Cerberus tattoo meaning and symbolism

There are three heads on this tattoo, each representing one of the heads of Cerberus in Greek mythology – a multi-headed dog that guarded the gates of Hades.

Each of The three heads represent a different stage of life; with eternal youth represented by the center head, and wisdom and experience represented by the two side heads.

Cerberus chest tattoo
Cerberus chest tattoo @ billybluw.tattoo

The Cerberus Tattoo: What does it mean and what is the symbolism behind it?

The mythology of Cerberus is very important in tattoo symbolism. The most well-known story involving Cerberus is when Heracles (Hercules) performed his first labor, stealing Cerberus from the gates of Hades.

The tattoo is meant to represent this story and also symbolizes strength, trustworthiness and dependability.

The three heads can also be associated with the past, present, and future. The center head is eternal youth  – representing the present or future  – while both side heads represent wisdom and experience of the past.

The tattoo can also represent “killer”, Hades and death.

Another more popular belief is that the three heads of Cerberus symbolize protection, knowledge and duty.

The dog’s head as a protective amulet has been found in many excavations from different eras, thus having such an image put on one’s body would give them some benefit or protection from a specific thing.

The dog was an animal that guarded and protected the home, so it’s believed to have been chosen for this type of tattoo because of its protective abilities.

Cerberus Tattoo Placements

The most common location for this tattoo is the arm, but it can also be found on the side of the body with all three heads together.

Other places where this tattoo is commonly placed are the chest, shoulder blade, leg and ankle. The stomach is another place that looks good when inked with Cerberus.

Cerberus tattoos are very large and therefore most people opt for a half or quarter sleeve.

The tattoo needs to be large enough to stand out from the body, but not so big that it’s overwhelming.

It’s important to find a good artist who can do this design justice.

The 3 headed dog tattoos are typically larger than standard tattoos and smaller ones are rare.

The center head is usually larger than the other two heads, and the dog’s eyes should be either yellow or red.

It’s important to know what Cerberus represents before getting it tattooed because of its large size. Getting this tattoo means that you’re interested in the symbolism and meaning behind it.

Cerberus leg Tattoo
Cerberus leg Tattoo @ unseenhues