Pet portraits are some of the most popular animal tattoos around, so we decided to look at our favorite 15 in this top pet tattoos inspo article. From furry friends like cats and dogs, to fascinating reptiles like snakes and turtles, we hope this collection of imagery will help you build the best idea for your next tattoo.
Most Popular Pet Tattoos
Man’s best friend has always made for great inspiration. Many dog tattoos pull in details about one of humans most important companions. You can show loyalty, strength, and happiness with many different styles or motifs. A lot of people choose to get a pet portrait that includes a banner or dog collar to show their name. You can also include a favorite toy, plant, or similar detail that makes your dog tattoo truly personal. Dog memorial tattoos are also a very popular choice, which is something we can understand. We'd love to keep our furry pals with us forever and ever; tattoos help us do that. And they can often help us deal with the pain of losing a loved one, even if it's as simple as a dog print tattoo or micro portrait.
Cat tattoos are one of the most popular designs, and we can see why. Not only is it an awesome way to memorialize your favorite pet, but artists can be really creative when planning a pet tattoo. Cat’s, like many animals on this list, have a lot of texture and pattern to their fur. Realism cat tattoos can be stunning and truly capture the personality of your pet. Whether curled up and purring, or chasing butterflies in the sun, felines make for great tattoos.
A truly loving and cuddly pet, rabbit tattoos often capture the charming qualities of these animals. If you’re looking for a tattoo of this cute creature, we suggest adding in details from nature such as favorite florals or a carrot snack. Bunny tattoos can be done in Realism, Watercolor, Illustrative, and many other styles, but our favorite rabbit tattoo usually shows some high energy movement or the soft texture of their fur.
Perhaps the most popular fish tattoo is the Siamese Fighting Fish, more casually known as Betta fish. This particular species is perfect for fish tattoo designs due to its flowing fins and beautifully vivid natural colors. However, another favorite is the iconic goldfish. In Chinese culture, the goldfish represents wealth and prosperity so often you’ll see nice details like gold coins, bells, and ribbons accompanying these fish tattoos.
One of the most fascinating creatures of the animal kingdom, this reptile can often live up to the ripe old age of 150, if not longer! It’s not only their lifespan that inspires; many people who get turtle tattoos usually opt for styles that highlight the incredible patterns of the shell. Tortoise tattoos done in Sacred Geometry, Illustrative, Realism, and more, can showcase the beautiful symmetry and details of this animal.
While some people fear this creature, owners of this humble animal will always proclaim their awesomeness. Rat tattoos can either be a pet portrait, but others sometimes opt for a Dark Art design. Our favorite inspiration has aspects of Anthropomorphism, which means giving an animal human characteristics. Just look at the Samurai rat for a perfect example! Or think of the famed Master Splinter from the Ninja Turtles...
Like rat tattoos above, mouse tattoos can not only capture a favorite pet, but sometimes a favorite character. Readers of the much beloved Redwall series often get mouse tattoo designs that show these animals waving swords or wearing armor. But, of course, mice tattoos can also illustrate cute, peaceful creatures who love to munch on cheese, lounge in a patch of flowers, or scamper about with friends.
Quite the exotic pet, fox tattoos are popular even with those who have never owned them! It makes sense, as this creature is incredibly inspiring, as well as cute. Some of our favorite pieces in the past, such as Realism fox tattoos, capture the fluffy hair, the wide curious eyes, and clever smile of foxes. Details that go well with fox tattoo designs can be anything from aspects of nature to a monocle and smoking jacket. It all depends on what kind of fox you resonate with!
These animals have such personality, that creating a good pig tattoo design is a snap. If you’re trying to get a pet portrait tattoo of your teacup pig, or you’re a vegan proclaiming your love for this super smart creature, there are many different styles that go well with this creature. For details, pig tattoos go great with flowers, desserts, ribbons, or other farmyard friends. Never forget that George Clooney once had a pet pig...that in itself is inspiration!
An iconic design in the tattoo community, snake tattoos not only beautifully capture a favorite pet, but also a creature that has a lot of symbolism attached to it. Throughout history, snakes have been giving meanings such as transformation, healing, wisdom, and, in some cultures, death or evil. Due to this powerful background, snake tattoos, like many reptile tattoo designs, go very well with other symbolic imagery such as fire, roses, or skulls.
This has to be one of the most adorable pets on this list, especially when sleeping, tucked in a ball, or eating fruit. Hedgehog tattoo designs will definitely include some cuteness, which can mean a lot of different things! We’ve seen hedgehogs dressed up in bow ties, sitting in tea cups, or surrounded by flowers. Ancient Egyptians believed this animal was good luck, so we love to see hedgehog tattoos that include a little symbolism too!
One of nature's most regal creatures, to be sure, is the horse. This animal has inspired many artists, and horse tattoos continue to be an iconic design within tattooing. Perhaps the best example of this is Pharaohs Horses, an image that shows three stallions, their hair whipping in the wind. If your favorite pet is of the equine species, there are many different details you could choose for your horse tattoo design. Our favorites include tack accessories, details from nature, or even folk patterns decorating the horse's skin or saddle.
We’re delighted that there are just as many unique bird tattoos as there are species flying in the sky! Many pet owners who call birds their feathered friends can think of wonderful details to accompany their design, such as toys, flowers, or name banners. Of course, because bird tattoos have so many feathers, and colors, often a straightforward portrait is just the thing to perfectly capture your bff.
This lil animal is certainly mischievous but owners will tell you that they’re also incredibly smart. If you’re looking to be inspired for your ferret tattoo design, keep in mind that although these animals can be hilarious and quirky, they’re also great hunters and have been known to team up with falcons for a meal. Ferret tattoos can capture these special talents with symbolism, or simply spotlight their cute little faces and paws!
Guinea Pig Tattoo
Oh, these chubby little bubbys! Guinea pig tattoos are some of our favorite pet tattoos because they’re just so cute, but with a lot of humour. If you own one of these, you probably already have an idea for how you may decorate it, but we’ve seen guinea pigs in costume, chewing on watermelon, or cuddling with another guinea pig friend. We sort of wish that sound could be included in tattoos, because their super adorable squeals would really make a perfect detail!
They may be cute and tiny, but they definitely pack a personality punch! Hamster tattoos can either make for a great pet portrait, or an awesome way to show your love for cartoon characters like anime favorite, Hamtaro! Our favorite hamster tattoo designs usually include nature, but we’ve also seen people get creative and build hamster mazes on their skin! Viral YouTube trend turns tattoo culture inspiration...we couldn’t love it any more!
Top Styles for Pet Tattoos
Neo-Traditional Pet Tattoos
If you’re a fan of pet portrait tattoos, you’re probably familiar with the heart-warming and lovable aesthetic of Neo-Traditional tattooing. From painterly accents to charming picture frames, rising suns, flowers, and foliage, this classic style allows for bold and colorful portraiture of your beloved pet. For those who enjoy strong complementary color palettes, expressive pet portraits, and feminine details, a Neo-Traditional pet portrait may be an excellent choice for you!
Blackwork Pet Tattoos
If you’re not a fan of colorful tattoos, but you’re interested in a pet portrait, Blackwork may be the perfect style to explore. From fierce Blackwork Doberman tattoos to mischievous Blackwork cats, this style feels bold, badass, and timeless. Many who have chosen this style for their pet portrait have also explored additional elements like Lettering, Geometric accents, and spiritual symbols.
Traditional Pet Tattoos
If you’re looking for a bright and colorful pet tattoo with strong line work and bold composition, Traditional is the way to go! This style is also perfect for those looking to add fun or quirky accents to their tattoo, like various food items, sassy quotes, and silly pet costumes.
Realism Pet Tattoos
If you’re searching for a photo-realistic tattoo of your beloved pet, the realms of Color Realism or Black and Grey Realism may be the perfect avenue. Whether you’re interested in a large-scale sleeve featuring your favorite pet, or a tiny and subtle tattoo, Realism works wonderfully for pet portraits.
Geometric Pet Tattoos
If you love sacred geometry, abstract elements, and Dotwork accents, you may fall in love with the look of Geometric style pet portraits. Often possessing a spiritual and mysterious flair, these pieces can work to communicate the eternal connection we share with our animals while looking mesmerizing on the skin.
By RO. Robert Pavez • Eternal Friend ? • Done in studio ZOI TATTOO • Stockholm ?? 2019 #engraving #dotwork #etching #dot #linework #geometric #ro #blackwork #blackworktattoo #blackandgrey #black #tattoo #fineline
Irezumi Pet Tattoos
Irezumi, or Japanese style tattoos, are often filled with expressive, wild, and emotive animals. If you’re searching for a style that can encompass your pet’s unique personality, or capture them in a high-action moment, Irezumi is a medium to explore. Many who choose a Japanese style aesthetic for their pet portrait tattoo also add humorous and surprising elements like food items, designs on the animal’s fur, or tokens of luck or strength.
Micro Pet Tattoos
If you’re drawn to Fine Line styles and looking for a pet portrait that is subtle and tiny, a Micro pet portrait tattoo might be the perfect fit for you! From tiny turtle tattoos to mini parakeet pieces, Micro style tattoos are a great way to showcase your love for your pet in an elegant and understated manner.
Watercolor Pet Tattoos
If you love vibrant colors, galactic vibes, or vivid paint splatters, a Watercolor pet portrait may be the best style for you! Always cheerful and creative, Watercolor style pet portraits possess an upbeat vibe and artistic feel. This style can also work wonderfully with paw print tattoos, minimalist animal outlines, and painterly accents.
Fineline Pet Tattoos
If you’re a fan of single-needle tattoos and smooth shading, a Fineline pet portrait may be the best style for you. Looking for additional symbolism to your design? Try experimenting with design elements like foliage, flowers, lunar cycles, and geometric shapes.
New School Pet Tattoos
If you love exaggerated caricature style, a New School pet tattoo may be the best choice for you! Through distorted features, vivid color use, and Surrealist design aspects, you can create a pet portrait that emphasizes your animal’s big personality and adorable features.
Top Motifs for Pet Tattoos
Flowers bring a special quality to pet portrait tattoos through their beauty, deep symbolism, and innocence. When choosing flowers to adorn your pet portrait, you can always explore hidden meanings behind the plants to maximize your tattoo’s significance.
From ornate Baroque styles to jeweled metallic frames, accenting your pet portrait with a decorative picture frame is a great way to dress up your tattoo!
If you’re looking for a simple and powerful way to adorn your pet portrait tattoo, try experimenting with geometric shapes in the background, or framing your design.
Whether you’d like your pet’s name displayed in cursive font atop a banner, or you prefer a Fine Line minimalist style lettering, adding meaningful quotes or pet names to a pet portrait tattoo is an excellent way to personalize it! A lot of people even just get the name or first initial as a memorial tattoo. It's totally up to you!
Snacks and Treats
From puppies dreaming of pizza and fried chicken, to cats emerging from bowls of ramen noodles, food elements have always been popular additives to pet portraits. If you’re looking for a quirky and cute piece, this can be an excellent route to explore.
Top Pet Tattoo Artists Near You