The Dog I've Always Wanted

Canine Behavior, Training and Photography

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Little Lions, Bull Baiters & Hunting Hounds a history of dog breeds by Jeff Crosby and Shelley Ann Jackson

January 19th, 2009 · · Book Reviews

There are a lot of breed books available just now and I’ve browsed a number of them. You know, looking up your own dog’s breed or breeds if he’s a mix. Then checking out breeds that you think you might like to own. Sometime. In any case, the layout of these books varies somewhat, although the usual arrangement is to divide the various breeds into their broader categories: hunting, herding, working, and companion or toy. Something like that. Within those categories each breed has its own section, a page or half of one, in which it is described in detail, its requirements and needs are stated, and its advantages and disadvantages are noted.

“Little Lions, Bull Baiters & Hunting Hounds” is a different sort of breed book. Instead of the usual photographs it is richly illustrated with oil-like images. Breed groups are presented and the angle has a historical leaning. The book is targeted at the younger reader and in addition to tracing the origins of a breed reference is made to the geographical area in which it originated. Small maps inset in the larger illustration clarify this information.

Although this book does not boast anywhere near the two hundred and fifty breeds that fill the pages of some breed books it gives the reader a good general impression of broad classifications and explains, in general, what qualifies a breed for membership in a given category.

Another very nice feature is that the dogs are depicted doing what they are bred to do. A Newfie and a Labrador retriever are shown at work with fishermen, greyhounds are seen coursing a hare, and a border collie is portrayed “giving the eye” to a recalcitrant sheep. Very engaging.

This book is a good introduction to the subject for young people who are developing an interest in dogs.

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