Your Love of Purebred Dogs: Maybe He Influenced You

When it comes to the preeminent illustrator of birds, the name, John James Audubon, is the name that occurs to most people.

Had they lived at the same time, however, Audubon might have had to share the limelight with Louis Agassiz Fuertes, an American ornithologist, illustrator and artist born 23 years after Audubon’s death.

Fuertes set rigorous and standards for ornithological art.  Indeed, the son of a Puerto Rican astronomer and civil engineer, Estevan Fuertes, and Mary Stone Perry, Louis became the youngest member ever named when he was inducted as an Associate Member of the American Ornithologists’ Union at the age of 17.

His attention to detail was noteworthy, and much appreciated not only by birders, but by purebred dog enthusiasts: Fuertes not only painted 100 dog portraits that appeared in the National Geographic Book of Dogs, but was a collaborator in preparing the text. At the time of publication – 1919 –  the book sold for $2.00, but these days, one can’t find a detached illustration from the book at that price; the book now sells for ten times the original price.

We daresay that thousands of children spent hours looking at this book, and who knows how many of those kids began a life long love affair with purebred dogs. Below is a sampling of the illustrations by Fuertes upon which they gazed:









National Georgraphic Book, art,Louis Agassiz Fuertes,

Tragically,  Fuertes died in a car accident at the age of 53 near his home in upstate New York in 1927.  We do, however, have a treat: You can see more of Fuertes’ dog work here.



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