Dove Tattoo Designs & Their Meaning

Dove tattoos are more common than you may think. They’re more than just a pretty animal to have on your skin, though. 

Tweaking the colors, size, and words surrounding the tattoo, you can achieve a number of meanings and messages. These elegant birds will undoubtedly make for a striking tat—let’s discuss what they can represent, colors, and more.

Dove: A Symbol 

Doves are a pleasant sight, both aesthetically and by association. We know that seeing a white dove means good luck and fortune is coming our way. 

From religious texts and paintings, we see the dove always pictured as a carrier of sacred messages. 

These are only a few of the layers that make up the dove’s image. Here’s more on the meanings behind dove tattoos: 

Mourning and Charity

As a rule of thumb, if you were to choose any bird for your tattoo, you are probably seeking to implement the characteristics of that bird into your life.

The singing of a dove has a sorrowful sound, which can both soothe and disturb us. A look into the bird’s habits tells us about how similar it is to a person in the mourning stage of the grieving process. 

What is also curious is that mourning doves have a short life of only about a year. They spend their lives cleaning up the waste grains of other birds. 

These characteristics transform doves into a symbol both of lament and charity.

If you have recently lost someone and wish to commemorate them or their journey in the afterlife, the dove tattoo may be just the choice you were looking for. 

At the same time, you can also make the choice to get a dove tattoo as a symbol of your own desire to be charitable as a trait in your personality.


In 1949, in the context of the Spanish Civil War, Pablo Picasso painted La Colombe, the dove, as a symbol of peace. He later developed multiple graphic drawings in the style of cubism, of doves, which served as the emblem of peace conferences around the world.

Are you an art person, a fan of Picasso’s work, a peacemaker? The famous white Dove of Peace might be the one for you. 

If you want to go further and have a true Picasso on your skin, make sure to bring your tattoo artist a photo of one of his graphics. Some of them also have a branch in the dove’s beak, which adds on to the symbol being a messenger and an offering of peace.

In Mythology 

The dove appears in mythologies such as the Greek and the Slavic ones. In ancient Greece, it was doves who flew Aphrodite’s chariot. 

Aphrodite was a goddess of love and sexuality. This brings another, less innocent layer to the small bird, which might speak to you if you consider yourself a bit of a rebel!

Another feminine figure, the goddess of harvest Demeter, can also be seen with doves. 

In Slavic mythology, on the other hand, it was doves that brought the deceased ones to heaven.

In Religion

You can notice the dove’s religious roots traced back as far as 2400BC in Sumerian Mesopotamia and the goddess Ishtar, who was always pictured accompanied by doves, which suggests the birds’ humility and tamability.

In the Bible, we find its first appearance in Genesis 8:11, a dove flies to Noah with an olive leaf in its mouth and brings the message that the flood is over. This introduces the dove as a symbol of new life and regeneration. 

In Islam, it is believed that Muhammad received his messages from God via a dove. In Judaism, its symbolism stands for forgiveness, endearment and divine love. 

In Christianity, as we can see in paintings the divine dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, representing God’s omnipresence and protection. 

Popular Dove Tattoo Designs

Although it is most common to see the dove tattoo outlined by a simple black ink and not much detail or addition, there are other designs that have sparked the interest of body art-owners worldwide. Some of them are:

Dove With a Branch 

This dove tattoo design is a great option when you’re looking to get a tattoo that carries hope for the future. 

As we mentioned, the dove already brings the symbolism of peace and hope, and the olive branch is an ideal complement to the image.

Dove with Heart

Are you looking to have your dove tattoo clearly represent love? The dove with a heart in its beak is a great option for you.

The heart can be painted in red or pink and is a great carrier of love, fertility and new life. 

A Dove in Three Different Stages

The three stages of a flying dove: still, ascending and mid-flight. The dove in three different stages can represent the emotions of the preparation, expectancy and full joy of any of the meanings associated with the dove.

To personalize it even more, you can make your pick between the realistic or more artistic representations of the dove.

With a Word 

This tattoo design is most suitable when you are seeking to memorialize a loved one, but can also be used to portrait a personal mantra. Choose a cursive font for a more of a romantic interpretation of the word or a serif for a modern feel of the design as a whole. 

If you are mourning the death of a loved one, for a better specification, you can include the person’s initials, date of birth or a short word that represents the relationship you had with them, such as ‘mom’, ‘love’ or ‘forever’.

Common Colors of Dove Tattoos

Betting on the black outline dove tattoo is a sure way to bring a strong and clear message. Here are some ways in which you can tweak color for a more layered look:

White Outlines

White ink is getting more and more popular these days, yet people still see it as novel and exciting. This means it’s a perfect way of bringing freshness to the ancient dove symbol. 


It’s a common sight for the outline of dove tattoos to be accompanied by some blue, as an addition to bring out an even more spiritual undertone. 


Green can be ideal when it comes to dove tattoos, as it often accompanies the black outlines of the bird itself alongside green olive branches.

Black and Red

This choice works really well when the red paints the heart in the dove’s beak, signifying divine love or a message from God. 

Where To Get a Dove Tattoo

Although there are countless possibilities for placement, here are the most common spots you can see dove tattoos on:


What a wrist and the dove have in common is that you might associate both of them with fragility. 

Dove tattoos on the wrist include a Dove of Peace, in a hyper-realistic or sometimes with a little red heart in its beak. It’s not uncommon to see it also accompanied by a word or a sentence.


If you want to create the illusion that the dove of hope has landed on you, a shoulder or upper back tattoo is especially effective. 

The dove here can be pictured both mid-flight and still, and is most often pictured hyper-realistic with detailed wings. Sometimes the dove has intricate details within the feathers, reminiscent of the orient.


As with all bird tattoos, the ankle provides the opportunity for an illusion that pulls you away from gravity — an ability birds achieve through flying. 

A dove tattoo on such a fragile spot of the body can also contribute to its overall tender nature. 

Under the Collar Bone 

Another gentle spot of the body, the space under the collar bone promises to capture all love, peace and endearment’s symbols.

Best Dove Tattoos