BDog hangs out in pretty much every neighborhood in Lisbon. He’s up by the airport, down in Parque das Nações, over in Cais de Sodré, and in the quiet streets of Rego. BDog is a bright-eyed, tail-wagging cão, usually cheerful but sometimes rather skeptical. BDog seems to usually be a he, but is sometimes a she. He’s even occasionally a cat. I call him BDog, but I’m sure he goes by many names. A recent Instagram account, @lxdog, has dubbed him LxDog, and is attempting to “find all the #lxdogs in Lisbon.”
BDog is a character drawn by the Lisbon-based street artist Basta, hence the “B” that usually appears on his dog tag. Basta also often signs a “1418” near BDog, which I’ve yet to determine the significance of: the year João Gonçalves Zarco discovered Madeira? The year Nicolas Flamel died? A coffee shop in Plano, Texas? The European Commission Regulation concerning the export for recovery of certain waste? (Help me solve this mystery!)
Basta draws in a “ligne claire” style – useful for throwing up BDogs quickly and making a recognizable image that pops off the wall. And Basta’s dog is in good street art company: a stylized dog was one of Keith Haring’s signature images (both drawings below are by Haring). The joke, of course, is that like a dog leaving its scent around a city, Basta leaves BDog around Lisbon as his mark.
But instead of an unfortunate smell or squish under your shoe, BDog pops up here and there like a friendly face, a loyal companion who follows you around during the day. I think that’s why I enjoy seeing BDog so much – the image itself isn’t too complex, and it’s not outwardly political – but BDog’s constant presence around Lisbon makes you feel as if you live in a city where a faithful dog will greet you around every corner.