Are there any fairy tales about dogs? Yes! I combed through the Brothers Grimm collection and found 8 Grimm fairy tales with dogs.
Since they became friends, many thousands years ago, dogs and humans have been inseparable. No wonder there are many stories about dogs found all over the world.
The dog isn’t the most popular character in fairy tales though. In fact, in the Grimm fairy tales he is often not the main character. And in the few fairy tales where the dog takes the leading role, he is old and has to fight to keep his place in the household.
1. Spitz the Dog Snatches a Sausage
The dog Spitz in this fairy tale is only a supporting character.
Catherine is frying a sausage for her beloved Frederick. Suddenly it occurs to her that she can go down into the cellar and draw a beer while the sausage is cooking.
As she is drawing the beer she realizes that the dog might get the sausage. She runs up the stairs, while the beer keeps flooding the cellar.
Spitz the dog has snatched the sausage and Catherine goes off in pursuit. All else that can be said about our Spitz is that he gets to enjoy his sausage.
2. Old Sultan Tricks the Farmers
In the Grimm’s time, old animals were of no use anymore. There are a few fairy tales about dogs dealing with this situation.
One of them is about an old dog, called Old Sultan. His owner discusses with his wife shooting him because he is of no use anymore and they can’t spare the food.
Old Sultan hears this and is devastated. He shares his sorrows with his wild counterpart, Wolf. Wolf helps him get back into the good graces of the household.
When Wolf later wants some tasty sheep in return, Old Sultan stands up to him. To protect the humans and their livelihood is his purpose, no sheep for Wolf!
3. Classic Dog Fairy Tale: The Bremen Town Musicians
It all started with an old and weakening donkey traveling to the great city of Bremen. A donkey with a dream to become a town musician.
Along his way, an old hunting dog lies on the road, gasping for air. He just ran away from his master, who wanted to kill him to save money.
The donkey doesn’t hesitate and offers the hunting dog a place in his band: he can play the kettledrum.And so the hunting dog traveled on with him.
In this fairy tale, the dog is one of the four animals traveling to Bremen. Spoiler: they will never arrive there but will find a good life for themselves.
4. The Unthinkable Happens to His Friend, the Dog
It all started out so simple and sweet: a sparrow and a dog becoming best friends. Setting out to get food together. Relaxing in the warm sun together.
Until one day, the unthinkable happens. A wagoneer is unwilling to stop or go out of his way and purposefully drives his wagon over the dog.
While this is the end of the dog [sad], the sparrow goes on a revenge craze and the wagoneer will wish that he had made other choices…
5. Dog folktale: Never Let Them Guard Your Meat
The dogs in this story only play a supporting role.
A simple farmer butchers his cow and wants to sell the meat in the market. In front of the city gate, a great troop of dogs is gathered, led by a large greyhound, the butcher’s dog.
The greyhound keeps barking and the simple farmer understands that he wants to meat. He makes a deal with the greyhound to leave the meat there and pick it up later.
Later, the meat is devoured and the simple farmer turns to the butcher to get his money back.
6. When a Dog Asks For Your Passport…
The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage is a funky little fairy tale.
The dog plays a supporting role in this fairy tale. When the sausage travels to the woods to get wood for the fire, he is stopped by a dog. The dog asks for his passport, and when he can’t provide, concludes that he is legally allowed to eat him.
7. Dogs, Frogs, and Doves
The son of the count learns three languages: the languages of dogs, frogs, and doves.
His father doesn’t see the usefulness of his learning and kicks him out. The son travels and finds himself in an old tower, surrounded by a pack of wild dogs. He calms them and emerges with what they have told him:
“They are bewitched and are obliged to watch over a great treasure which is below in the tower. No rest for them until it is taken away. I have likewise learned from talking with them how that is to be done.”
He gets the gold. The dogs get their rest.
8. Why Dogs Live Only 12 Years
One day, after God creates all the animals and man, they all end up asking him how many years they will have to live.
God offers the dog 30, but the dog replies:
“Lord,” answered the dog. “Is that your will? Just think how much I have to run. My feet will not hold out so long. And what can I do but growl and run from one corner to another after I have lost my voice for barking and my teeth for biting?”
And God decides in his infinite wisdom that the dog will live 12 years. And so it has been until this day.
Why are dogs in fairy tales often supporting characters?
Dogs in fairy tales are mostly friendly and good. They protect and serve humans. That makes for a great companion to the main character. He is, however, often too boring to be the main character himself and too good to be the antagonist, contrary to his wild brother, the wolf.
More fairy tales with dogs?
In this post I only wrote about the Brothers Grimm fairy tales with dogs. Of course there are many more collections of stories worldwide!
Want to discover more animals in the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales?
➡ Check out my Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales Animals List