Weekend Diversion: Painting Animals to look like other Animals

"Are we to paint what's on the face, what's inside the face, or what's behind it?" -Pablo Picasso

As an animal lover, like others here on scienceblogs, as well as a big fan of Halloween costumes, it's probably unsurprising that a good, creative animal costume will crack me up.

Turtle Dog

Three more turtle dogs and a giant rat will complete the set!


Turn your sweet, harmless puppy into the fearsome guardian of Hades by adding two extra heads!

Smiley Panda

Sometimes, you just need to play to your strengths. In this case, it's ridiculous cuteness.

Dressing animals like other animals is practically its own artform by now, but recently a new twist has caught my attention, and I had to share it with you. For a song this weekend, I bring you Billy Bragg's

Must I Paint You A Picture,

but even that might not prepare you for the craze that is... painting and dyeing animals to look like other animals! Without further ado, here are some of the greatest ones I've been able to find.

Panda Dogs

Although they're still more likely to *fetch* bamboo than to eat it.

If you want to turn your dog into a panda, why settle for getting a panda costume, when you can literally turn your dog into a panda?! You know you've done a great job when your animal is getting reactions like this.

Pet the Panda

"Are you serious? I can *really* pet this panda???"

And skunks might not be the most appealing of animals, but if you're already a black dog with white marks, aren't you just asking for it?

Skunk dog

...and then they told me that *I* smelled bad. Can you believe some people?!?!

Sometimes, simply applying a razor to a cat allows you to transform the king of your living room into the king of beasts!


This one still knows not to look directly at the camera. They steal your soul, you know.

Known as a lioncut, this can often be enhanced by a bit of color addition to your cat.

lioncut, kinda

Otherwise, you can wind up looking a little too much like Wilford Brimley.

And, of course, if you're going to break out the paint, why not go all the way and turn your animal into a zebra?

Zebra Dog

Now you just need 50 others in the same costume, and she'll be invisible to lions (and lioncats)!

For those of you with horses, the zebra-painting is even better!

Horse Zebra

A beautiful paint job on a very sad horse.

Finally, if you've made it this far, you deserve the top 3 photos of painted animals that I've ever seen. Without further ado, here we go! Paint/dye your animal to turn them into...

Tiger dog

Although, I don't think any amount of painting will give this dog the temperament of a tiger.

3.) a tiger!

Pikachu cat

"To denounce the evils of truth and love." "To extend our reach to the stars above."

2.) a Pikachu from Pokémon! And the number one picture of a painted/dyed animal on the internet...

Twilight Sparkle My Little Puppy

All the ponies in this town are CRAZY!

1.) a Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony!

A pretty amazing find, and it definitely makes me want to turn my dog into a baby deer... as soon as she stops running away from me. Hope you enjoyed it, and have a great rest-of-your-weekend!

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this is horrible

By James Tuley (not verified) on 01 Jul 2012 #permalink

I tend to agree. This fits with my perception that, for many people, pet equals toy.

Twilight Sparkle doesn't have hearts on her flank!

Pets are living creatures... not toys.

offtopic... waiting for your post on the LHC announcement coming wednesday!

@reader, there is one in the works, probably for tomorrow, in prep for Wednesday's big announcement!

The pikacat looks more like photoshop than dye.
That mlp dog is pretty awful :(

It seems so wrong....but so right...until Pikachu & Pony, just creepy!

By Louise Ney (not verified) on 02 Jul 2012 #permalink

Pikachu Cat and Twilight Sparkle Dog look like products of some strange LHC experiment...

By TotallyUncool (not verified) on 02 Jul 2012 #permalink

Thankfully pikachu cat is just an edited photo.


By Chiefy McWifey (not verified) on 03 Jul 2012 #permalink

take this down it's gross and stupid.

And the winner is:
The Three Headed dog because there was no paint involved.

the panda dog is just too cute. and the 3-headed dog is genius. and i hope they used natural vegetable dye on these animals!

It's wrong.

This is not healthy for animals nor is it funny. I'm telling you we are growing stronger as a community against animal abuse and soon people that do things like this will be in jail. You're a jackass for posting this.

You need to take this down it is wrong. Animals are not toys to be painted that cannot be healthy for them. The people that did this are ignorant and the poster as well for thinking people were going to see this and be okay with it. We work very hard to see animal abuse end, this isn't far from abuse. Animals are beautiful just the way they are born.

By animalrightsan… (not verified) on 14 Jul 2012 #permalink

This is awesome, not only are the owners having fun, but the so are the pets, pets love attention, and this will get them lots. What pets don't care about is what color they are, if their painted or just muddy, and especially, pets don't care about whiners who are offended by this. Seriously, the double standard these people place on pet owners is sad. They think you should bathe the pet, and make it smell unnatural, and offensive to itself and other animals, but they think shouldn't paint them, which pets don't care about.
If they truly loved animals, and weren't posting just to hurt someones feelings, they would take the time to read up on the subject and get familiar with it. Mock rage is so lame.

By Animalrightsan… (not verified) on 17 Aug 2012 #permalink

What beautiful, and happy faces. Haters need to get informed and see a creative grooming show. These dogs LOVE this. The attention that is lavished on them, and the great care they get are second to none. You know what abuse is. A natural pet. Un brushed, unbathed, un clipped. Nails curling in to pads and poo hanging off the rear. I see it everyday from so called animal lovers. Get a clue

Guys, shut the hell up. Y'all paint yourselves up, pierce your shit, tattoo yourselves, mutilate your bodies, etc. I know my dog feels awesome as hell when I put his sweater on. If I painted him he'd probably think he has super powers.

By zafadadynamic (not verified) on 01 Jan 2013 #permalink

Gosh, some people are hysterical, aren't they?

Personally, I prefer to eat animals rather than play with them, but to each his own, I say.

By Vince Whirlwind (not verified) on 01 Jan 2013 #permalink

The Pikachu is Photoshopped, but the others are all real. What kind of paint do they use? It would have to be something that wouldn't hurt the animals (I hope)...

The products used on these animals is completely safe. The spray color and har dye is made specially for dogs. This is not animal abuse, like another person said we see the real abuse, when a dog is so badly matted we find thorn bushes and other objects tangled in their fur. This is just like us ladies who go to the beauty shop for a new color or men wanting a design in their fade. Please stop with the dramatics and inform yourself of how things are done before you jump to abuse allegations. What these people do is art and I see many dogs prance around knowing theyre rockin a new do

By amber roman (not verified) on 06 Sep 2013 #permalink

If I dressed you up as Frank N Furter (including putting on hairs on your legs) without your consent and paraded you around like that, would that not be abuse?

That is NOT Twilight Sparkle!!

I find it hilarious, But not as hilarious as these posts. "They are pets not toys"? So you think domesticating animals for your enjoyment is ok but not painting them? Get a life whiners or set them all free and let nature take its course.

" Get a life whiners"

An admonition at the end of a post whose entire content is one long whine...

How does that work?

This is animal cruelty~~dogs and cats lick themselves~~you have to wonder what they are ingesting when they lick this atrocious mess that humans put on them "for fun". HOW SAFE IS THIS??? And, yes, they have pores in their skin, too, in case you didn't know about that~~what is going to be absorbed through the pores?? If people want to paint something, why don't they paint themselves instead of inflicting this horrible behavior on innocent, helpless animals??? This should be outlawed~no two ways about it. It's not "cute", and a loving pet owner would not do it.

By Kat Karnes (not verified) on 07 Nov 2013 #permalink

To all of those who are saying this is animal cruelty - It's NOT. The paint used on these animals is SAFE, non-toxic paints and dyes and is the same paint used in child face painting or something very similar. The animals are never harmed. The artists who paint these animals are very careful, and the paint is non-toxic. Some of these pictures aren't even real, they are photoshopped.

" If I dressed you up as Frank N Furter (including putting on hairs on your legs) without your consent and paraded you around like that, would that not be abuse? " <-- Toddlers in Tiara's does things like that to little girls, why not animals?

Goose, that doesn't answer the question.

Note the "?" at the end.

"Would that not be abuse?"

The answer to which cannot be "why not animals?" and it merely begs the question if your "answer" bit were "Toddlers in Tiaras do this to little girls".

Is that not abuse?

You remained silent on it.

"To all of those who are saying this is animal cruelty – It’s NOT."

To you saying that it's not animal cruelty, IT IS.

Ur ugly to do that on animal this is a crimes ,animals are not humains stop what you do because this is not humanistic you are crazy stop you manie rite now !!!

By anastasya (not verified) on 29 May 2014 #permalink

To those who think this is animal abuse: these groomers take time out of their lives to go to these grooming shows, in order to broaden their education and display their art. I know because I'm an artist and an owner of a dog grooming mobile business. In these shows, they are even further educated by Professionals who've been in this business since before you were in diapers. Most of these Professional groomers have had educational contracts with retail stores such as Petsmart, where you take your pets to be groomed and "Abused" just the same. It's so double standard. Before you post for all to see,
Educate yourselves. Needless to say, I'll bet these hair dyes are non-toxic, what do you think?! Since these ARE other peoples pets on the shows. GEEZ

By Youknowho (not verified) on 30 Oct 2014 #permalink

....complain to any retail grooming salon, PETA, mobile grooming, etc. and ask if they have a state license to practice "animal abuse" and all
will say YES. It's state approved

By Youknowho (not verified) on 30 Oct 2014 #permalink

To those who think this is animal abuse: these groomers take time out of their lives to go to these grooming shows,

And slaves were auctioned in show. Human trafficking is done by a gathering of interested people, likewise a show. This is not any form of evidence that this is not abuse.

Children are put into "Little Miss" pageants by parents who want to live fame vicariously. That the child TO PLEASE THEIR PARENTS will engage in the activity willingly is NO MORE RELEVANT to whether it's abuse than whether the paedo and the pre-pubescent child willingly agreed, without any force of violence, to have sex.

Because the one being abused has been preconditioned to respect and obey the commands of the other, even if they don't want to.

"Eat up your greens or you won't get any pudding" ring any bells? How about "Stranger Danger". Why do we need to teach our kids to NOT show obedience to adults? Because we teach them to obey us elsewhere.

Terrible! That kitten looks so sad... how ridiculous!

Wow First I can't believe that thies people took the time to do this they must LOVE their PET so MUCH to involve them into their fantasy. As for you Morons who think these animals are being in some way abused well you all need to return to the rock you have been hiding under, I am gussen the you are the same dumbasses that let your kids dye their hair any fluorescent color they can imagine but you are going to worry about a pet that probably eats better food then you and your pierrot looking kid....

By Daniel R Moore (not verified) on 23 Oct 2015 #permalink

As to you morons who think this isn't abuse, feel free to let people dress you up against your will in weird clothing and paint your face without your consent.

And wonder why painting a mark on someone's face when they're drunk and passed out is a common prank, not a common courtesy.