Panther Tattoo Meanings
A panther tattoo makes a bold statement.
In millions of instances, panther tattoos have inspired tattoo artists and their canvasses alike, but what does this iconic tattoo that spans cultures, people, and eras in human history symbolize?
The panther tattoo has many different meanings depending on where you are in the world.
In South America, the panther is often depicted as a symbol of nobility and religious practices with Shaman and Mayan Priests wearing their fur to express their power and fierceness.
In tattoos, the panther generally symbolizes the characteristics that someone admires for themselves such as bravery, boldness, strength, and grace.
According to most myths and folklore, a panther tattoo can symbolize:
When people get a panther tattoo, there’s often something in this set of qualities they want for themselves.
Panther Tattoo Meanings in the Military
World War 2 saw a boom in the tattoo industry, with many soldiers opting for the eye-catching, boldness of the traditional panther tattoo.
Many also believe that the icon crawling panther tattoo made a great cover-up for the pin-up girl tattoos that were later banned in the military.
Regardless of what the reasons were for these panther tattoos rising in popularity during that time, it was well suited to the incredibly brave men in the military, putting their lives at risk for their country.
To them and their peers, it’s a symbol of strength, courage, and determination.
Panther Tattoo Designs
Trying to decide on what the perfect panther tattoo will look like for you?
The most recognizable and iconic depiction of the panther in tattoos is probably in its stalking or crawling position.
It’s a timeless classic tattoo that has been reimagined and redesigned countless times, but there is another handful of themes that stand out above the rest.
There are several common themes that tie together the most popular panther tattoos across tattoo styles and placements.
Check out these main themes to help get inspiration for your next tattoo selection!
Crawling Panther Tattoos
As mentioned before, the crawling panther tattoo may be one of the most iconic tattoo designs in history and its teeth and claws are often exaggerated to showcase its fierceness.
Rippling muscles, a reflective coat, and a glare all help display the true power of the panther.
A crawling panther is a popular tattoo motif for many people because it shows off the full silhouette of the panther, from nose to tail.
These tattoos would be perfect for someone who considers themselves sly and clever.
Panther Head Tattoos
A panther’s head is a bold and snarling tattoo symbol of power.
It’s meant to be a unique tattoo design that disrupts the way that a panther would normally be represented and as such, signifies the uniqueness of its bearer as well.
A panther head tattoo demands attention, much like the person who wears it.
Their teeth, glaring eyes, and bared growl make them a powerful creature.
A panther head tattoo is a great way to convey the wildness of the panther, especially in a traditional or Neo-traditional tattoo style.
Climbing Panther Tattoos
The reverse of a crawling panther, a climbing panther tattoo depicts a panther in its natural habitat heading upward and toward a hiding spot.
Panthers are known to be agile climbers, making them skilled hunters.
Climbing panther tattoos symbolize the comfortable prowl of a confident creature.
Panther and Tiger Tattoos
The panther and the tiger are both considered supreme in the cat world and as such are often portrayed in battle with one another.
While panther tattoos and tiger tattoos are equally impressive on their own, they are often coupled in a prominent tattoo design, showcasing them in battle with one another.
This could signify an internal battle that someone has had to endure.
Panther and Dagger Tattoos
The panther and dagger tattoo is an example of another tattoo that boldly represents a hurdle in life that has been overcome.
Depicting this hurdle as a panther is a testament to its extent and intensity.
Panther & Snake Tattoos
Snakes are cunning and sharp and will often not shy away from taking on prey bigger than themselves.
Snake tattoo designs alongside an animal as large and powerful as a panther could signify the importance of wit over brawn; taking a step back and using your head before resorting to violence or acting out of emotion.
Panther and Rose Tattoos
Some would argue that it was Ed Hardy who first made the traditional panther and traditional rose tattoo design so popular, but in more recent years, it has been reinvented and now features the panther and rose in a morphing tattoo style.
Of course, there are plenty more tattoo designs that feature a combination of the panther and rose tattoos, and the deep red and intense black colors complement one another superbly.
Black Panther (film) Tattoos
A Black Panther tattoo might symbolize your strength and connection to African heritage, your passionate pursuit of justice, or your dedication to do the right thing and push through even when things are hard.
Panther Tattoo Styles
For tattoos of a black panther itself, the classic old-school tattoo design is most popular.
Stylized portrait tattoos of the character have also become popular.
For an animal that doesn’t exist, black panthers sure have made an impression.
They have become icons of power and leadership.
Are you considering a black panther tattoo?
Check out our gallery for some roaring inspiration!
- American Traditional Panther Tattoos
One of the old-school tattoos that have remained a classic is the panther tattoo.
The American traditional tattoo style seems as though it may have been made for panthers.
The panther is a popular and oft-used symbol in American traditional tattoo styles, as the sharp outlines and bold profile fit in perfectly with the simple colors and bold outlines that are popular with Old School tattoo artists.
An American traditional panther tattoo represents bold, wild, and powerful panthers at their best, symbolizing your own bold, and powerful nature as well.
A similar crawling panther design is also popular in retro home decor.
These tattoos are distinct and easy to identify, even from a great distance.
Old-school panther tattoos can also mean this person isn’t to be messed with.
The dark color of the tattoo also makes it a good cover-up for botched designs.
Considering traditional panther tattoos have such a vibrant history, it makes sense that the majority of designs are done in an old school or traditional American style.
They consist of bold colors, and minimal shading, and appear very two-dimensional, but with panthers being as bold and beautiful as they are, there are endless design opportunities.
You can choose to stick to these traditional tattoo styles or take on a design as fierce and daring as the panther itself.
- Neo-traditional Panther Tattoos
Panthers are a popular subject of many traditional tattoo styles, so it only makes sense they’d carry over into Neo-traditional tattoo styles too!
The Neo-traditional panther makes the traditional panther appear even more realistic, adding further shading and detail into the image of the panther.
Neo-traditional panther tattoos expand past the primary color palette to create an inclusive and expansive design that draws in the eye right away.
- Minimalist Panther Tattoos
Though panthers are known to be untamed and wild, they’re also quite agile, graceful, and beautiful creatures.
Minimalist panthers bring out the gentle and elegant nature of the panther, whether combining them with simple lines or delicate floral tattoos.
A gentle minimalist panther tattoo symbolizes the delicate and sweet nature of the panther and emphasizes the beauty that can be found even in wild creatures.
- Watercolor Panther Tattoos
For people who love abstract and atypical art, a watercolor tattoo might just be the perfect pick.
Panthers are beautiful and lithe creatures that are works of art in and of themselves.
A watercolor panther tattoo takes this symbolism to the next level, combining splashes of artistic paint and coloring with abstract sketches and designs to create the perfect contemporary ode to the powerful panther.
- Realistic Panther Tattoos
A realistic panther tattoo combines beautiful, hyper-realistic tattoo imagery with the incredible visage of the panther to make a powerful tattooed visual.
Hyper-realistic tattoos often combine impressive visual effects to create a realistic panther that looks as if it’s really staring out at you.
The realistic panther tattoo is a powerful tribute to a powerful animal, and will surely take your breath away every time you get a glimpse in the mirror!
- New School Panther Tattoos
A New School panther tattoo is a bold and atypical take on the classic panther look.
New school tattoos are known for their creative and modern takes on animals, often creating almost cartoon-inspired portraits with modern twists or trends built into the animal’s design.
A new school panther puts a highly contemporary twist on the classic panther tattoo for a fresh new look and tattoo!
- Contemporary Panther Tattoos
Contemporary panther tattoos can appear in all different sizes, styles, and shapes.
Whether it plays with art, color, and style or creates a powerful deconstructed visual of a panther, a contemporary panther tattoo makes a classic animal and classic tattoo subject uniquely modern through its own special characteristics.
A contemporary tattoo is perfect for someone who wants to make a panther tattoo their own through their own unique style and design details.
- Sketchy Panther Tattoos
Panthers are a work of natural mastery, with everything from their stride to their eyes being perfectly balanced and lithe.
With a sketchy tattoo, you pay homage to the almost artistic qualities of the panther: their sleek appearance, their graceful walk, and their piercing gaze.
A sketchy panther tattoo combines the natural and artistic qualities of the panther into the perfect tattoo, one that symbolizes both the creative and the possessive power of the panther.
- Tribal Panther Tattoos
The panther is culturally significant to many tribes and indigenous peoples, and it can be found as a motif in various tribal tattoo styles.
The panther features heavily in a number of myths and legends about many communities, whether as a protector and guardian or a villain.
A tribal panther tattoo might be the perfect way to feel connected to your heritage and your community through the legend of the mighty panther.
- Illustrative Panther Tattoos
Illustrative tattoos bring color, vibrant design, and life to any tattoo, but especially that of animals.
Illustrative tattoos have a way of bringing new light to a figure or portrait, especially with the panther.
The panther is an expressive animal, to begin with, and an illustrative tattoo takes your panther design up a notch.
An illustrative panther tattoo brings creativity, color, and artistic prowess to the forefront of your tattoo design.
- One Line Panther Tattoos
A one-line panther tattoo is a very creative way of highlighting the elegance of the panther in its natural habitat.
A panther is a graceful animal in all regards; when it walks or sleeps.
A one-line tattoo connects the panther together, creating a beautiful and simple tattoo design that symbolizes power, precision, and grace.
- Blackwork Panther Tattoos
Nothing says black panther more than a black-work panther tattoo.
The black that defines panthers also defines this genre of tattoo art.
The one-color masterpieces can evoke an entire array of shading and design styles just with some carefully placed ink, making these tattoos some of the most creative out there.
A black-work tattoo represents a panther at its truest: sleek, furtive, and of course, black.
- Chrome Panther Tattoos
Put a fresh spin on your panther design with a chrome finish that turns your ordinary tattoo into something spectacular.
Chrome finishes are intricately designed and shaded to make them look reflective and glowing as if there’s a chrome finish sitting right on top of your panther’s head.
A chrome panther tattoo shows off innovative design and modern drive as well as a cool animal trend that you’ll love to show to others.
- Fine Line Panther Tattoos
A fine line panther tattoo blends intricate shading and detailing into your panther for a gentle and softer look that’s just as aggressive, but more intricately crafted.
With very fine outlining and design detailing, your panther here appears even more carefully drawn and constructed.
A fine line tattoo is the perfect emblem of precise, powerful, and careful panther design.
Panther Tattoo Ideas
Ready to turn your favorite panther tattoo style into a reality?
Take a look at these popular tattoo ideas and find the design of your dreams before giving your favorite local artist a call!
- Small Panther Tattoos
A small panther tattoo is a great way to put a delicate and personal tribute to a panther on your skin without taking up too much space or time.
Whether you do a simple panther head or a streamlined profile, you can pick a small tattoo design that you enjoy and keep it close to you as a personal reminder of the strength and courage of the furtive creatures!
- Sucky Panther Tattoos
Originally made famous as one of the worst tattoos the internet had ever seen, the trend of the Sucky Panther Tattoo quickly took over the internet and was turned into some caricatured, but much higher quality, similar tattoo styles.
From ACDC Sucky Panthers to contemporary versions and everything in between, the Sucky Panther tattoo is a great way to poke a little fun at someone while still investing in some great tattoo art.
- Large-scale Panther Tattoos
Large-scale panther tattoos dominate the eye and mind when you look at them.
These huge emblems create ample opportunity for creative tattoo artwork and styles that can take up plenty of footage on your body.
A large-scale panther speaks to the power, courage, and bravery of the panther as well as the person getting the tattoo (a tattoo this big certainly requires some courage to sit through!)
- Pink Panther Tattoos
The most famous panther of all time, the Pink Panther is an inescapable part of any panther tattoo anthology.
The pink panther is a familiar icon to many, and his classic role in entertainment makes him a great tattoo icon to get in honor of the famous character.
A pink panther tattoo represents your love of the original character, as well as your love of all things sneaky and all things pink!
Almost ready to make the final commitment to your panther tattoo?
All you have to do is decide where you want your tattoo to go!
Any of these popular locations would make a great place for your newest ink addition to go!
- Panther Limb Tattoos
The limb is a great location for panther tattoos because they provide a great wrap-around canvas for you to play with.
Whether you want to twist the tail or head of your panther around your limb, you have plenty of space to play with creative placement options with a panther tattoo on the limb!
- Panther Thigh Tattoos
A panther tattoo on your thigh is another popular location because the larger thigh is a great place to do a full-size panther head.
With plenty of space, you can really afford to get some large details designed, such as a tensed head or body and a fully colored or designed snout.
- Panther Knee Tattoos
A tattoo on your knee is a painful place to get inked, but a great place to put your new tattoo!
The natural bend of your knee will make your panther tattoo look three-dimensional, creating an exciting and engaging tattoo piece that feels and looks alive!
Standing out as one of the most popular animal tattoos in history, a panther is an instantly recognizable symbol.
In addition, panther tattoos have a rich history that embodies wildness and power.
If you’re considering a panther tattoo, you may as well commit to something bold and eye-catching, because when it comes to these designs, they can’t be downplayed.
Consider this piece if you want to make a powerful statement with your ink.