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Internationally-renowned, award-winning animal photographer Illona Haus is the province's premier pet photographer, serving clients across Ontario, the US and the world. Photographing exclusively animals, both commercially and for private clients, since 2007, scruffy dog photography inc. -- based in Kitchener, Ontario -- is considered one of the world's leading and most influential pet photographers.


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.

i shoot people too

i’m often asked by potential clients if i’ll include them in their photos of their dogs, and my answer is: “of course!” the only reason you don’t see more photos of people included in the scruffy dog galleries is because of privacy issues and out of courtesy to clients.

however, a few weeks ago, when i was approached to do an “engagement shoot”, i honestly came close to saying ‘no’.  afterall, although i believe in pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone to learn new things, i firmly adhere to the notion of leaving some types of shooting to those who are more experienced in that area.  namely, you’ll never see me shooting a wedding, thank you very much.  and likewise, there are those photographers who seriously should never even point their cameras at a dog.

but Steph and Drew were adamant, especially since they wanted to include their two ‘ladies’ in on the shoot.  of course, their flattery went a long way to bribe me, and so it was …


and although it’s been a rough winter as far as the weather cooperating with scheduled shoots, the day could not have been more perfect for a completely outdoor session.

image2the ladies had a blast running around the farm/location and exploring … sometimes they forgot they were supposed to be part of the session!


in fact, trying to get their attention when there were such wonderful distractions of horses and freedom required a lot more effort on my part, but i always have my arsenal of secret weapons … like really good smelling treats sure to entice any beagle-nose.


these rescue beagles were sweethearts and i truly hope we have the opportunity to meet again for some non-winter and indoor shooting.



it was a great shoot … loads of fun in the snow, and a wonderful, windswept location …


and of course, Steph and Drew were all about having fun too.



thanks for a very memorable afternoon Steph and Drew, and thanks for letting me share a few of your photos and sugary smooches on the blog.  i’m sure others will agree that you two are a wonderful couple.


and, as always, thanks to the ladies …


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  • jeffyour stuff is just too good for words – composition, exposure, processing… and that touch of “feeling” you add to every image. Superb!ReplyCancel

  • sue birdLOVE the fifth one in, great work…coffee soon….halfway maybe in Toronto! CHeers

  • BevOh my. These are great. Love the running closed eye shots. Especially love the couple. They look like they made it great fun!ReplyCancel

  • RachelThat’s so great that you tried something new! I think you did a lovely job. Very cool setting and such a cute family!ReplyCancel

  • Jill BeninatoWonderful shots…I bet they loved them!ReplyCancel

  • leesiagorgeous session, illona!ReplyCancel

  • Jamiethese are awesome Illona! maybe you have a new calling: engagement pet photographer. hee heeReplyCancel

    • illonathanks, guys. not sure about that, Jamie. Steph and Drew made this shoot. they were just a lot of fun. and the stars were aligned as far as the conditions, even though the light was harsh.ReplyCancel

  • Sarahawesome series! they all (dogs and people) all seem to have enjoyed themselves – cute couple, cute dogs!ReplyCancel

shy boy bauer

i met this sweet boy a couple of weeks ago before scruffy dog headquarters got hit with a trojan virus and became just a little backlogged.   lost in the quagmire of having to build a new hardddrive, reloading programs and frantically playing catchup, i haven’t been able to keep up with blog posts and client sneak peaks.   still, i wanted to share this young lad …


Bauer actually turned out to be my closest client yet, living only one street over.  gotta love those short commutes.   owners Karen and RJ and i headed out to Bechtel park to shoot the VERY wintry segment of the Winter/Summer Rover.

0113-brownalthough Bauer was initially terrified of the camera, and very skittish of the skiiers, he had eyes only for his frisbee.

1575and sweet Bauer’s got some eyes, doesn’t he?

1628i loved our time in the woods, with the snow falling around us … although it’s never easy shooting in a downpour of snow.  so much is left to chance … falling flakes too close to the lens can blur out whole portions of your subject … so, lots of throw-outs.  but still, lots of keepers too.



i love the relationship between Bauer and his dad … of course, i get to see it beyond the time of the shoot since i do see RJ and Bauer around the neighborhood once in a while.  very boy-and-his-dog.


and back at home, you can tell Bauer definitely lives the good life …

19191654thanks for an awesome afternoon, Karen and RJ.  you’ve got a wonderful boy.  i hope Bauer’s looking forward to our Summer shoot as much as i am!


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  • Jamieonly an uber-talented professional such as yourself could get that first shot with a 150mm prime! wow Illona, I am beyond impressed. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • JamieOMG these are GORGEOUS Illona! I have so many favorites I can’t pick just one. That first one is just stunning. What lens did you use with that? Was it the 50mm 1.4? You use the Nikon D700 right?ReplyCancel

    • illonathanks, Jamie. i love the first one too. and no, i can never get such sharp results with my nifty fifty. that one was taken with my secret weapon – my Sigma 150mm 2.8 macro lens. it comes out when the dogs are quiet and the light is good. it’s a pain in the a**, but nothing beats the sharpness of that honkin’ macro lens.ReplyCancel

  • TamaraThat first photo is so divine IllonaReplyCancel

  • BevBeautiful session. Love both the outside and inside shots!! This dog family will be happy!ReplyCancel

  • EllenThe running dog in the snow is so good! Love it! I will be back to visit your blog. Like a lot what I saw!ReplyCancel

  • Jill BeninatoI love these shots! The snow ones always make me envious…what a handsome boy.ReplyCancel

  • AndreaI am in absolute LOVE with your photos!! They are just wonderful! 🙂 Glad to have found you.ReplyCancel

  • CaliforniaGirlBauer is a gorgeous dog and your portraits really bring out his personality. You captured a dog I do not know but now feel as though I do.ReplyCancel

  • clairethose snow shots are awesome!ReplyCancel

  • aprilThe snow shots are awesome! And I LOVE the 4th shot, the one of Bauer on the tile floor…ReplyCancel

  • MaryGorgeous shots of this guy. Beautiful contrast between that black dog and fresh white snow. I love the snowflakes and his amazing eyes in the first shot.ReplyCancel

  • sujawiI have to be honest…labs are not usually one of my favorite breeds…but this dog changes my mind concerning the preception I’ve had. This dog is beautiful & the settings are so tranquil. I think these are some of my favorite pictures of yours. Well done. =)



  • NMLLOVE the shot of Bauer and his Dad in the snow.ReplyCancel

love is in the air …

… and the scruffies certainly aren’t immune … so we’re having a Valentines Special!!

3112-blogno, we’re not giving out roses … but we ARE giving away prints!  yes, giving away!!

order one 8×12 and receive the second 8×12 for free!  yup, zero.  zilch.  zip.  that’s a $33 gift.

better yet, order yourself a 16×24 of your favorite image and get a 16×24 enlargement of another image for only $20!  that’s a $50 saving.  (mounting is extra)

that’s better than a bunch of roses isn’t it?


this special runs for just one week, so don’t delay.   you snooze you lose.   if you order AFTER the 14th of February you get nothing.  bupkiss.   nada.   niente.  poop on a stick.

3102-blogso what are you waiting for?

NOTE: this special is open to “session clients” only who have already placed their full session orders.

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  • Tammy MueckeI love your work. I just got teary eyed!!ReplyCancel

  • GraceTotally cute and what a great deal. Though poop on a stick might be an interesting gift too 🙂ReplyCancel

  • nickAww very sweet indeed 🙂ReplyCancel

  • IdilI love these shots, Illona! The first one of Matea is my absolute favourite – what a good dog she is to hold the rose in her mouth and look right into the camera!!! Excellent perspective – fantastic photo! And Morley is as adorable as ever – having him lie in the midst of rose petals is such an awesome idea – great composition and colours and cute cute cute Morley!!! Big Valentine’s Day kisses and hugs to your wonderful models 🙂ReplyCancel

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