6 Famous Dog Paintings

dalmatian puppy covered in paint with a paintbrush

Dogs have been described as man’s best friend for hundreds of years and mentions of dogs’ companionship can be found in literature throughout the ages. It only makes sense that artists throughout history would have immortalized dogs in their art, too. Here are some of the most famous dog paintings:

1. A Friend in Need 1903 – C.M. Coolidge

Easily recognized as one of the most popular dog paintings, this painting features dogs sitting around a table playing poker. It is often spotted in pubs, restaurants, and a variety of other places.

It is often referred to as “Dogs Playing Poker”, despite the title making no mention of poker. This painting features a pair of English Bulldogs playing poker against 5 larger hounds. If you look closely, one bulldog is one Ace short of having 4 aces in his hand.

2. The Dog – Francisco Goya

Aptly titled, The Dog by Fransico Goya is a painting that is widely known. Goya was one of the most famous Romantic Spanish painters of the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Dog features a dog gazing upward at a reddish sky with a look of trepidation or loneliness on their face. Only the dog’s head is visible; their body is covered by sand or some other type of land. The breed of the dog is unclear, but they have black fur with shorter, floppy ears.

3. A Jack in Office – Sir Edwin Landseer

A Jack in Office was painted by Sir Edwin Landseer in 1883. This painting features a Jack Russell Terrier surrounded by other dogs. The Jack Russell Terrier sitting on a pedestal has been fed to an unhealthy weight while the other dogs are quite skinny and sad, and are scrounging around for food scraps.

This painting is a critique of the systems of power that enable the rich to get richer while the poor fend for themselves with no hope of overcoming the system.

4. King Charles Spaniel – Manet

Eduard Manet was a famous French painter during the Impressionist era. He was known as one of the first painters from this era to paint things from real life rather than religious scenes or symbols.

This particular painting of the King Charles Spaniel is a dignified portrayal of the small dog. They are seated on a red cushion and are looking directly at the painter. They give off an air of royalty, and Manet’s brushstrokes add to the regalness of the painting.

5. Julie Manet and Her Greyhound Laertes – Berthe Morisot

Another painting from the Impressionist Era, Julie Manet and Her Greyhound Laertes was painted by Berthe Morisot in 1893. This painting features a woman seated on a pink cushion with her greyhound standing in front of her.

6. Portrait of Maurice – Andy Warhol

While famous for his painting of 32 Campbells’ soup cans, Andy Warhol also painted a tribute to his friend’s dog, Maurice. Warhol led the charge into what is known as Pop Art, which is a combination of celebrity and advertising, mixed with artistic expression.

Warhol adopted a lovable Dachshund named Archie, and he traveled everywhere with Warhol. A Portrait of Maurice was painted in 1976 for his friend, Gabrielle Keller. Keller also was a Dachshund lover and had a Dachshund named Maurice. The painting features Maurice’s face painted in purple and pink and in Warhol’s Pop art signature style.

These are just a few of the most famous dog paintings. Dogs are obviously an important part of our lives, as showcased here by these paintings!