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Why We Love the Dogs We Do: How to Find the Dog That Matches Your Personality Paperback – April 25, 2000

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Editorial Reviews Review

"Why is it that some people form lasting and warm relationships with their dogs, while others get no joy at all from their pets?" Dr. Stanley Coren, author of The Intelligence of Dogs, asks this question in Why We Love the Dogs We Do: How to Find the Dog That Matches Your Personality. Coren sets out not only to answer this question--an extremely worthy one considering that 4 out of 10 dogs fail to last the first year with their adoptive owners--but to revolutionize the way people think about prospective pets.

Relying on his background in psychology and dog intelligence--as well as the input of several animal experts--Coren created seven new groups of dogs based on canine characteristics that "had the most influence on people's satisfaction and lifestyle": friendly, protective, independent, self-assured, consistent, steady, and clever. Coren then asks that you calculate your personality using a pared-down version of the Interpersonal Adjective Scales--a personality test that measures in terms of extroverted/introverted, trusting/controlling, dominant/no-so-dominant, and warm/cool. The findings of this test, when coupled with Coren's new canine classification system, pinpoint the dog/dogs perfect for your personality.

Sprinkled throughout Coren's fascinating scientific discussion are a multitude of entertaining tales--which serve to further illustrate Coren's findings--including Sigmund Freud and his well-suited chow chow, Jo-Fi, who attended Freud's therapy sessions; playwright Eugene O'Neill and his beloved dalmatian, Blemie, for whom O'Neill bought a four-poster bed; and novelist John Steinbeck's poodle, Charlie, who accompanied the Nobel Prize-winning novelist on his travels across the United States. Both informative and highly entertaining, Why We Love the Dogs We Do paves the way for a mutually beneficial owner/dog relationship. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Charles Darwin so loved his little West Highland white terrier, Coren reports, that he often wrote of his dog adventures around the house. Yet, the same man so loathed a big hound he had been given (he called it "graceless, noisy and drooling") that he ultimately had the dog shot. Dog expert Coren (What Do Dogs Know?) offers a scheme that describes why different types of people favor certain species of dogs. Entertaining the reader with historical anecdotes and odd facts, the author describes case after case of dogs who fitAor, disastrously, don't fitAan owner's temperament and lifestyle. Coren includes a conversation he had with Picasso about the many dogs the painter lived with, and reveals that Richard Nixon, who was greatly distrusted by the American public, liked dogs. Actor Jimmy Stewart was apparently as nice a man as the characters he played, and he, too, loved (and spoiled) dogs. Coren categorizes according to their basic temperaments some of the more than 400 breeds of dogs recognized by international kennel clubs. Golden retrievers and Labradors are warm and friendly, he explains, while dalmatians are independent and strong-willed. Coren supplies a personality inventory, "the interpersonal adjective scale," to enable readers to rate how well they are described by various adjectives that run the gamut from dominant to submissive, gregarious to cold, thus helping them to pick the appropriate dog for their personality. This is an engaging, edifying work, but the author's academic background does manifest in his prose from time to time. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1st Fireside Ed edition (April 25, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068485502X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684855028
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,478,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stanley Coren, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, is a recognized expert on dog-human interaction who has appeared on Dateline; The Oprah Winfrey Show; Good Morning, America; 20/20; Larry King Live; and many other TV and radio programs. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with a beagle, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, and a Nova Scotia duck-tolling retriever, as well as his wife and her cat.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Shelley Mckibbon on June 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
I really did enjoy the little anecdotes in this book -- the ones about James Stewart and his dogs were especially sweet. It's worth browsing for some of those little gems, although frankly I don't think there's much here that hasn't been reported elsewhere. I can't answer for the structure of the "find your breed" quizzes, although I thought it weird that different breeds were recommended for men and women of the same personality "type." ...[I]t seems odd that no breed falls into two categories -- surely some are *both* "friendly" and "clever"?
Where Coren drops the ball and then trips over it is when he discusses people who dislike dogs, and people who like cats. ...I think it's worth taking a closer look at exactly what he does in these two chapters. Apparently, people who dislike dogs have no other redeeming features. It's interesting to see Harry Truman discussed solely in light of his failure to enjoy the company of dogs. Apparently, Napoleon grew up a dictator because he lacked the love of a good dog. This is superficially convincing, until you remember that Adolf Hitler was apparently capable of being fond of at least ONE dog in his misbegotten life. What Coren is doing here is playing to the prejudices of animal lovers, who sometimes believe we're superior to people who don't like animals. Specifically, though, it's to any inherent feelings of superiority experienced by dog lovers.
The chapter about cats and cat people is even worse -- and again, it's worse for an interesting reason.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By I. Westray on October 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book might be okay if you hadn't read any other dog breed references, and if your primary interests were in a) celebrities and their dogs, and b) the psyche of the book's author. Okay, I take it back: if you haven't read any other breed references, this book will actually be counterproductive, now that I think of it...
Where to start?
First off, at least half of the text in this thing is taken up with the rich and famous and their preferred breeds. Um, who cares? Jimmy Stewart was a "warm" guy, so he liked Golden Retrievers. Hoop-de-doo. Wading through this junk takes up a lot of reading time.
Once you fight past your indifference to all the eagerly-related inside celebrity scoops, you realize Mr. Coren is attempting to use a personality inventory approach to dog selection. He has you take a little set of personality exams -- a quite rudimentary example of this sort of test, about on the level of an article in Cosmo or Women's Day -- and then use the results to choose a breed. As I said, the test is irritatingly incomplete. As another reviewer here has mentioned, the results you get are ridiculously biased against certain groups of dogs, too. It's impossible to score well for certain groups, and almost inevitable that you'll score well for others. A comparable test is included in Daniel Tortora's "The Right Dog for You," only that one's more well-rounded.
Did I mention the way the dogs are grouped? Other books -- "Paws to Consider" by Kilcommins and Wilson, for example -- use interesting systems to group dogs. "Paws" uses groups like Nine-to-Five dogs, or non-shedding dogs, as a counter to the AKC's "Working Breeds" and "Terriers." Why We Love...
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 18, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a very poorly written and researched book. I found many mistakes and inconsistencies. The books idea is to rate your personality and find a dog that would be an ideal match. A good idea, but this book won't help you find an answer. Just a small example of the books problems is the dog groups matrix. It is absolutely impossible to get a higher score than "2", (meaning not a good match) for the "consistent" breeds (his name for most toy dogs.) Although he plainly says that Elizabeth Taylor rated a "3" (which is impossible.) I can only think he made a huge typo and carried the error thoughout the whole book.
Then I can take the other example about what he calls the "clever" dog group. It is much easier for a man to rate "higher" for the clever dogs than a women. And, yes, he makes a distinction between dogs suitable for men and others for women. If a woman is an extrovert she could be happy with an Akita, yet if the man is an extrovert, he should get a clever dog like a poodle. Go figure. I certaintly can't see where he is coming from....or where he is going for that matter.
Oh, and although this isn't my last complaint about this book, it is the last I'll mention--the chapter on "cat people" is truly humiliating for both the cat, and the cat lover.
Don't waste your money on this book. The only interesting thing in it is its list of famous people and the breed of dog they owned. If your looking for a good book to help you choose your next dog, try "The Perfect Match" by Walkowicz, "The right dog for you" by Tortora, or "Choosing a Dog" by Baer. They are all good books with excellent information.
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