500+ Best Unique Dog Tattoo Ideas (Memorial, Outline, Portrait & More)

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Canine Bible’s dog tattoo guide provides an extensive overview of everything you need to know before getting a dog tattoo and over 500 unique dog tattoo ideas for inspiration.

Whether you’re looking for a dog memorial tattoo to honor your beloved friend, a dog portrait tattoo, a cute dog tattoo outline, or a small dog tattoo idea, we bring you a curated list of the best tattoos for dog lovers.

Before jumping into the actual dog tattoo images, there are important things you should learn before getting canine-inspired ink. Let’s dive right in!

Should I Get A Dog Tattoo?

Getting a tattoo of your dog is a big deal, at least to most pet owners. It’s not a decision to take lightly. You should only get a dog tattoo after careful consideration. You need to analyze the short and long-term consequences.

What To Consider Before Getting A Dog Tattoo

Here is a rundown on ten primary considerations you should have in mind and accept before you get your paw-some dog tattoo idea inked on your skin:

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Your pain tolerance levels
  • Permanence and placement
  • Skin health issues (i.e., skin cancer)
  • Worrying about being judged
  • Unsure about the design
  • Don’t trust the tattoo artist
  • I haven’t really thought it through
  • Budget
  • The actual reason why you’re getting one

For instance, know that during pregnancy in the future, weight gain (or loss) may alter the way your dog tattoo looks on your body as the skin stretches when this happens.

Remember that tattooing involves needles pricking your skin, sometimes for up to several hours. The time you will have to tolerate this varies depending on the size and design of your dog tattoo.

How Much A Dog Tattoo Will Cost?

According to Fash’s tattoo pricing research, prices can range anywhere from $50 to $250 for a small dog tattoo like a paw print or cute dog tattoo outline. For a medium-sized tattoo like a dog portrait tattoo, expect to pay around $150 and $450. For large-sized dog tattoos (i.e., dog tattoo sleeve or full-back), prepare to pay anything from $500 to $4000 or more.

If you hire a tattoo artist, you can expect to pay $120 to $150 per hour.

Pro Tip: If you are not willing to pay at least $100 for your dog tattoo, don’t get one. High-quality tattoos are not cheap. Don’t sacrifice quality over affordable prices, especially on something that will permanently be on your skin.

These amounts are only averages and should only be used as a guide. Contact your local tattoo shop to get exact prices. Most tattoo shops require a deposit.

Factors Affecting Your Dog Tattoo Cost

Here is a list of the factors that affect the cost of getting a dog tattoo.

  • Design: The more detailed and unique the design, the more expensive 
  • Number of colors: The more colors in your doggie tattoo, the higher the price
  • Size: A larger dog tattoo requires more ink, thus increasing the price
  • Placement: Sensitive body parts have many nerves and receptors where the tattoo artist should take more caution than usual
  • Artist’s expertise: A well-known and highly skilled artist has higher rates than usual
  • Studio location: A tattoo studio located in urban areas vs. rural will charge more
  • Equipment: Pay attention to the quality of the ink brands and tattoo machines

Picking The Right Dog Tattoo Design

So, how do you come up with a dog tattoo idea (design) that you won’t hate in a few years?

You are probably thinking: “I would never hate anything related to my dog,” but believe us, the number of tragic pet tribute tattoos is real. Just google it. A dog tattoo will be there for the rest of your life, so finding the right design and artist is of utmost importance.

Choosing The Right Dog Tattoo Design

Picking a dog tattoo design can be difficult, but these next few tips will ensure you are 100% sold on your dog tattoo idea and design.

  • Make sure it has a personal connection; it matches your personality and everyday environment
  • Design your dog tattoo with all the details and elements you want before submitting it to the artist
  • Aks opinions from friends, family and even people who have their fair share of tattoos
  • Listen to your dog’s tattoo artist. They will point you in the right direction to make your dog tattoo idea come to life
  • Include your favorite colors, favorite images, and a style
  • Avoid small, intricate tattoos. They don’t age well.
  • Never make a rash decision. Do a lot of research first.

Picking The Right Dog Tattoo Artist

To help you out a little bit, we’ve come up with a list of tips on how to pick the right dog tattoo artist so your dog tattoo idea comes out the way you desired.

  • Every good artist in a tattoo shop should have a portfolio. Ask for it and scrutinize his work and compare it against other artists.
  • Ask every question possible about your concerns, including if they guarantee their work.
  • Ask what brand of ink and tattoo equipment the artist uses and research on your own.
  • Look them up on social media for reputation purposes.
  • Consider friend-recommended tattoo artists.

Picking The Right Tattoo Shop

It’s essential to do your research on the tattoo shop.

Things to look out for include cleanliness, customer service, and online reviews, including Google. Scan their social media channels and website if they have one. Learn how they handle their equipment and sanitation procedures, such as sterilization machines and disposable gloves. Check if they are using needles from sealed containers and that the pigment trays are new.

Find a reputable shop/artist with a license if your state requires one. While you may be eager to get your dog tattoo idea inked on you, if you notice the dog tattoo shop of your choice doesn’t meet the minimum requirements, it’s time to look elsewhere. Your health is the most important factor in your research.

Getting A Dog Tattoo

Here is what you need to know and do before and after getting a dog tattoo.

Pre-Tattoo Day

Make sure your skin is in great shape. Avoid getting sunburned on the area of your skin where your doggie tattoo will live. Don’t drink the day before. Alcohol thins your blood, which leads to excessive bleeding during the tattoo session. Avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, and Tylenol, as they all can thin your blood. If you have skin allergies, check with your doctor.

Tattoo Day

If you are not feeling well on the day of your tattoo, it’s best to reschedule your appointment. Follow your regular eating schedule and grooming procedures before you leave. Avoid cologne usage, and it’s not necessary to shave the part of your body that’s getting tattooed; your artist will take care of that. If you are anxious about that day, have a friend go with you.

Post-Tattoo Day

Taking care of your new dog tattoo after you leave the shop. Healing may take 2 to 6 weeks but varies from person to person. Your artist should provide you with clear, written aftercare instructions. However, according to WebMD, only seven states in the U.S. mandate shops do this. If you experience a persistent burning sensation, pus, warm and tender skin, or continued swelling several days after you get your tattoo, go to the doctor immediately.

Best Dog Tattoo Ideas (By Category)

We’ve compiled the best dog tattoo ideas from all over the internet so you can get inspiration from the best dog tattoos for dog lovers.

Dog Memorial Tattoos

Take a look at some of the most beautiful pet memorial tattoos. Use these dog tattoo ideas to create something truly special to show how much you loved your little friend and honor their memory.

Getting dog tattoos in memory of your beloved furry friend can sometimes help you bring closure.

Cherish the moments and memories you lived with your furry friend with a dog memorial dog tattoo.

Bonus dog memorial tattoo ideas!

Dog Devotion Tattoos

These dog tattoo ideas are an actual works of art and the perfect way to show your love and devotion to your furry friend.

Have you found your favorite dog devotion tattoo yet? If not, keep scrolling because we have some more ideas for you!

Here are some more devotion dog tattoo ideas!

Dog Outline Tattoos

Outline the love for your pup with these top-notch dog outline tattoo ideas!

Outline dog tattoo designs are created by drawing just the outer edges of whatever idea you’d like without any ink filling it in

Dog Portrait Tattoos

Honor your fur-ever friend with a dog portrait tattoo. Here are some of the best ideas out there.

 Dog portrait tattoos are primarily rendered in a realistic style. 

More dog portrait tattoo ideas if you haven’t found the one you like just yet.

Small Dog Tattoos

If you love the minimalistic style, these examples of small dog tattoos might be your next tattoo idea.

Small dog tattoos might be tiny, but the meaning behind them is enormous! These dog tattoo ideas might be perfect for those dog parents who don’t like big dog tattoos!

Cool Dog Tattoos

Want a dog tattoo that is stylish, original, and that no one else has? Explore these cool man’s best friend dog tattoo designs and canine ink ideas to come up with one for your one.