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In the past, dogs that appeared in an important museum or auction-quality painting were pedigreed canine aristocrats. But contemporary artists are reversing centuries of art-historical prejudice by finding beauty in dogs of unknown ancestry, aka, mixed-breed mutts. Exhibit A: painter Heather LaHaise.

LaHaise sees not only perfect purebreds as worthy subjects for her dynamic, modern painting style, but all types of dogs. Shelter pooches and strays, puppies and seniors, three-legged mutts. 鄭ll dogs are beautiful,' says the artist. 的 don't look at breed or age; I view each dog as an individual.'

In fact, LaHaise loves dogs so much that she's chosen to paint only canine subjects. 鉄ome artists paint landscapes; I paint dogs,' she explains. 的 find them so much more interesting.'

LaHaise, who was born in New York and studied at Pratt, now lives in South Carolina where she accepts long-distance portrait commissions. Her prices start at $350 depending on the size and medium (oils, acrylics or watercolors). But when she's between commissions, LaHaise never wants for inspiration, because she lives with a mutt named Summer.

Some might look at 13-year-old Summer and see a plain, brown dog. But LaHaise sees an artist's model and muse. 的 started painting dogs when I adopted Summer,' LaHaise says. 的 feel she helped me find my voice as an artist, so I want to give dogs like her a voice with my work.'

For additional inspiration, the artist occasionally checks out the Internet. Browsing, a nationwide directory of animal shelters, LaHaise came across another face she couldn't forget: the adorable mug of a white-and-red dog named Tickles, recently rescued by the Queens shelter Bobbi and the Strays.

的 thought Tickles had such personality - I was really taken with her,' LaHaise recalls. 的 love her soft coloring and her pretty eyes. She's a great subject!' Inspired, she painted Tickles' portrait. To adopt the canine model, visit - and to view this talented artist's other portraits, or commission one of your own, visit

Text and image by New York Post

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