Zoologist, media consultant, and science writer, Dr Karl Shuker is also one of the best known cryptozoologists in the world. He is the author of such seminal works as Mystery Cats of the World (1989), The Lost Ark: New and Rediscovered Animals of the 20th Century (1993; greatly expanded in 2012 as The Encyclopaedia of New and Rediscovered Animals), Dragons: A Natural History (1995), In Search of Prehistoric Survivors (1995), The Unexplained (1996), From Flying Toads To Snakes With Wings (1997), Mysteries of Planet Earth (1999), The Hidden Powers of Animals (2001), The Beasts That Hide From Man (2003), Extraordinary Animals Revisited (2007), Dr Shuker's Casebook (2008), Karl Shuker's Alien Zoo: From the Pages of Fortean Times (2010), Cats of Magic, Mythology, and Mystery (2012), Mirabilis: A Carnival of Cryptozoology and Unnatural History (2013), Dragons in Zoology, Cryptozoology, and Culture (2013), The Menagerie of Marvels (2014), A Manifestation of Monsters (2015), Here's Nessie! (2016), and what is widely considered to be his cryptozoological magnum opus, Still In Search Of Prehistoric Survivors (2016) - plus, very excitingly, his first two long-awaited, much-requested ShukerNature blog books (2019, 2020).

Dr Karl Shuker's Official Website - http://www.karlshuker.com/index.htm

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Monday, 2 March 2009


Sam, my West Highland white terrier, as a puppy (Dr Karl Shuker)

Much as I like cryptozoology, my interests in animal mysteries and anomalies are not entirely limited to that field, as many of you know - which is why my blog is entitled ShukerNature, rather than ShukerCrypto or suchlike. So here, just for a change, is a departure into animal symbolism and mysticism.


Bearing in mind that the dog was first domesticated by humanity around 9500 years ago and has famously become 'man's best friend' in the animal world, it is hardly surprising that our dreams should often contain canine incursions - or, as a scholar of classical Greek mythology may prefer to dub them, the hounds of Morpheus. But do these visitations have any symbolic significance? Could they comprise subconscious messages - even warnings, perhaps?

As will be seen, according to the traditional lore and legends associated with dream divining, the answers to such questions depend upon a variety of different factors. These include the identity of the owner of the dog featured in your dream, the dog's behaviour towards you, its activities, and even its specific breed or morphological appearance.


Symbolically, the dog personifies loyalty, faithfulness, friendship, and affection. Generally speaking, these traits are also personified by a dog encountered by you in a dream - provided that, in your dream, you are the dog's owner. If your dream dog is in good health, this is supposedly a reflection of your finances' healthy outlook. Similarly, if it should play with you in an affectionate manner, this indicates an impending improvement in your fortunes, and success with any romantic liaison that you may enter into in the near future.

Indeed, so potent is the benevolence represented by a dream dog owned by you that even if it should disturb you by barking or snarling at you, this simply means that you will achieve success against scheming, treacherous false friends. That, at least, was the opinion of Thomas Tryon, a celebrated 17th Century dream diviner from Bilbury, Gloucestershire, and author of A Treatise of Dreams and Visions... (1695). Tryon also claimed that if your dream dog tears your clothes, this should be taken as a warning that one of your enemies is saying bad things about you or even threatening your job.

If the dog in your dream is owned by someone else (particularly a stranger), however, it supposedly represents a profound enemy, and should be treated with great care.


Paying close attention to the activities of a dream dog provides important clues to the nature of the message conveyed by its visitation, at least according to the lore of dream-divining.

For example, a dog seen swimming implies that good fortune and happiness lie easily within your grasp; and your future undertakings will surely be successful if you dream of taking a journey alone but with a dog following closely behind you. Equally, if you should be approached in a dream by a friendly dog, especially a white one, success in your romantic or business life will soon come to you. Conversely, if a black dog should approach you, beware - this is not a good omen. Indeed, this interpretation probably stems from the age-old legends of phantom Black Dogs, whose appearances often presage disaster or death. Similarly, dreaming of a howling dog is said to be unlucky - no doubt derived from primitive, fanciful superstitions offering equally woeful claims regarding dogs baying mournfully at the moon.

Dreaming of dogs engaged in hunting other animals, such as foxes, allegedly prophecies an unexpected increase in the speed of your future undertakings. And a dream featuring a dog killing a snake is said to symbolise good luck (for you, if not for the snake!). But if you should be bitten by a dog in your dream, then you will suffer a loss - or, at the very least, be deceived by your loved one. So make sure that you don't tease a dream dog!


According to the early dream interpreters, different breeds, sizes, and types of dream dog had very different meanings - most of them notably moralistic.

For instance, a pursuing bloodhound should be taken as a warning that you are about to face a great temptation, which, if succumbed to, could cause great problems for you. Moreover, if you should be startled by the sudden appearance of a sizeable mastiff, this symbolises a considerable inconvenience that you will experience if attempting to better yourself in the future. Nor should you feel comforted by a seemingly innocuous, pleasing dream featuring one or more fancy pet dogs, because such a dream would expose you as a vain, selfish exhibitionist, overly fond of ostentation. And dreaming of small dogs is supposedly a reflection of inherent small-mindedness and frivolity! Chihuahuas, take note!

Not surprisingly, the appearance of a mad, rabid dog in a dream traditionally represents a failure to succeed (as does an unkempt or emaciated dog), and even the impending onset of some dire illness. But who would have guessed that a many-headed Cerberus-lookalike personifies your frustrated attempts to achieve too many goals at once?


As a rule, the domestic dog's wild relations do not fare very well at the hands of the dream diviner. Should you ever dream of encountering a wolf, for instance, this dream is reputedly warning you that one of your business associates not only is a thief, but also is someone who cannot be trusted with secrets, as he or she will betray you if the opportunity presents itself. If you dream of hearing a wolf howl, this indicates that there is a secret alliance of rivals seeking to overcome you, albeit honestly, in future business deals.

As may be anticipated, dream foxes epitomise slyness, but also envy and betrayal by your working associates. And if you chase a fox in your dream, this is traditionally interpreted as a prediction that you are about to pursue a risky professional or romantic course of action. Even a tame, friendly fox should not be trusted in a dream, or so they say.

So when you next dream about a dog, remember that it may portend some highly significant event in your future. Alternatively, of course, it may simply mean that you like dogs!


  1. Thanks Karl! That is an awesome post! I often dream about dogs, normally my own dog, but also strange dogs.

  2. Hi Lesley, Glad you like it. My blog is enabling me to write about unusual animal-related subjects beyond just cryptozoology, and I'm delighted that there are others out there who share these extra interests of mine. All the best, Karl

  3. Very interesting post!

    Is there anything you can say about dream cats - maybe large cats?

    I've been divining my own dreams for about 10 years now, and I have some ideas along these lines, but it'd be nice to hear your take on it, too.

    Terri in Joburg

  4. Hi Terri, I'll see what I can uncover - I like the idea of blogging on dream cats - so keep checking back here. All the best, Karl

  5. Im needing some help to understand a dream with an animal that look a little bit like a dog, but probaly is not one, ?

  6. I just dream about rabid dog with blood in their mouth biting my hand off. ;_;

  7. I would like to thank you as well Karl:) I owned a dog for a couple of years and I love that dog. He was the most wonderful and gentle dog I have ever encountered. Last night when I had my dream last night, Hero (that was my dogs name when I had him), came around a corner and jumped into my arms and started licking me. He was wearing the same collar he left in and he was fat, his fur was beautiful, the white was really white. It was a great dream for me and I don't regret adopting him out. Thanks again Karl.

  8. Hi Leslie, Thanks for your post and I'm glad that you enjoyed my blog on dogs in dreams. All the best, Karl

  9. Dr. Shuker,

    This is quite an interesting post. I'm currently working on a painting and planning to incorporate the dream I had. However, my dream did not really consist of one dog, or any specific dog, but a whole army of wild rabid dogs. I vaguely remember the color, which I want to say, they were just random brownish dogs. All rabid. However, I and others are in this building which the dogs cannot get in as long as nobody opens the door. Apparently three injured dogs are found and tossed outside of the building which in turn the rabid dogs instantly attack, kill, & eat. Although sounds scary, I was not actually fearful in the dream. I do own a dog, but I actually do not think he was in the dream. I'm not sure what all this may mean, but I thought I would possibly get your interpretation. Thanks!


  10. Came across your post while searching for clues i had in my dream a few days ago. Would be interested in knowing what you make of my dream.

  11. Good day to you doctor.this was a great post on dreaming about dogs..but it kinda got me confused.in my dream that made look up this info;I indeed had a black dog..but didn't seem fit what you said.in my dream I pulled up at a beach with my daughter and a black dog.not anytype of fancy dog but more of a common knee hight dog.at the beach the dogs back was filled with sand.so I picked him up and went into the water with him.we both stayed in the water for about 3 mins...and to elaborate a little more I was holding the dog against my torso like a baby.while we were in the water he was scratching me with his nails.I was not bleeding or anything but I felt the scratches.can you please help me understand the meaning of this dream;because from my studies I understand that all dreams have meanings to them.thanks doc. Jon

  12. I had a dream of a beautiful little friendly dog, that in the dream was extremely dear to me, the dog was in the garden and we were playing and it was so sweet, and then, all of a sudden the dog went missing.. at this stage my dream turned into a nightmare, this beautiful white dog of mine was gone, I was frantically searching for it, but.. woke up, and woke up very upset indeed - I have really been thinking about this all day, I am worried.. what may this mean? Anna

  13. I dreamed of three black dogs sitting on my legs. I felt like I was suffocating and could not breathe in their presence. I started to pray and they disappeared. What do you think this means?

  14. Thank you Karl i had the dream about a white sweet,gently beautiful dog following me and during the dream it dissapeared and i searched it and i heard by someone from my village it went not far from home which is 4 houses from my home and when i was on my way to get it i woke up without getting it where it was is there any significance with this dream? thank you in advance.

  15. Hi Karl,

    I had a dream of a snake on one side and a black dog on the other. Dog has been asking me to work hard or get bitten. What does that mean?