20 Songs About Dogs

Juli Thanki | February 1st, 2010

It’s February and reminders of Valentine’s Day are everywhere. Sure, having that special someone is nice, but when times get bad, the only one who will always stand by you is your dog. So we’re going to pay tribute to them this month. There was quite a library of songs to choose from, so we narrowed the field down solely to songs about actual canines and the folks who love ‘em. Unfortunately this left great songs like “I’m Walking the Dog” and “Salty Dog Blues” off the list, but hopefully you and your four-legged pals will enjoy it anyway.

Honorable Mentions: Burl Ives – “I Found My Best Friend in the Dog Pound”; Crossin’ Dixon – “I Love My Old Bird Dog (And I Love You Too)”; Dave Dudley – “George (And the North Woods)”; Hoosier Hot Shots – “Where Has My Little Dog Gone?”; Hoyt Axton – “Della and the Dealer”; Merle Haggard – “Seeing Eye Dog”; Neil Young – “Old King.”

  • Blue Horse20. “Dogsong (aka Sleep Dog Lullaby)” – The Be Good Tanyas

    A sweet, slow fiddle tune for your favorite sleepy pup. If you just can’t get enough folky canine lullabies, the Tanyas recorded “Dogsong 2″ for 2003’s Chinatown., but it’s kind of a bummer. Spoiler alert: the dog dies. It is sad.

  • Are You Ready For Freddy?19. “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window” – Freddy Fender

    Fender recorded the popular novelty song—with both English and Spanish verses, of course—for 1975’s Are You Ready For Freddy? The dog is to protect his sweetheart from “robbers with flashlights that shine in the dark.” Either that’s a euphemism or those are the most unthreatening robbers ever.

  • Stronger18. “More I’m Around Some People” – Sonny Burgess

    There’s nothing like the company of some people to make a man realize how much he likes his dog, says Burgess. That’s nice and all, but the real treat in this song is Burgess’s nonchalant delivery of the lyric “just last week I got carjacked,” an annoyance that’s apparently on the same level as a jerky boss and a non-country-music-loving brother.

  • Pirates of the Mississippi17. “Feed Jake” – Pirates of the Mississippi

    Okay, so “If I die before I wake/Feed Jake” is a very sweet prayer, but ten bucks says that Jake’s eating Master’s eyeballs before the body’s cold.

  • Young Man, Old Soul16. “I Bought Her A Dog” – Brandon Rickman

    The young bluegrasser with an old soul weaves a humorous tale about a husband who buys his wife a dog to stave off baby fever. At least they won’t have to pay for the dog’s college education.

  • The Dark15. “Queenie’s Song” – Guy Clark

    Someone shot Queenie, and her owner wants vengeance, singing “You son of a bitch, I’ll tell you what/I will not be deterred/I’ll find you out and track you down/On that you have my word.” Yikes.

  • The Official Bootleg Series Volume 214. “He’s a Good Dog” – Fred Eaglesmith

    There’s something really sweet about a grizzled fella like Eaglesmith singing about how much he loves his dog. He also sings “I Shot Your Dog,” in case you need something a little more depressing.

  • Road Music - 23 Truckin' Hits13. “Little Joe” – Red Sovine

    Here’s another weeper from the fella who brought us “Teddy Bear.” A trucker and the pup who rides shotgun—and talks on the CB radio—are the best of friends. When the pair get into an accident and the trucker loses his sight, it’s Little Joe who pulls him from the burning wreck, and later becomes his seeing eye dog. “Little Joe” topped out at #45 in 1976 and was Sovine’s last big hit.

  • 28 Greatest Hits12. “Old Rattler” – Grandpa Jones

    Old Rattler’s a blind dog, and possibly the nicest one on earth: rather than kill a raccoon, the two stroll off in the moonlight, paw in paw. If you like this silly banjo tune, be sure to check out the sequel, “Old Rattler’s Son.”

  • From Rocky Top to Muddy Bottom: The Songs of Boudleaux and Felic11. “Tennessee Hound Dog” – Osborne Brothers

    The catchiest song on this month’s list is courtesy of Rocky Toppers Sonny and Bobby. Here the bluegrass brothers sing about a dog who may look like “ugly warmed over,” but when a girl dog comes around, the Tennessee hound is transformed into a “dynamite, uptight, outta sight backyard Romeo.”

  • From The End Of Your Leash10. “Your Adorable Beast” – Bobby Bare Jr.

    An alt-country song told from the dog’s point of view, “Your Adorable Beast” has the pup realizing that he’s a “fuzzy reflection” of his owner and later getting shown off “like a brand new tattoo.”

  • Ain't Gonna Rain No More: Blues and Pre-Blues from Piedmont Nort9. “Old Blue” – Dink Roberts

    Dink Roberts was an African-American oldtime banjo player out of North Carolina. But if his music isn’t to your liking, Tom Russell, The Byrds, The Dillards, Pete Seeger, and more all have recorded their own different takes on this traditional song and a good dog named Blue.

  • Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today8. “Gimme Back My Dog” – Slobberbone

    This song has one very famous fan in Stephen King, who thinks it’s one of the three best rock n roll songs ever. While we may not love “Gimme Back My Dog” that much, we still like it—and Slobberbone—a whole lot.

  • At Folsom Prison7. “Dirty Old Egg-Suckin’ Dog (Live)” – Johnny Cash

    Cash ain’t so fond of this dog, who prowls around the henhouse and kills his chickens. Now he’s not a bad guy, but if this dog doesn’t stop pushing his luck, he’ll get sent to “that great chicken house in the sky.”


  • 6. “I’ll Take The Dog” – Jean Shepard and Ray Pillow

    A divorced couple straight from the courthouse are dividing up their possessions, but can’t agree on who gets custody of the dog. So instead they decide to get back together. This duet cracked the Top 10 in 1966, making it Pillow’s highest charting single.

  • Dolly5. “Gypsy, Joe And Me/Me And Little Andy” – Dolly Parton

    Dolly Parton becomes Debbie Downer as she sings about dead dogs, dead kids, and dead boyfriends. But all of those depressing things sound almost pretty when they’re sung by Parton.

  • Blake Shelton4. “Ol’ Red” – Blake Shelton

    George Jones recorded “Ol’ Red” first (in 1990), but never released it as a single. Shelton’s version hit #14. Note to prison wardens: letting inmates—especially those doing time for murder—take care of your prisoner-tracking dog is probably a bad idea.

  • 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best Of Tom T. 3. “Old Dogs, Children And Watermelon Wine” – Tom T. Hall

    There are only three things worth a time in this world, says this classic song: kids, booze, and man’s best friend. Hall must be pretty fond of dogs; in addition to this song and “George (And the North Woods),” he also penned “Chattanooga Dog.”

  • 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best Of Hank Wi2. “Move It On Over” – Hank Williams

    Should cattin’ around land you squarely in the doghouse, your loyal pup will share his digs. It might take a little forcing, but he’ll share. This classic was Williams’ first hit (it went to #4 in 1947), and it’s been covered by everyone from Ray Charles to George Thorogood.

  • Old Shep1. “Old Shep” – Red Foley

    “Old Shep” ranks right up there with “He Stopped Loving Her Today” as the saddest song ever. If this story about a boy forced to shoot his elderly, beloved dog doesn’t make you tear up, chances are you have no soul.

  1. Hard Times
    February 1, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    It’s “How Much is that Doggie in the Window.”

  2. Leeann Ward
    February 1, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I’m so excited!! This is awesome!

    Vince Gill tells a story of how his father used to sing Old Shep to him to get him to go to bed. He’d run up to bed before he had to hear the end, because it always made him cry.

    Fantastic list, of course. I’ll have to make a playlist of this list for my Dog, Amigo.:)

  3. Juli
    February 1, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Not Fender’s version; my album cover says “How Much is That Dog in the Window.” http://www.cmt.com/artists/az/fender_freddy/428854/album.jhtml

  4. Brady Vercher
    February 1, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Not that it’s a big deal or worth the attention, but I was pretty sure it was “doggie,” too. Here’s a larger image of the album cover that lists the songs on the front.

  5. Sam G.
    February 1, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    “Okay, so “If I die before I wake/Feed Jake” is a very sweet prayer, but ten bucks says that Jake’s eating Master’s eyeballs before the body’s cold. ”

    That would be Nick Lowe’s “Marie Provost.” (“She was a winner, who became her doggie’s dinner…”)

  6. Juli
    February 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    I stand corrected, Brady and Hard Times. My bad!

    Leeann, I hadn’t heard that Vince Gill story before; thanks for sharing!

  7. Jon
    February 1, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Wow, no room for old Pete, huh? No “Run Pete Run” or “Old Pete, The Best Coon Dog In Tennessee?”

    There’s a really nice new version of “Gypsy, Joe And Me” on my friend Missy Werner’s album, Drifting And Dreaming.

  8. Jeff
    February 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Lucky Dog-Keith Whitley

  9. merlefan49
    February 1, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Yea Old Pete a great Jimmy Martin song :D

  10. Noeller
    February 1, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Great to see Crossin Dixon get an honourary mention for “Old Bird Dog” (Chesney cut a worse version) which is one of my faves.

  11. Occasional Hope
    February 1, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    I’m rather fond of a song called ‘Man’s Best Friend’ which the songwriter Monty Holmes recorded. It’s a slightly tongue-in-cheek reproach to the dog for not stopping the girl from leaving (“you’re so good at begging … how can you call yourself man’s best friend?”).

  12. Rick
    February 1, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Let us not forget about Homer and Jethro’s “How Much Is That Hound Dog In The Window?”.

    Jimmy Martin must have really loved Pete since he had the dog’s actual barking on the one of those songs I’ve heard! That’s going a bit too far in my book…

  13. Jim Malec
    February 1, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    My references were “dog” rather than “doggie,” but thanks for the correction. I actually looked this up, so the error is my fault.

  14. Ashley Brown
    February 1, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    A funny follow-up to Brandon Rickman’s song “I Bought Her A Dog,” basically a true story, is that shortly after recording and releasing the song, he found out he’s going to be a first-time father… Poetic justice?

  15. Mike Wimmer
    February 1, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    I would actually rank “Feed Jake” higher, that still remains as one of my favorite 90’s Country songs.

    Even more amazing is that I doubt you could get those lyrics approved on today’s Country radio. How sad is that?

  16. Leeann Ward
    February 1, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    I like “Feed Jake”, but it is a bit random in places.

  17. stormy
    February 1, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    No Me and You and A Dog Named Boo? Don’t you love being a free man?

  18. luckyoldsun
    February 1, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    The all-time great dog songs are Red Foley’s “Old Shep” (which you have) and Charlie Walker’s “I Wouldn’t Take Her to a Dogfight (Even If She Had a Chance to Win)”

  19. Buddynoel
    February 1, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    No mention of “Hound Dog” by Elvis???

  20. idlewildsouth
    February 1, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    My uncle used to sing “Feed Jake” to his wife(my name being Jacob) as we would go into his house in the evening.

  21. Mike Parker
    February 2, 2010 at 11:13 am

    I’d argue that Mr. Bojangles works as well as many of these as a dog song…. but maybe that’s because my folks’ dog growing up was named Bojangles.

  22. Brady Vercher
    February 2, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Haha, Mike. That visual reminds of the dog in Joe Ely’s “West Texas Waltz.”

  23. Ben Milam
    February 2, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    fred by ray stevens

  24. merlefan49
    February 4, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Echo Mountain James King

    Your number one choice is right on the money :D

  25. Kelly
    July 27, 2010 at 9:04 am

    What about “the more boys I meet” (the more I like my dog) by Carrie Underwood….

Tagged In This Article

// // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // //

Current Discussion

  • Paige: Oh damn. :( I never commented here and I haven't been listening to any music at all since Thanksgiving (it …
  • Dave W.: Just read the news here. Will miss E145 very much - love this site. All the best to you Juli …
  • Leeann Ward: Oh, dang! This is real. Farewell to the most generous, informative, quality, intelligent, consistent, ethical country music blog! You …
  • bll: Thanks Juli for all the great articles and information; you'll be missed by me and I suss several others. Best …
  • Both Kinds of Music: I hope people appreciate the irony that one of the best "Americana" albums is titled Metamodern Sounds in COUNTRY Music.
  • Barry Mazor: I would not rule out that possibility..There's a different set of voters involved..
  • Dana M: Does anyone else think that Brandy Clark actually has a good chance of winning since this isn't a country awards …
  • Juli Thanki: UPDATE: Brandy Clark got a Best New Artist nom. BEST AMERICANA ALBUM: Rosanne Cash -- The River & The Thread John Hiatt -- Terms …
  • luckyoldsun: Glenn Campbell is great and I'd love to see him get an award, but the words of that song may …
  • Casey Penn: Juli, it was an honor to write for you here on Engine145.com. You're good at what you do, and The …

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • walkerandthetexasdangers3
  • deadmanstown
  • tom t hall storytellers
  • paulthorntooblessed
  • duhksbeyondtheblue
  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton