Perhaps more than any artist born in the 19th Century, Maud Earl is associated with the painting of pure-bred dogs. She was born into an artistic family - her father was the well-known animal artist George Earl (1824-1908), and her uncle Thomas Earl specialised in painting horses among other animals. Maud was taught by her father and quickly developed her natural talent for capturing the character of her canine subjects. She was particularly prolific and sought after, painting many of the most important dogs of her day, including those belonging to famous dog lovers such as Edward VII and the Duchess of Newcastle. She also came to the attention of Queen Victoria who asked her to Windsor to paint her favourite Collie, a breed which the Queen had been instrumental in popularising.
By 1915 Maud Earl moved to New York where she established a studio at the Volney Hotel in New York City, and continued to exhibit and complete commissioned portraits of dogs. She had already received international recognition having exhibited frequently at the Royal Academy, and held several solo exhibitions. Her work was also widely reproduced in books and in print form.
She never worked from photographs, preferring in stead to paint what she saw. She sketched the general anatomy of the dog with chalks before embarking on capturing the character of the animal in oils.