Beware of the dog

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This article is about the sign. For other uses, see Beware of the Dog (disambiguation).
A mosaic at Pompeii.
A 2nd century Cave canem mosaic at the entrance to the House of the Tragic Poet, Pompeii.
A notice at the Glasgow Necropolis.

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 G. 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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