How to Draw and Paint Dogs and Cats

Dogs and cats might belong to the most popular pets. Probably that's the reason why they also serve so often as an object for drawings and paintings. Some people earn even money by drawing and painting dog and cat portraits . Especially in various Internet auction houses you can find countless paintings and drawings of cats or dogs for sale. The one or other who is reading these instructions might possibly intend to earn a little bit money with painting and drawing cat and dog portraits as a side job :-). But also as a hobby it brings a lot of fun to paint or draw your loved pets. Also for this reason, I wrote a little guide about painting and drawing of dogs and cats.

I worte one guide for both animal species since dogs and cats are relatively similar. Surely some of you will shout out now and would say that this is absolutely not true. Of course, there are significant differences between dogs and cats. When people draw or paint animals it happens often that the difference between can and dog is hardly recognizable or that the dog looks more like a cat, or vice versa (that happened at least to me). Therefore I would like to describe the differences between the two animal species in order to help you with painting and drawing dogs and cats ;-) .

draw and paint cats and dogs
draw and paint cats and dogs
draw and paint cats and dogs
draw and paint cats and dogs

The drawing technique doesn't matter in this guide, it's more about the studying and viewing, which is one of the most important things in the visual arts. If your are looking more for a guide about how to draw and paint of animals you can find it here.

Draw and Paint Dogs & Cats - The Differences between Dogs and Cats

Since there are so many different dog breeds, which can differ widely from the outer appearance, it is not easy to define general differences between dogs and cats. That means for individual dog breeds the described differences may not match. As an object of comparison I use in this guide a typical dog - in this case a mountain dog.

Below you will find a picture of a dog and a cat in the side view. Consider also both animals, and compare them. What do we have to take care for if we want to draw / paint a dog or cat, so that the dog looks like a dog and the cat looks like a cat?

  • First we notice the ears. The cat has standing pointed ears while the dog has hanging round ears. But beware! A shepherd dog (or other breeds) for example has also standing pointed ears, but they are slightly different in shape than that of a cat. If you just intend to draw or paint any dog you should prefer to choose a dog with hanging ears, because the distinction against a cat will be easier (for the viewer and artist).

  • Another very striking difference which should be noted when you are drawing or painting a dog or cat is the muzzle. Cats have a shorter snout (snub nose), while most dog breeds have a relatively long muzzle. When you study the muzzle further you will find that dogs have a higher nose. In comics for example dog noses are often drawn as a round black ball. Cats have a less pronounced nose in the side view.

  • In addition you will find that cats have longer and stronger whiskers than dogs. If you paint a dog too many whiskers, he might quickly look more like a cat or simply strange.

draw and paint cats and dogs draw and paint cats and dogs
Draw and paint dogs & cats: Comparison between a cat and a dog in the side view

So much about the differences when looking at the side view. Now let's look at the differences which can be found better by considering the frontal view. What do we have to take care for by drawing and painting dogs and cats:

  • A typical characteristic of cats are their eyes - the often referred eyes like a cat. Compared to a dog the eyes of a cat run more peaked and you can see clearly their narrow pupils. Dogs have in contrast round eyes. The look of a dog appears thereby more ingenuouse - I guess you know what I mean.

  • The different ears were already described above. Also (or especially) when you look at the animals from the front the difference is very clear.

  • The shape of the nose from the shows us further differences between which we have to mind when we draw and paint a dog or a cat. While the nose of a dog is rather chubby, the nose of a cat has a more triangular shape.

  • Another difference in the front view can be found in the muzzle or the cheek. The dogs snout is narrow. The muzzle of a cat is rounder.

draw and paint cats and dogs
draw and paint cats and dogs
Draw and paint dogs & cats: Comparison between a cat and a dog in the frontal view

Now try on your own to draw or to paint a cat and a dog and take care of the described differences (there are certainly more differences which can be found with a second look). Then take a look at the result - your own drawing or painting. If you are still not completely satisfied, simply compare your template (the image or the real animal) and try to identify what is wrong. Which typical characteristics are not shown in your picture yet. Then try it again. Practice makes perfect ;-).

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