The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Globe Life

August 1, 2008

Book review: Encyclopedia explores history of dog breeds

As we approach the “dog days of summer,” here’s a terrific new resource on dogs at the Joplin Public Library.

“Barron’s Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds” by D. Caroline Coile is beautifully illustrated, with at least two good-sized color photographs of each of the 150 profiled breeds. Every breed recognized by the American Kennel Club, with the single exception of the Swedish vallhund, is covered.

The coverage of each breed includes its history, including the place of origin and original purpose of the breed and when it was recognized by the AKC. The “family” of the breed is also mentioned (spitz, terrier, mastiff, etc.) as well as the usual current function of the dog (like “water rescue” for the Newfoundland). The AKC popularity ranking is included as well, which may indicate both the likelihood of being readily able to find a dog of the breed as well as raising a caution flag for dogs that are very popular and may be being bred indiscriminately in order to provide sufficient stock for the demand.

Other information provided includes temperament (whether the dog is suited for life with children or other pets, or presents challenges with training or barking for example) and upkeep. It may be obvious that some breeds (like the poodle) have extensive grooming requirements, but it may not always be obvious that a dog has issues with heat or cold. In the case of the Chinese crested dog, an owner must be prepared to put sweaters on the dog when the temperature drops and apply sun block when spending time outdoors.

There is an illustrated breed standard for each dog, including coat color, foot shape, ear shape and carriage and so on including any disqualifiers from show standard, such as being over 12.5 inches or under 10 inches for the miniature pinscher.

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