From Beatles to Baha Men - and everything in between - these tunes pay tribute to our four-legged friends.
Like songs about first kisses and broken hearts, there’s no shortage of pop songs about pups.
But if you put every dog-related song on one playlist, you’d be in for a pretty eclectic and mind-bending listen. We can’t guarantee all the songs on our list are, um, great...but one thing is certain: people love singing about dogs.
Here are our 15 picks for the most notable dog ditties out there.
1. Hound Dog - Elvis Presley
Originally recorded by Big Mama Thorton in 1952, “Hound Dog” is the most culturally significant dog song on our list. When Elvis recorded it a few years later, it became the emblem of the rock ‘n’ roll revolution and one of the best-selling singles of all time. This one never gets old.
2. Who Let The Dogs Out - Baha Men
This Grammy award-winning single is definitely the earworm of the list. Because once “Who Let The Dogs Out” gets in your head, it’s like a dog with a bone who won’t let go. This song is the one-hit-wonder that catapulted Baha Men into the big time in 2000. But did you know this Bahamas-based band has been around since 1977? Neither did we.
3. I Love My Dog - Yusuf / Cat Stevens
This 1967 hit from the legendary songwriter is a flat-out love letter to his dog. He loves his pup even more than the woman he’s singing to: “I love my dog / As much as I love you / You may Fade / My dog will always come through.” Damn, man.
4. Walking The Dog - Rufus Thomas
What happens when your dog song hits the top ten and becomes your signature song? You record more dog songs, of course! Stax Records star, Rufus Thomas made novelty songs his shtick, and released dozens of singles including “Somebody Stole My Dog”, “Can Your Monkey Do The Dog”, and the creatively titled tune “The Dog.”
5. I Wanna Be Your Dog - The Stooges
What’s cooler than Iggy Pop wanting to be your dog?! There’s good reason The Stooges are known as the Godfathers of Punk, and this dog song still barks its way into countless soundtracks and remains as bad-ass now as it was in 1967.
6. Martha My Dear - The Beatles
Paul McCartney penned this White Album song about his Old English Sheepdog. Said Paul: “She was a dear pet of mine. I remember John [Lennon] being amazed to see me being so loving to an animal. He said, ‘I’ve never seen you like that before.’” “Martha My Dear” wasn’t the Fab Four’s only dog song. For something that rocks out a bit more, check out “Hey Bulldog.”
7. Man of the Hour - Norah Jones
The insanely-talented Norah Jones wrote this song for her 2009 album The Fall, and it quickly became a fan (and dog lover’s) favourite. Lyrics like this say it all: “So I chose you because you’re sweet / And you give me lots of lovin’ and you eat meat.” This live performance is too charming not to watch.
8. Old King - Neil Young
Neil Young pays tribute here to “Elvis”, the dog he took with him on tour for years. Lucky dog, eh? Young changed his pet’s name to “King” for better sounding lyrics, and this tune remains a standout on what’s considered one of Neil Young’s greatest albums, Harvest Moon.
9. Everything Reminds Me of My Dog - Jane Siberry
Another Canadian on our list. Jane Siberry’s little ditty about dogs is a fun little change-up from her more artsy and eccentric music. The bouncy “Everything Reminds Me of My Dog” sends you to your happy place and will have you singing “get along little doggie” all day.
10. Black Dog - Led Zeppelin
This iconic guitar classic was titled after a nameless Labrador Retriever who wandered around the studio Zeppelin were in, while recording Led Zeppelin IV. But it wasn’t the only dog-related song the band released -the rockabilly-tinged “Hot Dog” and “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” , about a four-legged friend, both showcase the lighter side of the band.
11. How Much is that Doggie in the Window - Patti Page
It’s obligatory we put this one in. Patti Page’s version was so popular in 1953, children were ‘yipping’ in school and people demanded free puppies from the record company. This was a time before rock ‘n’ roll when hits like “Doggie in the Window” were the squeaky-clean novelty songs of the day. Elvis and others would soon change that, and thank goodness.
12. Raindogs - Tom Waits
Tom Waits made a career out of singing about the loners, drunks, and hustlers of the world. He describes “raindogs” as those lost souls who can’t find their way home when the rain washes away their scent trail. Waits is always an acquired taste, and just happens to be this columnist’s favourite artist. So, yeah, it made this list.
13. Dirty Old Egg Sucking Dog - Johnny Cash
Leave it to Johnny Cash to write a song about a hound he wants to shoot. But how could we not include Johnny? This comedic song rages against a dog who keeps killing a farmer’s chickens: “Though I'm not a real bad guy / I'm going to get my rifle and send him / To that great chicken house in the sky.”
14. I Love My Dog - Sublime
Sublime’s frontman Bradley Nowell paid tribute to his dalmatian “Lou Dog” in a number of the band’s tunes, but this is definitely their doggiest song.
15. Gonna Buy Me a Dog - The Monkees
You gotta love the catchy, cheesy sound of The Monkees, whose melodic hits still live on. This isn’t one of them. But hey, it’s about a dog, so we’ll just leave it here for you.
Diamond Dogs, David Bowie / Cracker Jack, Dolly Parton / Hounds of Love, Kate Bush / Black-Eyed Dog, Nick Drake / Doggy Dogg World, Snoop Dogg / Shake Dog Shake, The Cure / My Dog and Me, John Hiatt