Use the Linux dog Command to Look Up DNS Records
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dog is a command-line DNS client used for looking up DNS records for domain names. It’s an alternative to the popular
dig command. The
dog command gives you a simpler interface, more readable results, and additional features like DNS over TLS.
In this guide, learn more about
dog and how to install and start using it on your Linux system.
Before You Begin
Follow our Setting Up and Securing a Compute Instance guide to update your system. You may also wish to set the timezone, configure your hostname, create a limited user account, and harden SSH access.
NoteThis guide is written for a non-root user. Commands that require elevated privileges are prefixed with
sudo. If you’re not familiar with the
sudocommand, see the Users and Groups guide.
What is dog?
dog is an open-source DNS client for the command line, much like the popular
dig tool. With
dog, you get significant improvements to the interface, along with more readable, color-coded results, and the ability to render those results in JSON.
dog also adds support for DNS over TLS (DoT) and DNS over HTTPS (DoH) protocols, giving you more options for securing your DNS lookups.
You can learn more about the
dig command and its features in our guide
Use dig to Perform Manual DNS Queries.
How to Install dog
tar, and the developer package for
openssl. Choose the command for your particular Linux distribution.
On Debian and Ubuntu, you can do so with:
sudo apt install build-essential tar libssl-dev pkg-config
On AlmaLinux, CentOS, and Fedora, you can use:
sudo dnf install gcc tar openssl-devel
NoteYou may need to update your system’s version of the GNU C library (glibc).
Install Rust. You need Rust to compile the
curl --proto =https --tlsv1.2 -sSf https://sh.rustup.rs | sh
When prompted, select
1for the default installation path.
Either restart your shell session (exiting and logging back in) or run the following command:
Navigate to the releases page for
dog, identify the latest release, and copy the URL for the
NoteTo access the
.tar.gzfile, navigate to the Tags section of the dog releases page.
Download that file, replacing the URL below with the one you copied:
curl -LO https://github.com/ogham/dog/archive/refs/tags/v0.1.0.tar.gz
Extract the contents of the
.tar.gzfile, and change into the extracted directory. Replace the filename below with the one for the file you downloaded. Likewise with the directory name, matching the extracted one:
tar -xvzf v0.1.0.tar.gz cd dog-0.1.0
Run the following command to have Cargo compile the binary for
cargo build --release
Copy the resulting binary into your current user’s
sudo cp target/release/dog /usr/local/bin
Verify your installation by checking the installed version of
dog ● command-line DNS client v0.1.0 https://dns.lookup.dog/
How to Use dog
dog gives you much of the same functionality of
dig, but pared down to the essential DNS records. This makes
dog’s results easier to read and more manageable.
In the section below, you can see how to get started with basic
dog queries and learn more about its advanced options. If you want to learn more about DNS and its role in managing your servers, refer to the end of this guide for more resources.
At its simplest, you can start looking up DNS records with
dog just by giving it a hostname:
A github.com. 51s 192.0.2.0
The output includes the record type (A), the domain name, the time until the record is refreshed (51 seconds), and the record’s main contents — a host IP address, in this case. The main contents for a record vary depending on the record type, which you can see with the next example.
dog provides color codes to portions of the records it displays. This helps you navigate the information when your response includes several records, like in the image for the next example command below.
dog looks up A type records by default, which contain IPv4 addresses. But you can easily add more record types to your
dog lookup, like this:
dog github.com A AAAA MX NS TXT
A github.com. 40s 192.0.2.0 SOA github.com. 58m20s A "dns1.p08.nsone.net." "hostmaster.nsone.net." 1633608682 12h00m00s 2h00m00s 14d0h00m00s 1h00m00s SOA github.com. 58m20s A "dns1.p08.nsone.net." "hostmaster.nsone.net." 1633608682 12h00m00s 2h00m00s 14d0h00m00s 1h00m00s MX github.com. 42m35s 1 "aspmx.l.google.com." MX github.com. 42m35s 10 "alt3.aspmx.l.google.com." MX github.com. 42m35s 10 "alt4.aspmx.l.google.com." MX github.com. 42m35s 5 "alt1.aspmx.l.google.com." MX github.com. 42m35s 5 "alt2.aspmx.l.google.com." NS github.com. 1h00m00s "dns1.p08.nsone.net." NS github.com. 1h00m00s "dns2.p08.nsone.net." NS github.com. 1h00m00s "dns3.p08.nsone.net." NS github.com. 1h00m00s "dns4.p08.nsone.net." NS github.com. 1h00m00s "ns-1283.awsdns-32.org." NS github.com. 1h00m00s "ns-1707.awsdns-21.co.uk." NS github.com. 1h00m00s "ns-421.awsdns-52.com." NS github.com. 1h00m00s "ns-520.awsdns-01.net." TXT github.com. 11m02s "MS=6BF03E6AF5CB689E315FB6199603BABF2C88D805" TXT github.com. 11m02s "MS=ms44452932" TXT github.com. 11m02s "MS=ms58704441" TXT github.com. 11m02s "adobe-idp-site-verification=b92c9e999aef825edc36e0a3d847d2dbad5b2fc0e05c79ddd7a16139b48ecf4b" TXT github.com. 11m02s "atlassian-domain-verification=jjgw98AKv2aeoYFxiL/VFaoyPkn3undEssTRuMg6C/3Fp/iqhkV4HVV7WjYlVeF8" TXT github.com. 11m02s "docusign=087098e3-3d46-47b7-9b4e-8a23028154cd" TXT github.com. 11m02s "stripe-verification=f88ef17321660a01bab1660454192e014defa29ba7b8de9633c69d6b4912217f" TXT github.com. 11m02s "v=spf1 ip4:126.96.36.199/22 include:_netblocks.google.com include:_netblocks2.google.com include:_netblocks3.google.com include:spf.protection.outlook.com include:mail.zendesk.com include:_spf.salesforce.com include:servers.mcsv.net ip4:188.8.131.52 ip4:184.108.40.206 ip4:220.127.116.11 ip4:18.104.22.168 ip4:22.214.171.124/28 ip4:126.96.36.199 ip4:188.8.131.52/31 ip4:184.108.40.206 ip4:220.127.116.11 ip4:18.104.22.168 ~all"
For reference, here are some of the most frequently seen DNS record types, along with brief introductions to each:
- A: Contain the IPv4 addresses for hosts
- AAAA: Contain the IPv6 addresses for hosts
- CNAME: Keep aliases between domains
- MX: Name the mail server domains behind hosts
- NS: Give the nameservers responsible for hosts
- TXT: Hold arbitrary text for informational purposes
You can see the list of record types supported by
dog in its
dog gives you an option to output short records, using the
--short flag. With this option, your results only include the main contents of the record — the IP address, for instance, in A records, the mail server in MX records, or the informational text in TXT records:
dog github.com A --short
In addition to providing more readable output,
dog also comes with an option to export your results as JSON. Here’s an example that uses a query similar to the one above and saves the results directly as a
dog github.com A NS TXT --json > dog-github-dns-lookup.json
dog lets you specify a DNS server to use for your query. Domains typically have specifically delegated DNS servers that get used whenever you look up their records. However, you can use a tool like
dog to conduct your lookup using an arbitrary DNS server, which can be useful for testing and troubleshooting:
dog github.com @22.214.171.124
A github.com. 1m00s 192.0.2.0
dog support lookups for the TCP and UDP protocols.
dog uses UDP by default, but you can easily use TCP by adding the
--tcp flag to your command.
However, in addition to these two protocols,
dog adds options for two more: DNS over TLS (DoT) and DNS over HTTPS (DoH). Each of these protocols allows you to make more secure DNS queries.
Here is an example that uses the DoT protocol via a Google DNS server. Using this option can mitigate threats of interference in the request and response:
dog github.com MX --tls @dns.google
MX github.com. 12m40s 1 "aspmx.l.google.com." MX github.com. 12m40s 5 "alt1.aspmx.l.google.com." MX github.com. 12m40s 5 "alt2.aspmx.l.google.com." MX github.com. 12m40s 10 "alt3.aspmx.l.google.com." MX github.com. 12m40s 10 "alt4.aspmx.l.google.com."
Below is an example using the DoH protocol via a Cloudflare DNS server. This protocol can be used for the same reason as the DoT protocol, but has the added feature that it runs on the popular 443 port. That potentially allows it to blend in with other traffic:
dog github.com NS --https @https://cloudflare-dns.com/dns-query
NS github.com. 6m21s "dns1.p08.nsone.net." NS github.com. 6m21s "dns2.p08.nsone.net." NS github.com. 6m21s "dns3.p08.nsone.net." NS github.com. 6m21s "dns4.p08.nsone.net." NS github.com. 6m21s "ns-1283.awsdns-32.org." NS github.com. 6m21s "ns-1707.awsdns-21.co.uk." NS github.com. 6m21s "ns-421.awsdns-52.com." NS github.com. 6m21s "ns-520.awsdns-01.net."
To learn more about DNS, including more about record types and the role of DNS in the Internet, take a look at our guide
DNS Records: An Introduction. From there, you may also want to look at our guide
Troubleshooting DNS Records. It can give you some ideas for how you might use a tool like
dog to help keep your DNS setup in order.
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