Like every pet parent, you think your companion animal is pretty darned special. But, sometimes, just recognizing it isn’t enough. When you just need to celebrate your pet’s unique charms for all the world to see, a custom pet portrait can be the perfect way to do it.
Whether you’re in the market for a cat portrait or a dog portrait, a pet memorial gift, or a tribute to a current cute and furry family member, nothing captures the spirit of your beloved companion like a personalized pet painting.
However, choosing a pet portrait provider worthy of your furry friend is no easy task. There are plenty of companies offering this service in a wide variety of art styles and price points. So how do you decide? Simply follow our guide to find out what to look for in a pet portrait, how to evaluate all the different companies that offer this service, and top-ranked recommendations…including our pick for best overall!
Custom Pet Portraits: What to Look For
Do a quick online search for custom pet portraits and the number of results could set your head spinning. I know mine was when I went in search of a company that could perfectly capture my foster dog’s one-of-a-kind face. (She’s a paralyzed pittie mix so, yes, she’s ultra adorable and perhaps even more special than most.)
There are several factors to consider when choosing a company to capture your pet’s likeness, but perhaps the most telling are the customer reviews. These are subjective, so it’s important to dig deeper and find out exactly what each company has to offer. But, if you’re looking for a way to narrow down the field of contenders, reviews are a great place to start. I found that many of them displayed the original photo along with the finished art, so I could get a better sense of what the company provides.
Once you’ve trimmed down your list, it’s time to consider the other factors that could help you find the best fit for your needs. What medium do you want (for example, oil? watercolor? pencil)? How big do you want the portrait? Do you want the portrait to depict the specific image or are you looking for an artistic interpretation? How much involvement do you want? For instance, are you hoping you can see a proof before it goes to print so that you can make modifications if needed?
Of course, you should also consider things like: How much will it cost? How does that compare to other companies? How easy it is to commission, modify, and order the portrait — Is it so simple anyone could do it or do you need to be pretty computer-savvy? How long it will take to create the portrait?
I was most concerned about the accuracy of the portrait, so the reviews were a great starting point. But the additional questions helped me zero in on the right choice for me. Turns out, I chose well. Here’s what you need to know about our X top-ranked providers of custom pet portraits to do the same.
6 Best Custom Pet Portraits
Best Overall: Paint Your Life Custom Pet Portraits
Read through the reviews of Paint Your Life, and it’s obvious why this company earned our top recommendation. Out of over 10,000 reviews on its website, a whopping 93 percent of them gave the company five out of five stars. Here’s how it works: Once you’ve uploaded a photo of your pet, you choose the artist and the style of painting you’d like from seven different categories: oil, pastel, acrylic, charcoal, color pencil, black pencil, or watercolor. You can review a digital proof and ask for as many modifications as you like. In as few as 15 days, you could be opening your custom dog or cat painting. And, if Paint Your Life’s glowing reviews are any indication, you’ll be blown away by the level of artistic quality and attention to detail.
- One of the only options that offers actual hand-crafted original artwork
- Available in a wide variety of media — oil painting, watercolor, and more
- Fast turnaround, a bonus if you want to give this as a gift for a recently passed pet
- Can send a single image to reproduce or several to inspire an “artistic interpretation”
- Free shipping and 100 percent money-back guarantee
- Can have multiple pets in one portrait
- Can choose the specific artist or art style you like best
- Available in the widest array of sizes…all the way up to 48 x 72 inches!
Things to Consider
- Modifications are unlimited, but may delay your portrait’s creation
- There are less expensive pet portrait options, but none that offer this level of execution
Sample buyer review: “My artist brought my beloved dog back to life with the painting she created for me. It’s perfect. It looks like she’s really standing there looking at me. I absolutely love it!!”
Other Custom Pet Portraits to Consider
Though Paint Your Life was, overall, our top pick, we gave several other companies high marks for quality, price, variety, and appeal. Here are some more recommendations to consider when you’re comparing custom portraits for your pet.
If you’re hoping for a pet portrait crafted with a touch of whimsy, look no further than Crown & Paw. This company specializes in personalized pet art inspired by a range of art styles and themes, from the Renaissance era to modern day. Simply choose your pet’s gender and how many subjects you’d like to feature (up to four), then let your creativity run wild. You can choose from a variety of themes, including Christmas, occupations, movies, Renaissance, and more. Want your pup to be President of the United States? Think your regal kitten would make a perfect Renaissance princess? Crown & Paw can make it happen. Their expert designers transform your dog or cat into art using a variety of techniques to achieve the look of an oil painting, though the final artwork is printed onto a canvas or poster using last-furever, never-fade ink. Framed canvas options come in three sizes — 8 x 10 inches, 12 x 18 inches, and 16 x 24 — though standing, unframed canvases are available in smaller sizes. One stand-out about this company? In 2020, it donated over $75,000 to Humane Society International to help end the Yulin Dog Meat Festival.
- You get to preview and approve your portrait for printing
- There are over 150 costumes you can choose to “dress” your pet in
- You can even choose from your favorite movies and TV shows
- Multi-subject portraits featuring people and pets are also available
- If you’re not happy with your finished portrait, the company will redo it free of charge
- You can feature your pet on a range of products, including blankets, pillows, and mugs
Things to Consider
- This may not be the right choice for somebody who wants a more traditional pet portrait
Sample buyer review: “AMAZING ARTWORK! The Crown & Paw team expertly used the photo I provided to make Gus look like a handsome dignitary! Gus would be too impatient to sit for an actual portrait like this, so Crown & Paw makes the next best thing possible!”
It doesn’t matter whether you have a cat, dog, horse, rabbit, or another animal. Impersonate Me will create an unforgettable portrait print of them in their unique, shoulders-up “pop out” drawing style (though full-body portraits are possible, too). The interesting thing with Impersonate Me is that you can upload as many photos as you think the artists will need to create your portrait. You can even add a note letting the artist know what features or characteristics best represent your pet or customize your print with your pet’s name or a message. You have two choices in frame colors – black or white – and seven options for the background. There are three frame sizes, ranging from 8 x 10 inches to 18 x 24 inches. You’ll receive a print either on museum-quality poster paper or canvas. And for about $10 more you can get a digital file for posterity or to share with others.
- You can include up to four subjects (pets or people) in the portrait
- Backgrounds in photos are removed before the artist starts drawing
- For a $10 upcharge, you can “Skip the Line” and get your portrait done faster
- Additional product forms are available — blankets, mugs, pillow cases
Things to Consider
- You won’t see your portrait until it arrives at your doorstep
- You can’t choose the medium for the portrait
- The finished product is a print, not an original
Sample buyer review: “Second time I’ve had a picture created. Just love, love. You somehow capture the sweetness and the light in the eyes of the 2 pups I’ve had done. Really priceless.”
Sam and Jack offers personalized pet art that looks great and does some good in the world. When you order through Sam and Jack, you’ll be supporting The Grey Muzzle Organization, which helps improve the lives of senior dogs in shelters. The process here is similar to other pet portrait companies in that you upload a picture of your pet or pets (up to three, and they can be any kind), choose a solid background color from over a dozen, and then pick one of three sizes, from 8 x 10 inches to 18 x 24 inches. The company’s digital artists then create an illustration which they send back to you to review; you can make any changes you want before it’s finalized.
- You can email the company to ask about other background colors if you don’t see one you like
- You can order a digital download or get moved up in the line for a more affordable fee ($6.99) than other companies are charging
- Personalized pet portrait art is also available on mugs, pillows, water bottles, and more
Things to Consider
- You don’t have choices in terms of the style of drawing
- This is a digital print, not art created in a medium of your choice
Sample buyer review: “Looks just like him! This is going up next to the family pictures :)”
This company prides itself on a clean, modern design aesthetic, a style that sets it apart from other pet portrait companies. Each tastefully designed portrait features one of six background designs, including some that are patterned and limited editions. You can add up to three pets per portrait, and any type of animal can be turned into a portrait. Your personalized digital artwork is printed on gallery-quality paper and comes in a minimalist hardwood frame available in either black, white, or walnut, complete with hanging hardware. There are three sizes to choose from — 8 x 10 inches, 12 x 16 inches, and 18 x 24 inches.
- Although proofs aren’t offered, the company does offer revisions once you receive the artwork if necessary
- You can pay for a digital download
- Artists will remove accessories like leashes and collars from the portrait or leave them, if you prefer
- You can also order greeting cards featuring your pet’s portrait
Things to Consider
- The Skip the Line option is pricier at $15
Sample buyer review: “I love the two portraits of my kitties! And if they cared they would give it two paws up!! I love that these two cute faces are what people will see when they first walk into my apartment!”
Any animal can be turned into a work of art by the design team at PetCanva — from “doggos to kitties, ferrets to chinchillas, and every lovable critter in-between,” according to the website. This company offers single or multi-pet posters and portraits, plus a Modern Family Portrait option featuring people and a colorful, limited edition Pop Art Portrait. PetCanva specializes in art that features your dog or cat’s head to chest region and will guide you through the process of uploading a great photo to inspire the portrait. Once the digital artists create a proof, you can view it on the handy dashboard. That’s also where you’ll choose from over 50 backgrounds once your portrait is approved and purchased. There are also four sizes ranging from 8 x 10 inches to 24 x 36 inches.
- Pop art style offers more variety for those who want something more than a standard portrait
- Choose from a wide range of background colors and patterns, including not only solid colors but also fun designs like plants, tie-dye, and swirls
- Also available — custom blankets, shirts, mugs, puzzles, and more
Things to Consider
- There are only two frame colors – black and white – to choose from
- Limited to one pose — head and chest
Sample buyer review: “It was everything I could hope for! I did it as a surprise for my husband and he got teary-eyed when seeing it. It was a surprise since we had to make a very difficult decision in putting down our dog. The picture perfectly represents Thor.”
Custom Cat and Dog Portraits: Tips and Advice
Choosing the perfect picture to upload for your pet portrait can be tricky. (After all, you probably have hundreds of adorable photos to choose from!) Here are some pro tips to help make the decision easier:
- Use a photo taken at eye level with your pet sitting or standing (but not lying down). A clear shot of your pet’s face is crucial.
- Choose a photo with natural lighting or a well-lit room.
- If the company allows you to send multiple pictures, providing a few different angles can really help the artist capture your pet’s likeness perfectly.
- Don’t send blurry shots — even for inspiration.
- Avoid photos with a filter or color adjustments.
Whatever photo and portrait company you choose, having (or gifting!) a lasting tribute to a precious pet is truly a priceless, one-of-a-kind experience. Here’s to creating a masterpiece that’s worthy of your furry family member!