Children and dogs make the best of friends. There is an unspoken understanding between a child and a canine; they play, eat, run, and cuddle together. Their games never get dull or old. Dogs know to be gentle, to care and protect the kid while also having the best time.
For the boy or girl who is lucky enough to have a pup in their lives, they get a taste of what a real best friend is like. And the size of the dog is irrelevant when it comes to hanging out together.
Kids don’t seem to care or notice that their play buddy is four or five times bigger than them. Some adults may get nervous, even terrified around a large dog but to a kid that’s just his best friend you are looking at.
Photographer Andy Seliverstoff spent four months taking photos of children and big dogs hanging out together.
The photos are part of his new book, Little Kids and Their Big Dogs.
He shot all the photos in St. Petersburg, Russia, with the help of big breeds like Great Danes, St. Bernards, and Newfoundlands.
The 58-year-old photographer hopes to destigmatize the fear people have towards bigger breeds.
“We only took photos with dogs that have a stable mind and good temperament, as these dogs are open to bonding with both people and children,” says Seliverstoff. “I’m just trying to achieve and convey the mutual contact between a child and their dog.”
Seliverstoff says the idea for the book came when friends asked him to photograph their two-year-old daughter with the family’s Great Dane.
Krispy weighs 91 pounds and his human friend is four-and-a-half-year-old Gregory.
Seliverstoff love big breeds too, he had a St. Bernard for 25 years.
Initially, Seliverstoff shared one photo on Facebook of Ringo the Newfoundlander and Theodore together.
It had such a positive response that he knew he was on the right track with the book.
“They said it was deeply touching and I decided to continue working on the project,” he says.
“The main priority with these photos wasn’t just to make beautiful pictures, but to also show how children and their big dogs communicate and make contact with each other,” says Seliverstoff.
Two-year-old Alexandra takes a turn as the photographer, snapping photos of Great Dane Zara.
Wolf the Great Dane watches over almost two-year-old VseVolod.
Seliverstoff says he takes time getting to know the dog and the personality.
“The personality and the character is unique for every individual dog,” admits Seliverstoff.
The biggest dog in the series is Misha, a St. Bernard who weighs 215 pounds. Misha lets Matthew, who is not quite two yet, caress his face.
The photographer has been taking photos for decades, but it was not until four years ago that he chose to make the leap and turn his passion into a professional career.
His photography focuses on working with canines.
He admits his favourite breed are the Great Danes because “They touch me emotionally and I just can’t get enough photos of them!”
He admits in bringing his own emotions and interpretation of the moment in his photography.
The hope is that “the viewer will see what I’ve seen, feel what I felt taking the photo.”
He believes the human-like traits we see in dogs is what makes people feel close to them.
Many of the kids are the children or grandchildren of the dog owners.
Newfoundland Ringo weighs 168 pounds so it doesn’t seem to be a huge challenge to give three-year-old Theodore a ride.
“The state of endless joy and mutual confidence – that has become the main idea of the series,” says Seliverstoff.
After a long day of playing and discovering the world together, it’s time for a nap.