This week, pet owners show off their special animal friends on Love your Pet Day.

Studies have shown that owning a pet can increase your chances of being happy and successful. In fact, of 1,000 pet owners studied, researchers found that they brought laughter to six in 10 owners and made seven in 10 feel more relaxed.

As a nation of die-hard animal lovers, it’s not surprising our furry (and feathery and scaly) friends make us happy.

Animals are hugely popular subjects for artists, and why we have hundreds of paintings of all kinds of wildlife.

Pets in art

Dogs and horses have always been incredibly popular in the history of art.

Some of the earliest cave paintings ever discovered is of horses. Many years before horses were domesticated they were being carefully observed and recorded by humans.

Renaissance artists painted their subjects with their dogs. Dogs symbolised loyalty, faithfulness, protection and love. One of the most well-known and recognised being Velazquez’ ‘Las Meninas’ where a dog snoozes in the corner, or Jan Van Eyck’s Arnolfini marriage where a puppy is at the forefront of the painting.

Here's a modern cat-tastic take on the Arnolfini Portrait.

 The Arnolfini Marriage. Feline art by Olga  Koval
The Arnolfini Marriage. Feline art by Olga Koval

One of the most famous animal painters of all time was George Stubbs who became internationally recognised for his horse portraits, and still is today. His lifelike studies show incredible detail that have influenced so many painters with horses being a subject that remains very popular.

Animals are also the stuff of myths and legends and have captured people’s imaginations for centuries. Unicorns, two-headed dogs, the phoenix have all played a big part of shaping stories for generations.

Domestic pets

Admit it, we all go gaga over a cute cat or dog. We are a nation that’s crazy about pets and animals in general and take their care very seriously.

Cats are loved - perhaps despite their famous ambivalence towards humans - unless they want something of course. Whereas dogs bound around looking for approval and attention from their owners.

Whether you are a cat or a dog person, there’s a lot of art to choose from.

The weird and wonderful

Not everybody sees the beauty in the more conventional pets, such as a cat or a dog, but instead prefer to look after some more unusual creatures, such as lizards or spiders.

These are creatures that require a lot of care and attention, as well as equipment, so people who look after unusual pets, really do have a passion for them.

Pet portraits

Because we are a nation that loves animals, there are artists at that can be commissioned to do pet portraits. Elaine Askew is one artist who having lived in Florida for many years, relocated back to the UK and is now inspired by the Durham coastline, and animals.

One of the most popular animal artists on our site is Sam Fenner. Her animal portraits really bring out their individual personalities and character. Unsurprisingly, her paintings capture a range of animals from dogs and alpacas to hares, cows and donkeys.

If you’re keen to have a portrait painted of your pet, then you can commission an artist via the Art Gallery site. Either drop us a line via the Contact Us page, or you can contact the artist direct.

All our artists have a ‘Make Enquiry’ button, so do get in contact with them to find out more.

Special offers

There’s always a great selection of art on our Special Offers page. For a limited time, artists reduce the price on some of their work, so if you’re on a budget, this is a great opportunity to get a great piece at a great price.

It’s also a great way to buy a gift for a close friend or loved one. Art can sometimes be seen as something that is a nice-to-have, so presenting them with a painting or sculpture can show them how it really transforms a room and a person’s mood. Combine these elements with a cute pet image and you’ve got the perfect work of art!