not even this one, should ever substitute for one's own intuition and wisdom.

Constellation Canis Major and Orion's Dog Sirius

The Constellation Canis Major - Orion's Dog Sirius
The Constellation Canis Major - Orion's Dog Sirius | Source

Dog Bone Pendant

CleverEve 14K Yellow Gold Pendant Dog Bone 2.1 Grams
CleverEve 14K Yellow Gold Pendant Dog Bone 2.1 Grams

Give your inner dog a bone! You'll keep this cute symbol of canine adoration around your neck, not buried in a jewelry box.


Mythological Canines

Since dogs, like cats, have a rich mythological heritage, they are also symbols with deep roots in the collective unconscious psyche.

When dogs appear in dreams the message they symbolically carry can have deep meaning for the dreamer.

Some important mythological canines include:

  • Sirius, Orion the hunter's faithful dog who is so important in Greek mythology that he has his own constellation
  • Anubis, Egyptian mythology's god of the Underworld, who is picture 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" who, according to Irish and British folk tales, visits one just before death.

Each of these mythological dogs are embodiments of archetypal imprints left on the collective unconscious psyche. Unravelling the meaning of that blueprint will yield information valuable to uncovering the meaning of a dog dream.

The Black Dog Legend

The Black Dog Legend
The Black Dog Legend | Source

Dogs as Fidelity Symbols

As previously stated, 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 betraying his or herself or is engaged in self-sabotage.

Barking Dog Translates Baby Babble

Black Dogs in Dreams

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 dog to end up in folktales of black dogs as harbinger 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 is means 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 altogether eerie nature with the dog reportedly being of a monstrous size with glowing red eyes.

When black dogs show up in dreams, however, the interpretation is likely to be highly symbolic as symbols are the language dreams speak.

To interpret a black dog in a dream one needs to break the symbol down into two parts--first there is the symbolism of the dog itself to deal with as well as the symbolism of the color black.

Dogs most readily symbolize loyalty and black most commonly symbolizes mourning or depression. Dreaming about a black dog therefore, might symbolize a disloyal friend, mourning over the betrayal, or mourning over a lost or unfaithful lover. One might even do well to consider the black dog a warning that the possibility for a depressing betrayal exists.

Even if a black dog is heralding death, that death is most likely itself symbolic.

Death symbolizes radical change, the leaving behind of that with which one is comfortable and familiar in favor of the complete unknown--black can stand in symbolically as a symbol of the void one might interpret as being the unknown.

Change and transition often involves loss. If, for instance, one is moving to a new location in favor of pursuit of 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 death dreams may sound, is that as much as it is relegated to a spot in near the back of the mind, death is actually a natural occurrence. Therefore in dreams, this can indicate that the transition that one might experience will be a more natural state of change rather than a jolt out of the blue.

Pomeranian Can't Stay Awake

Temple Fu Dog

Temple Fu Dog
Temple Fu Dog | Source

Dogs as Guardians

The Chinese Fu 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, that he or she feels safe, satisfied, and in the waking world, one 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 by bark.

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 to an unsafe situation in the waking world.

Guide Dogs in Training

Guide dogs in training taking a breather
Guide dogs in training taking a breather | Source

Dog Charm

Sterling Silver Diamond Dog Charm
Sterling Silver Diamond Dog Charm

Declare your doggie love by proudly wearing this cute little canine around your neck or add it to the charm collection on your wrist. Ruff!


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 territory of that which is hidden in 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 and unpleasant aspects of the personality, or subconscious ways the dreamer is engaging in self-sabotage.

Further Reading

Can Dogs Dream?

DOGS - The Brain, How Do They Think and What are They Dreaming?

Do Electric Dogs Dream of Robot Rabbits?


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.

Always use articles such as this one as a starting, rather than ending, point.


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    • profile image

      Diane69 3 months ago

      I used to dream of a pack of black dogs, as soon as I looked and saw they are running towards me, I would run as fast as I can, but they catch up every time, then I would awaken, heart pounding, gasping, scared....

    • profile image

      Michelle 22 months ago

      I just had a dream that a large black dog came into my room while i was sleeping. I was with my two siblings and daughter, (for some reason) and they could see the dog also. We all reacted fearfully, but the dog didn't seem evil, however it did seem god like or spiritual. It just stood over me and stopped me from moving. I'm not sure if protecting me, or just to keep me still.

      I rarely dream. And this one was vivid.

    • profile image

      London 2 years ago

      I was going out of a church/church area and looking for my parents. I went around the corner and suddenly I was on the edge of the building (the church area was up high inside a building). The building seemed to be floating above the clouds, and it was so bright. Anyway, I saw my parents but then I knelt down and a large black dog came and bit into my right shoulder. It had a strong grip on me but it didn't seem to want to HURT me. Still, I was scared. I moved my left foot and it slid off the edge. Nearly dangling, I held onto the dog's head as my parents were in the distance yelling for me to let go of him/get him away. I'm afraid of large dogs and heights, and I knew I would fall and die if I let go of the dog. I woke up right afterwards.

      Does this bring about any thoughts for anybody?

    • profile image

      Tyler 2 years ago

      Ok, I had a dream...

      In my dream me and my gf where sleeping, in our old house; we heard noise from the other room over, scary noise's like someone breaking and making hole's in the walls... Also voices of someone talking to him self in our old house., next room over sounded like someone with a hammer breaking walls and talking -

      - I assume probably a GHOST because, I always lock my house and no one could off gotten in/ anyway thinking it was a ghost, I send my black medium-size guard dog to go check and possibly scare the bad spirit away. I figure if it's a really bad spirit the dog would cry or bark none stop a lot or sound in pain, I listen and nothing... The dog was quiet he didn't make a sound and the noise's and voices had stopped SO "everything" was back to normal so I return to bed.

      In the morning my dog Rex at the moment "I don't have a dog but I my dream I did, his name was Rex". I found Rex frozen In that room, all the noise came from- the night before, he was motion less alive but very very scared., he seemed like he was dieing Very scared wouldn't move, Frozen looking at one corner in the hole room...

      That was my dream can anyone help?

    • profile image

      val 3 years ago

      Just had a dream bigger black dog biting smaller black dog on the head. I called the aggressive dog's name and for a second he stopped and continued biting the other dog. There was a white towel over the dog month. I don't remember his name.

    • profile image

      Ashin 3 years ago

      I had a dream just a few minutes ago..

      There were two dogs one was white in colour which

      was the good dog and it was just standing in the

      corner and one very wild and black and was

      medium in size with a long mouth, upward ears and

      hairy like terrier. It had shiny round eyes and was

      very wild and was trying to bite me and my long

      tied hair every second and it did succeed in biting

      some of my parts of my left hand which was

      painful. After sometime I caught the dog from its

      mouth with a lot of difficulty and poked it's eye wih

      my own finger one by one (At moments I felt pity

      for the dog and thought I shouldn't have done it

      because I'm a dog lover but there was something

      inside me which couldn't stop me). After sometime

      I stabbed the dog with a knife and before I threw it

      I took out it's skin as well. I realized it became

      smaller in size after it died.

      I found out through google that black monstrous

      dogs symbolises death. I'm worried.

    • profile image

      Marzia 3 years ago

      In my dreams their was a black dog with red eyes the dog look at me and turn away

    • profile image

      Christina 3 years ago

      I keep having dreams that on an aggressive dog barking growling than I bite who ever is coming at me

    • EsmeSanBona profile image

      EsmeSanBona 5 years ago from Macon

      So do you see the black dog as primarily a positive or negative dream symbol?

      Thanks for the comments and up vote!

    • Man from Modesto profile image

      Man from Modesto 5 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

      Wow. I voted this up and gave it some props. This is really comprehensive. I have also been interpreting dreams for almost two decades. I have a blog post on black dogs here:

      For me, I find that a black dog (as opposed to some other dog) is the loyal servant of a dark force, a manifestation of its protective and destructive powers.

    • T. Pisa profile image

      T. Pisa 5 years ago

      Very interesting! Thank you!

    • profile image

      Reb 5 years ago

      I recently dreamed of being in a house and a black dog, large and skinny, shiny hoovered outside the window. I eran out to chase it and found others and forced them back into the night. my bulldog ran out from behind me in the darkness and I called to her and told her she was safe. what does that mean? I felt the black dogs were evil somehow.

    • profile image

      francine 5 years ago

      i had the most horriblest dream ever, it was a flashback from a video i watched. it was a dog killing scene and the dog was wimpering so much and then the boy grabbed a flower vase and hit the dog with it until it was dead.what does that mean when i remember stuff i did or watched back then?

    • john2000 profile image

      john2000 6 years ago

      Great Hub about Dogs. I love my Dog (Bambi). I also wrote about Dogs in my hub.

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      As I'm an avid dog lover I found this hub particularly compelling. I often dream about dogs and in particular my dogs that have passed on coming to visit. These are very beautiful dreams but at times a little sad that they end on waking.

      Really interesting hub, loved it!