Once upon a moonlit night in the dense forests of Michigan, a creature of folklore and mystery roams the shadows – the legendary Dogman. While many websites touch upon the surface of its existence, we embark on a journey to delve deeper, exploring sightings and unraveling the enigmatic history that shrouds this canine-like being. Buckle up, as we navigate through the untrodden paths of Dogman lore, bringing you not just the usual, but the extraordinary.

Image of Dogman carved out out of wood

Dogman at the Buckhorn Saloon on M115 in Lake, Michigan. Photo courtesy of Tim Radzialowski

The origin of the Dogman legend in Michigan can be traced back to the late 19th century. The first reported sighting of the Dogman was in 1887 in Wexford County, Michigan, by a couple of lumberjacks.

They described the creature as a seven-foot-tall monster with a dog’s head and the torso of a man, and it was said to have blue or amber eyes with a howl that sounded like a human. He is said to walk upright on his two hind legs. There have been numerous sightings throughout Michigan, but mostly in the Northwest Lower Peninsula.

This initial encounter sparked the beginning of the Dogman legend, which has since become a prominent part of Michigan folklore. The story has been perpetuated through reported sightings and cultural phenomena, solidifying the Dogman’s place in the state’s heritage.

Every Ten Years

The legend has persisted, with claims that the Dogman appears every ten years, with a new sighting arriving on years ending in 7. The history of the Dogman is deeply rooted in local folklore and has become a source of fascination for many, contributing to Michigan’s rich tapestry of mythical mysteries.

Sightings of the Dogman are more than mere whispers among the trees; they are tales passed down through generations, etching themselves into the fabric of Michigan’s campfire ghost stories. From the quiet towns to the remote woodlands, eyewitness accounts paint a vivid picture of a creature standing on two legs, with the head of a dog and the body of a burly man. Beyond the mainstream stories, we unearth rare encounters that have not graced the headlines – narratives whispered around campfires and shared in hushed tones.

Dogman History

To understand the history of the Dogman is to navigate through a labyrinth of myths and truths. Some trace its origins to Native American legends, intertwining the creature with spirits of the wilderness. Others speak of a more recent history, where sightings surged in the late 19th century, leaving communities both baffled and fearful. Let us peel back the layers of time and explore the roots of the Dogman myth, connecting the dots between ancient folklore and contemporary encounters.

The Song

The creature was mostly unknown until the late 20th century. That is when the modern legend of the Michigan Dogman began to take shape. In 1987, a local radio DJ, Steve Cook, composed a song about the Wexford County encounter, which unexpectedly propelled the Dogman into the spotlight and prompted a surge in reported sightings.

Cook told Skeptoid.com in Wag the Dogman,  “I made it up completely from my own imagination as an April Fools’ prank for the radio and stumbled my way to a legend that goes back all the way to Native American times.”

The Legend of the Dogman Song by Steve Cook

The Film

The Gable Film has been floating around for years. It is reported to be a hoax about Dogman by some. In the grainy film you can see a snowmobile, someone chopping wood and what appears to be a creature. The creature chases and kills the cameraman. There film shows the police finding only half the body of the cameraman. The Museum of Weird Has delved into where this film is a hoax or real. I leave it to you to decide for yourself.

Famous Dogman sightings in Michigan

1887: The first sighting of the Dogman was reported in Wexford County in 1887. A couple of lumberjacks claimed to have spotted a seven-foot-tall monster with a dog’s head and the torso of a man.

1917: A sheriff who was out walking found a driverless wagon and tracks in the dust. It looked like wolves had been a stalkin’. Near the roadside a four-horse team lay dead with their eyes open wide. The vet finished his examination and said it looked like they died of fright.

1937: Paris, Michigan, Robert Fortney was attacked by five wild dogs. He said that one of the five walked on two legs. Reports of similar creatures have come from Allegan County in the 1950s, and in Manistee and Cross Village in 1967

1938:  A man fishing at the Muskegon River encountered a wild dog that stood on its hind legs and glared at him.

2017: A Michigan truck driver had an encounter with the Dogman in the Manistee National Forest. He believes this encounter changed his life forever. See his interview with What Lurks Beneath in the clip below.


Most sightings have been reported around around Traverse City, Cross Village, Big Rapids, and Manistee County. With the majority specifically in the Manistee National Forest. These sightings, among others, have contributed to the enduring legend of the Michigan Dogman.

Reality or Myth?

We find ourselves standing at the crossroads of reality and myth. The Dogman remains elusive, an enduring enigma, blending history, folklore, and contemporary intrigue. Its legacy persists through reported sightings and cultural phenomena, inviting us to ponder the line between myth and reality. As we reflect on the sightings and the historical whispers, one cannot help but wonder about the Dogman. Is the Dogman a guardian of the wilderness or a figment of our collective imagination? The forests of Michigan hold their secrets close. Have you ever glimpsed the elusive Dogman, or is it a tale woven into the very fabric of Michigan’s mystique? Could there be more to these accounts than mere imagination? You decide.

Learn more about the rich history of the Northwest Lower Peninsula.