You might see paw print tattoos as just a cute way for people to show off their love of animals, but there’s so much more to these designs than that. Many of them come with much deeper meanings than most people know about, and there are plenty of ways that you can get them designed.
Below we will go over some of the most popular paw print tattoos and the meanings that people attach to them.
The image of paw prints is an instant homage to animalistic qualities and often serves as a tribute to a beloved pet. While many people do not have their pets’ exact paw prints, that’s actually not as important as getting the overall shape correct. Of course, if you do happen to have an image or maybe an inked paw print from your pet, then that would be what you’d want to use in your tattoo.
The type of paw print people get varies according to the animal desired to be portrayed. While this might seem obvious, it actually isn’t uncommon to see people will paw prints of a completely different breed of the animal they are trying to memorialize. The most important thing to keep in mind when designing your paw print tattoo is that the pads and claws are accurate.
Many different animals can be used to convey a wildness that the individual identifies with, including dogs, cats and large felines like jaguars, wolves, bears or other large padded-foot creatures. If you do decide to get a paw print tattoo that is not one honoring a pet, be sure that you know all of the meanings that come with those designs.
A single paw print of a wild animal like a wolf or bear is usually a symbol of savage and primal instincts. The animal can be imaged in the form of a paw print, usually enlarged, portraying the spirit of the animal that exists within the individual. This is a great way to show off your “wild” side or to show that you will “attack” when provoked.
Wolf and bear paw print tattoos are often a bit larger than most of the others we’ve mentioned, though that isn’t totally necessary. If you do plan on getting a realistic paw print of one of these animals, make sure you plan on using a larger area of your body, such as your chest or back.
Some people get their paw print tattoos as a unique way to use the meanings of an animal without having to get the entire body tattooed on their skin. It’s actually an excellent alternative for people who do not want to spend a lot of money on a big, detailed animal tattoo. Not only do you still get a fantastic design but you also get all of the same meanings in a unique way.
A single dog or cat paw print is generally an honor given to a family pet, either living or deceased. You can get multiple paws, but the single paw is usually a better option since it can fit on more spots of your body. For example, many people like to get these types of paw print tattoos on their wrists so they can see them all the time.
More minute paw prints add a cute, “storybook” quality to the image, rendering it more delicately than a larger print. These paw print tats aren’t quite as meaningful as the others that we have covered so far, but they do say plenty about the individuals who get them. In many cases, those who get the cute paw prints want to show that they take pride in still retaining their child-like qualities.
Several paw prints can be added into a single tattoo, creating a trail to signify the pet’s passing on or even to convey the spirit of a docile canine or feline. If you happen to like forearm tattoos and you want to honor a pet, then this might be the best option for you. A tattoo artist can very easily create a line of paw prints going up or down your forearm, making for a very cool design.
In the case of a tribute, the name or date of the animal’s death is often added to further identify the deceased pet. This is a great option if you want outsiders to know exactly what your paw print tattoo means since the date itself will tell others that a pet of yours has passed on. If you do decide to add a date to your tattoo, be sure to find a font that works well with the rest of the design.
An image of the pet is sometimes added as well and can be rendered in a variety of ways from a realistic portrait to a petite silhouette. This comes down to personal preference and does not affect the meaning of the paw print tattoo one way or the other. Just bear in mind that if you decide to go the portrait route, the design could end up costing you quite a bit of money.
Bear paw prints are popular because of the long claws that are included in the print, giving an even stronger impression of the ferociousness of the animal and, perhaps, the owner of the tattoo. The image of a bear print is a symbol that one has been touched by the wild and carries that keen instinctual sense with them, throughout their lives.
Patterns can be included within the form of the paw print, adding another element to the image. The patterns you choose could add extra meaning to the overall design, or they could just be there for aesthetic reasons. A cool thing that some people do is have an image of their pet inside of the pads of the paw, with some of the gaps between them left empty.
Cheetah or leopard prints are often used in paw print tattoos, emphasizing the raw animalistic quality of the individual. Once again this comes down to the animal that you like and the meanings that you want to add to the design. In both of these examples, most people will add in the patterns found in the cheetah or leopard’s coats to make clear the type of paw prints they are.
Tribal designs can be used as well depending on the heritage or personal identification of the individual. This is actually a nice way of blending two tattoo ideas together since you can show your pride in your ancestry while also adding in the meanings of that particular animal. The tribal designs can fit inside of the paw print or can surround it, depending on the look that you want.
If you plan on getting a paw print tattoo, you will need to think about how you want the paws to be shaped, how many paws you’ll include in the design, and how large you want them to be. These things are important to think about because they help you narrow down where the paw print tattoo can be placed on your body and whether it should be a vertical or horizontal design.
After you come up with the size and shape of your paw print tattoo, you will want to choose a location that can make it stand out. It’s a good idea to test out a few locations by having the artist draw up a few stencils and see how they look on your skin. You might even find that a location you weren’t even thinking about before actually works best for that particular design.
As you can see, there is much more to paw print tattoos than just a person’s love for animals. These designs have a lot of great meanings and, yes, they look great in tattoo form. If you have a favorite animal and the meanings that are attached to them, or you simply want to honor a pet, you might just find that a paw print tattoo is the perfect design for you.