For many people around the world, a dog is an integral part of the family. But we don’t usually expect much from them except eating, sleeping, and barking.
We certainly don’t expect artistic talent from your average canine companion. But for Hunter, a resident of Canada, life is very different from that of other domestic dogs.
Hunter is a Shiba Inu, a Japanese breed of dog that was originally bred for hunting. In spite of his name, though, Hunter does no hunting whatsoever. He’s got better things to keep him busy.
Hunter’s rise to fame began when his owners Kenny Au and his wife, Denise Lo, decided to redecorate their home. At this point, Hunter was five years old and the apple of his parents’ eye. But Kenny and Denise, when faced with a boring, blank wall in their home, had no idea that Hunter would come to the rescue.
After all, one doesn’t exactly consult one’s resident canine for interior decorating advice. But Hunter is no ordinary dog. The wall was crying out for some original artworks to bring the room to life, but the couple was not in a position to commission something from an established artist. That’s when they came up with a truly crazy idea.
Kenny and Denise decided to teach Hunter to paint. That’s right. Paint, with a paintbrush and paint like a real artist. They started by teaching the bright dog to hold a paintbrush between his teeth. Shiba Inu’s are known to be intelligent, quick learners, so Hunter picked up the skill pretty fast.
The couple, who were now very intrigued to see what their beloved pooch would come up with, then introduced Hunter to paper and paint. They were completely amazed by the results. They were sure that Hunter had loads of potential, but they never imagined things would go this far.
Once Hunter had mastered making paint marks on the paper with the brush clamped between his teeth, he started creating unique abstract artworks. Soon, the dog was painting prolifically, and his doting owners weren’t quite sure what to do with all the paintings he was creating. Hunter seemed to be thoroughly enjoying his new-found passion.
These days, you can find Hunter painting up a storm every single day. He seems to love it and becomes positively Zen when he’s working on one of his creations. Said Kenny: “We’ve incorporated it into his daily routine and he seems to love having a job.” That makes sense because Shiba Inus, like many other breeds of dog, do best when they are doing the work for which they were bred.
The only difference is that Hunter wasn’t destined for a career as an artist when he was just starting out as a pup. Now that he’s created so many unique and colorful pieces, Kenny and Denis have started sharing his works with the outside world.
Hunter now has his own Instagram page, @shiba.art.online, where his parents put up his works, which they sell on Etsy for about $70 each.