Is there any creature on earth more beloved than man’s best friend? Pets come in all shapes and sizes, but no other animal will be waiting at the door for you with a wagging tail after a long day at work, and no one’s ever relied on a guinea pig to save them from oncoming traffic.
Dogs are special – they can soothe us when we’re stressed or upset, accompany us on adventures, and lots of them even play important roles in society. It’s no wonder that many artists have written so many songs about dogs over the years.
In “Charlie”, Mallrat describes all the expectations she has for her relationship, detailing the ways in which she wants her partner to adore her. In the bridge of the song, it’s revealed that what she’s actually asking for is for them to love her as much as her dog, Charlie.
‘All you gotta do is wait for me to get home/Like Charlie in the rain outside’ she sings. A man being a bit of a dog isn’t usually a positive thing, but it sounds like all guys could do with being a little more like Charlie. That’s why we love songs about dogs like this one.
Underwood is frustrated with the boys around her, who all think about themselves far more than they think about her. Disillusioned with dating, she confesses that every guy she hangs out with just makes her appreciate her dog more.
However, despite her despair, Underwood did eventually find love with her husband Mike Fisher. Her dog, Ace, still remained an incredibly important part of her life and was even a ring bearer at her wedding. One great example of how songs about dogs can be an important part of our lives.
In this sentimental track, Bryan relates an idyllic childhood with his black Labrador, Bandit. He describes how Bandit would accompany him to the bus stop, go fishing with him, and sleep at the foot of his bed at night.
However, as Bryan’s younger self grows up, he comes to the heartbreaking realization that Bandit won’t be around forever. A beautiful song, but one to steer clear of if Marley & Me makes you cry. Listening to the songs about dogs can bring us to a realization of how to use more quality moments in life.
Robert Anthony Plant sings about a happy, stable love in his life in this upbeat Led Zeppelin track. He walks down a country lane with his companion, singing to them as he goes, and he promises to stay with them until they’re old.
The twist is, of course, that Plant isn’t singing about a romantic interest at all, but about his pet. ‘You’re the finest dog I knew’ he sings in the final verse. Romantic partners may come and go, but no one sticks by your side like your dog.
The famous dance track has remained popular for years and even won a Grammy for Best Dance Trackback in 2001. But did you know that the song is actually a cover? The original track, written and performed by Anslem Douglas and entitled ‘Doggie’, has a hidden meaning that you may not be aware of.
Douglas actually wrote the song with the intention of condemning catcalling. The famous phrase ‘who let the dogs out?’ is supposed to be a response from women to the men shouting after them. Regardless of its original meaning, “Who Let The Dogs Out” has become a party classic.
Elton John mourns the death of a loyal sheepdog named Gulliver in the melancholy closer to his 1969 album Empty Sky. The song focuses on the four feet of ground in front of the barn on which Gulliver used to lie and soak up the sun.
The ground is now empty and the singer can’t help but remember the old sheepdog when he passes it. The second half of the track is an unexpectedly jazzy instrumental, perfect for when you want to cry and dance all in the same seven minutes.
This sweet track from the Beatles was penned solely by Paul McCartney about his Old English Sheepdog, Martha. It’s a cheerful ode to McCartney’s dog in which he fondly refers to her as a ‘silly girl’ and addresses her as ‘my dear’ and ‘my love’. The song itself doesn’t reference the fact that Martha isn’t human at all, and so the track could easily be mistaken for a love song, which in a way it is. McCartney claims that Martha is his ‘inspiration’.
Although it was Elvis Presley’s version from 1956 that became one of the best-selling singles of all time, it was Big Mama Thornton that originally recorded the track in 1952. Considered an empowering song, “Hound Dog” tells the story of a woman kicking a man out of her home and refusing to provide for him any longer.
Unlike most of the artists on this list, Big Mama Thornton is less than thrilled to have this particular dog in her home. And although Presley’s later recording did change the meaning of the song slightly, being a ‘hound dog’ still isn’t considered a good thing.
“Atomic Dog” is an energetic, mostly-improvised funk track from Clinton in which he names many different types of dogs – house dogs, street dogs, funky dogs, nasty dogs, and so on. Whilst the majority of songs about dogs are written to tug on our heartstrings, this one is just meant to get us moving.
Although “Atomic Dog” didn’t chart on the Billboard Hot 100 when it was released, over the years it has been sampled in quite a few hip-hop songs and shown up in many canine-focused films. Clinton apparently had a penchant for atomic animals – he also has a track called “Atomic Frog”.
In “Lilly”, Pink Martini describes a girl who comes when you call her but runs away when you’re not looking, and who you have to tempt with treats to hang around. The protagonist of the song starts to despair after he loses her, convinced they were meant to be together. Is Pink Martini singing about a girl or a dog?
Well, they never actually reveal the answer to that question. Perhaps it almost doesn’t matter – what “Lilly” illustrates is that the love we feel for our dogs can be as meaningful as romantic love and that losing them can hurt just as much as any breakup.
People have been writing songs about dogs and different animals for decades, and it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll ever stop. From upbeat dance tracks to sad goodbyes, there’s plenty of ways to immortalize our loyal companions in music and show the world just how much they mean to us.