Beware of the dog

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This article is about the sign. For other uses, see Beware of the Dog (disambiguation).
Mosaic at Pompeii
Cave canem

Beware of the dog (also rendered as Beware of dog) is a warning sign indicating that a dangerous dog is within.


Warning signs of this sort have been found in ancient Roman buildings such as the House of the Tragic Poet in Pompeii, which contains a mosaic with the caption cave canem. Some suppose that these warnings may sometimes have been intended to prevent visitors from stepping upon small, delicate dogs of the Italian greyhound type.[1]


Under English law, placing such a sign does not relieve the owner of responsibility for any harm which may come to people attacked by the dog.[2][3]

Such signs may be placed to deter burglary even if there is no dog.[4][5]


  1. ^ Cheryl S. Smith (2004), The Rosetta bone, pp. 10–11, ISBN 978-0-7645-4421-7 
  2. ^ James Paterson (1877), Commentaries on the Liberty of the Subject and the Laws of England, p. 271 
  3. ^ Charles Greenstreet Addison, Horace Gray Wood (1876), A treatise on the law of torts, p. 285 
  4. ^ R Wright, RH Logie (1988), "How young house burglars choose targets", The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice 
  5. ^ C Wilkinson (1998), "Deconstructing the fort", Journal of Australian Studies 

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