Dog Myths & Superstitions: Separating Fact From Fiction

Discover the truth behind popular dog myths and superstitions that have puzzled pet owners for generations.

Published September 12, 2023

Hey, dog lovers! Ever hear that dogs can sense spirits, or that one human year equals seven dog years? We all love a good story or legend, especially when it involves our furry best friends. But how much of what we hear is actually true? Let's dive into some common myths and superstitions about dogs and get down to what's real and what's just a tall tail. 

Howling Means Death

Have you ever heard of that old superstition that a dog howling means someone is about to die? Kinda creepy, right? This idea has been around for ages and is deeply rooted in various cultures and folklore.

But let’s set the record straight — there’s no scientific evidence to support this eerie claim. Most times, a dog howls for way less dramatic reasons, like hearing a siren, feeling separation anxiety, or even just hearing another dog howl. So, the next time you hear your pup let out a howl, no need to jump to ghostly conclusions.

Bad Omens

In some cultures, a black dog is considered a symbol of bad luck, similar to the way some people feel about black cats. But anyone who's been the proud parent of a black dog knows that the only thing they're bringing into a home is an overload of love and joy.

Ghostly Black Dogs

In British folklore, there's the legend of the "Hound of Dartmoor," a ghostly black dog said to roam the moors. While spooky, it's worth noting that many of these myths come from older times, when people were trying to make sense of things they couldn't explain. So, no need to be spooked if you spot a black dog during your nightly walk.

Seeing Something Spooky

The notion that dogs can see or sense spirits is an old one, and it often pops up around Halloween. The myth suggests that if a dog is barking at nothing or appears to be following something you can't see, they might be seeing a ghost. While there's no scientific evidence to support this, it sure makes for a spooky story!

An Omen for Tragedy

One of the most prevalent myths is that a dog crying at night portends impending tragedy. While these superstitions make for great storytelling, especially around a campfire or during Halloween, it’s crucial to remember that most of the time, a dog’s cry at night is because of other reasons ranging from separation anxiety to boredom. 

Need to Know

In some cultures, a dog's mournful howls at night are thought to predict or even summon the Grim Reaper.

Dog Days of Summer

The term "dog days" originally referred to the period when Sirius, the Dog Star, rises and sets with the sun. In ancient times, Sirius was considered responsible for the extreme heat of the season, as people thought it added its own warmth to that of the sun.

Another folklore tale suggests that dogs are more likely to go mad during the Dog Days of Summer. Of course, there's no scientific basis for this, but the superstition persists in some circles. Spoiler alert: it's just hot weather.

Need to Know

Some people believe that all animals, not just dogs, become more aggressive or restless during the Dog Days.

Strays as Good Fortune

If you're ever strolling through the charming streets of Scotland, keep an eye out for stray dogs. In Scottish folklore, encountering a stray dog is considered a sign of good luck. The belief comes from ancient superstitions that view animals as messengers of fortune. 

Need to Know

While a stray pup may not shower you with riches, they could absolutely bring happiness if you end up adopting them!

The 7th Dog From the 7th Dog

In some cultures, it's believed that the seventh pup in a litter, born to a seventh pup itself, has mystical healing powers. This little guy is supposed to cure ailments just by the touch of their paw! Imagine explaining that one to your vet.

Dogs in Myths

These dog myths have been stirring pots for years. Whether or not you believe any of them, one thing's for sure. Our lives would be far less interesting — and far less furry — without our four-legged friends.

Dog Myths & Superstitions: Separating Fact From Fiction