In Chinese, 犬 (Pinyin: quǎn) means “dog”. In modern Mandarin, this character is used either as a radical or a part of compound words, for example 牧羊犬 (mùyángquǎn 🔊) “sheepdog” — cf. 牧羊人 (mùyángrén 🔊) “shepherd”.
According to Wiktionary,
Compound characters such as 狇 mostly use the alternative form <犭> at the left of the character. Most represent something to do with dogs or other animals. A smaller proportion (e. g. 狀) use the primary form at the right of the character. A few even show both forms: in 獄 which means “prison” or “litigation”; “words” (言) stand between two dogs to keep them from biting each other.犬 is written like our other old friend 大, “big”, modified with a dot or a stroke 丶. Wiktionary explains that
the dot is the ear. <That’s why our seaglass 犬 above have got an earring.> In the form 犭, a dog that is up on its hind legs.Many historical forms of this character look more like a dog standing on its tail.