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.
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
1. How to Draw a Dog's Skeletal Structure
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.
We can now break up the complicated dog skeleton drawing into something simpler and easier to remember.
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!
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.
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.
2. How to Draw a Dog's Muscle Structure
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!
In my picture, I've added simplified muscle masses for both dogs.
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.
My little dog family is now very muscular!
3. How to Draw a Dog's Paws
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.
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.
To draw a dog paw, start with four lines bent as shown below.
Add the pads.
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.
Cover the paw with fur, leaving the pads visible.
Here's how to create a paw from the front:
My dogs now have cute paws!
4. How to Draw a Dog/Wolf Head Proportionally
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.
Add a muzzle.
Draw a symbolic nose at the bottom of the muzzle.
Sketch the contours of the skull.
Add ears on the top of the head.
Then add the forehead.
Now you can place the eyes between the forehead lines. The central line of the circle should cross them right through the middle.
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.
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.
Attach the nose on the tip of the muzzle.
Add the ear.
Use additional guide lines to find a place for the eye.
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!
I added heads to my dogs.
5. How to Draw a Dog/Wolf Eye
Eyes are another key part of dog anatomy for artists. Let's draw an oval first.
Add the rims of the eyelids.
Add the corners of the eye.
Draw the pupil. Remember, its size depends on the amount of light.
Draw light areas around the eye. Think of them as eyelids and eyebrows.
To create depth, add a shadow under the upper eyelid (it's placed forward), between both light areas, and inside the eye itself.
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!).
6. How to Draw a Dog's Nose
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!
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.
7. How to Draw a Dog's Ears
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).
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.
8. How to Draw a Dog's Mouth
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!
I added all the elements of the dog's face.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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+:
- How to Draw a Wolf Step by StepMonika Zagrobelna28 Nov 2021
- How to Draw Animals: Cats and Their AnatomyMonika Zagrobelna13 Dec 2021
- How to Draw a Unicorn Step by StepMonika Zagrobelna12 Jul 2021
- Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Basic Body ProportionsJoumana Medlej19 Jun 2021
- 40+ Best Typography Logo Design Ideas (Using an Online Typography Logo Maker)Nona Blackman21 Jun 2021
- 30+ Best Logo Design Templates for Creative Business BrandingSean Hodge02 Nov 2021
- 30 Best Bar & Night Club Logo Design Ideas (Inspiration for 2023)Andrew Childress08 Dec 2022
- 36 Best Animated Logo Designs (Using an Animated Logo Maker)Nona Blackman22 Apr 2021
Editorial Note: This post has been updated with contributions from Maria Villanueva. Maria is the Associate Editor of the Tuts+ Design channel.