Early man began a relationship with wild canines during the hunter-gatherer periods when both man and dog recognized theirs could be a valuable partnership. They pooled their hunting and protection skills while sharing food. They found each other to be most companionable, serviceable and loyal.
But what do dogs symbolize when they appear in your dreams? The general representation is that of a friend or companion but it is vital to take other contextual clues into consideration. A dream dog also may reflect aspects of the dreamer.
Common dog symbol meanings
Seeing a dog with a wagging tail.Dreamer has some friendly support in his waking life or will receive some. This also is a positive omen for a happy outcome.
Dog of a different color.The color of a dog, especially when it is not a natural hue of a canine (such as rainbow, gold, purple) is symbol in itself so look up the meaning for the color. Then, look for a friend, associate or benefactor with the traits symbolized by the color. He/she will be offering you some help and support.
Over-sized dog.Any extremes in dreams should be noted. An over-sized dog could represent a friend with a larger-than-life personality, one who play a very large role in your life or one who tends to overstep the boundaries of your relationship. Look at your own feelings towards this over-sized dog to see if he presents welcomed friendship or burdens.
Extremely tiny dog.A miniature dog in your dream symbolizes a friend who you may barely notice or pay attention to. A friend who does not intrude upon your life. Beware that you do not take him for granted or you might "kill" this friendship out of neglect or injury (hurt feelings.) In Japanese folklore, a tiny dog has greater spiritual power than average-sized dogs.
Sleeping dog.A sleeping dog is a friend who is otherwise occupied but when a need arises, he will awaken and rush to your side.
Playful dog. This signals that you could use some fun with a pal. But a playful dog who won't leave you alone can be a friend who distracts you from your responsibilities.
A barking dog.Take notice of what a friend is trying to tell you.
Howling dog.A friend is missing you and wanting to let you know he's still around.
Continued and panicked howling of a dog.Warning of impending danger.
Snarling, threatening dog.You're doing something to overstep your boundaries with a friend.
Being attacked by a dog.Betrayal.
Dirty dog.Be on the alert for an unsavory friend. If dreamer washes dog, he could be needed to help a friend "clean up" his act. Dreamer also must reflect on his own waking life actions. Is he being a "dirty dog" in his waking life?
Dead dog.A loss of a friend or friend's loyalty.
Starving dog.Friend is starving for dreamer's time and attention. Look for a waking life friendship that needs nourishment.
Fat dog.Is this fat dream dog unhealthy or contented? You could be overfeeding a friend with too much help and he can longer help himself. If the dog is only contentedly plump, you enjoy a satisfying and mutually beneficial friendship.
Dog infested with fleas Someone in your life is being overwhelmed by little, annoying problems.
Lost dog.Have you lost a friend? Are you looking to reclaim it? Or, could there be a positive aspect of a dog that you are losing: loyalty? Being social?
A pack of dogs.If the overall demeanor is happy, there are good social times ahead for the dreamer. He'll be accepted into a social group.
Pursued by a pack of wild dogs.Dreamer is under attack by a social group.
A pack of protective dogs.Conversely, the dreamer has the protection of a social group.
Being torn to bits by a pack of dogs.Being rejected in such a violent way indicates that the actions of the pack is having a harmful effect on the dreamer.
A puppy. Innocence, playfulness. A new friendship.
A sick puppy.An unhealthy new association.
A dying puppy.Losing a new association.
A litter of puppies.A new social group. Beginning of an association.
Puppy or litter of pups nursing.Nurturing this new association or group relationship.
Puppy being rejected by its mother.Dreamer's new association with you will not be accepted by his relations.
Dog trying to get you to follow him.Dreamer should trust and follow a friend.
Dog riding in your car.You'll have companionship on your life journey.
Dog being killed.A friendship is being killed. Are you betraying a friend? Is there some aspect of your friendship that is being killed?
Cutting up your dog.Trying to deal with your friendship by cutting it up into manageable pieces. This often appears when a friend is too much to handle or overbearing.
Training your dog.Attempting to gain a friend's cooperation.
Watching a dog nimbly go through an agility course.Dreamer will face tough but friendly competition.
A few dog breeds
There are too many dog breeds to list here but when a particular breed appears in your dream, reflect on the specific characteristics of the breed. Look for people in your waking life who embody them.
Australian shepherd.Guidance from friends.
Border collie.Eager, willing and capable aid.
Chihuahua.Needy but companionable friend. May have some emotional neuroses.
Doberman.Potentially dangerous friends.
German Shepherd.Dreamer has some loyal and fierce protection around him.
Giant Pyrenees.Majestic, loyal, protective. Watches borders and boundaries.
Golden retriever.Loyal, playful, sociable.
Labrador.Easy going nature, more brawn then brain.
Pitbull.Determined, fierce, friendly until crossed.
Pomeranian.A pom reflects a friend who can be whiny and attention-seeking but adorable.
Poodle.The kind of friend who only wants one friend in his/her life: you. A little prissy or fussy.
Welsh corgie.The dog of royalty. Look for a friend who is used to being pampered and revered.
Dogs by purpose
Hunting dogs.A social group who is on the hunt personally or professionally. Active, productive, effective.
Herding dogs.A cooperative team with a clear goal.
Service dogs.Dreamer attracts helpers and aides in his waking life.
Companion dogs.Dreamer craves friendship.
Status dogs.Friends who have high reputations in respective areas. Dreamer might be hoping to elevate his own social or professional status by hanging with these dogs.
Fighting dogs. What might appear to be friendly competition in dreamer's life can become hostile and violent.
Show dogs. Showy friends that may be high maintenance though not superficial.
Sled dogs.Dreamer will have the aid of a well-organized team to help him reach his goals.
Cerebus.Three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hades in Greek mythology. To see Cerebus is a warning that your waking life actions are bringing to you dangerous places. Also a sign of guilt.
Chinese Fu dogs.These are called dogs but have lion-like traits. These statues are placed flanking entrances to important buildings and temples because they are protective. To see a Fu dog in your dream is a symbol that you are being protected from evil.