The 22 Best Songs About Dogs

Golden retriever enjoying music on headphones
© Chendongshan/Shutterstock.com

Written by Kellianne Matthews

Published: November 17, 2023

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From ancient civilizations all the way down to the present day, dogs have faithfully stood by our side, inspiring us with their unwavering loyalty and companionship. Many musicians write songs about this profound bond between humans and special canine companions, from heartwarming ballads to humorous melodies that make us smile. These timeless classics have stood the test of time and continue to be revered by many generations of listeners. In this article, we’ll traverse different eras and musical genres as we delve into the best songs about dogs!

1. Elvis Presley, “Hound Dog” (1956)

A woman with headphones singing with her dog

Listening to music with your dog can be a great way to bond and provide enrichment.

©Lucia Romero/Shutterstock.com

One of the best and most well-known songs about dogs comes from the legendary Elvis Presley, with his 1956 recording of “Hound Dog”. The song, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, was originally recorded by Big Mamma Thorton in 1952. It is about a woman who compares her man to a hound dog, as she says “Quit snoopin’ ‘round my door… I ain’t gonna feed you no more”. 

Thornton’s recording was a huge hit, but Presley’s version became one of the best-selling singles ever produced. Elvis first performed his iconic rendition of “Hound Dog” on The Milton Berle Show in 1956. It sent shock waves through the nation due to his daring and unconventional dance moves and electrifying performance. 

2. Patti Page, “(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?” (1953)

Another timeless song about dogs, “(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window? Has charmed listeners for many generations. Written by Bob Merrill and recorded by Patti Page in 1952, this delightful song was a number-one hit and sold over two million copies! The song’s catchy melody and upbeat tempo pair seamlessly with Page’s sweet vocals. The simple but relatable lyrics describe a woman who wants to bring home a cute puppy that she sees in the pet shop window.

3. Cat Stevens, “I Love My Dog” (1966)

Golden retriever listening to headphones

Dogs can tell the difference between music and other sounds.

©ESB Professional/Shutterstock.com

“I Love My Dog” was the first single released by the British singer-songwriter Cat Stevens in 1966. It is a poetic piece that beautifully expresses the special bond between humans and their dogs. The lyrics emphasize a dog’s unconditional love, loyalty, and friendship, while the folksy, soft rock music and gentle melody convey warmth and sincerity. Stevens sings, “I love my dog as much as I love you. You may fade, my dog will always come through”. Dog owners can easily relate to the nostalgia and personal experience of the song, making it a timeless and enduring classic for all ages. 

4. Baha Men, “Who Let the Dogs Out” (2000)

Although it is not explicitly about our beloved canine companions, “Who Let the Dogs Out” is one of the best and well-known dog songs out there. The most recognizable rendition of the song is by the Baha Men, a junkanoo band with a unique and vibrant sound. The song’s upbeat tempo, catchy rhythm, and memorable lyrics have caused it to become a global party anthem. It has a calypso beat, catchy chorus, and a call-and-response structure that easily energizes people and brings excitement to listeners everywhere.

5. Led Zeppelin, “Black Dog” (1971)

Labrottie - Labrador and Rottweiler Mix Breed

Labrador retrievers are some of the most popular dogs in the United States.

©Schofield Images/Shutterstock.com

“Black Dog” is one of Led Zeppelin’s most recognizable songs, known for its catchy rift, powerful vocals, and blues influence. The title comes from a black Labrador retriever found roaming the studio during the band’s recording sessions. Unbeknownst to the curious canine, he inadvertently became a part of music history and one of the best songs about dogs! 

The lyrics are a lament, recalling a former lover who only loved the singer for his money. The title of “Black Dog” also invokes images of the darker symbolism of hellhounds, omens that appear just before someone is going to die. 

6. George Clinton, “Atomic Dog” (1982)

A collaboration by George Clinton, Garry Shider, and David Spradley, “Atomic Dog” came to life in a single recording session, with Clinton completing the vocals in just one take! The song has a distinctive sound with a vocoder that infuses an otherworldly quality into the surreal lyrics.  In addition, it has a fast-paced tempo, driving baseline, and vibrant melody that explodes with energy and inspires chaotic excitement. 

7. The Beatles, “Martha, My Dear” (1968)

Old English Sheepdog Puppy

Old English sheepdogs may look laidback and lazy, but they are quite athletic.

©Crystal Alba/Shutterstock.com

Another song inspired by an individual dog is “Martha My Dear”, written by Paul McCartney and recorded by the Beatles. Martha was McCartney’s beloved Old English sheepdog who brought out the singer’s softer side. “Martha, My Dear” is a relaxing song that opens with an incredible piano solo. Additional poignant instrumentation is added throughout, with bursts of brass, modulations, and dissonant tones. It is a relaxing and playful piece that many dog lovers continue to enjoy today. 

8. Neil Young, “Old King” (1992)

“Old King” is a soul-stirring ballad and poignant tribute to Neil Young’s beloved dog, Elvis. The song’s unhurried pace and stripped-down melody envelop listeners in a melancholy and bittersweet atmosphere. The lyrics, sung with a deeply soulful voice, capture the bond Young shared with his departed canine companion. “Old King” is one of the best songs about dogs and continues to resonate with anyone who has experienced the unconditional love of a pet. It is a poignant reminder that even as time moves on, these cherished memories leave an undeniable imprint on our hearts.

9. Harry Nilsson, “The Puppy Song” (1969)

Owner training dog in park teaches new tricks and commands give a paw.

Caring for a dog can provide countless emotional benefits.

©Jannissimo/Shutterstock.com

This enchanting song tenderly captures a universal longing for love and companionship. The opening lyrics remind us that dreams are more than mere illusions. They’re also the seeds of hope and possibility, inspiring us to believe in something greater and manifest it into reality. 

The first verse depicts a child who yearns for a furry companion, expressing an innate desire for connection. The singer says, “If only I could have a puppy, I’d call myself so very lucky… I’d take my puppy everywhere… we would stay away from crowds and signs that said no dogs allowed”. The song is reminiscent of childhood’s blissful days, while simultaneously reminding us of our need for connection, no matter how old we are.  

10. Dolly Parton, “Cracker Jack” (1973 & 2007)

Iconic country singer Dolly Parton included “Cracker Jack” on the 2007 re-release of her album Jolene, although she had initially recorded the song back in 1973. The song is a story of her childhood rescue dog, Cracker Jack. However, Parton also explained that the song encapsulates many of the different dogs that she and her family members have loved and lost through the years, preserving their memories and unconditional love across time and space. As charming as ever, Parton connects with her listeners in a very real and emotional way through this beautiful and nostalgic song about dogs.

11. Heart, “Dog & Butterfly” (1979)

Cute dog with butterfly on his nose

Butterfly

” is very different than the band’s usual style.

©miss_j/iStock via Getty Images

Written by Sue Ennis alongside Ann and Nancy Wilson, “Dog & Butterfly” is a soothing ballad recorded by the band Heart. A folksy and intimate soft rock song, the lyrics describe a conversation between a woman and an old wise man. The man advises her to “See the dog and the butterfly”. Despite its inability to fly, the dog relentlessly chases the butterfly. When the dog fails, she simply “falls down to the warm soft ground, laughing to the sky”. The dog remains undaunted and continues pursuing her goal, even when it seems impossible. “Dog & Butterfly” continues to be a fan favorite, frequently making its way into the band’s concert sets. 

12. Billy Currington, “Like My Dog” (2011)

“Like My Dog” is a wonderfully lighthearted country song recorded by Billy Currington and written by Harley Allen and Scotty Emerick. Currington’s strong vocals pair nicely with the juxtaposition of a laid-back melody and country instrumentation. The song is relaxed but bouncy, a fun ode to how wonderful dogs are. It describes the loyalty and unconditional love that they provide us, and how it is often even greater than what humans can give. “Like My Dog” is a clever song that is easy to love, much like our favorite canine companions.  

13. Blake Shelton, “Ol’ Red” (2002)

Portrait of an adorable a brown bloodhound on a sunny day

Bloodhounds have an amazing sense of smell and can track people over long distances.

©Glikiri/Shutterstock.com

Made popular by country artist Blake Shelton, “Ol’ Red” is one of the best songs about dogs. It was originally written by James “Bo” Bohon, Don Goodman, and Mark Sherrill in 1990, but Shelton’s version took the song to new heights. In fact, Shelton asserts that “Ol’ Red” helped to make him famous and is now his signature song. 

The song’s dark timbre and Shelton’s rich voice help to bring out the wit and authenticity of the lyrics. The melody is simple but effective, making it a catching song that is sure to get stuck in your head. It is a clever song that tells the story of an inmate who was imprisoned for attacking his wife’s lover. The inmate befriends the warden’s hound dog, Ol’ Red. He then distracts the dog with an alluring female bluetick hound, allowing him to escape as he sings, “Love got me in here and love got me out”. 

14. Norah Jones, “Man of the Hour” (2009)

The final track of Norah Jones’ album The Fall is one of the best songs about dogs. The song honors Jones’ own beloved canine companion, Ralph. The lyrics beautifully capture the sentiment that if asked to choose between a dog and a man, the decision is easy — the dog wins out every time.

Singing to her dog, Jones explains, “So I chose you because you’re sweet and you give me lots of lovin’ and you eat meat…. You never lie and you don’t cheat and you don’t have any baggage tied to your feet”. The song’s bluesy melody is gentle, with a jazzy piano that creates a sound that is both melancholy and soothing. It’s a beautiful and melodic paradox that stirs up a mixture of emotions with warm and bittersweet notes.

15. Henry Gross, “Shannon” (1976)

Red irish setter dog portrait

Like the breed’s name, Irish setters originated in Ireland.

©DragoNika/Shutterstock.com

Written and performed by Henry Gross, this song is a very touching tribute to two special dogs named Shannon. Gross, who had owned an Irish setter named Shannon, wrote the song after talking to Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys. Wilson had just lost his own dog named Shannon after she was hit by a car. 

The song became an international hit, connecting to listeners all across the world. The beauty of the song lies in how Gross personified Shannon. He portrays her with human traits, conveying his bittersweet memories since she died. He artfully expresses the profound grief many dog owners experience when they lose their beloved companions, portrayed by poetic metaphors like Shannon “drifting out to sea”.

16. Peggy Lee, “He’s a Tramp” from Disney’s Lady and the Tramp (1955)

One of the best songs about dogs comes from the beloved Disney film, Lady and the Tramp. In the original film, Peggy Lee’s melodic voice took up the vocals for the song, while in the 2019 remake, it is sung by Janelle Monáe. 

“He’s a Tramp” is a soulful jazz ballad. The song portrays Tramp as a charismatic scoundrel, yet reminds us that we love his heart of gold. With its romantic and melodic composition, this song continues to captivate audiences of all ages across generations. It even received a nomination for the American Film Institute’s (AFI) 100 Years…100 Songs setlist.

17. Sia, “Puppies Are Forever” (2017)

A puppy by a Christmas fire

Puppies are a lot of fun, but adopting an

older dog

has many additional benefits as well!

©magicovice516/Shutterstock.com

Written by Greg Kurstin and Australian singer-songwriter Sia, “Puppies Are Forever” is a more recent Christmas melody. It serves as a reminder that gifting a puppy for Christmas is a joyful gesture, but these adorable creatures are more than just presents under a tree — they are cherished family members who deserve unwavering love and companionship throughout their entire lives. As the lyrics say, “They’re so cute and fluffy with shiny coats, but will you love ‘em when they’re old and slow?”

“Puppies Are Forever” continues to raise awareness about the inherent responsibilities of pet ownership. It encourages prospective owners to carefully consider the long-term commitment and dedication required before welcoming a canine companion into their home. The lyrics encapsulate the song’s core message: “Puppies are forever, not just for Christmas”.

18. Dolly Parton, “Gypsy, Joe and Me” (1970)

Released in 1970, Dolly Parton’s song “Gypsy, Joe and Me” is not for the faint of heart. The iconic country singer may be known for her upbeat and positive persona, but she is not afraid to dive into the heartache of life either. “Gypsy, Joe and Me” is a ballad about a homeless woman, her boyfriend, and their dog. The three nomads wander about in a carefree existence, and although it is difficult, they are happy. 

Parton sings, “All we had was each other and the rags upon our backs, but we had all we wanted and the rest we didn’t need. Life was free and simple for Gypsy, Joe, and me”. Tragically, however, their vagabond lifestyle led to the death of both the woman’s dog and boyfriend, leaving her utterly lost and alone.

19. Sublime, “I Love My Dog” (1996)

Dalmatian

Each

Dalmatian

has its own unique spotted pattern, just like a human fingerprint!

©Rosa Jay/Shutterstock.com

“I Love My Dog” is a captivating rock tribute to Lou Dog, the cherished dalmatian of Bradley Nowell. Fondly named after Nowell’s grandfather, King Louie Nowell, Loui Dog played a prominent role in Sublime and their career. The dog would freely roam the stage during performances and even join the band during their recording sessions. Sublime immortalized Lou Dog on the cover art of several albums and dedicated numerous songs to him.  

20. Carrie Underwood, “The More Boys I Meet” (2007)

Written by Scott Kennedy and Steve McEwan, “The More Boys I Meet” is a playful song performed by Carrie Underwood. It skillfully contrasts the capricious nature of men with the unwavering loyalty of our canine companions. The song’s catchy melody and upbeat rhythm make it a lot of fun to listen to. In addition, its relatable and humorous lyrics resonate with the many challenges of dating. Although she’s willing to “give anyone a shot”, in the end, her dog provides better companionship and friendship than any of the boys she goes out with

21. The Monkees, “Gonna Buy Me a Dog” (1966)

Golden retriever enjoying music on headphones

The relationship between humans and dogs goes back at least 15,000 years ago.

©Chendongshan/Shutterstock.com

The Monkees’ song “Gonna Buy Me a Dog” is a catchy and upbeat tune that tells the story of a young man’s fight with his girlfriend, leading him to contemplate replacing her with a dog. Throughout the song, the lyrics depict his realization that the unwavering loyalty of a faithful dog far surpasses his girlfriend’s fickle affections, with lines like “I need a friend now. I’m gonna buy me a dog, My girl, my girl, don’t love me no how”. What adds to the song’s charm is the impressive improvisation of Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz. Their spontaneous ad-libbing adds a fun and carefree spirit to the piece. 

22. “BINGO”

You may recognize this last song about dogs from childhood. “BINGO” is a fun and catchy tune that children have been singing for ages, although we don’t really know exactly where it came from. The earliest known reference to any version of the song dates all the way back to 1780, over 200 years ago! It made it to the United States by at least 1842.

“BINGO” has become a cherished nursery song among children, known for its catchy and engaging nature. To add a fun twist, singers leave out the first letter of the previous verse, replacing it with claps or barking sounds. For example, the first verse would be sung “B-I-N-G-O”, but the second verse would be “[clap/bark]-I-N-G-O”.

Summary of the 21 Best Songs About Dogs

Song TitleSingerYear Released
Hound DogElvis Presley1956
(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?Patti Page1953
I Love My DogCat Stevens1966
Who Let the Dogs OutBaha Men2000
Black DogLed Zeppelin1971
Atomic DogGeorge Clinton1982
Martha, My DearThe Beatles1968
Old KingNeil Young1992
The Puppy SongHarry Nilsson1969
Cracker JackDolly Parton1973 and 2007
Dog & ButterflyHeart1979
Like My DogBilly Currington2011
Ol’ RedBlack Shelton2002
Man of the HourNorah Jones2009
ShannonHenry Gross1976
He’s a Tramp” from Disney’s Lady and the TrampPeggy Lee1955
Puppies Are ForeverSia2017
Gypsy, Joe and MeDolly Parton1970
I Love My DogSublime1996
The More Boys I MeetCarrie Underwood2007
Gonna Buy Me a DogThe Monkees1966
BINGOUnknown1780

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About the Author

Kellianne Matthews is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on anthrozoology, conservation, human-animal relationships, and animal behavior. Kellianne has been writing and researching animals for over ten years and has decades of hands-on experience working with a variety of different animals. She holds a Master’s Degree from Brigham Young University, which she earned in 2017. A resident of Utah, Kellianne enjoys creating, exploring and learning new things, analyzing movies, caring for animals, and playing with her cats.

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