Learn How to Draw a Dog in 8 Simple Steps

  • By: Michael Smith
  • Date: September 26, 2023
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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Today we will learn how to draw a dog and will try to depict the animals of popular breeds in different poses.

Materials for Simple Dog Drawing

We will need:

  • graphite pencils of different hardness
  • paper for sketches
  • eraser
  • pastel or colored pencils.


To understand how to draw a realistic dog and avoid blunders, we should examine the simplified scheme of the dog`s constitution. It will be easier to remember if we use the analogy with the human body.

The Analogy with the Human Body

You should pay great attention to the legs, the number of joints, and the way how and where they bend. A dog and a man have the same number of joints in the limbs and they function similarly: the elbows bend forward, the knees – back, there are the shoulder and the hips, which move in different directions, there are the heels and the wrists – they can bend and unbend back and forth.

The analogy will help you remember, understand and depict dogs in different poses properly.

The dog`s skull is greatly extended forward in the area of the jaw and nose. The length, thickness, and flattened face of a dog change depending on the breed. Do not forget about the tail, this part of the body has many variants of shapes and sizes.

Legs and Feet

The wrists and heels are at the level of the red line. The fingers are very short. There are nails on the tips of fingers. There are four fingers on each leg.

Sometimes there is a fifth finger on the forelegs, it is higher than other ones and is hidden and it does not perform any functions.



The elbow joint of all the breeds is on the line of the chest, it is shown in the picture below:
The next picture schematically shows the proportions of legs:

Forelegs: the length from the elbow joint to the wrist is twice more than the distance from the wrist to the ground.

  • Hind legs: the length from the lower line of a trunk to the heel is equal to two distances from the heel to the ground.

How to Draw a Realistic Dog Step by Step Using a Pencil

To create a realistic picture, you should find an appropriate nature. At first, try to create sketches using pictures or photos, and then you will be able to depict your pet.

Line of Action

Let`s draw a shepherd which is depicted in the previous picture. We will start with the line that marks the pose and the position of limbs.

The centerline and position of legs.
Also, we will create the sketch of a dog in the more complicated pose – the top view.

The Main Shapes

Now let`s add the main simple shapes. Let`s show the head, chest, pelvis, and legs with rounded shapes. Connect these shapes with a smooth line from the head to the tail and show the line of the back and abdomen. Outline the legs, considering the appropriate proportions and their structure.

Add a square near the circle, which marks the head, to show the elongated shape of a skull.


Then smooth all the lines, making them more accurate and smoother, and create a beautiful silhouette. Add the ears and nose. Outline the line of eyes.

Improving the Details

And the last step is to draw in the eyes, nose, and mouth and improve the ears. We will learn how to draw a dog face at one of the nest stages of this lesson. Outline the hair, shadows, and spots on the hair, improve the fingers on the legs, the tail, and other details.


At the last step of our lesson on how to draw a dog easy you should consider the direction of the hair. If the dog has long hair, it will hang down.


Now we will take a closer look at how to draw a simple dog face in profile and full face and learn about proportions and some other important details.


To depict the dog in profile, remember one simple rule that is illustrated below:

  1. Outline two ovals as is shown in the picture.
  2. Connect the ovals with a smooth line. Add the triangle of a nose and the slight bend under the lower oval – the lower lip. Outline the neck.
  3.  The nose, eyes, and ears are located on the same line, thus you should slightly draw the center line starting from the nose to locate everything properly. Outline the eyes and ears.
  4.  The last step is to erase the previously outlined ovals. Add the details, shadows, relief, and some peculiarities.

Full Face

Step by step how to draw a dog portrait.

  1. Outline the oval slightly flattened in a horizontal direction. Cut it in half with a horizontal and vertical axis. Divide the vertical axis into three equal parts with two horizontal lines.
  2.  Draw two tilted lines from the center of the lower horizontal line upwards – it is shown on the picture with green color (the angle is approximately 60 degrees). The lower part of the triangle is the nose. Draw the eyes in the outer corner of the intersection of green lines and the top horizontal axis. Outline the ears at the junction of the green axis and the oval. Show the neck.
  3. Improve the scheme, adding some peculiarities and features of a particular animal.
  4.  At the last point of the stage on how to draw a dog face, you should add the details and shadows and improve the relief of the face and skull. Outline the slightly hanging upper lip and the lower jaw. All the breeds have a kind of dent between the eyes – you can show it with several strokes. There are the convexes above the eyes like the eyebrows – you can also mark them with a slight stroke. Show the folds on the neck and ears. Add color to the eyes and nose and color the dog`s hair.

Important nuances:

  • The small dogs always have very big eyes. The bigger the breed – the smaller the eyes are.
  • If the dog has long drooping ears, they should be drawn a bit below the line which is marked on the scheme.
  • The upper jaw and lip are much bigger than the lower ones. All the breeds have the upper lip hanging over the lower one. The lower jaw and lip are often almost not seen.
  • These animals do not have sweat glands, so they get cool with the help of an open mouth. Accordingly, it will be quite natural to depict the dog breathing through an open mouth.

Video Tutorial on How to Draw a Dog Step by Step Easy

All the above-mentioned schemes and rules will help you understand how to draw a dog at a predetermined angle using a pencil. If the position is difficult, you need to practice a bit.

Watch a short video on how to draw a dog step by step.

I hope this material has been useful and interesting for you and you will create beautiful works with your favorite animals. Also, you can watch the video on how to draw a cat.

I wish you new successes in your creative work!

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