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The Complete Dog Book: 20th Edition Hardcover – January 31, 2006


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Product Details

  • Series: Complete Dog Book
  • Hardcover: 858 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 20 edition (January 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345476263
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345476265
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 2.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

“If the dog owner can buy only one book, this has to be the one!”
–The New York Times

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

Brittany

Named for the French province in which it originated, the brittany was first registered by the American Kennel Club as the Brittany Spaniel in 1934. Although called a spaniel, by its manner of working game the Brittany belongs with the pointing breeds. In appearance, the breed is smaller than the setters but leggier than the spaniels, having a short tail and characteristic high ear-set. On September 1, 1982, the breed’s official AKC name became Brittany, to more correctly identify their hunting style.

Though it is generally conceded that the basic stock for all bird dogs is the same, most of the facts concerning the development and spread of the various breeds are lost in antiquity. The first accurate records to pinpoint the actual Brittany-type dog are seventeenth-century paintings and tapestries. The frequency with which these appear suggests this type of dog was fairly common. Paintings by Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686–1755) show a liver-and-white dog pointing partridge. This same type of dog is common in Flemish paintings from the school of Jan Steen. Still other artists show this type of bird dog, so it would appear that it was common throughout the northern coast of France and in Holland.

Still, there is nothing written before 1850 that can be unequivocally interpreted as a reference to the Brittany. In that year, the English clergyman Reverend Davies wrote of hunting in Carhaix with small, bobtailed dogs. They were not as smooth as the Pointer, but worked well in the brush. They pointed, retrieved game well, and were particularly popular with poachers, as the nature of that occupation required that the dogs be easy to handle. The description fits the Brittany to perfection.

It was speculated, and in at least one case confirmed, that around 1900 some native spaniels of Brittany were mated with English pointing dogs, whose owners vacationed in France, for woodcock shooting. These matings intensified the pointing qualities of the breed while the basic features remained essentially Breton. The Brittany was an all-purpose dog, a family pet, and a guard dog as well as a hunting dog for the thrifty French peasant. This certainly influenced its shape, size, and disposition. The climate, the nature of the terrain hunted, the manner of hunting, and even its popularity with poachers all had an effect on the type of coat, keenness of nose, and retrieving ability that was developed over the years.

Legend has it that the first tailless ancestor of the modern Brittany emerged in the mid-1800s at Pontou, a little town in the valley of Douron. It resulted from a cross between a white-and-mahogany bitch owned by a hunter in the region and a lemon-and-white dog brought to Brittany for woodcock shooting by an English sportsman. Of two tailless puppies in this litter, one proved outstanding. His work in the field has been described as wonderful, and he became a popular stud. All of his litters produced puppies either without tails or with short stubs.

The Brittany became a recognized breed in 1907, when Boy, an orange-and-white, was registered in France as the first l’épagneul Breton queue courte naturelle. This name was soon shortened to l’épagneul Breton, or Brittany Spaniel. Before 1907, Brittanys had competed in classes for Miscellaneous French spaniels.

In the same year, an outline for the first breed standard was written. This early standard required that the tail be short at birth and that, in order to discourage further crossbreeding, black and white be disqualified. The requirement for the natural bobtail was soon dropped.

The breed was introduced in the United States in 1931 and was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1934. The first standard was a direct translation from the French and not particularly comprehensible. The first major accomplishment of the American Brittany Club after its formation in 1942 was to replace the original standard with a clear and concise one.

An early gain in popularity was due largely to the Brittany’s merits as a shooting dog. A superb nose and desire to please, coupled with relatively small size, endeared the breed to rural and urban hunters alike.

The last fifty years have seen a tremendous growth in both field trials and hunt tests sponsored by the American Brittany Club under the auspices of the AKC. Brittany competition in AKC dog shows has grown equally, and the majority of Brittany owners and breeders are today dedicated to the Dual Champion (field and show champion). Now, seventy years since first recognition, more than 500 Brittanys have gained the ultimate title, that of Dual Champion.

OFFICIAL STANDARD FOR THE BRITTANY

General Appearance—A compact, closely knit dog of medium size, a leggy dog having the appearance, as well as the agility, of a great ground coverer. Strong, vigorous, energetic and quick of movement. Ruggedness, without clumsiness, is a characteristic of the breed. He can be tailless or has a tail docked to approximately four inches.

Size, Proportion, Substance—Height—171D2 to 201D2 inches, measured from the ground to the highest point of the shoulders. Any Brittany measuring under 171D2 inches or over 201D2 inches shall be disqualified from dog show competition. Weight—Should weigh between 30 and 40 pounds.

Proportion—So leggy is he that his height at the shoulders is the same as the length of his body.

Body Length—Approximately the same as the height when measured at the shoulders. Body length is measured from the point of the forechest to the rear of the rump. A long body should be heavily penalized. Substance—Not too light in bone, yet never heavy-boned and cumbersome.

Head—Expression—Alert and eager, but with the soft expression of a bird dog. Eyes—Well set in head. Well protected from briers by a heavy, expressive eyebrow. A prominent, full or popeye should be heavily penalized. It is a serious fault in a dog that must face briers. Skull well chiseled under the eyes, so that the lower lid is not pulled back to form a pocket or haw that would catch seeds, dirt and weed dust. Preference should be for the darker colored eyes, though lighter shades of amber should not be penalized. Light and mean-looking eyes should be heavily penalized. Ears—Set high, above the level of the eyes. Short and triangular, rather than pendulous, reaching about half the length of the muzzle. Should lie flat and close to the head, with the tip rounded very slightly. Ears well covered with dense, but relatively short hair, and with little fringe. Skull—Medium length, rounded, very slightly wedge-shaped, but evenly made. Width, not quite as wide as the length and never so broad as to appear coarse, or so narrow as to appear racy. Well defined, but gently sloping stop. Median line rather indistinct. The occiput only apparent to the touch. Lateral walls well rounded. The Brittany should never be “apple-headed” and he should never have an indented stop. Muzzle—Medium length, about two thirds the length of the skull, measuring the muzzle from the tip to the stop, and the skull from the occiput to the stop. Muzzle should taper gradually in both horizontal and vertical dimensions as it approaches the nostrils. Neither a Roman nose nor a dishface is desirable. Never broad, heavy or snipy. Nose—Nostrils well open to permit deep breathing of air and adequate scenting. Tight nostrils should be penalized. Never shiny. Color: fawn, tan, shades of brown or deep pink. A black nose is a disqualification. A two-tone or butterfly nose should be penalized. Lips—Tight, the upper lip overlapping the lower jaw just to cover the lower lip. Lips dry, so that feathers will not stick. Drooling to be heavily penalized. Flews to be penalized. Bite—A true scissors bite. Overshot or undershot jaw to be heavily penalized.

Neck, Topline, Body—Neck—Medium length. Free from throatiness, though not a serious fault unless accompanied by dewlaps, strong without giving the impression of being overmuscled. Well set into sloping shoulders. Never concave or ewe-necked. Topline—Slight slope from the highest point of the shoulders to the root of the tail. Chest—Deep, reaching the level of the elbow. Neither so wide nor so rounded as to disturb the placement of the shoulders and elbows. Ribs well sprung. Adequate heart room provided by depth as well as width. Narrow or slab-sided chests are a fault. Back—Short and straight. Never hollow, saddle, sway or roach-backed. Slight drop from the hips to the root of the tail. Flanks—Rounded. Fairly full. Not extremely tucked up, or flabby and falling. Loins short and strong. Distance from last rib to upper thigh short, about three to four finger widths. Narrow and weak loins are a fault. In motion, the loin should not sway sideways, giving a zig-zag motion to the back, wasting energy. Tail—Tailless to approximately four inches, natural or docked. The tail not to be so long as to affect the overall balance of the dog. Set on high, actually an extension of the spine at about the same level. Any tail substantially more than four inches shall be severely penalized.

Forequarters—Shoulders—Shoulder blades should not protrude too much, not too wide apart, with perhaps two thumbs’ width between. Sloping and muscular. Blade and upper arm should form nearly a ninety-degree angle. Straight shoulders are a fault. At the shoulders the Brittany is slightly higher than at the rump. Front Legs—Viewed from the front, perpendicular, but not set too wide. Elbows and feet turning neither in nor out. Pasterns slightly sloped. Down in pasterns is a serious fault. Leg bones clean, graceful, but not too fine. Extremely heavy bone is as much a fault as spindly legs. One must look for substance and suppleness. Height at elbows should approximately equal distance from elbow to withers. Feet—Should be strong, proportionately smaller than the span...

Customer Reviews

This book is very informative.
Melinda Weaver
If you want specific information about all the different breeds than this book is for you.
Enrique Torres
I've had a previous edition of this book and I'm glad I bought a more up-to-date edition.
Jeri Metling

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jan on February 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are about 30 color plates of dogs in art, which are lovely. However, the black and white photographs which head the section on each breed are of very poor quality, many of them blurry or fuzzy. It's difficult to get a clear idea of what the breed really looks like. The information, as usual, is complete and well-organized. This refers to the new 20th Edition, which I just purchased.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Enrique Torres VINE VOICE on March 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is the official publication of The American Kennel Club(AKC)so it stands to reason that it is quite elaborate and authorative; afterall, this is the 20th edition.If you want specific information about all the different breeds than this book is for you. Naturally the book only recognizes the breeds that are AKC and believe me, there are many others out there but yet to be officially recognized. For breeders, the information is valuable as all the official chacteristics and faults are mentioned for each part of the body. For general pets of a specific breed, and not show dogs the information is equally as valuable . For prospective buyers of a specific breed this book will help you to make sure the dog you get get doesn't have any serious faults of the breed characteristics. Overall this book is quite useful for anyone who owns a dog . Dog lovers will enjoy the book for general browsing to learn all about the other breeds. This is a great reference tool to have when viewing the different dog shows. I found the historical information rather fascinating. It is fun to learn about the different breeds since many are rarely seen in the general population. If you love dogs you will love this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Barbara J. Bird on January 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The AKC Complete Dog Book has been the singlemost valuable reference that I have used in 36 years of pet grooming. It has provided a solid foundation of how each breed is supposed to look, as well as the breed standard on which that appearance is based. It is the first book I reach for when learning or teaching grooming of a new breed. It also serves as a way to show pet owners an example of how their breed is presented on which we can base modifications for their individual pet. I would not groom without this book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
More than a million copies of this reference classic's prior editions have been sold, so if this updated 20th edition THE COMPLETE DOG HANDBOOK holds a familiar ring, that's why. But the 20th edition offers even more: not only is it endorsed by the powers and professionalism of the American Kennel Club, but it packs in all 153 breeds recognized by the Club, along with standards, breed histories, and photos - including the twelve most recently recognized breeds. Lest you think this is just for pros, look at the sections advising on how to choose and train a dog, responsible breeding, canine first-aid and more. Add sections on AKC sports and a glossary of terms and you have a real winner.

Diane C. Donovan, Editor

California Bookwatch
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By marinda on October 18, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Recently I purchased the 20th edition of the Complete Dog Book for my sister's birthday and was very disappointed with the black and white photographs. We have an edition in our family similar to this one, but it is dated back when color photos were not used frequently. Why would they choose not to show the beautiful colors of the breeds - not a good decision. I am considering returning this book for the earlier edition even though some of the newer breeds aren't listed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Annie on January 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book as a text when I was studying for my certification to become a dog trainer. This book is a great source to all dog breeds. I would recommend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Conques on March 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I own the 1964 copyright edition of this book. There is no significant difference in the information provided in this 20th edition. The one difference I did notice is the addition of approximately 25 color plates of selected breeds. Totally inadequate!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Susan on July 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm using this as part of my study materials for the National Dog Groomers Association of America tests for mastery in dog grooming. It has all the information I need and covers all the breeds I need to learn
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