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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Drawing

How to Draw Animals: Dogs and Wolves, and Their Anatomy

Read Time: 11 mins
This post is part of a series called How to Draw Animals.
How to Draw Animals: Quickly Render Fur
How to Draw Animals: Horses, Their Anatomy and Poses
Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

A dog is a man's best friend. Dogs come in every size and shape, so everyone can find their favorite breed. If you want to learn what dogs are made of and how to draw them—and also their ancestor, the wolf—you're in the right place.

This complete dog drawing tutorial will show you how to draw a dog step by step. It can also serve as inspiration if you're looking for dog logo ideas for your brand or business.

From cute dog logo ideas to modern dog logo designs, Placeit is the place to go if you need to create a logo in minutes. The Placeit logo maker helps you make a dog logo design right in your browser.

You can make a cool dog logo like this in minutes, using Placeit logo maker.You can make a cool dog logo like this in minutes, using Placeit logo maker.You can make a cool dog logo like this in minutes, using Placeit logo maker.
You can make a cool dog logo like this in minutes, using the Placeit logo maker.

Scroll down after this tutorial to find a selection of top dog logo ideas from the Placeit logo maker! And for a detailed wolf anatomy drawing tutorial, check out this resource:

What You'll Learn in this Dog Drawing Tutorial

  • How to draw a dog's skeletal structure
  • How to draw a dog's muscle structure
  • How to draw a dog's paws
  • How to draw a dog/wolf head proportionally
  • How to draw a dog/wolf eye
  • How to draw a dog's nose
  • How to draw a dog's ears
  • How to draw a dog's mouth
  • How to draw a dog's fur

It's often useful to start by gathering reference images, so feel free to browse Envato Market for photos of dogs and wolves.


1. How to Draw a Dog's Skeletal Structure

Step 1

Let's start with the base: a dog skeleton drawing. To create a believable pose, you need to understand the skeletal structure of a dog first. The problem is there are so many breeds of dog, and they differ a lot. We can solve it by going back to the past, to their common ancestor: the wolf.

drawingdogs_1-1 dog skeleton drawingdrawingdogs_1-1 dog skeleton drawingdrawingdogs_1-1 dog skeleton drawing

Step 2

We can now break up the complicated dog skeleton drawing into something simpler and easier to remember.

drawingdogs_1-2_skeleton_simplifieddrawingdogs_1-2_skeleton_simplifieddrawingdogs_1-2_skeleton_simplified

Step 3

Once we've got the structure, we can create any breed from it, and a wolf's anatomy isn't different. Before you start building your pose, though, you should first take a look at a photo reference. This is because breeds have their unique features, and you need to spot them before building a pose. Of course, it doesn't mean you'll need references all the time. You just need to understand the differences between your breed and a wolf, and you're set!

drawingdogs_1-3_breeds_differencesdrawingdogs_1-3_breeds_differencesdrawingdogs_1-3_breeds_differences

Step 4

If you want to draw a puppy, just make the head bigger. If it's a puppy of a large breed, it will also have unusually large paws.

drawingdogs_1-4_puppydrawingdogs_1-4_puppydrawingdogs_1-4_puppy

Step 5

The skeleton itself isn't the only thing that makes the pose. Joints are very important for the animal to move, so you need to understand them before drawing something other than a rigid side view. Dogs are really similar to cats here, so I suggest you take a look at the first step of my cat tutorial to find out more.

When you're sure you've learned it, you can draw your pose. This is the base of wolf anatomy drawing and dog anatomy drawing.

drawingdogs_1-5_pose_donedrawingdogs_1-5_pose_donedrawingdogs_1-5_pose_done

2. How to Draw a Dog's Muscle Structure

Step 1

To add a body to your dog, you can use simplified muscle masses. And this also applies to wolf anatomy. They're also all you need if you're drawing a long-haired dog like the Afghan Hound—nobody will see any muscles under all that hair!

drawingdogs_2-1_muscles_simplifieddrawingdogs_2-1_muscles_simplifieddrawingdogs_2-1_muscles_simplified

Step 2

In my picture, I've added simplified muscle masses for both dogs. 

drawingdogs_2-2_muscles_simplified_donedrawingdogs_2-2_muscles_simplified_donedrawingdogs_2-2_muscles_simplified_done

Step 3

If you want to draw a short-haired dog, there's more to learn. More detailed muscles also come in handy when you need to emphasize the dog's strength.

drawingdogs_2-3_musclesdrawingdogs_2-3_musclesdrawingdogs_2-3_muscles

Step 4

My little dog family is now very muscular!

drawingdogs_2-4_muscles_donedrawingdogs_2-4_muscles_donedrawingdogs_2-4_muscles_done

3. How to Draw a Dog's Paws

Step 1

Another key part of both dog and wolf anatomy drawing is the paws. Although they look very similar, hind and forepaws aren't the same, just like our hands and feet. "Hands", or the forepaws, have a thumb, called a dewclaw, and a carpal ball on the "feet", or the hind paws, called a lack.

drawingdogs_3-1_paws_human_hands_comparisondrawingdogs_3-1_paws_human_hands_comparisondrawingdogs_3-1_paws_human_hands_comparison

Step 2

Dogs, just like cats, walk on their fingertips. They don't have actual claws—they're more like nails, and they're not used for fighting.

drawingdogs_3-2_paws_skeletondrawingdogs_3-2_paws_skeletondrawingdogs_3-2_paws_skeleton

Step 3

To draw a dog paw, start with four lines bent as shown below.

drawingdogs_3-3_paw_drawingdrawingdogs_3-3_paw_drawingdrawingdogs_3-3_paw_drawing

Step 4

Add the pads.

drawingdogs_3-4_paw_drawingdrawingdogs_3-4_paw_drawingdrawingdogs_3-4_paw_drawing

Step 5

You can now draw the contours of the paw and add the nails. Don't make them pointy and sharp. They wear down all the time, as they can't be retracted like a cat's claw.

drawingdogs_3-5_paw_drawingdrawingdogs_3-5_paw_drawingdrawingdogs_3-5_paw_drawing

Step 6

Cover the paw with fur, leaving the pads visible.

drawingdogs_3-6_paw_drawingdrawingdogs_3-6_paw_drawingdrawingdogs_3-6_paw_drawing

Step 7

Here's how to create a paw from the front:

drawingdogs_3-7_paw_drawing_frontdrawingdogs_3-7_paw_drawing_frontdrawingdogs_3-7_paw_drawing_front

Step 8

My dogs now have cute paws!

drawingdogs_3-8_paws_donedrawingdogs_3-8_paws_donedrawingdogs_3-8_paws_done

4. How to Draw a Dog/Wolf Head Proportionally

Step 1

Now for the next lesson in dog anatomy for artists: the head. We'll start with a wolf head and work from there for different breeds. Draw a circle first.

drawingdogs_4-1_headdrawingdogs_4-1_headdrawingdogs_4-1_head

Step 2

Add a muzzle.

drawingdogs_4-2_headdrawingdogs_4-2_headdrawingdogs_4-2_head

Step 3

Draw a symbolic nose at the bottom of the muzzle.

drawingdogs_4-3_headdrawingdogs_4-3_headdrawingdogs_4-3_head

Step 4

Sketch the contours of the skull.

drawingdogs_4-4_headdrawingdogs_4-4_headdrawingdogs_4-4_head

Step 5

Add ears on the top of the head.

drawingdogs_4-5_headdrawingdogs_4-5_headdrawingdogs_4-5_head

Step 6

Then add the forehead.

drawingdogs_4-6_headdrawingdogs_4-6_headdrawingdogs_4-6_head

Step 7

Now you can place the eyes between the forehead lines. The central line of the circle should cross them right through the middle.

drawingdogs_4-7_headdrawingdogs_4-7_headdrawingdogs_4-7_head

Step 8

If you want to draw a puppy, you need to change this scheme a bit:

  • The eyes are going to be rounder and placed under the central horizontal line.
  • The muzzle can be rounder and shorter too.
  • The ears should be soft and easily folded.
drawingdogs_4-8_puppy_headdrawingdogs_4-8_puppy_headdrawingdogs_4-8_puppy_head

Step 9

If you want to draw the profile of a dog's head, you'll need different guide lines. Start with a circle again and add a muzzle.

drawingdogs_4-9_head_profiledrawingdogs_4-9_head_profiledrawingdogs_4-9_head_profile

Step 10

Attach the nose on the tip of the muzzle.

drawingdogs_4-10_head_profiledrawingdogs_4-10_head_profiledrawingdogs_4-10_head_profile

Step 11

Add the ear.

drawingdogs_4-11_head_profiledrawingdogs_4-11_head_profiledrawingdogs_4-11_head_profile

Step 12

Use additional guide lines to find a place for the eye.

drawingdogs_4-12_head_profiledrawingdogs_4-12_head_profiledrawingdogs_4-12_head_profile

Step 13

But what about all the breeds? Most of them aren't really similar to a wolf. Well, that's not a problem—just modify the size of the elements of the head, adjust the space between eyes, and so on.

When looking at a reference, locate the big circle and its central lines, and check all the proportions. Most likely it'll all stay in your mind after your first try!

drawingdogs_4-13_head_profiledrawingdogs_4-13_head_profiledrawingdogs_4-13_head_profile

Step 14

I added heads to my dogs.

drawingdogs_4-14_head_donedrawingdogs_4-14_head_donedrawingdogs_4-14_head_done

5. How to Draw a Dog/Wolf Eye

Step 1

Eyes are another key part of dog anatomy for artists. Let's draw an oval first.

drawingdogs_5-1_eyedrawingdogs_5-1_eyedrawingdogs_5-1_eye

Step 2

Add the rims of the eyelids.

drawingdogs_5-2_eyedrawingdogs_5-2_eyedrawingdogs_5-2_eye

Step 3

Add the corners of the eye.

drawingdogs_5-3_eyedrawingdogs_5-3_eyedrawingdogs_5-3_eye

Step 4

Draw the pupil. Remember, its size depends on the amount of light.

drawingdogs_5-4_eyedrawingdogs_5-4_eyedrawingdogs_5-4_eye

Step 5

Draw light areas around the eye. Think of them as eyelids and eyebrows.

drawingdogs_5-5_eyedrawingdogs_5-5_eyedrawingdogs_5-5_eye

Step 6

To create depth, add a shadow under the upper eyelid (it's placed forward), between both light areas, and inside the eye itself.

drawingdogs_5-6_eyedrawingdogs_5-6_eyedrawingdogs_5-6_eye

Step 7

To draw an eye in profile, start with a teardrop rather than an oval. The rest is pretty much the same.

You know how to draw a wolf eye now. The main difference between the wolf and dog eye is the eyelids' rims aren't always so dark as dogs, and their eyes are also rounder (so a bit of the eyeball white can be visible). The most popular color for dogs' eyes is brown, while wolves have mostly amber/yellow eyes (and never blue!).

drawingdogs_5-7_eye_sidedrawingdogs_5-7_eye_sidedrawingdogs_5-7_eye_side

6. How to Draw a Dog's Nose

Step 1

Next in this dog anatomy drawing tutorial: the nose. It's pretty easy! Start with an anchor, then draw a fin at the top of it. Now just close the shape and draw the nostrils shaped like commas. It's done!

drawingdogs_6-1_nosedrawingdogs_6-1_nosedrawingdogs_6-1_nose

Step 2

If you want to draw a nose in profile, draw only a half of the anchor and the fin, and attach a ball to it.

drawingdogs_6-2_nosedrawingdogs_6-2_nosedrawingdogs_6-2_nose

7. How to Draw a Dog's Ears

Step 1

The ancestor of dogs, the wolf, has pointed ears, and they still can be found in many breeds. They're quite easy to draw. The hairier the dog, the fluffier the ears (compare a German Shepherd and Alaskan Malamute).

drawingdogs_7-1_ears_pointeddrawingdogs_7-1_ears_pointeddrawingdogs_7-1_ears_pointed

Step 2

So, where do floppy ears come from? All puppies are born with floppy ears, as the structures supporting them aren't developed yet. Dogs have been bred to become more friendly and sociable than wolves, so humans wanted them to have a wolf-puppy-like personality. As a result, we've got adult dogs with puppy features—playful, curious, immature, and sometimes, with soft, floppy ears.

When drawing floppy ears, just keep in mind their origin. Start with a rigid base and then break it. Also, remember that in the breeding process, some floppy ears become much longer and wider, losing their typical triangular shape. See, for example, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

drawingdogs_7-2_ears_floppydrawingdogs_7-2_ears_floppydrawingdogs_7-2_ears_floppy

8. How to Draw a Dog's Mouth

Step 1

Dogs use their mouths to prevent overheating, so panting is pretty normal for them. Also, drawing a dog with an open mouth will help you create a cute, natural smile. So look at the picture below and remember the layers. It's important when creating a realistic dog mouth!

drawingdogs_8-1_mouthdrawingdogs_8-1_mouthdrawingdogs_8-1_mouth

Step 2

I added all the elements of the dog's face.

drawingdogs_8-2_head_donedrawingdogs_8-2_head_donedrawingdogs_8-2_head_done

9. How to Draw a Dog's Fur

If you want to learn about drawing fur, check out my tutorial all about drawing fur. Here I'll just show you how important fur is for the silhouette. Notice that the dogs below are the same size. Always start with a pose and simplified muscles before drawing the fur to avoid mistakes. Also, the shorter the fur, the more attention you'll need to pay to the muscles.

drawingdogs_9-1_furdrawingdogs_9-1_furdrawingdogs_9-1_fur
drawingdogs_9-1_fur2drawingdogs_9-1_fur2drawingdogs_9-1_fur2

Woof! Your Dog Drawing Is Done!

Thanks for staying with me and learning how to draw dogs and wolves. There are so many breeds to cover, but with some basic knowledge of their structure, you can draw any dog you wish! Until next time, happy drawing.

5 Top Dog Logo Designs From the Placeit Logo Maker

You know how to draw a dog and everything about the dog anatomy drawing process. Now, if you need dog logo ideas, we've got you covered as well.

You don't need design software to create professional dog logos. You can make amazing dog logo designs from your browser, using the Placeit logo maker.

Just create an account, choose the dog logo you like the most, customize it in minutes, and download it. That's it. Here's a selection of dog logo ideas to get you started:

1. Cute Dog Logo Brand for Pet Accessories

Cute Dog Logo Brand for Pet AccessoriesCute Dog Logo Brand for Pet AccessoriesCute Dog Logo Brand for Pet Accessories

Opening a pet shop? You need a cute dog logo brand template like this. This dog logo features a cute drawing of a dog holding a frisbee and a clear brand name. Easily customize the text and colors in the Placeit logo maker.

2. Simple and Cute Dog Walking Logo

Simple and Cute Dog Walking LogoSimple and Cute Dog Walking LogoSimple and Cute Dog Walking Logo

Promote your walking dog services with this cute dog walking logo. If you don't like this dog drawing icon, you can choose from other dog icons in the logo maker. You can play with the text and colors until you like the result.

3. Dog Logo Design for a Children's Boutique

Dog Logo Design for a Children's BoutiqueDog Logo Design for a Children's BoutiqueDog Logo Design for a Children's Boutique

Dog drawings are a popular idea for children's clothing. This cute dog logo brand template is a great option if you have a business like that. It's entirely customizable in minutes.

4. Modern Dog Logo Design for a Clothing Line

Modern Dog Logo Design for a Clothing LineModern Dog Logo Design for a Clothing LineModern Dog Logo Design for a Clothing Line

On the other hand, maybe you're looking for more modern and fresh dog logo ideas. This cool dog logo could work perfectly for a streetwear brand, for example.

5. Red Dog Logo for Pet Accessories

Red Dog Logo for Pet AccessoriesRed Dog Logo for Pet AccessoriesRed Dog Logo for Pet Accessories

If you like simple dog logos, you'll like this red dog logo for pet accessories. It features a realistic dog's head on a red background. Customize the text to reflect your brand and create a cool red dog logo!

Discover More Drawing and Logo Design Inspiration

I hope you've enjoyed this thorough dog anatomy drawing tutorial, complete with awesome dog logo ideas. Before you leave, explore more drawing and logo resources from Envato Tuts+:

Editorial Note: This post has been updated with contributions from Maria Villanueva. Maria is the Associate Editor of the Tuts+ Design channel.

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