Famous Dog Paintings

Famous Dog Paintings – Explore Famous Examples of Dog Artwork

Some of the most iconic paintings in the world are also paintings that feature some of the most intriguing and fluffy canines. Dog lover or not, these famous paintings with dogs will have you invested in the way that artists have incorporated their beloved pets into some of the most iconic paintings. In this article, we will examine the top 10 most famous dog paintings of all time, featuring paintings by artists such as Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, Edvard Munch, and Andy Warhol.



The Symbolism of Dogs in Art

It is said that dogs are man’s best friend and this proves true in the history of art. Many famous master painters have chosen to represent these dynamic creatures in a variety of ways that help broaden our understanding of the relationships between humans and dogs as well as dogs in the context of art history and symbolism. In the history of art, artists have captured their personal relationships with their best furry friends through portraiture to immortalize their favorite pets. Painting a picture of your pet will come naturally as an artist since it is close to your heart. As such, many artists have used their furry friends as subjects in some of the most endearing animal portraits in art history.

Paintings with Dogs Diogenes (1860) by Jean-Léon Gérôme, located in the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, United States; Jean-Léon Gérôme, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Dogs in art history have been discovered in hunting scene paintings from the Middle Ages and have since become symbols of other broader themes, including protection, love, loyalty, faithfulness, sexual connotations, and sometimes a representation of their owners’ character. Between the 16th and 17th centuries, dogs were often the subjects of famous hunting scenes and also served as symbols of social status or personal furry friends to their wealthy owners. The image of the dog was also associated with the famous Greek philosopher, Diogenes, as an ode to his “cynic” or dog-like philosophy that drew attention to the human condition of “austere existence”. The representation of dogs in art has also differed and was seen in the different depictions made by European and British dog painting artists. 

Many famous Dutch, German, Belgian, and Flemish artists made paintings with dogs influenced by the style of Realism and focused on the physical appearance of the canine while British dog artworks presented a more idealized version as opposed to immediate likeness.



The Top 10 Most Famous Dog Paintings

Dogs are more than just man’s best friend and their place in art history has been both one of complex symbolism as well as cute and endearing expressions of love for one’s pet. Below, we have created a list of the top 10 most famous dog paintings of all time that will provide insight into the personal relationships experienced with man’s best friend.

Famous Dogs in Art Lady Hamilton (1782) by George Romney, located in the  Tate Museum in London, United Kingdom; George Romney, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


A Couple of Foxhounds (1792) by George Stubbs

Artist Name George Stubbs (1724 – 1806)
Date 1792
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm)Support: 101.6 x 127 and frame: 118 x 144 x 115
Where It Is HousedTate Gallery, London, United Kingdom

A Couple of Foxhounds is a popular 18th-century dog painting created by one of the most celebrated animal painters in art history, George Stubbs. Stubbs was commissioned by Reverend Thomas Vyner whose family he worked for. The reverend was a sports enthusiast and an expert on hound breeding. Stubbs’ process for painting involved the artist painting the foreground of the animal first and then the background while blending the colors over the outlines of the foreground figures to create a sophisticated and unified aesthetic. The two dogs in the painting have been set against an imaginary landscape and demonstrate Stubbs’ eye for not only a sophisticated painting style but also a “deceivingly simple composition”. The duo appears engaged in conversation, as humans would. 

The type of dogs shown here was not specific and have been described as “foxhounds”, although they may have been harriers or hare-hounds.

Dog Artwork A Couple of Foxhounds (1792) by George Stubbs, located in the Tate Museum in London, United Kingdom; George Stubbs, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


The Dog (1819 – 1823) by Francisco de Goya

Artist Name Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746 – 1828)
Date 1819 – 1823
Medium Oil mural on plaster; later transferred to a canvas
Dimensions (cm)131.5 x 79.3
Where It Is HousedMuseo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Spain

The Dog is among the most well-known dog paintings of the 19th century created by Spanish legend, Francisco de Goya. Goya created a series of Black Paintings that were executed directly onto the plaster walls of his villa between 1819 and 1823. The Dog illustrates the head of a dog peeping upwards with an identified slope in front of its body. The image of the dog reflects distress and the slope reminds one of a wave, thus, alluding to the emotional drowning that many faces. Goya created this somber painting when he was in his 70s and managing his acute physical and mental anguish. The paintings remained in Goya’s house for five decades after he left and were never created for the public eye. The name of his home, Quinta del Sordo, translates in English to “Villa of the Deaf Man”. Goya was reportedly diagnosed with deafness after falling ill in 1792 with the villa’s previous owner also succumbing to deafness. It is believed that Goya was most likely troubled with his mortality during this time.

Dog Painting Artist The Dog (1823) by Francisco Goya, located in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain; Francisco de Goya, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


King Charles Spaniel (c. 1866) by Édouard Manet

Artist Name Édouard Manet
Date c. 1866
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm) 66 x 57.8 x 8.9
Where It Is Housed National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., United States

King Charles Spaniel is a famous dog painting by “radical” French Impressionist Édouard Manet. The painting portrays a regal, well-groomed dog that gazes calmly into the distance, perhaps upon hearing its owner’s voice. The painting reflects the Impressionist style of Manet and is one of his “less controversial” artworks from the 19th century. The dog is seen seated on its red cushion with a ball positioned next to it. 

It can be assumed that this dog portrait was created to capture the regal character of the dog, displayed by its calm demeanor and general atmosphere of obedience, as seen through the dog’s eyes.

Dogs in Art King Charles Spaniel (1866) by Édouard Manet, located in the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., United States; Édouard Manet, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Little Girl in a Blue Armchair (1878) by Mary Cassatt

Artist Name Mary Stevenson Cassatt (1844 – 1926)
Date 1878
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm) 88 x 128.5
Where It Is Housed National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., United States

Little Girl in a Blue Armchair is recognized as Mary Cassatt’s most famous dog artwork, which is ultimately centered on the little girl who appears bored on her couch. The painting would be incomplete without her little companion, a small Brussels Griffon, who appears to keep the little girl company in her spare time. The painting was incredibly significant to the artist and her relationships with her fellow Impressionists. Little Girl in a Blue Armchair also shows the small dog curled up in the chair with its ears pricked up, possibly also eager to escape the atmosphere of boredom or anticipation. While Mary Cassatt was not primarily a dog painting artist, she was one of the most celebrated American Impressionists whose freestyle brushstrokes and beautiful compositions of the relationships between women around her provided some of the finest masterpieces of the 19th century.

Dogs in Art Examples Little Girl in a Blue Armchair (1878) by Mary Cassatt, located in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France; Mary Cassatt, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Hunting Dogs in a Boat (Waiting for the Start) (1889) by Winslow Homer

Artist Name Winslow Homer (1836 – 1910)
Date 1889
Medium Watercolor with sponging and scraping over graphite on paper
Dimensions (cm) 35.6 x 50.8
Where It Is HousedRISD Museum, Providence, Rhode Island, United States

Winslow Homer was a prolific American artist who operated during the 19th century and managed to capture the everyday life of common folk in 1800s America. Among Winslow’s subjects were scenes of people’s relationships with dogs as seen in Hunting Dogs in a Boat. The painting demonstrates the endearing curious quality of dogs and is set in one of Homer’s favorite locations – a hunting lodge in the Adirondack mountains. The area was quite popular among the locals for being a perfect hunting and fishing spot. The auburn and burnt umber shades in the background are vague but appear excellently placed, such that the Autumn season is truly evoked. In the boat, five dogs peer curiously outward toward the shore as they float on the still waters of the lake. 

The scene definitely exudes a sense of reminiscence on a perfect Autumn day, out with the dogs.

Famous Paintings with Dogs Hunting Dogs in a Boat (Waiting for the Start) (1889) by Winslow Homer; Winslow Homer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Dogs Playing Poker Series (1894 – 1910) by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge

Artist Name Cassius Marcellus Coolidge (1844 – 1934)
Date1894 – 1910
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions (cm)Varied
Where It Is HousedPrivate collections

Dogs Playing Poker is a series of 18 paintings by American painter and illustrator, Cassius Marcellus Coolidge who was commonly recognized as “Kash Koolidge”. Coolidge was a famous dog painting artist who was also credited with creating “comic foregrounds”. Comic foregrounds are also known as “photo stand-ins” and are often found at carnivals. Dogs Playing Poker is perhaps the most famous dog painting series that features anthropomorphized dogs playing a game of poker in the same fashion that a group of men in the 19th century would. The satirical dog painting is one of the most referenced paintings in popular culture thus making this series one of the most recognizable dog artworks in modern history.

Famous Dog Artwork A Friend in Need (1903) by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge; Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Howling Dog (1928) by Paul Klee

Artist Name Paul Klee
Date 1928
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm) 44.45 x 56.83
Where It Is Housed Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, United States

Howling Dog is a playful and child-like dog artwork that depicts a dog howling at the moon and is rendered in a series of sinuous lines. Paul Klee was one of the most popular Swiss painters who was heavily influenced by Surrealist and Expressionist works. Klee’s works often draw attention to the simple subject matter involving many animals and a child-like approach to color. His talent for evoking harmony in this painting is one to be admired as he draws connections not only through the sinuous lines illustrating the dog and the moon but through his expert use of color to visually illustrate the sound of the dog howling. 

The free-flowing blend of colors is intentional and almost presents an abstract, blurred soundscape in an equally obscure landscape.

Famous Dog Painting Artist Howling Dog (1928) by Paul Klee; Paul Klee, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Head of A Dog (1930) by Edvard Munch

Artist Name Edvard Munch (1863 – 1944)
Date 1930
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm) 46 x 38
Where It Is Housed The Munch Museum, Oslo, Norway

Head of a Dog is another famous dog painting created by Expressionist Edvard Munch to capture his most precious companions, his dogs. This famous dog portrait is an example of how artists cherish their pets and immortalize their personalities through portraiture. Munch cherished his dogs so much that he relied on their barking to judge films that we went to. If his furry friends did not like the movie, he would take off with them. The Norwegian painter who was most celebrated for his famous paintings of The Scream (1893), became isolated from society toward the latter stage of his career and spent the majority of his time with his dogs. Head of a Dog features the head of a pooch as the main subject, with the dog bearing an innocent yet alert expression.


Dog (1957) by Pablo Picasso

Artist Name Pablo Ruiz Picasso 
Date 1957
Medium Black glaze on a commercial ceramic plate
Dimensions (cm) 24 (d)
Where It Is Housed Harry Ransom Center, Austin, Texas, United States

This famous dog painting by famous Spanish artist Pablo Picasso represents his cute little muse, the small dachshund named Lump, who was owned by David Douglas Duncan. Duncan was a famous photojournalist whose small friend, Lump, befriended Picasso and soon featured in many studies by the artist. Picasso chose a piece of commercial dinnerware to portray a portrait of Lump, who he clearly loved, even more so than his friend Duncan one might say. 

According to Duncan, Picasso’s portrait of the dog on the plate was a symbol of the artist’s “lifelong spontaneous generosity” and solidification of the friendship that existed between Picasso, Duncan, and Lump.


Portrait of Maurice (1976) by Andy Warhol

Artist NameAndy Warhol
MediumSynthetic polymer paint and silkscreen ink on canvas
Dimensions (cm)65.80 x 81.40
Where It Is HousedScottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One), Edinburgh, Scotland

This eclectic dog portrait painting was created by famous Pop art artist, Andy Warhol, who is often associated with silkscreen paintings and one of his best works, the 32 cans of Campbell soup. Warhol was a pioneer of Modern art who combined the glamor and appeal of popular and celebrity culture with portraiture and advertising to form his unique aesthetic. Warhol was also a fan of his furry friends and in 1973, he adopted an adorable Dachshund named Archie who he carried everywhere with him. Portrait of Maurice was created in 1976 for Warhol’s friend Gabrielle Keiller and depicts her little Dachshund, Maurice.


These adorable and dashing dogs have surely made for interesting subjects in painting that highlight the way that artists cherish their close relationships with their pets. From dog portraits to scenes that display the curious and loyal characters of these endearing animals, we hope that you have been inspired to pick up a paintbrush and capture your favorite little companion on canvas!



Take a look at our dog paintings webstory here!



Frequently Asked Questions


What Is the Meaning of Dogs in Art?

The appearance of dogs in art saw its development heighten from the Middle Ages and well into the Renaissance period. Dogs in art were found in paintings of hunting scenes during these periods and often symbolized fidelity, loyalty, love, protection, and guidance. Dogs are recognized as animals of companionship and appear in many artworks in Western history as status symbols, most commonly associated with the upper-class citizens of a society.


What Is Dog Portraiture?

Dog portraiture refers to a genre in portraiture aimed at capturing the likeness and character of specific dogs identified by their names. Dog portraiture thrived during the 18th century after the founding of the Kennel Club in the United Kingdom and Ireland around 1873. In 1884, the American Kennel Club was established, which was pivotal to the increasing trend in dog portraiture.


What Is the Most Famous Dog Painting?

The most famous dog painting is considered to be Dogs Playing Poker, which is a series of 18 dog paintings created by American artist Cassius Marcellus Coolidge between 1894 and 1910. The series features anthropomorphic renderings of dogs engaging in a game of poker in the same way humans would. The dog painting series are considered to be satirical since the dogs represent men and were inspired by the works of other artists with similar paintings, such as Caravaggio and Paul Cézanne.


Cite this Article

Isabella, Meyer, “Famous Dog Paintings – Explore Famous Examples of Dog Artwork.” Art in Context. February 20, 2023. URL: https://artincontext.org/famous-dog-paintings/

Meyer, I. (2023, 20 February). Famous Dog Paintings – Explore Famous Examples of Dog Artwork. Art in Context. https://artincontext.org/famous-dog-paintings/

Meyer, Isabella. “Famous Dog Paintings – Explore Famous Examples of Dog Artwork.” Art in Context, February 20, 2023. https://artincontext.org/famous-dog-paintings/.

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