Karen B. London
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What Makes A Great Dog Photo?
This photo is just

The pictures I like best of dogs I know and love, whether they are my own dogs or other people’s, don’t follow a strong pattern. Sometimes the dog looks sweet and other times devilish. I have favorite photos of both rumpled, windblown dogs, and freshly groomed ones. There are action shots and posed ones. All I can say about what the best photos have in common is that the dog looks endearing for some reason.

It’s easy for me to be won over by certain physical characteristics. A cocked head, eyes that seem really engaged with the observer and a tongue that hangs just slightly out of the mouth all look cute to me.

Perhaps, more important is getting a shot that conveys the essence of a dog. This requires incorporating the dog’s personality into the photo. If she loves to fetch more than life itself, there has to be a tennis ball or two in the frame. If there’s another toy that is a constant companion, I’m more likely to love the photo if that toy is in it, too. If she often has one ear up and one ear down or one paw raised, photos that capture these habits are bound to seem more charming than those that don’t. It’s that sense of having captured what makes a dog unique, rather than just beautiful, that makes them favorites.

Tell me about your favorite picture of your dog and let me know what makes it so special to you.


Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by Carolyn | December 20 2011 |

I love my photo of Maggie flying over some brilliantly red kolanchos (a type of red-blossomed plant). Maggie, who is frequently quite timid, was a big and showy jumper in her prime. She often volunteered to jump things that didn't really need jumping, like a fallen broomstick. In this photo, she's a fluffy white cotton ball sailing high over the hedge of red-blossoms, forever airborne.

Submitted by Joy Aldrich | December 21 2011 |

One of my favorite pictures of dogs, which is framed on our wall, is of our Boxer Cassie and my in-laws' yellow Lab Sandy running in a huge open field at our aunt & uncle's house in Vermont. The dogs are tiny in the picture so you can see how big the field is, and you can just make out that Sandy has her favorite white frisbee in her mouth. Sandy and Cassie are great friends and they LOVE to run together. I love the photo because you can tell that those are happy, happy, happy dogs! :)

Joy Aldrich, Dog Trainer

Submitted by Shirley Zindler | December 21 2011 |

I love photos that bring up an emotion. A fun action shot, a sweet close up, or a shot that really shows the personality of the dog. I take a lot of photos of my own dogs and the dogs I foster. Its amazing how the right picture helps a potential adopter feel a connection and want to meet that dog.

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