Anyone can learn how to draw a puppy. I’ve been sketching since childhood, and I find the process relaxing. It’s very different, though, trying to create guidelines and step-by-step instructions. It’s fun but challenging to design a repeatable process that is simple enough to follow and accessible to people of all skill levels.
I learned so much when I created “How to Draw a Dog: Pug Edition,” and I was thrilled to take another crack at it for Dogster’s readers!
After flipping through hundreds of stock photos of cute baby puppies and making several preliminary sketches to get a feel for them, it turned out that the two who were most appealing to me happened to be Beagle puppies. Aren’t they adorable? I took different approaches to each. Pick the one that piques your interest, and let’s learn how to draw a Beagle puppy!
How to draw a puppy, step by step
Here’s the method for these drawing lessons: Instructions for the puppy on the left will appear above the drawing guides, and those for the puppy on the right will be immediately below. Of course, you’re more than welcome to skip the written explanations altogether and try your hand at following the visual cues!
Step 1: Starting with simple shapes
The first step is to provide yourself with a basic framework, composed of simple shapes. Our left-hand puppy begins with an egg shape, with the small end facing downward. Sketch three lines through it, one cutting off each end and one right through the middle. From the center, draw a line down to the tip of the egg, and then the same distance beyond. Now sketch a line across the bottom for a base, forming an upside-down “T.”
Our right-hand puppy starts out with two ovals — one for the head and a larger one for the body — and a “T” shape between them. I started with the top oval. From the right side, I sketch a line down, approximately four times the height of the oval. Don’t worry about being exact; I’m just trying to describe with precision what you’ll do by feel. Now, draw a line across the bottom to form the “T.” On the right side of the “T,” draw a larger oval.
Step 2: Draw a face for one puppy, legs and tail for the other!
For the puppy on the left, we’re focusing on drawing the head and face. Staying within the egg and starting at the center line, sketch in an upside-down heart shape. This forms the puppy’s muzzle. On either side of the center line, draw in two small ovals for the puppy’s eyes. The nose is a small triangle at the bottom of the inverted heart. Next, the ears are two triangular shapes nestled between the egg’s top and bottom lines.
For our second puppy, draw a box around the oval to provide a framework for the rest of the body. The puppy’s tail is formed by a couple of curved lines on top of the body oval. The first three legs all fit within the box. The legs closest to you extend down to the baseline of the “T.” The hindmost leg is just outside the box.
Step 3: Framing a puppy’s body and drawing a puppy’s head
Our left-hand puppy needs a body. If you recall your elementary-school education in shapes, the framework for the body is a parallelogram. The left side extends down and to the left of the egg’s center line, the right side from the bottom of the egg.
On the right side, we’re drawing in the rest of the puppy’s head and face. First, we’re going to sketch in one more guide line, from the top of the body oval toward the head. Draw a large triangle from the top of the oval down to the line for the ear closest to you. A small loop on the bottom is good enough for the other. Sketch an eye right next to the larger ear, and use the oval to guide the rest of the head shape. A small “V” at the front forms the mouth.
Step 4: Legs and a tail for one puppy, a neck for the other
Sketch a line through the center of the body to help position the puppy’s legs. A modified number “2” from the left side gives you the hind leg. A sickle or moon shape connecting the bottom left of the parallelogram to the hind leg forms the tail. Where the head meets the body on the right side, draw a line down to the base to start the outside leg. The body’s center line shows where the middle leg starts. A small hoop next to it is good enough for the back hind leg.
Our right-hand puppy now needs a neck and collar. All the neck requires is two curved lines to join the two ovals. The collar is formed by two curved lines connecting both sides of the neck.
Step 5: Softening the puppy drawings
I find sketching easier when I focus on the process rather than the result. For me, that means drawing over my guide lines, rather than erasing as I go along. For our first puppy, it’s time to soften up the body by sketching curved lines over the straight ones of the parallelogram.
For the puppy on the right, we’ll soften up the drawing adding a couple of curved lines at the top and bottom of the oval. These additions make the legs and shoulder blades facing us a bit more defined. By this stage, your puppy drawing is basically complete! If your goal was simply to learn how to draw an easy puppy, you’re done!
Step 6: Add detail and character to your puppy drawing
If you’re more of a completist, all that remains is to add in details! Beagle puppies have soft, floppy ears. A little “V” shape in the center of each ear is enough to suggest floppiness. A curved line between the front and hind legs gives the puppy a little belly. Curved lines above and below the eyes give the face more definition. Little “U” shapes in the feet can finish the puppy’s paws.
Many Beagle puppies have tricolor coats. The pattern is easy enough to draw in now that the form is complete. I chose to give the right-hand puppy white socks, a white tail tip, and muzzle. A bit of shading is sufficient to give the puppy a black patch on his back. A curved line from the hind leg to the front leg provides space for the belly.
Share your puppy drawings! Keep practicing!
One of the greatest challenges for people who consider themselves non-artistic is simply getting started. The next is the fear of judgment. If you set out only to please yourself, and decide that making a mess is not only acceptable but desirable, you’ve got a leg up on your own harshest critic. Learning to draw a puppy is similar to the process of training one; with practice and patience, anything is possible!
Read more about dog drawings on Dogster:
- How to Draw a Dog: Pug Edition
- Illustrator Sharon Tancredi Sets Out to Draw 100 Dog Breeds
- Studio Legohead Brings Bold Dog Drawings to Etsy
About the author: Melvin Peña trained as a scholar and teacher of 18th-century British literature before turning his research and writing skills to puppies and kittens. He enjoys making art, hiking, and concert-going, as well as dazzling crowds with operatic karaoke performances. He has a two-year-old female Bluetick Coonhound mix named Baby, and his online life is conveniently encapsulated here.