Dogs are one of the most popular animals on the planet, and they’re also an animal that many people want to learn how to draw. Whether you want to learn how to draw a dog for a portrait of your best canine friend or you just want to learn to draw many different types of dogs, this is the tutorial for you.
Dogs might seem like a complicated subject for drawing, but a good tutorial can help a lot with that. This guide will give you tips on how to draw a realistic dog no matter what age you are. Keeper reading to learn more about the basics of how to draw a dog.
Tips for How to Draw a Dog
Before we look at some different kinds of dogs you can draw, it’s a good idea to look at some general tips that can help you learn how to draw a dog effectively.
Here are a few tricks you can use to make learning how to draw a dog easier:
- Use sharp pencils. Sharpening your pencils frequently allows you to use a fine, delicate line while sketching. This helps prevent you from making marks you can’t erase later and also gives you the option of using thicker, darker marks to create value.
- Use short strokes. Sketching with short strokes helps you keep mistakes to a minimum and allows you to correct contours as you draw. If you want your sketch to have continuous lines, you can always go back and trace the drawing with an ink pen later.
- Erase sparingly. Using an eraser too much during the drawing process can make your drawing look muddied and can damage the texture of the paper’s surface. Keep your marks light so that you can also erase lightly if needed, but a few stray marks won’t hurt the look of the overall drawing.
- Start with a good reference photo. Some artists scoff at using reference photos, but reference photos can give you a better idea of the visual differences between different types of dogs and also a sense of their realistic proportions. Live dogs move constantly and can be a challenge to draw, while photographs are an easier reference.
- Draw strokes in one direction to show hair texture. To show a dog’s fur texture in a drawing, use short strokes all going in one direction to help denote individual hairs and the direction that which the fur is growing. Shorthaired dogs have less pronounced fur strokes, while long-haired dogs should have strokes that are more prominent and flowing.
- Pay attention to value. Value is the gradations of light to dark that exist in a piece of media. Use thicker lines and darker pencils for dark parts of the drawing, while lightening your strokes and using lighter pencils for the parts of the drawing that should be highlighted.
Once you’ve got the basics down, drawing a dog comes down to paying attention to detail and the willingness to make mistakes as you learn. Very few people will draw perfect-looking realistic dogs the first time they try, so it takes repetition and practice to improve.
Supplies You Need for How to Draw a Dog
Before you get started learning how to draw a dog, the first thing you need to do is gather your art supplies. These are the supplies you need to draw a dog:
- Pencil and pen
- Flat surface to draw on
- Reference photo
- Colors (can be watercolor or colored pencils)
- Instructions on how to draw a dog
When Would You Need to Know How to Draw a Dog?
Of all the things you could learn to draw, why would you want to learn to draw a dog? There could be several reasons why you might want to learn how to draw a dog.
If you’re starting out learning to draw, a dog is a fun subject that is not too easy and not too difficult. There are also tons of pictures available of different dog breeds for artists to practice on. Whether you’re just bored or you’re interested in deep-diving drawing dogs, they’re a fun subject to sketch.
You might want to improve your drawing skills by drawing dogs or you could want to draw a particular dog for a portrait or art project. Drawings of dogs make a cute gift to include in someone’s birthday card or any other occasional gift.
Either way, the tutorials below can help you draw a dog that will impress all of your friends and family.
Best Uses for a Dog Drawing
Want to draw a bunch of dogs but don’t know what to do with them?
Here are just a few things you can do once you learn how to draw a dog:
- Start a comic strip or graphic novel about dogs
- Illustrate a homemade greeting card
- Frame it as a piece of art
- Use the drawings as small gifts
- Create custom stickers
- Illustrate a short story
- Decorate your notebook covers
Easy Steps How to Draw a Dog
Step 1. Start with three circles
To start drawing a dog, you’ll want to focus on the major forms first – the head, the chest area, and the rear/torso. Most organic forms can be broken down into a circle and oval structures.
Step 2. Draw the muzzle of the dog
For the muzzle, add another smaller circle to the circle that forms the shape of the dog’s head. For long-nosed breeds, you can stretch this circle into a long oval shape.
Step 3. Add lines for the legs and tail
The length and proportion of the legs and tail will depend on what type of dog you’re trying to draw. Make sure that the joints of the leg are placed properly by checking the reference photo to see where the legs change direction. The dog’s tail line may be straight or curved depending on the breed.
Step 4. Draw the dog’s face
To form the features of the face, you’ll need to place the eyes, ears, and nose. Create ears by placing triangular shapes on either side of the circle forming the dog’s head, then draw a horizontal V-shape for the eyes. Finally, place a small oval on the end of the circle forming the dog’s muzzle to finish the face.
Step 5. Outline the dog’s face and body
This is the step where you’ll begin filling in the distinct features that will tell your viewers what kind of dog you’re trying to draw. Check the reference photo carefully for the proportions of the dog as you add in the full shape of the legs, tail, body, muzzle, and neck.
And there you have it! Once you know the basic steps for how to draw a dog, you should be able to take on more challenging projects. Keep reading for tutorials on specific dogs that you can draw.
How to Draw a Dog: 25 EASY Drawing Projects
1. Labrador Retriever
Labrador retrievers are one of the most popular dogs in the world. These friendly, active canines are popular for their roles as service dogs as well as their performance in search and rescue and bomb detection.
Here you can follow a tutorial to learn how to draw Labrador Retrievers. The shape of the Labrador Retriever is very basic, so it’s a good dog to start with when you are first learning how to draw them.
Pugs are an ancient breed of dog that is connected to Chinese royalty. Even the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte had one of these wrinkly little fellows. If you’re trying to do a realistic drawing, the folds in a pug’s skin can make them a challenge to draw. However, these dogs are also popular cartoon subjects.
Check out this tutorial to learn how to draw Pugs. The nose of a Pug is much shorter than the average dog, so be sure to check reference photos carefully so that you get the form of the muzzle right.
Chihuahuas are a breed that comes from Mexico, and these tiny dogs are among the smallest in the world. However, what these tiny dogs lack in stature they make up for in personality. Chihuahuas are excellent watchdogs and tend to become bonded to one person.
Here is a tutorial for learning how to draw Chihuahuas. Chihuahuas have eyes and ears that are disproportionately big for their heads, so keep this in mind as you draw them for realistic results.
4. Golden Retriever
Famous for their presence in blockbuster movies for the past half a century, golden retrievers are also a breed that is used for service. Originally, these dogs were bred to act as hunting dogs to retrieve ducks downed in the middle of a waterway.
They’re known for their soft mouths, which are designed not to damage the game that they return to their owners.
Here’s a tutorial that will teach you to draw Golden Retrievers. Like Labradors, Golden Retrievers have a standard body proportion that makes them a good subject to study when you first start drawing dogs.
Poodles are one of the smartest breeds of dogs out there, and they’re well known for their interesting show cut. Despite their prissy appearance, poodles were bred as sturdy hunting dogs designed to retrieve waterfowl from lakes and rivers.
They are also sensitive and react strongly to being punished, so they should be treated gently. You can learn how to draw Poodles in this tutorial. The most challenging part of drawing a poodle is copying their complicated haircut and bringing across the fluffy texture of their fur.
6. English Bulldog
Bulldogs are a breed that is over 130 years old, making them one of the oldest recognized breeds in the world. Because of its courage and friendly nature, the English Bulldog is the official mascot of many institutions and universities.\
Want to learn how to draw a Bulldog? Check out this tutorial at Drawing Dog to get an overview of how to draw the breed. Bulldogs have a lot of wrinkles, so pay attention to the way the skin folds to recreate them realistically.
Made famous by the cartoon dog Snoopy, beagles are a spunky sporting breed that are originally bred to hunt rabbits and other small game by running them down in large packs. Beagles are scent hounds, which means they use their noses to sniff out game trails and potential hunting targets.
Learn how to draw a Beagle in this tutorial from How 2 Draw Animals. Beagle puppies are very photogenic, so drawing them could result in a wonderful handmade Christmas card.
Rottweilers are a breed that dates back to the ancient Roman Empire, where these dogs were used as drovers and living weapons against enemy troops in war. Rottweilers have also been used to hunt bears, and are named for the German town of Rottweil.
You can find a tutorial for drawing Rottweilers here. Whether you draw a Rottweiler in a realistic style or in a more simplified cartoon style, they make a great subject for drawing.
Pointer dogs are an active and vigorous sporting breed that is associated with loyalty and a friendly attitude towards people. These hunting dogs are trained to point out and flush out birds hiding in thick brush, such as quail and pheasant.
Want to know how to draw pointer dogs for a hunting illustration or a pet portrait? Learn more about drawing pointers at How 2 Draw Animals. Pointers come in a wide range of colors and coat styles, and they can be an interesting dog breed to focus on when you’re sketching.
Corgis are the flagship breed of the British royal household and have been kept by the Queen for decades as court pets. While they were originally bred for herding, legend has it these short-legged dogs are also used to carry fairies into battle.
Here’s a tutorial for learning how to draw Corgis. The shortened legs on Corgis mean that they have different body proportions than most dogs, but drawing them is good practice for drawing other short-statured dogs like dachshunds or terriers.
Speaking of short dogs, the most famous short-legged dog in the world is likely the dachshund. This German hunting breed is designed for earthwork or hunting that involves digging down into the burrow of prey such as badgers.
Even though they are a small breed, dachshunds are known for their tenacious and brave personalities. You can learn how to draw dachshunds at I Heart Crafty Things.
Dachshunds are popular subjects for Christmas and birthday cards, so they’re a nice subject to practice if you want to make handmade cards for friends and family.
As a breed, boxers are cousins to fighting breeds like mastiffs and bulldogs. Even though they have the shortened muzzle of a bulldog, their body has a taller, more athletic build. American Boxers are a newer dog breed that didn’t gain popularity until the 1930s.
With their expressive, unique faces, Boxers can be challenging to draw. See a tutorial on how to do it here.
13. Yorkshire Terrier
Even though this breed has a reputation for being pampered house pets, the Yorkshire Terrier was originally designed for hunting rats on the wharfs and ships of Great Britain. Yorkshire terriers come in three common sizes – standard, miniature, and teacup.
Learn how to draw a Yorkshire terrier here at WikiHow. The most difficult part of drawing a Yorkshire terrier can be their long silky hair, so pay attention to the direction that the fur is laying for a realistic sketch.
14. Great Dane
Known as the tallest dogs in the world, Great Danes are gentle giants. Despite their size, these dogs are known for being social and very affectionate with their owners. These large canines were bred to hunt boar, but are typically kept as housepets these days.
Check out a tutorial for drawing Great Danes here. Great Danes have historically been a popular dog breed to depict in fine art, so they’re an excellent subject to practice drawing.
Pomeranians are iconic as some of the feistiest and most energetic of the small dog breeds. A dog that thinks it is as big as its bark, a Pomeranian is notorious for trying to take on dogs several sizes its own size, making strong socialization as a puppy a must.
Want to draw Pomeranians? You’ll find a tutorial to learn how here. Pomeranians have a unique fluffy coat that can obscure their body structure, so pay attention to their contour outline when drawing them.
16. Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu is a Tibetan breed of companion dog that is over a thousand years old. The name means “little lion” and these fluffy small dogs were popular gifts to Chinese royalty from the Tibetan nation. Shih Tzus require specialized grooming to help keep their long-growing hair out of their eyes.
You can learn how to draw a Shih Tzu by following this tutorial. Like Yorkshire Terriers, the biggest challenge with drawing a realistic Shih Tzu is its long, flowing fur.
17. Siberian Husky
Siberian Huskies are dogs that retain many of the wolf-like features of their ancestors, including a tremendous ability to howl. These active dogs need a lot of room to run and preferably a high-intensity sport such as dog sledding or cycling to avoid excess destructive energy and anxiety.
You can find a tutorial to learn how to draw Siberian Huskies here. Huskies are a great dog to practice drawing if you’re interested in drawing dogs in action poses since they are very athletic.
Even though the word “schnauzer” refers to a whiskered dog from Germany, this name actually refers to three separate dog breeds – the Giant Schnauzer, the Miniature Schnauzer, and the Standard Schnauzer.
This breed dates back to medieval times and is a working dog used to hunt and deter rats on farms and homesteads. Check out this tutorial for learning how to draw schnauzers. These dogs have a lot of personalities, so they can be a really fun subject for sketching.
19. Scottish Terrier
Scottish terriers are a small, black, short-legged dog that goes back to the 13th century. This short hunting dog was famous for burrowing after animals like badgers, martins, and wild cats. Scottish terriers are known for their tenacious, brave personalities, and these dogs will happily take on an animal many times their own size.
Want to learn how to draw Scottish Terriers? This tutorial at We Draw Animals will show you the ropes. Since Scottish Terriers are black dogs, it’s important to pay attention to value when drawing them so that their features are visible.
20. Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniels are a breed that was made famous by the Disney film Lady and the Tramp. These hunting dogs have silky fur, long muzzles, and big, soulful eyes that make them perfect for drawing portraits. They also come in a wide variety of colors and patterns.
You can read a tutorial to learn how to draw Cocker Spaniels here. Since Cocker Spaniels have a wavy coat, this can make it more challenging to draw than drawing dogs with a short or straight coat.
21. Border Collie
These piebald dogs were bred to herd sheep, and Border Collies are also considered the smartest dog breed. With their high intelligence, these dogs require a ton of mental stimulation and interaction in order to keep them happy if they’re not being used for herding.
Learn how to draw Border Collies in this tutorial. Border collies are often black and white, which makes them a good subject for drawing if you only have the supplies for a black-and-white drawing.
22. Bassett Hound
Bassett Hounds are a scent hound that use their super-sensitive noses to help detect prey over long distances. These dogs are built low to the ground with droopy faces, long floppy ears, and lots of wrinkles.
You can learn how to draw Bassett Hounds here at Felt Magnet. These hounds can be challenging to draw due to their wrinkles, but impressive once the drawing is complete.
23. Shiba Inu
Shiba Inus have recently become popular in the media because of their inclusion in Internet memes. But this ancient Japanese breed has existed for hundreds of years and is a somewhat aloof breed that is compared to a cat in temperament.
Follow this tutorial to learn how to draw Shiba Inus. Since this breed is so recognizable, it’s a good breed for turning into cartoons or stylized illustrations.
24. St. Bernard
St. Bernard dogs are a giant breed dog that was originally bred for search and rescue in the Swiss Alps. These large tricolored dogs come in both long-haired and short-haired varieties, but the long-haired variety was designed for the cold mountain passes of Italy and Switzerland.
You can learn to draw a St. Bernard in this tutorial. A tip for drawing St. Bernards is to place them against background objects that help give the drawing scope and show off the dog’s huge size.
Greyhound dogs are a sight hound, which means that they have been used since ancient times to see and run down fast prey like rabbits, deer, and antelope. In modern times, these dogs are used in gambling to run raises against a mechanical rabbit.
Learn how to draw a Greyhound at Easy Animals 2 Draw. The biggest challenge in drawing Greyhounds is their odd proportions in the face and body, so study several photographs to get a good idea of how long their muzzles and legs are in proportion to their torso, chest, and neck.
How to Draw a Realistic Dog for Beginners
Drawing dogs realistically can be intimidating if you’ve never tried to do it before, especially since there are so many different breeds and varieties. However, there are some tips that will help you draw realistic dogs no matter what your skill level is.
Here are some beginner tricks to make your dog drawings more realistic:
- Concentrate on learning to draw different dog parts. Instead of trying to draw an entire dog, fill a sketchbook page with dog paws, dog ears, or dog eyes. Break the dog down into parts and master the look of each feature before trying to put them together in a complete drawing.
- Pay attention to proportions and perspective. Realistic proportions are a major part of making your drawings look lifelike, as distorted proportions will give your drawing a stylized or cartoonish look.
- Look at multiple examples. While you might be basing your drawing on a single reference photograph, studying multiple photographs and videos of the dog breed you’re trying to draw will give you a better idea of what they look like in real life.
What Is the Easiest Dog to Draw?
Dogs that have natural proportions like collies, shepherds, retrievers, and huskies are among the easiest to draw. These are good breeds to practice drawing before you move on to more disproportionate dogs like short-legged hounds, dogs with elongated or shortened muzzles, or heavily wrinkled dogs.
What Is the Hardest Dog to Draw?
According to most artists, black dogs are the hardest dogs to draw. This is because their black fur makes it more difficult to show shading, contours, highlights, and shadows on the dog’s fur.
White dogs are also difficult to draw for the same reasons, though the white background on these dogs makes pencil strokes easier to see than on black dogs.
Can Kids Draw Dogs Too?
Kids are able to draw dogs as easily as adults can. It’s a good idea for kids to practice drawing realistic animals and subjects at an early age. An enthusiasm for drawing and years of drawing experience as a kid can translate to a flourishing artistic career in adulthood for some people.
How to Draw a Dog Conclusion
Learning how to draw dogs can take some time and practice since there are so many different kinds of dogs and many different ways to draw them. However, following the tutorials above can give you