Poems About Dogs

Poems About Dogs – Celebrating Man’s Best Friend

Man’s best friend. This is what we like to call our constant companions. They live alongside us, we feed and care for them, and many of us also simply adore them. Today, I will be going through ten different poems about dogs for this very reason. There are a number of instances of famous dog poetry, but there will also be a number of unknowns on this list. This means that this series of dog poems should be of interest to anyone who loves to have their doggy companions around, and if this sounds like you, then you should probably keep reading!



A Few Poems About Dogs

This list of dog poems does have a few big-name figures on it, but many of those big names are better known for other instances of poetry. So, it should be interesting to have a look at some of these poems to see what makes them so special. Let’s dive in with the first of our poems about dogs, and it’s by a rather famous poetic figure.

Famous Dog Poems


A Little Dog That Wags His Tail (19th Century) by Emily Dickinson 

Date Published19th century
Type of PoemLyric poem
Rhyme SchemeABCB
TopicComparison using a dog

A Little Dog That Wags His Tail is a poem that is not solely about dogs but instead makes use of the image of a dog, as well as later images of cats and mice, to draw comparisons between these animals and certain human groups. This is something that is quite commonly seen in many instances of literature that use non-human animals to make any kind of comparison. For instance, this poem shows the simple joy that a dog possesses, and it does not require any kind of complex reasons behind said joy.

You will find many other examples of comparisons of this nature in the literature that use animals because many animals extoll virtues that humans also possess.

Famous Poems About Dogs Emily Dickinson (1840) by Otis Bullard; Otis Allen Bullard, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


To Flush, My Dog (1844) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Date Published1844
Type of PoemLyric poem
Rhyme SchemeAABCCB
TopicLove for a dog

To Flush, My Dog is a poem in dedication to a dog. To many of us who have lived alongside dogs and have seen them as friends, companions, and/or members of the family, the reasons for this depiction become obvious. A dog becomes a creature we grow to have immense affection for. When it comes to poems about dogs, this is a phenomenal one for showing this particular idea in action. In addition, in specifically naming the dog, we know that this is not a dog poem about these animals in general, but rather related to an individual.

This, ironically, can make it far more universal. We may also have a specific dog in mind when we read something like this even though said dog is technically a different one.

Best Dog Poems Elizabeth Barrett Browning (nd); See Page for Author, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons


A Popular Personage at Home (Between 1865 and 1928) by Thomas Hardy

Date PublishedBetween 1865 and 1928
Type of PoemNarrative poem
Rhyme SchemeABAB
MeterIambic tetrameter
TopicPerspective of a dog

A Popular Personage at Home is a great example of the kinds of poems about dogs that can be produced because it is not simply about a dog, but rather from the perspective of a dog. This dog is named Wessex, and the entire poem relates some of his thoughts about his place in the world. He does not know how he came to guard this house, but that has been his duty for a long time, and it is one that he has taken to for many years.

He also thinks about the humans that he allows to “live here with me”, which shows how the perspective of humans and those of animals can differ from one another.

Happy Dog Poems Thomas Hardy (1923) by Reginald Grenville Eves; Reginald Grenville Eves, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons 


Tray (1879) by Robert Browning

Date Published1879
Type of PoemNarrative poem
Rhyme SchemeVariable
TopicDog heroism

Tray is a poem about heroism. When we think of texts that celebrate heroic acts, we tend to think of a very specific type, and this poem knows that. The poem uses the imagery of grand knights but juxtaposes that against a dog. In this narrative instance of famous dog poetry, the text depicts a child who has fallen into a stream and needs to be rescued, but no humans do so. Instead, a dog, who has no thoughts of heroism, jumps in to rescue the child.

The poem allows us to examine the anthropocentric mindset that we usually have with regard to the idea of heroism and how non-humans can also be heroic.

Sad Dog Poems Robert Browning (1858) by Michele Gordigiani; Michele Gordigiani, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons 


How a Puppy Grows (Between 1881 and 1958) by Leroy F. Jackson

Date PublishedBetween 1881 and 1958
Type of PoemChildren’s poem
Rhyme SchemeVariable
TopicThe growth of a puppy

How a Puppy Grows is a poem intended for children, and it has a very simple topic that it explores, and that is the growth of a puppy. It humorously discusses how a puppy grows by focusing on the various parts of the animal’s body, such as the tail, nose, and tummy. The poem does not have some deeper meaning but is instead written to be purely enjoyable. And who among us does not simply love a puppy?

So, perhaps there does not need to be anything deeper than simply knowing that this creature will grow and become an adult in time.

Modern Dog Poems Illustration from The Peter Patter Book: Rhymes for Children (1918) by Leroy F. Jackson; Internet Archive Book Images, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons


The Power of the Dog (1922) by Rudyard Kipling

Date Published1922
Type of PoemNarrative poem
Rhyme SchemeAABBCC
TopicRelationship between humans and dogs

The Power of the Dog is probably one of the best-known poems about dogs as it was written by one of the most famous colonial writers of the early 20th century. This poem is an exploration of the relationship that exists between humans and dogs, and so it is not necessarily unique among dog poems. However, the poem does discuss the way in which dogs do not live all that long and that despite such a short length of time spent in this world, they can fill it with such immense joy while they are alive.

And then, of course, they can fill it with sadness after they have passed.

Listing Poems About Dogs Rudyard Kipling (1891) by John Collier; John Collier, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


The Dog (Between 1931 and 1971) by Ogden Nash

Date PublishedBetween 1931 and 1971
Type of PoemShort poem
Rhyme SchemeAABB
TopicThe affection of dogs

The Dog is a simple poem that explores the affection of dogs. It states that they are “full of love”, and that the most loving dog is also a wet dog. This poem is not intended to be all that serious.

The short duration, as well as the use of the made-up term “lovingest”, makes this a great instance of children’s poetry too.

Modern Poems About Dogs Ogden Nash (1949); Los Angeles Daily News, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Dog (1958) by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Date Published1958
Type of PoemFree verse
Rhyme SchemeNone
TopicA dog’s perspective

Dog is a poem that is, in the tradition of poems about dogs, a little different. It does indeed focus on a dog’s perspective, but this perspective is used to explore much of the human world from an investigative and darker perspective. For instance, the dog wanders the streets and sees drunk humans, cats, cops, and various other parts of humanity.

He has no use for any of these things as humans do and so he continues to wander.

Dog Poems Lawrence Ferlinghetti (2012) by Christopher Michel; Cmichel67, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


A Dog Has Died (1974) by Pablo Neruda

Date Published1974
Type of PoemFree verse
Rhyme SchemeNone
TopicElegy for a dog

A Dog Has Died is probably one of the most famous dog poetry examples as it is written by one of the most notable poets of the late 20th century. In terms of poems about dogs, the examination of the death of a dog is not unusual. We are all destined to eventually die, and dogs are no different, and this poem serves as an elegy for a dog who has died.

The poem celebrates the life of this dog while exploring ideas around companionship and the afterlife.

Famous Dog Poetry Portrait of Pablo Neruda (1967) by Annemarie Heinrich; Annemarie Heinrich (1912-2005), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


The Dog and Wolf (20th Century) by Marmaduke Park

Date Published20th century
Type of PoemNarrative poem
Rhyme SchemeAABB
MeterIambic tetrameter
TopicWolves and dogs

The Dog and Wolf is a poem about civilization versus the natural world, and it can be seen as an example of the poems about dogs listed above, but it is also a wolf poem. The text depicts a conversation between a wolf and a dog. The wolf has to struggle to survive while the dog is provided with food and cared for. The wolf eventually realizes that this comfort comes at the cost of freedom though. This is a great instance of dog poetry because it examines the existence of dogs themselves rather than simply their existence in relation to humans, such as those other dog poems that explore how dogs can be heroic or have love for the humans they live beside.


This indicates the end of our list of dog poems. There are many other examples of poems about dogs out there, but this series of ten instances should be enough to tide you over for a while. However, if you seek other examples of famous dog poetry, you may need to keep looking on your own to see what you can find, but there certainly are many examples out there that are worth reading!




Frequently Asked Questions


What Are Poems About Dogs?

In short, poems about dogs are simply poems that involve dogs in some or another way. A dog poem does not need to be about a specific dog or anything specific about a dog. This deliberate broadness means that a poem about a dog could be a sonnet, an elegy, or any other poetic form. The sky’s the limit with regard to what can be a poem about dogs.


What Are the Characteristics of Dog Poems?

When it comes to poems about dogs, there are no real rules or characteristics at play. For instance, a poem that eulogizes a dead dog will likely make use of characteristics in keeping with the tradition of elegies whereas a limerick about a dog will likely be humorous. So, it depends entirely on the poem in question, and all that unifies poems about dogs is that they are about dogs.


What Are Some of the Most Famous Dog Poetry?

There are quite a few instances of famous dog poetry, but many are simply famous because of who wrote them. A few examples include Tray (1879) by Robert Browning, The Power of the Dog (1922) by Rudyard Kipling, and Dog (1958) by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. However, there are many other examples of poems about dogs out in the world.


Cite this Article

Justin, van Huyssteen, “Poems About Dogs – Celebrating Man’s Best Friend.” Art in Context. March 13, 2024. URL: https://artincontext.org/poems-about-dogs/

van Huyssteen, J. (2024, 13 March). Poems About Dogs – Celebrating Man’s Best Friend. Art in Context. https://artincontext.org/poems-about-dogs/

van Huyssteen, Justin. “Poems About Dogs – Celebrating Man’s Best Friend.” Art in Context, March 13, 2024. https://artincontext.org/poems-about-dogs/.

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