The original members of the band that became Dogwood met while in an Escondido photography class. In 1993, Josh Kemble united with Jayce Molina on guitar, Josh Hagquist (of the Beautiful Mistake) on bass, and Billy Nichols on drums to form the band Half-Off. After a few shows, the band decided to find a better name, and a relative suggested Dogwood in reference to the legend of the dogwood cross.
By 1996, Dogwood had been signed by the now-defunct Rescue Records label, which was also the home for such bands as P.O.D. and No Innocent Victim. While on Rescue, Dogwood released two studio records, Good Ol' Daze and Through Thick and Thin.
Dogwood and Rescue Records parted ways, and then in 1998 the band self-released an eponymous album. This was later re-released without the track "Never Die" as This Is Not a New Album on Facedown Records.
The band caught the eye of Tooth & Nail Records, the largest independent Christian-market record label. In 1999, More Than Conquerors was released, followed by Building a Better Me in 2001, Matt Aragon in 2002, and Seismic in 2003. In 2004, Tooth & Nail released a Dogwood greatest hits album titled Reverse, Then Forward Again.
Over the next few years, their their tour schedule was light, primarily due to the fact that both Josh Kemble and Danny Montoya became fathers. Kemble and drummer Russell Castillo were the only original members still with the band during this period and, according to their Myspace page, they were signed for a time to Roadside Records. They essentially stopped touring after 2006, with what seemed to be a final performance in October 2011.
The group reunited to open two shows for MxPx in early 2017: January 13 at the Observatory and January 14 at the Ventura Theater. Another reunion was staged March 24, 2018 at Brick By Brick.