The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Globe Life

February 12, 2010

Book review: This dog tome a candidate for best of breed

“The World Atlas of Dog Breeds”

By Dominique Russell-Revesz

If you can lug it home (it weighs in at nearly 6 pounds), you’ll find lots of interesting information in “The World Atlas of Dog Breeds” by Dominique Russell-Revesz.

Published by TFH, a major pet info publisher, this sixth edition is a complete overhaul of the book first published in 1989. This latest edition includes breeds not previously included and, sadly, drops a few breeds now considered extinct.

The first section is general information about dogs, including history and development, breed types, and those aforementioned extinct breeds. I may have just missed something in recent years, but in their history of the dog, the authors promote the theory that dog and wolf separated on the evolutionary chart over 100,000 years ago and that our dogs, domesticated about 10,000-15,000 years ago, descended from those early dogs and not from wolves (as I had always been led to believe).

There’s some very interesting material on neoteny (the retention of juvenile characteristics into adulthood) in dogs, as well as other information on canine development. A pictorial section on ear types (rose, drop, button, etc.) as well as furnishings (ruffs, beards and so on), patterns and coat types clarifies those matters for the novice. That is followed by the breed type information, broken down differently from the familiar American Kennel Club groupings.

Since they include dogs from various registries (AKC, United Kennel Club, American Rare Breed Association, Australian National Kennel Council, Canadian Kennel Club, Federation Cynologique Internationale, and Kennel Club) they do not follow any particular organization’s breed groupings but instead use their own 10 groupings: Companion (breeds created for that purpose or developed later for that specific purpose), Nordic (spitz-type dogs), Mastiffs (large dogs originally or later developed into personal or home guardians), Flock Guardians, Herding, Scenthounds (tracking), Sighthounds (chasing), Sporting (pointers, setters, retrievers, flushers), Terriers, and Pariah dogs (primitives like the Dingo and a few similar domestics like the Canaan and Basenji).

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