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Paw Print Tattoos

If you're looking for a smaller, yet still incredibly meaningful, tattoo, then consider getting a paw print inked on your body. Though simple, these tattoos are also incredibly personal to the wearer and can symbolize a variety of things: from a favorite pet to an individual character trait to a representation of an entire culture, paw print tattoos are a great choice for many people.

One of the ways paw print tattoos can have an especially personal meaning is if the prints memorialize a pet. Whether you had a cat, dog, rabbit, or even a bird or lizard, it's possible to get a paw print of that animal tattooed in remembrance of your pet. As you get older, these paw prints of past pets can become a linked design, such as a pattern on your shoulder or rib cage. If you have a lot of foresight, or if your beloved pet is still alive, you can actually personalize your tattoo even more - simply make a print of their paw by dipping it in paint and then placing it on a sheet of clean white paper, and take that in to your tattoo artist. They should easily be able to work from this design, and can make multiples of it if you want the paw prints to make a trail along your back, thigh, or other part of your body.

The paw print of a particular animal can also symbolize certain characteristics of that animal that you see within yourself or wish to embody. For instance, in many Native American cultures, individuals are associated with their totem animal, many of which have paws that are ideal for tattooing. The wolf is especially notable in Native American culture, in which it is believed to be the first animal to have understood and experienced death, making it a symbol of the afterlife. Wolves are also notable as protective parents, as well as some of the most communicative and expressive animals.

For members of the gay community, a bear paw print can symbolize the 'bear' culture. Gay men who belong to this culture are often characterized by their facial and body hair, and many are quite muscular or stocky in build. Though bears the animal are often regarded as fierce and fearsome, gay bears are often quite kind, polite, and friendly - but they will react when provoked!

More generally, a pattern of paw prints on your body can indicate that you are trying to move forward, embrace change, and reach your goals in life. Having a series of paw prints along your foot can indicate your passion for running, while tattooing a paw prints over a scar can demonstrate that you are moving past that particularly painful time in your life.

Paw prints are also a great way for mothers and fathers to represent their children. Getting a single paw print for each child, along with their name or initial, makes a cute design around a wrist or ankle - especially if the paw prints are cub-sized! You can also let your children have some input by having each paw print be a child's favorite color.

Paw Print Tattoo Meaning

As detailed above, there are a variety of different meanings ascribed to paw print tattoos, mainly to do with which animal's paw you get tattooed and what it represents within a particular culture. In general, paw print tattoos represent the following meanings:

  • Memory of a pet
  • Movement/moving forward
  • A member of the 'bear culture' within the gay community
  • Totem animal
  • Ferocity
  • Power and strength
  • Children and parenting

Common Animal Tracks

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Variations of Paw Print Tattoo

There are as many variations of paw print tattoos as there are animals! Here, you'll see a breakdown of some of the most popular paw print designs and how you can personalize them according to your own individual character or cultural background.

Dog Paw Print Tattoo Designs

Dog truly is man's best friend, and for any dedicated dog owner (or simply a dog lover), getting dog paw prints tattooed is a great way to demonstrate your love for this species. Dogs are loyal, friendly, playful, and outgoing, making this tattoo suitable for anyone who exhibits these qualities themselves. A great way to personalize this tattoo even more is to have your dog's name or initial tattooed around the paw print. If you love the idea of a dog paw print tattoo but want something larger, you could bring in a photo of your dog and get that imaged tattooed as well. While most tattoo artists will have no problem inking a paw print, not all are experts in working from photographs, so make sure to do your research and find a great tattooist who has experience in tattooing from photographs.

Cat Paw Print Tattoo Designs

If you prefer feline companionship, or simply admire the independence and 'devil may care' attitude of most cats, then getting a cat paw print, or series of paw prints, is a great choice. More delicate than the dog paw print tattoo, this inked design is delicate and feminine, and can either memorialize a beloved pet or demonstrate one's feline traits. Cats are known for their aloofness and apparent indifference to others, but they also have some admirable, often overlooked, traits: domesticated cats are able to survive both indoors and outdoors, they make themselves useful by catching mice and other rodents, and they can be extremely loyal to their owners. As with the dog paw print tattoo, consider personalizing your cat paw print tattoo to include your cat's name, initial, or even a photograph of your pet. These options will guarantee that your tattoo is unique and completely individual!

Lion Paw Print

Though lions are hailed as the kings of the jungle, they actually live on savannahs! Misnomer aside, these graceful and elegant big cats are admired by many humans for their patience while hunting, fearsome roar, and their playful side. Though part of the cat family, the lion is much larger than its domesticated feline cousin, and a lion paw print tattoo will be bigger than that of a cat. You should also include claws in your lion paw print, to ensure that it is not mistaken for that of a house pet, and adding a crown to the top of the paw print would emphasize the animal's regal status - perfect for the king (or queen!) of any household.

Wolf Paw Prints

Wolf paw print tattoos are very popular among people with Native American heritage, or with those who just have an affinity for Native American culture. The wolf paw print differs from other paw print tattoo designs in that it will have claws, a clear indication of the fierce and strong nature of the wolf. One way to further customize the design is to have the interior of the paw print be done in a tribal design. This can link the wolf paw print with a particular tribe, or simply convey your individual taste. To further push the connection between the wolf and Native American culture, another design option would be to have a series of paw prints around wolf totem. If you do not want a tattoo that large or complex, you could instead incorporate the totem into the interior of the paw print itself.

Bear Paw Prints

As detailed above, getting a bear paw print tattoo can symbolize your own affiliation with bear culture within the gay community, but it can also represent your partner's status as a bear, or your affinity for bears in general. If the paw print represents your partner, you can get his initial(s) or name tattooed over or around the print to add a more personal touch. Another way to make a bear paw print tattoo unique and representative of the gay community is to have the paw print itself rainbow-colored. This will demonstrate pride in your identity, while also signifying a clear connection with the gay bear community.

Children's Paw Print Tattoos

Getting paw print tattoos to represent your children is a cute and fun way to have them be a part of you forever, long after they've left the nest and started their own families! Ask for their input with the design: do they want a cat or dog or other animal paw to represent them? Do they have a favorite color that they'd like their paw print to be? You can create a cute bracelet or anklet design if you have several kids, or incorporate their paw prints into a heart tattoo to represent your never-ending love for them.

Paw Print & Heart Tattoos

This is a great option for couples or friends who want to mark their relationships with one another. This tattoo can be done in a few different ways. Some choose to have the foot pad done in the shape of a heart, while others choose to have both the foot pad and the toe pads done in a heart design. Another option is to get a heart with paw prints inside it - this is a great option for a couple, especially if your initials are done on each heart.

Paw print tattoos are a great choice for both men and women, and their easily customizable design means that you can work with a tattoo artist to make sure your paw print, or series of paw prints, is completely unique. For custom design of a Paw Print, you can check our Custom Tattoo Page.