I love to photograph expressive dogs.
When it comes to wonderful expressions, I am never disappointed while photographing any of the bully breeds or bully mixes. Their soulful eyes, large grins, and talking ears are great ingredients for constructing a lovely portrait, like the one above of a shelter resident who loved playing in the snow.
Did you know that "Pit Bull" is not an official American Kennel Club breed? It's an overall grouping of dogs who belong to the American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier breeds.
Here is a quick chart from dogsbestlife.com that gives you a look at what makes up various "bully" breeds.
I think it would be safe to say that if you went to an animal shelter today to photograph dogs, a large percentage would fall under the bully or bully mix category.
Years ago this was also very true, and in my early days of shelter visits I met and photographed some beautiful bullies with extraordinary expressions.
One reason these statistics occur is, for many years backyard breeders overbred these types of dogs for easy cash, and unfortunately, in some cases, for nefarious purposes. The dogs began to be stigmatized and stereotyped based on these poor breeding situations, owners' lack of knowledge in training and/or poor training practices, and other preconceived notions and opinions applied to the entire population of bullies.
I know you've seen me blog this statement before, but I have never met a dog I didn't like, and I have never photographed a bully that wasn't happy, cooperative, playful, funny or beautifully expressive.
Need some great ear action when photographing your bully?
I find that sporting goods stores have the answer. Duck calls. There is something about the tonal quality of a duck call that really helps you obtain not only a head tilt (and undivided attention), but also VERY expressive ears. The one I carry in my camera bag is the Coolrunner Duck Whistle, $9.99 from Amazon. It's easy to use, can be hands free, and comes with its own string lanyard.
Have a beautiful bully that needs a great portrait? Give me a call.
In the meantime, have a great weekend and if you are in my part of the world, enjoy those colorful trees while you can!