How to Draw a Dog

how to draw a dog

A dog is a man’s best friend, and we will learn how to draw a dog in a way that is easy, correct, and detailed enough to get the focus points correctly.

This article will teach you how to draw a dog step by step, beginning with sketches. After sketches, we will go further to draw the skeleton and then fill in the body. 

You will also learn how to draw a dog face in successive paragraphs so that you can tell at one glance that it is a dog and not a cat or any other animal with a similar structure.

Let us begin our art lesson and discover 9 steps to draw a dog.

How to Draw a Dog Step by Step

dog drawing
  1. Begin with quick sketches
  2. Draw the Skeletal Structure
  3. Draw the Muscles
  4. Draw the Face
  5. Pay Attention to the Muzzle
  6. Shape the Ears
  7. Draw the Dog’s Body
  8. Focus on Fur Color and Pattern
  9. Finish up with More Definitions

You can complete the whole guide with pencil and paper or use computer software like Adobe Illustrator.

1. Begin with quick sketches

The sketching phase helps you to understand the anatomy of a dog and what lies under the final details people get to see. 

Focusing on sketches might seem uninteresting, especially when you are excited about going into the details. But you must pay attention to the sketching phase.

Sketch dogs in several poses using Google photos as a reference to understand how the anatomy comes together.

2. Draw the Skeletal Structure 

If you want to draw a dog that has all the correct proportions and structures intact, you must master the skeletal framework.

Focus on the skeleton of the dog in any pose you choose. When drawing the skeletal structure, focus the pelvis bone, skull, and rib cage; you can use straight lines to represent the spine, limbs, and tails.

Ensure to take special note of the dog’s feet, how the legs carry their weight with the front and back legs. 

3. Draw the Muscles 

Understanding the muscle of the dog you plan to draw will help you follow the muscle structure of that particular breed. For example, dogs like Afghan hounds have lots of furs that it is hard to see the muscles unless you feel for it. German shepherds, on the other hand, don’t have so much fur, so the muscles are visible. 

4. Draw the Face

Learning how to draw a dog face starts by deciding whether to sketch the face from a side view or straight on. It is advisable to draw the dog straight on as it will help you get the proportions correctly.

Pay attention to the position of the eyes and ensure to place the nose proportionately to the eyes. Remember that the eye closer to the viewer should look larger than the farther one.

5. Pay Attention to the Muzzle

Different dog breeds have varying muzzle lengths; study the dog you are drawing to ensure you give it a small muzzle or prominent muzzle to suit its breed.

If you give a dog the wrong muzzle when drawing, it can change the entire look and identity of the dog. 

6. Shape the Ears 

It is crucial to observe the shape of a dog’s head when drawing the ears and pay attention to perspective.

Understand how ears join to the head at their base and ensure the shapes of both ears are constant, except you are opting to do otherwise for specific reasons.

7. Draw the Dog’s Body

Since we have gotten the muscles earlier, this step is to add the skin and fur in the exact pattern it is on a real dog. Some parts of a dog’s body have thicker or longer furs than others, so avoid using the same stroke and thickness all through.

8. Focus on Fur Color and Pattern

Although you are most likely doing a black and white sketch, you should use light and dark strokes when shading to do justice to the fur pattern. It is advisable to use lighter strokes on the dog’s backs to create a form of lighting effect.

Every dog breed has different fur patterns and colors, and while you might be able to recreate all the tones and shades, you can use your pencil to ensure you are creating a very close image to the original thing.

9. Finish up with More Definitions

The final step is to put finishing touches on the entire drawing. Add shadows under the paws, add some muscles to the dog’s legs in light strokes, define the face or body to ensure that the primary physical attributes are evident. 

After adding these touch-ups, you have successfully learned how to draw a dog!


If you’re interested in drawing check our guide How to Draw a Bird.

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