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60+ Foo Dog Tattoo Ideas to Give You All The Luck and Protection You Need this Year

By Jason Hamilton / February 5, 2020
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If you’ve traveled to Asian countries like Japan, Philippines, and China, you’ve probably seen foo dog statues. But have you seen foo dog tattoo ideas? Yes, these weird-looking statues aren’t just displays outside temples but you can also have them inked on your body. But before you have it inked on your body, let’s take a closer look at it, shall we?

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What is a Foo Dog?

In case you’re not familiar with Asian culture, particularly in the eastern part of it, a foo dog (also known as fu dog in Chinese and kumainu or shisa in Japanese) is that fierce statue of a mythical creature that you can often find flanking the entrance of Chinese and Japanese temples in particular. They look like a dog but also resemble a dragon and a lion at the same time. Sometimes, you can find them outside the temples on a sitting position but sometimes they hold a ball on either their right paw.

A statue of a foo dog in a Korean palace

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In addition to that, if common to see two foo dogs standing at the entrance of buildings. This is because people belie that these statues should always be displayed in pairs to keep completeness and harmony like the Yin and Yang. Usually, they are displayed where the male foo dog sits at the right side of the entrance (the male is the one that holds a ball) while the female sits on the left (holding a cub on the right paw).

Aside from that, they are also designed as door knockers, incense burner legs, and pottery.

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Huge foo dog door knockers you’ll usually find in Chinese temples

These mythical creatures are actually commonly seen in Japan and China. However, due to the countries’ strong influence, you can also get to see some of these statues in the Philippines, especially in Chinese-themed restaurants and other attractions. Often, Filipinos also have smaller versions of these statues displayed in their office and houses.

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They are often made of stone. However, it also has versions made of wood just like in Japan.

Mini foo dogs used as book stoppers

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Foo Dog Origin

There is actually no word as to where foo dogs actually started. However, India and other Middle Eastern countries, sometime around or before the third century, has already had lions appearing in their temple art before it showed up in Chinese Buddhist art. You can also see variations of this creature in Myanmar, Tibet, Korea, and other East Asian countries too. But today, it’s much more rampant in China’s culture. Hence, we can’t blame you if you will think that it is where the foo dogs originated.

Foo Dog Meaning

Food dogs are generally known as protectors of the home, workplace, and other establishments against negative energies. Hence, they are often placed just outside the entrance of buildings. They are also known as a symbol of power since they also look like lions. On top of that, many people also believe that the statues of these creatures can bring luck positivity to them. And for that reason, you can also get to see offices, restaurants, as well as homes, decorated with these mythical creatures, especially in the Chinese and Filipino culture.

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A foo dog statue outside an Asian restaurant for good luck

Foo Dog as Tattoos

Due to modernization, you will not just see these mythical creature’s statues displayed outside buildings or as an interior decoration. Today, you can also use them as tattoos. And they are not just displays to complete your look but just as many people believe back in the day, they can also give you luck and help you ward off negative vibes and people too if you use them as a tattoo. Wouldn’t it be nice to have this with you so you won’t have to carry statues of it or other lucky charms?

Foo Dog Tattoo Ideas on Placement

Foo dog tattoos are much different than other tattoos. Unlike the others, you can’t just place it anywhere in your body and still get the same meaning. Foo dog tattoos should also be strategically placed too just as how they are displayed in buildings for better results. Read on to get more foo dog tattoo ideas and learn more about their meanings.

Foo Dog Tattoo Back

If you place your foo dog tattoo on your back, you can have the Imperial Guardian Lions to guard your back. It can block off negative energies that you don’t see coming like betrayal and gossip. Here are some foo dog tattoo ideas on this kind of placement.

An intricately detailed foo dog tattoo on the upper right part of the back

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This one is also detailed but placed on the upper left portion of the back

A foo dog’s head inked on the nape extending a bit down to the upper portion of the back area

A male foo dog placed at the center of the back

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A full-body tattoo of a foo dog

A foo dog tattoo that covers the whole back area

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Another foo dog tattoo that covers the whole back area

A foo dog’s head tattoo with symmetrical details

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A combination of foo dog and dragon tattoo covering the whole back area

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A colorful full-back foo dog tattoo

A foo dog paired with a Yin and Yang tattoo

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A painting-like foo dog tattoo paired with cherry blossoms inked on the lower right part of the back

Foo Dog Tattoo Chest

If you place a foo dog tattoo on your chest, it can help you express who you are. Having it inked on this area means that you are protective of your emotions and feelings. Also, it can symbolize how picky you are when trusting your heart to someone.

A realistic foo dog tattoo placed on the left part of the chest

A foo dog inked on the right part of the chest in black and gray ink

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A Japanese style foo dog tattoo also placed on the right part of the owner’s chest

A foo dog in gray ink on the left part of the chest with other symbols

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A foo dog tattoo that gives off some tribal feels

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A foo dog chest tattoo that extends to the arm

A pair of foo dog tattoos on the chest in black ink

A big foo dog chest tattoo that stretches down to the ribs in red, gold, and black ink

Another foo dog chest tattoo but has more emphasis on the creature’s face

Another combination of foo dog and dragon tattoos on the chest

You know what they say, foo dogs should always come in pairs so this tattoo owner made sure to have two of them inked on his chest

Foo Dog Tattoo Arm

Since it is believed that foo dogs should always come in pairs, why not have the male and female foo dogs inked on your body too? If you place them on your arms, you can have two bodyguards on either side of you to give you protection. But remember their correct positions wherein the male is placed on the right and the female sits on the left.

A foo dog tattoo holding a ball placed on the forearm

Another forearm tattoo of a foo dog but in gray ink

A male foo dog combined with a bonsai tattoo

A colorful foo dog tattoo on the upper part of the arm that stretches up to the chest area

An outline tattoo of a foo dog on the upper part of the arm

A sleeve tattoo of a foo dog paired with an Oni mask

A foo dog and a flower tattoo

A full sleeve tattoo made of images of Oni mask, koi, wave, and foo dog

A unique foo dog tattoo in gold ink

A half sleeve tattoo of a foo dog’s face

More Foo Dog Tattoo Ideas

Foo dog tattoos are already meaningful. But if you want to enhance its aesthetics and make it all the more meaningful, you can also pair it with other symbols. Here are some symbols that go along really well with foo dog tattoos.

Bamboo

Bamboos are also considered a symbol of luck and prosperity. If you will add this to your foo dog tattoo, these symbols can work hand-in-hand to bring you more fortune. And because bamboo trees are known for its sturdy growth and resilience, it can also represent your strength.

A full-back tattoo of a temple, cherry blossoms, bamboo, and foo dog

Peony

Peony tattoo designs aren’t just aesthetics. Yes, they are already beautiful and can stand alone but if you pair them with foo dog tattoos, you can enhance its aesthetics even more. On top of that, lion and peonies, according to legends are also like Yin and Yang. Peony flowers are delicate while foo dogs are a symbol of power and strength (hence they often guard temples and other establishments). Also, this combination portrays how overtly masculine is tempered and balanced by a touch of softness.

A nearly full-sleeve tattoo of a foo dog and peony in various colors

A blue cartoonish foo dog with red and pink peonies as backdrop

A purple head of a foo dog with an orange peony

A foo dog and peony tattoo in various colors

A foo dog and peony tattoos in blue, pink, black, and green ink placed on the upper part of the leg

A male foo dog in black ink accented with a pink peony on top

A foo dog in black ink with red peonies giving a classic Japanese tattoo vibe

Another cartoonish foo dog in blue ink decorated with yello swirls paired with a big red peony tattoo almost covering the whole arm

An intricately detailed foo dog tattoo with peonies in gold, blue, black, and red ink

A colorful combination of a foo dog, peonies, and a bagua with a sun in the middle covering the upper part of the arm and the upper right portion of the back

A multicolored full sleeve tattoo of a foo dog and peony tattoos

An irezumi tattoo of a fish, dragon, foo dog, and peonies

A colorful full body tattoo of different Japanese symbols including peonies and a foo dog

Another foo dog and peony tattoos giving off some Japanese vibe

A combination of a foo dog, peony, and Oni mask tattoos nearly covering the whole arm

A colored tattoo of peonies and a foo dog placed on the left thigh

Another full-sleeve of foo dog and peony tattoos

A foo dog and peony tattoo covering the upper portion back

A full sleeve tattoo of a foo dog and peony tattoos

A full back tattoo of a male foo dog with a peony

A classic Japanese tattoo of a foo dog’s head and a peony

A leg tattoo of a foo dog and peony with realistic details

A chest tattoo of a foo dog combines with cherry blossoms and peonies

A huge foo dog tattoo with peonies and cherry blossoms covering the whole back down to the top of the buttocks

Realistic tattoos of foo dogs and red peonies at the back of the legs

Lotus

Lotus flowers are also seen in Buddhism, just like the food dogs. This symbolizes overcoming adversities to reach your fullest potential in life. And if you pair it with food dogs, you can ward off negativities as you overcome adversities. Quite a nice pair, right?

A realistic foo dog tattoo with lotus placed on the chest

A multicolored fave of a foo dog with a lotus

A huge intricately detailed food dog and lotus flower tattoo designs with Chinese characters

Foo dogs are really powerful tattoos that aren’t just beautiful to see inked on your body but it has a nice meaning as well that will give you all the luck and protection that you need against negativities. It’s definitely something to consider.


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About the author

Jason Hamilton

Jason has been an avid fan of tattoos for over 13 years now. He is currently 35 years old, and he got his first tattoo at the age of 22. Since then, he has added over 20 tattoos to his collection. He is also into writing, which is why he decided to celebrate both of his passion and hobby through tats ‘n’ rings. Jason dreams of having his very own tattoo parlor soon. Jason would be very happy to answer any questions about tattoos that you may have! Leave a comment below and he’ll answer it for you right away!

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