In Defence of Dogs

John Bradshaw

In Defence of Dogs

The dog has been mankind's faithful companion for tens of thousands of years, yet today finds itself in crisis throughout the western world. Until just over a hundred years ago, most dogs worked for their living, and each of the many breeds had become well suited, over countless generations, to the task for which they were bred. Now, in their purely domestic roles we fail to understand their needs. And it is time that someone stood up for dogdom: not the caricature of the wolf in a dog suit, ready to dominate its unsuspecting owner at the first sign of weakness, not the trophy animal that collects rosettes and kudos for its breeder, but the real dog, the pet that just wants to be one of the family and enjoy life. Biologists now know far more about what really makes dogs tick than they did twenty years ago, but this new understanding has been slow to percolate through to owners, and has not yet made enough of a difference to the lives of the dogs themselves. This book intends to set the record straight. 3.6 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
In Defence of Dogs

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Science & Nature, Home & Garden
Format Hardback
Pages 352
RRP £20.00
Date of Publication July 2011
ISBN 978-1846142956
Publisher Allen Lane
 

The dog has been mankind's faithful companion for tens of thousands of years, yet today finds itself in crisis throughout the western world. Until just over a hundred years ago, most dogs worked for their living, and each of the many breeds had become well suited, over countless generations, to the task for which they were bred. Now, in their purely domestic roles we fail to understand their needs. And it is time that someone stood up for dogdom: not the caricature of the wolf in a dog suit, ready to dominate its unsuspecting owner at the first sign of weakness, not the trophy animal that collects rosettes and kudos for its breeder, but the real dog, the pet that just wants to be one of the family and enjoy life. Biologists now know far more about what really makes dogs tick than they did twenty years ago, but this new understanding has been slow to percolate through to owners, and has not yet made enough of a difference to the lives of the dogs themselves. This book intends to set the record straight.

Read an extract from the book | The Independent

Reviews

The Sunday Times

James McConnachie

Every dog lover, dog owner or prospective dog buyer should read this book … It’s a dense read, at times, but never chilly or unrewarding. Bradshaw is the kind of man who lets dogs sniff and lick his hand because to do otherwise “would be as unsociable as hiding our face from someone we are being introduced to”. He is an empathetic dog lover as well as a scientist, and he always sees things from the dog’s perspective.

10/07/2011

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The Daily Telegraph

Roy Hattersley

Essential reading ... Bradshaw quite rightly warns against the anthropomorphic fallacy, which often results in dogs being treated in a way that damages their health and happiness. But he also describes some canine characteristics that will delight people like me who want to find scientific justification for their sentimentality.

18/07/2011

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The Literary Review

Jonathan Mirsky

Dog owners, Bradshaw urges, should ‘think dog’ rather than assuming, as many people do, that humans and dogs share the same thoughts and emotions … [A] wonderful, reassurng and encouraging book

01/07/2011

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The Guardian

Chris Cox

[A] scholarly yet passionate book … Bradshaw's most compelling chapters ... explore the emotional lives of dogs. The revelation here for many dog owners might perhaps be that dogs' emotional repertoires are much more limited than we generally think.

08/07/2011

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The Daily Mail

Peter Lewis

There are no charming anecdotes here of pets’ winning ways, extraordinary tricks or loveable manners. It is the inner dogginess that he explores, and its relationship to our own human nature. There are quite a few surprises to report.

22/07/2011

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The Observer

Bella Bathurst

… though Bradshaw's style is supple and fluent, he has a tendency to err on the side of too much science and not enough story. It also takes him until the last chapter to discuss the differences between breeds of dog. Until then, dogs are just dogs, as same-ish in habits and behaviour as goats or blackbirds. But, as even non-dog-owners could tell you, dogs, like people, are individuals.

24/07/2011

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The Evening Standard

Brian Sewell

I have learned much from it but only with dogged persistence, for it is too long, too determinedly scientific and archaeological. Were it half the length, with the wolf material reduced to an appendix, it would be twice the book.

21/07/2011

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