If you’re a dog lover like me, you’re a firm believer that having a dog brings nothing but good things into your life. Their love and companionship mean everything to us, and they’re as much a part of our families as our human relatives are. There are so many benefits that come with dog ownership it’s difficult to count them all!
However, there are many people who actually believe the opposite: that dogs bring bad luck to those around them. These ideas are likely because of the presence of folklore tales that exist surrounding dogs that have been circulating the globe for hundreds (if not thousands) of years.
Across the world, throughout cultures, and thanks to the influence of certain books and movies, the many stories of “bad luck dogs” can be found quite easily by anyone willing to do a little research.
But can a dog really bring bad luck? Is it actually true, or are these just stories people told their children to keep them in bed at night? I personally lean toward the latter, but as an avid dog lover, you might say I’m a little biased. What do you think? Read on with me for a few examples of dogs that bring bad luck and see for yourself!
Top 3 Dogs That Bring Bad Luck
These examples have been around for years, and stem from different cultures and places all over the world. See if you recognize any of these superstitions about dogs that bring bad luck:
There’s many a myth surrounding the howling dog, with some being more ominous than others. Howling can mean different things to different people, depending on their beliefs and where they get their information from. For example, in ancient Egypt it was believed that a howling dog foretold a soul being called to Anubis, the God of death (who just so happened to have the head of a dog).
Some myths warn to pay attention to the number of times a dog howls — this is said to determine how close they are to a person who will die soon. Another example is that of the Norse Goddess of death, Freyja, who was said to make dogs howl as she rode by on her chariot pulled by giant cats. As you can see, the interpretations vary wildly depending on culture and folklore, but they all have a common theme: howling dogs represent death (or at least nothing good).
Thankfully, most of us now know that a dog’s howl is simply a form of communication — either with us or with other dogs. While it’s understandable that so many people believe the various bad luck superstitions, many a dog owner can attest that their dogs’ howling hasn’t brought any bad omens to their homes. Some people even howl with their dogs as a way to strengthen their bond, and many dog owners these days (myself included) find howling cute!
There are conflicting stories about stray dogs everywhere you look, with some saying one thing and others saying something totally different. The belief that being followed by a stray dog brings you bad luck is a tricky one to track down, but it seems to be a pretty common myth across several cultures. However, there are also versions of this myth that portray a stray dog meaning good luck, so it’s basically however you choose to look at it.
It’s possible that the myth of a stray dog bringing bad luck comes from a number of unpleasant real-life encounters, but as far as I can tell it’s just one of many superstitions that have been floating around for years. As always, being cautious when meeting new animals is the best way to stay safe, whether they’re stray or not. Dogs have bad days too, and each has their own personality much like us humans do!
While it’s always smart to be weary of any animal that you don’t know, I’ve never had bad luck after meeting a stray dog — and I’ve met quite a few! I personally choose to go with what the Scottish folk tale says: a stray dog following you brings good luck, especially if that dog happens to be a black one! Full disclosure, though: I also believe that black cats are good luck instead of bad, so as always use your own judgement.
Though dog lovers like you and I know that black dogs are just as loving as any other color of dog, their history and the folklore behind it don’t do their reputation any favors. Commonly associated with the presence of the devil in cultures from the British Isles all the way to Saudi Arabia, it’s easy to see why some people might shrink away from a dog that’s black in color.
Ever seen the horror movie the Omen? Well, you might of had some nightmares of the unlucky black hellhound in the movie.
I personally love black dogs, as many other dog lovers do — but there are certainly people that believe that they’re bad luck and should be avoided at all costs!
The centuries old story of Black Shuck — a black dog with glowing red eyes roaming the English countryside — is one of many examples of a dog that brought bad luck. In fact, simply seeing him was known to predict a person’s death! Another well-known story is The Hound of the Baskervilles, the book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle about a mythical black dog that literally scared people to death. As you can see, stories from all over the world put black dogs in the bad luck department in one way or another.
Another example of black dogs bringing bad luck is unfortunately geared toward the dogs themselves. The term “Black Dog Syndrome” is sadly a common topic of conversation among shelter and rescue workers everywhere, referring to the difficulty of getting black dogs (and cats) adopted compared to their counterparts.
This is partly because it’s more difficult to photograph darker colors and the fact that black dogs stand out less in a crowd, but it’s also possible that people have heard some version of a bad luck or devil dog story from someone they know.
Other Bad Luck Dog Myths
While the above superstitions actually have some grounding in history, there are others floating around that don’t seem to have much to back them up. Read on to see if you recognize any of these myths about dogs that bring bad luck:
Dogs Breaking Up Couples
The very title of this section sounds a bit ridiculous, but there’s actually a real myth behind it, believe it or not!
Many dog loving couples will proudly attest that their dogs have actually brought them closer together, not the other way around. However, the superstition that a dog walking between a couple predicts a breakup is easy to find on the internet, though its source is quite elusive!
This is just another example of things people say to each other, not quite knowing whether or not there’s actually any truth to it.
Yet another myth floating around the internet is the one about sleeping dogs. Apparently, if a dog sleeps with its tail sticking straight out and its paws turned upwards, it’s a sign that bad luck is sure to follow.
Whichever way the tail is pointing is either where the bad luck will come from or the person who will be unlucky, depending on the version of the story — however you choose to interpret it is up to you!
Thankfully, in my experience this sleeping position is super rare for dogs, so there’s probably nothing to worry about. If you like, you can gently wake your pup so he changes his position. Bad luck averted!
Dogs Seeing Ghosts
The myth that a dog staring into nothingness is seeing a ghost is another popular one I found. While it’s true that dogs hear and smell way better than we humans do, you may find a little comfort in knowing that a dog’s sight is actually quite limited compared to ours.
For starters, they’re more nearsighted than we are, and their range of colors is drastically smaller as well. They can, however, sense movement much faster than we can, which is why your pup might see that squirrel way before you do! If you think your dog is seeing a ghost when he stares into space, don’t worry — he’s probably just daydreaming about his next walk!