We get asked constantly what our favorite breed is to photograph. In some ways, I hate answering this question for the simple fact that all dog’s have unique personalities and mannerisms, which makes every session – regardless of their breed – a blast and a challenge. We love photographing dogs, all dogs, regardless of their breed. That all said, we have to admit that some breeds, for a multitude of reasons, do tend to ham it up more than others. So, without further ado, below is the Puptrait Studio’s Top 10 Dog Breeds to Photograph.
Pugs are weirdos. They’re as well known for their snorting and farting as they are for their friendly and easy going natures. They’re small in stature, usually topping out around only 12 – 15 lbs, which lends to their general reputation as “cute”. But if you really zoom in on them with a camera, they’re actually pretty barkin’ weird looking. They also tend to be very expressive and food motivated. Combined, these traits often lend for making some pretty amazing, albeit non traditional, pet portraits with minimal effort. The only complaint I could possibly think of with Pugs is that no mater what angle you shoot them at, there is better than a 50/50 shot you’re going to capture their butthole in the frame. I don’t know how they manage it, but it’s the truth and an honest-to-goodness problem we’ve had working with different pugs on various commercial product shoots in the past. Seriously, I wish I was kidding.
Some of my favorite shots we’ve ever produced at the Puptrait Studio were with Chihuahuas. Toy or mini Chihuahuas tend to make for especially great models. Chihuahuas range on the extreme end of the smaller side, with many full grown adult dogs weighing as little as 2 lbs. And much like pugs, Chihuahuas when viewed up close tend to look pretty crazy, often with big bulging eyes and tongues that tend to peak out the side of their mouths. These unusual traits when combined with their extreme diminutive size allow for photographers to do some pretty creative things when shooting in the field, forcing perspectives and including backgrounds that may be difficult to capture working with other larger breeds. I mean, how many other breeds can you think of that you can hold in a single outstretched arm and shoot with a camera in the other. That kind of flexibility really opens the doors to creative angles and posing.
I love working with Great Danes for a lot of the same reasons I love working with Pugs and Chihuahuas. Their extreme size (some can reach upwards of 200 lbs and a height of ~34″) but relatively normal proportions makes Great Danes an obvious choice when photographing concepts that require distorted perspectives. Like most huge dogs, Great Danes also tend to be well trained, for the simple fact that if they weren’t you wouldn’t be able to control them, as they’re simply too big to muscle. That said, if you have a Great Dane that listens well (which is most of the ones I’ve had the pleasure of working with) they’ll lend you photo opportunities that simply aren’t possible with any other breed.
Pitbulls / American Staffordshire Terriers
We work with Pitbulls constantly and with good reason. They’re one of the most expressive dog breeds and despite their reputation in some circles, they’re usually super easy going and affectionate. I find that they don’t tend to be as food motivated as some of the other dog breeds on this list and they’re not always the brightest bulb in the bunch, but they still manage to take direction well for the simple fact that they’re easy to train and generally just want to make people happy. Pitbulls also tend to be the same size. Like anything, occasionally there’s an outlier or two in a crowd. But generally speaking, when we’re doing remote costume fittings for a photo series featuring Pitbulls, like we did with Paper Hats, the owner’s measurements tend to vary more from the dog’s actual measurements than the dogs vary in size from each other (one owner tried to convince me her dog’s neck had a radius of 20″ – needless to say, it did not), which makes designing costumes a breeze.
Fox Hounds are great dogs to work with. They tend to have high motors, take well to training and listen to commands from non owner’s well. They also have super floppy ears which look absolutely adorable in action shots. They also don’t tend to slobber or shed much, which saves us time cleaning gear in between sessions, which is always a plus.
Solid dogs. Great demeanors. Working with them is very similar to working with their Staffie cousins, but less goofy. Still, I can’t think of a single complaint about the breed. All the ones we’ve had the pleasure of working with have been phenomenal canine models.
Brilliant dogs. Smaller in stature than their Collie cousins. All of the ones we’ve worked with have been superbly trained, exceptionally patient and very expressive. Honestly, they probably deserve to be higher on this list but I’ve only worked with a handful of them to date. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Border Collies ranking higher on this list come next year.
Jack Russell Terriers
Jack Russells are adorable, listen well and tend to be very expressive – all great traits to look for when photographing a dog. They can also be a bit aggressive with other, especially larger, dogs and unlike some other smaller breeds, many of them don’t like to be picked up. That all said, you would be hard pressed to find a more human like smile than the one Jack Russells have become known for and their exceptionally high motors make setting up action shots a breeze.
Some of the most expressive and friendly dogs you’ll ever meet. I’d rank them higher here, but they slobber a ton and their beautiful wrinkles tend to smell a bit. Either way, Blood Hounds are a great breed and are well deserving of their place on this list.
Boxers are unquestionably great dogs. They’re very loyal, exceptionally expressive animals that take well to direction. They do slobber quite a bit, not as much as Blood Hounds, but still more than most other dogs. But they lack in jowel hygiene they more than make up for in their ambulatory abilities. Boxers give hands down the best high fives of any breeds. We’ve found that they tend to display hip issues sooner than some of the other breeds on this list, which can make working with older Boxers a little more difficult. But even then, if your concept allows for the dog to be laying down or standing on all four legs, a Boxer is going to lend you some absolutely amazing image opportunities.
About the author: J.B. Shepard, is a professional pet photographer, dog advocate, and founder of the Puptrait Studio. J.B. lives in Hampden, with his wife and two rescue dogs — George (a Boggle) and Lucky (a Jack Russell Terrier).
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