Doggy Art
Dog Art on Cave Drawings

You know who’s been stealing the show in art for centuries? Dogs. Our four-legged buddies have been the muses of painters, sculptors, and artists of all kinds since ancient times. And they’ve rocked every role – from regal companions to humble street mutts.

Let’s take a walk through the dog art gallery, shall we?

Prehistoric Dog Art

It all started with dog drawings, more accurately known as cave paintings, where our ancestors captured the very first portraits of dogs. These crude but charming renderings show dogs hunting alongside humans and cattle. Talk about a dynamic trio! These early artists knew that dogs were more than just pets – they were partners in survival. This cave painting could be dated as far back as 9000 BC (if true this would be the first image of a dog). Found at Shuwaymis and Jubbah Sites, Saudi Arabia, the dogs are medium-sized, with short snouts, pointed ears, and a perky, curled tail, resembling the modern-day Canaan dog breed.

Stone Age Dog Art - First image of a dog
Photograph by Maria Guagnin

This style of art is called Petroglyph (pronounced PE-TRUH-GLIF) – Its an image created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving, or abrading, as a form of rock art.

Ancient Art

Fast forward a few thousand years, and you’ll find dogs living the high life in ancient Egyptian and Greek art. Immortalised in hieroglyphics and etched onto vases, dogs represented loyalty, protection, and the thrill of the hunt for these iconic civilisations. They guarded the gates of the underworld and frolicked with gods and goddesses. Let’s not forget Anubis, that iconic jackal-headed figure who looms large over ancient Egyptian art. As the god of the dead, this canine gatekeeper ushered souls into the afterlife. Anubis imagery adorned tomb walls and funerary masks, ever-present to protect the spirit’s journey.

Only one dog, the Pharaoh Hound, of an ancient Egyptian breed, descended from the Egyptian desert greyhound, survives today, which resembles the head of Anubis.

Hieroglyphics - Anubis Scene
This detailed scene, from the Papyrus of Hunefer (c. 1275 BC), shows the scribe Hunefer’s heart being weighed on the scale of Maat against the feather of truth by Anubis

This style of art is called Hieroglyphics (pronounced HI-RO-GLIF-IKS) – Hieroglyphs combined logographic, syllabic and alphabetic elements, with more than 100 distinct characters.

Renaissance Art

But it was during the Renaissance that dogs really became art superstars. Artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael captured every lush lock of fur, every soulful eye. These pampered pooches lounged in lavish palaces or accompanied nobles on grand hunting expeditions. They didn’t just steal the scene – they owned it, especially the Regal Maltese (They were originally so tiny). His dog art indulged the royals’ obsession, painting pampered pooches luxuriating amid opulent interiors. Forget the furniture – these prizewinning dogs WERE the main attraction.

Leonardo da Vinci - King & Mcgaw (Dog Art)
King & Mcgaw – Leonardo da Vinci

20th Century Dog Art

As art evolved, so did its doggy depictions. Rebellious pups broke free from the leashes of tradition in avant-garde works by Modernists like Pablo Picasso and David Hockney. These bold artists fractured forms and played with perspective, reimagining dogs as wild, free spirits. Picasso reimagined his dishevelled dachshund as an abstract, geometric masterpiece. Hockney’s images made dogs the new messengers of minimalism and modernity.

And let’s not forget 21st century dog art!

Over the centuries, our canine chums have inspired artists like Nirit Levav and Jeff Koons to create some seriously jaw-dropping 3D masterpieces. Nirit Levav crafted amazing bike chain sculptures of dogs, while Jeff Koons constructed his massive, shimmering Balloon Dog sculpture.

Today, cutting-edge artists continue reshaping how we experience and interact with art by drawing inspiration from dogs. For example, remember the 2018 dog kissing photobooth? Or those hilarious meme-inspired GIFs that plastered our social feeds?

Dogs have always been more than just pets to humanity. They’re our muses, our comic relief, and our cheerleaders through the ages. And thanks to their scene-stealing performances on canvas, marble, and beyond, they’ve guaranteed themselves a permanent place in the pantheon of art history’s biggest stars.

Canine Reproduction and Puppy Care Extraordinaire at MLA Pets

With 15+ years of tail-wagging experience in Advanced Canine Reproduction, I’ve mastered the art of puppy care and have a knack for producing the most exquisite and highly sought-after puppies. Not just any breeder, I’m an Accredited UK Kennel Club Assured and Council Approved pup-whisperer.

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As a proud mum of two (the human kind), and a loving daughter, wife, and sister (plus the in-law package), I balance the barks, social media, writing and family life with a sense of humour that’s as infectious as a puppy’s yawn. My life is a juggling act between family, fur babies, and the occasional chase after a runaway squeaky toy.

If you’re looking for someone who can talk doggy DNA and human psychology in the same breath, I’m your gal. Just remember, behind every successful woman is a pack of loyal pups and a family cheering her on (even if it’s just for the leftover dinner scraps).

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