National Pet Month: 10 Reasons Why We Love Dogs

It’s National Pet Month, an annual celebration of our furry friends, beloved birdsamphibious acquaintances and everything in between!

This year National Pet Month is running from 01 April – 04 May, and in honour of this occasion we’re sharing a collection of some of our favourite paintings of canine companions. (Don’t worry cat lovers, there’ll be a post for you too!)

People have been depicting domestic dogs for thousands of years, with the oldest images even dating back to the era of cave paintings! Over time, the representation of dogs has become more detailed and elaborate, as the bond between person and pooch strengthened and a larger range of individual breeds evolved.

Throughout history, dogs have consistently been an important symbol in art. They are often used as a visual motif in Western art, and when used in an allegorical painting, they are said to portray the attribute of fidelity personified. Dogs were the most favoured of the animal species in Renaissance and Baroque works, and as such they were very accurately represented in paintings during this time. Francesco Bonsignori is believed to have painted a dog so life-like that one of his own dogs attacked the painting!

Here are 10 reasons to give a round of a-paws for marvellous mutts:

1. They’re always leading us on new adventures.

Walking the Dog, C20th by Ditz (Contemporary Artist)
Walking the Dog, C20th by Ditz (Contemporary Artist)

2. They’re great to snuggle with.

Double Portrait, 1985-86 (oil on canvas), Freud, Lucian (1922-2011) / Private Collection / © The Lucian Freud Archive
Double Portrait, 1985-86 (oil on canvas), Freud, Lucian (1922-2011) / Private Collection / © The Lucian Freud Archive

According to cdc.gov, 14 – 62% of pets across the globe are allowed to share the bed with their owners. They’re very cosy bed buddies!

 

3. They make a house feel more homely.

Left: Cosy Corner, from 'A Home' series, c.1895 (w/c on paper), Larsson, Carl (1853-1919) / Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, Sweden Right: The Christmas Tree, C20th by Ditz (Contemporary Artist) / Private Collection
Left: Cosy Corner, from ‘A Home’ series, c.1895 (w/c on paper), Larsson, Carl (1853-1919) / Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, Sweden
Right: The Christmas Tree, C20th by Ditz (Contemporary Artist) / Private Collection

Note: the cats aren’t helping to decorate the tree. Take from that what you will.

 

4. They’re adorable. Especially as puppies!

 Girl with Dogs, 1893 by Charles Burton Barber (1845-94) / Lady Lever Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool
Girl with Dogs, 1893 by Charles Burton Barber (1845-94) / Lady Lever Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool

5. They feel the same way as us on a whole range of things, from having fun outdoors…

Ring-a-ring-a-Roses-Oh, C19th by Frederick Morgan (1856-1927) / Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museum, Burnley, Lancashire
Ring-a-ring-a-Roses-Oh, C19th by Frederick Morgan (1856-1927) / Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museum, Burnley, Lancashire

…to hating work.

Naughty Boy or Compulsory Education, C19th by Riviere Briton (1840-1920) / Private Collection
Naughty Boy or Compulsory Education, C19th by Riviere Briton (1840-1920) / Private Collection

6. We feel totally comfortable around them.

 Bather with a Griffon Dog, 1870 by Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841 - 1919) / Museu de Arte, Sao Paulo, Brazil /
Bather with a Griffon Dog, 1870 by Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841 – 1919) / Museu de Arte, Sao Paulo, Brazil /

7. They’re fashion forward.

Right: Pensive Maharaja, 2010 by Lincoln Seligman / Private Collection Left: The Duchess of Alba, 1795 by Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes (1746 - 1823) / The Alba Collection, Palicio de Liria, Madrid, Spain
Right: Pensive Maharaja, 2010 by Lincoln Seligman / Private Collection
Left: The Duchess of Alba, 1795 by Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes (1746 – 1823) / The Alba Collection, Palicio de Liria, Madrid, Spain

Even in modern day portraits, dogs are a natural artistic component. They often function as a fashion accessory or as a suggestion of the sitter’s interests and tastes.

 

8. They can hold their own.

One of Frederick II's Italian Greyhounds, C18th by German School / Schloss Sanssouci, Potsdam, Brandenburg, Germany
One of Frederick II’s Italian Greyhounds, C18th by German School / Schloss Sanssouci, Potsdam, Brandenburg, Germany

Dogs started to take on an independent existence in art from as early as the latter half of the 15th century. There was a high demand for individual portraits of canines due to their reputation as objects of prestige and favour among the European ruling families, particularly in Italy. It was not until the 18th century, however, that dog portraiture became a widespread practice.

 

9. You can always count on them to be a true friend.

His Only Friend, Briton Riviere (1840-1920) / Manchester Art Gallery, UK
His Only Friend, Briton Riviere (1840-1920) / Manchester Art Gallery, UK

Although dogs are commonly known as “man’s best friend”, they are more specifically considered the “artist’s best friend” too, for their role as both a companion and a life model. Famous artists who loved their hounds include David Hockney, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, René Magritte, William Wegman and Pablo Picasso. Picasso died just ten days after his beloved dachshund ‘Lump’ passed away.

 

10. And they get up to more than we can possibly imagine…

Trial by Jury, or Laying Down the Law, c. 1840 by Sir Edwin Landseer / Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, UK
Trial by Jury, or Laying Down the Law, c. 1840 by Sir Edwin Landseer / Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, UK

What are your favourite dog paintings? Have a look through Bridgeman’s images and share them with us in the comments section below! 

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2 Comments

  1. WoW!!!
    10 Reasons Why We Love Dogs are nice dog. People have been depicting domestic dogs for thousands of years, with the oldest images even dating back to the era of cave paintings! Over time, the representation of dogs has become more detailed and elaborate, as the bond between person and pooch strengthened and a larger range of individual breeds evolved. I think these 10 items will be very important for dogs.

  2. This post was very nice to me. I hope everyone will be better. Thanks for sharing.

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