How to Draw A Dog

This tutoial will show you how to draw a dog in a cartoon style. We will work step by step so you can follow along and learn how to draw dogs with muscular build and great looking fur. All it takes is 6 easy steps. So get your pencils and paper ready and let's learn how to draw a dog.

Basic Framework for The Dog

To start off the dog, I draw 2 circles. The small circle represents where I am going to place my dog’s head. The second one represents where his chest will be, and is about twice the size of the head. I’m not particularly worried at the moment as to how far away the chest is from the head, because I can, and probably will move my guide lines around a little later on as I work.

Drawing the Head

The next step in how to draw a dog is to build up the head of my dog. Using basic shapes like rectangles I can determine how I want his head to look. Using 2 triangles on the top of his head, I’ve given him tall pointy ears. Usually in a dog, this means he’s focused on something or something has grabbed his attention. I use another triangle, smaller this time to draw his cheek. This goes towards the bottom of the head guide. To draw his muzzle, I use a rectangle, slanting the ends a little; Dogs generally have a pointy muzzle, their chin is a little further back than their nose, so I draw my rectangle accordingly. I’ve decided I want his head to point upwards; whatever has grabbed his attention is above him. Lastly I draw a basic guide for his neck. The back of his neck should curve outwards a little, and his throat should curve in.

Starting the Body

Next I make another circle. This one represents his rear, and is about the same size as the one used for his head. I connect his chest and his rear with 2 more lines, making a “peanut” or “jellybean” shape. After that I finished drawing his head. I started with his ears, outlining my triangles and placing a smaller one inside the one facing us. Remember that one is behind the other! Then I drew his muzzle. I follow my guides around the edge of his face, opening his mouth into a happy doggie smile, letting his tongue fall out. I make his chin a little fluffy, to add character.

At this point in the how to draw a dog tutorial, I decided I wanted my dog to be fluffy, rather than short haired, and I draw his neck and cheek accordingly. Following my guides, I make tufts of fur using wavy triangle shapes. Lastly I gave him a face. His nose is simply a triangle shape at the tip of his muzzle, and his eye is another triangle shape with a circle in the middle. I could have also given him some whiskers or teeth at this point.

Adding the Legs and Tail

The next step in our how to draw a dog tutorial is to decide how he is standing. Using basic stick figure anatomy, I draw how I want his legs to be posed. I start with a circle at the top of each shoulder and add another where I want his elbow to be. Finally I place another larger circle where his paw is, and connect the circles using straight lines. Basically the circles represent joints, and the lines represent bones. I do the same with his back legs, only this time I use 4 circles instead of 3; his thigh, knee, ankle and paw.

A dog’s rear leg movement is similar to a human. Their knee (circle 2) bends forward, sending their lower leg backwards. Unlike humans however, dogs have a very long ankle structure. They walk on their hind paws, but sit on their paw and ankle. If this dog were sitting both circle 3 and 4 would be touching the ground, and he would be sitting on the bone in between them. A general rule when drawing hind legs is to think of it as a backwards “Z” shape. The bones bend forward-back-forward, finishing with a paw.

Lastly I draw a curved line for his tail. As the tail is made up of tiny vertebrae (like the spine) it is very flexible and can curve in virtually any direction. Just remember though it cannot make a million sharp twists and turns. Can you bend your back so it looks like a wiggly line? No. And a dog can’t make its tail do that either. The curves are gentle and stretched out, usually no more than an “S” shape.

Final Outline of the Dog

This is where out how to draw a dog tutorial really starts to come to life! Using my stick figure guides, I start to block out his legs, using rectangular shapes. Each rectangle starts and begins in the centre of a circle. I also block out his tail. By this point it is pretty obvious that he is a large breed of dog; he’s got long muscular legs, a large fluffy tail and a long body. A smaller breed of dog would have shorter legs, a shorter body and generally a smaller tail too, and I would draw the guide lines accordingly. If he were a puppy, his ears and feet would be oversized for his body, and again his legs would be shorter, putting his body much closer to the ground.

Our how to draw a dog tutorial is almost complete! Starting with his chest I followed my guides with more of the curvy triangle shapes to make him fluffy. I then outlined the guides I used for his legs, not forgetting the “dew claw” on the inside of his front paws. This is pretty much a dog’s thumb, and does not appear on the hind paws. I drew his paws using 4 ovals; the 2 in the middle are larger than the 2 on the outside. Because the legs furthest from us are facing forwards, rather than towards us, we can only see 2 of his toes.

I blocked out the rest of his body, making his belly and tail fluffy like his neck and chest and then decided to make him a little more interesting. I decided to give his coat a few markings. The underside of his body, going right to the end of his tail is now a different colour to the rest of him. I also made the bottom of his face a different colour to his body. Remember that this dog is a long furred dog, so the separation can’t be drawn with a straight line; it must look fluffy like the rest of him.

Now you can color the dog however you like. Hope you had fun learning how to draw a dog. You can check out some of our other cartoon animals at the draw cartoon animals section of our site.

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