• Based in the Kitchener, Ontario, the award-winning scruffy dog photography inc. is the province's premier pet photographer, serving clients across Ontario, the US and internationally since 2007, photographing exclusively animals both commercially and for private clients.

    To learn more about the scruffy dog experience, its creator and history, as well as how YOUR scruffy can become a part of the SDP family, feel free to browse through the menu above, and scroll through a decade's worth of blog entries below!

    Please drop us a line! We'd love the opportunity to capture stunning, creative, one-of-a-kind photographic memories of your 4-legged loved ones to treasure in artwork for a lifetime, and show you just what makes the scruffy dog experience second to none.

an afternoon at Country Paws

a couple of weeks ago i had the hairy, muddy, slobbery pleasure of shooting some of the regulars at Country Paws  Boarding in London…



i thought i’d share a few of the crazy faces and unique characters with you.



i loved this red girl … you know me and hunting dawgs …




and of course, as in any well-working facility, there ARE rules …


… but more fun than anything else.




… and lots of running.









and finally, a little something extra.  i couldn’t help doing some more serious post work on this wonderful blue girl … (at some point i’ll show you the “before”)


hope you enjoy your gallery, Michelle.  i’m looking forward to the Kitchener location shoot.



allison f. - GREAT work as always! LOVE the hound face. Really great stuff.

Stacie - These are the most amazing pet photos…is there any way you can post them on your photos sections so that I can share your beautiful work with friends.

Truly amazing,


Lainer - I absolutely love this series of photos. My favorites are the pugs and pit bulls!

Michelle - Wow! These photos are amazing. You really capture the essence of the dog’s personality. I am so glad I found your site and I am already looking forward to my next visit!

Sandra - illona, These photos capture everything you could possibly want in a moment. I just love them. You have such a gift. Thanks for sharing your link.

tee4tia - Illona, you are so freaking talented, I have no other words.

Jean - Illona these are fantastic. You really captured the characters of the happy campers as they romp and play.

Holly Garner-Jackson - Illona!!!! Marvelous!!! Simply marvelous. I don’t know how you do it but you do it over and over again!!!! You and your camera rock!!!! 😉

Anda - OMG Illona, this is a gorgeous set! All the dogs are adorable, but the white faced Border Collie stole my heart (I am so predictable…)

I love watching your wonderful work, I am smiling from ear to ear! Gorgeous!!!

if you don’t love a basset …

… then you’re a weirdo.  i mean, seriously, who doesn’t immediately fall in love with those eyes and those ears, that face!

meet cinnamon …


a perfect example of everything to love about bassets. and she’s not as shy as she looks … in fact, she had her nose into everything, including my lenses, with no hesitation.


a real poser … although some of her looks gave her the air of a well-versed, been-there-done-that, yet underpaid model.




you might recognize the location in this shoot from Kiera’s shoot a few weeks ago.  Kiera’s owner introduced me to this place in Elmira, and although i have great tromping grounds right here around the scruffy dog studio, this spot offers a great variety of backdrops, including it’s own beach!


you’ll also note in the previous two photos (and more to come) that i use a long-line for dogs like Cinnamon … 60′ of light mountaineering rope with a light caribiner.  with a few instructions to owners, this line allows us some freedom and action shots without taking the risk of dogs like our darling basset here picking up a scent and tearing off.  for images ordered, i always remove the long-line in post, but for purposes of the blog, it’s too much work … so forgive its presence here.






don’t you just love those ears??






did someone say something about ears?  😉





did i tell you Cinnamon had huge ears?


thanks, Cinnamon, for a wonderful shoot. and thanks Denis and Nat for bringing your girl to Waterloo for me to shoot.  i hope you enjoy her huge gallery.



Sandra - These photos of Cinnamon are wonderful. Love those big floppy ears, they’re almost as big as her.

illona S. - First I must say that Cinnamon is an absolute lens hound. Then there is that the photographer has just the perfect name. Until today I thought that I was the only person in the Western hemi who had that handle. Congrats on just stunning pics of Cinnamon!!!!

leesia - what an ADORABLE face!!! all the ear shots are to die for — and i love that paw shot too. so many favorites to choose from; one of my favorite sessions from you ever!

Lenora Davis Mendelm - We had a Basset for 14 years. Her name was Bags. She did exactly what she wanted for 14 years and we loved her with a passion. After that, we had two Bloodhounds. Male named Memphis and female named Beulah. Amazing dogs and quite a challenge. Now we have 1 Standard Poodle named Juliet. We had Romeo, but he passed away at 12, 1 1/2 years ago. Juliet is 11 and as spry as a puppy. Love your shots.

moonflower - your photos warm my heart so! you capture everything one needs, to know that the world truly is a beautiful place …. if you look!

Lainer - I like the one with the ears hanging. It’s funny. I love them all.

Cat =^..^= - Absolutely love these shots Illona, perfect! Her character shines in these! Such a beautiful and wonderful girl!

Cat =^..^= - Wow, I absolutely love these shots Illona, perfect, her character shines in these photos, such a beautiful, wonderful girl!

tee4tia - I’m knocked over by these photos. They are just amazing.

Holly Garner-Jackson - illona once again you have captured the essence of the dog! Cinnamon is such a perfect little basset hound. We adopted a huge 5 year old basset hound when i was in high school. these photos bring back fond memories of our Morgan, thanks !!!!
and who couldn’t fall in love with those ears!!!!!!??????

Anita - Basset puppies are my favourite…when they’re ears are so long they’re tripping on them!

Great shots, you did an awesome job capturing this gorgeous lady!

diane - Amazing shoot! What gorgeous pictures! Love the ear shots, for sure.

Meredith Ramsay - These pics are sooo great! What a cute dog!

wendy - That one in the forest is GORGEOUS! And I love the over the shoulder one too!

Denis - Excellent selection on the blog. You show Cinnamon off so well. Nat and I are narrowing down our choices from all the great images you took; and such a selection at that. Natalie’s Mom loves them too, since she is like Cinnamon’s second Mom.
For those just finding Scruffy Dog Photography, I highly recommend a photo shoot with Illona. As you can see above she does excellent work, and that is only a small selection of what we can choose from. If you’ve been thinking about photos, book now.

who doesn’t love a scruffy?

i do! i do!  and this little girl is cuter than a whole pile of cutes!


this is 7-month-old Sasha … adorable’ist of the adorables … with a good dose of giddy-up.




and she loves her mama …


still, i was able to coax her into a few good sprints away from her mom …


with a huge gallery of images for mom Kim, it’s very difficult for me to narrow down the images for the blog, so bear with me …


we had a blast in the park across the street … lots of running …


… and jumping …


… and, of course, keeping a close eye on passersby.


a real little poser …


although sometimes she could be a little coy.



and when this little girl gets her rip on, she goes like stink!



after a good romp, we took some photos at a historic home on the park grounds.  an awesome setting for this sweet little girl …






thank you so much, Kim, for sharing your darling girl with me.  glad you’re enjoying Sasha’s images … sorry I wasn’t able to narrow down the selection any more!



Kathy Mason - Yup, you caught the spirit of the Havee – when they’re flying through the air, ears streamlined, you got it! After 21 yrs with my spaniel (and Bert), it took something very special – and she’s it. I actually took her to him before agreeing to purchase – his opinion – ‘she’s a keeper’ – to the extent he is her guardian! He adores her. Buck is moving to Bridgeport Plaza in Dec. – I’ve gone to the old office for 50+ yrs.
Bella is definately something special (I have 31 yrs +ive training).
At almost 6 mos, she is a beautiful example of the pure breed. Stands about 5″, absolutely gorgeous coat ranging from 4 white paws to blond, apricot, chocolate tips. Loves to pose, a true dancer.
How do we get in touch with you?

Holly Garner-Jackson - I don’t know why I never commented on these before… must have been my dialup problems! An amazing shoot and boy has she ever changed!

Talemaker Havanese - It was delightful to see Sasha’s images. We own the sire of this litter, Katsura and she looks a lot like him.

We hold a puppy picnic each year in Richmond Hill. We will have to talk to you closer to the time to see if you are available and what your costs are.

It is always nice to see your own dog in another dog’s face.

Your eye is wonderful.

Yvonne - Your photos are gorgeous and I love the different perspectives you bring to the animals!!
Just one little point, Sasha is a Havanese and not a terrier. This breed is descended from the Bichon family of dogs and originated in Cuba. They are known for their exuberance and love of all things!! They especially love to “runlikehell” so your comment the she “goes like stink!” brought a smile to my face.

Cat =^..^= - These are such beautiful shots Illona! Such a little darling, can see the personality shine right through with these wonderful photos, bet Mom loves these, splendid work!

Lainer - The kinky fur on the top of her head cracks me up. She looks like a wild child. Great pics!

Annie Kinmond - Your pet photos are the best I have ever seen! Honestly, you are sooo good at capturing the personality of a pet with gorgeous, magazine quality results!

leesia - so stinkin’ adorable i can hardly stand it!!

Liz - Oh man is she ever cute!!!

karen - I love the one in the park with the leaves, where her hair is standing straight up! Adorable photos and pup.

tee4tia - Oh my dog Illona, your talent for capturing their personality is huge. These photos are awesome.

diane - Great pics! You sure captured Sasha’s personality! Love the running pics – you can just see the wind whipping through her fur.

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