The Black Dog is a creature that has consistently – for centuries – shown up time and time again in the legends and folklore of Europe; it often appears as an apparition or ghost and signifies that Death is nearby.

How To Identify a Black Dog

The Black Dog of folklore is easily identifiable, and anyone that crosses its path will know it in an instant.  While it’s not too very different from normal dogs,  there are some key characteristics that are unmistakable.  The first, is its size – it is said that the Black Dog is a gigantic animal – larger than any normal dog would ever be. The second way to identify black dog superstitionsthe dog is by when it makes its appearance – Black Dogs will often appear during the nighttime, and though it’s described as having a coat that as thick and lush, it is said that the moonlight does not reflect off of it at all. The third and perhaps easiest way to identify the black dog is through its eyes – in almost all stories, the eyes of the Black Dog glow a fire-red color.  It’s also said that Black Dogs simply vanish, fade away, or disappear when they leave, like an apparition.

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve left out one key characteristic that you might think that you could use to identify the dog – it’s color. While most “black” dogs are reported as black, other colors have been reported as well, including brown, grey, yellow, and white – so color is not necessarily an instant identifier.

Where to find a  Black Dog

What’s interesting is that while black dogs have been reported in many different countries (Italy, Canada, the United States), most of them have been reported in Great Britain.  Also each individual creature seems to have its own territory and will appear time and time again on that particular ground. In other words, the individual black dogs have specific “homes” that they have inhabited for generations, including areas around water, bridges, wells, and crossroads (to name only a few). One theory to this is that Black Dogs patrol Ley Lines. Ley lines are alignments of ancient or holy areas such as monuments, churches, or cairns and are considered to have special spiritual energy or power.

What do Black Dogs do?

What black dogs do and what they mean is up for debate. The most widely accepted theory is that the black dog is an omen of death. There are however occasional legends that cite that the black dog acted as a protector or guardian to lost travelers and children.

Did you know?

Many people have a subconscious fear and superstitious belief in the black dog – so much so that animal groups describe any black dog as one of the hardest of the dogs to adopt – very similar to how black cats are considered especially hard to adopt due to superstitions about the history and meaning of black cats.

Read about another mythological dog – the HellHound.