34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2012
I show dogs, specifically Australian Shepherds and this book is spot on - funny and pretty honest about the world of dog shows. For someone not in the world of dogs it is really well written and explains a lot of the dog world in a way that the reader can understand.
Since I know many of the cast of characters I can say he was pretty spot on - I am recommending this book to anyone who likes a good read, is interested in dog shows or is a dog lover. Me and my Aussies give it Five paws up!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2012
I ordered "Show Dog" after reading about it in "USA Today". I am finding it to be a delight and I hate to put it down. I have four Basset Hounds and am absolutely fascinated by the dog show world. So, "Show Dog" is both interesting and extremely informative!
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Using Jack Australian shepherd and his retinue as a fascinating entrance into the dog show world, Josh Dean writes a delightful look into why so many people invest so much money, emotion and time on these events. His career starts with Jack appearing to be a future superstar. Over the year we get to know him and his human team up close and personal as Jack is the ticket to help us on the outside understand what motivates so many people to participate. This includes the support elements like training, breeding, hairstyling, etc.; as Mr. Dean states that these shows keep some purebred breeds alive. Occasionally attendees like me see chaos when watching a dog show, but Mr. Dean explains it is very structured and how the lay person can better observe what is going on. Jack wins first prize as he turns Show Dog: The Charmed Life and Trying Times of a Near-Perfect Purebred into an enjoyable romp.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2012
We have been Australian Shepherd owners for 5 years and semi-diligent watchers of the broadcasted dog shows for many more. When I saw "Dog Show" by Josh Dean on my local bookstore shelf with Jack the Aussie's adorable picture on the cover, I was sucked in. After reading the first couple of pages, my husband and children only heard laugh out louds and quoted dog breed/dog show tidbits from me until I had finished reading the entire book-just in time to tune into the Westminster Dog Show and finally understand exactly what dog shows are all about. I wish this book had been around years ago when we were trying to decide on the best dog breed fit for our family. Josh Dean provides extensive and ACCURATE info on all purebreds that is unparalleled to whatever google search you may log on to. We adopted a mix breed pup in Sept-uncertain of his true heritage at the time-we now know that he is part Rhodesian Ridgeback, Beagle and Chesapeake Bay Retriever, due to "Show Dog's" one-stop shop wealth of breed info. When you get to the last page, you will want to kiss your dog, unless it has already plastered you with multiple smooches during the read!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2012
As a relatively new person to the show world, I haven't been able to put in words the why or how of campaigning a dog to my family or friends in any way that can make the non-dog show person understand. This book does it beautifully and succinctly. Not only does it explain the complicated dog show to the non-exhibitor, but it also details so many parts of the dog show world that are not in the ring, especially the amount of care and effort that goes into making these dogs the best they can be. A mandatory read for any dog show person and a great entertaining read for those with even just a mild curiosity in what goes on at these fairgrounds and convention centers across the country and how these dogs get there in the first place.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2012
Purcased this as my first Kindle "Book" so I could start reading it immediately and I can't put it down! As a seasoned owner handler of Borzoi, I found this book to be interesting, informative, entertaining, refreshing and spot on. This book will meet with approval from those in the dog show world and those curious about it. No need to be redundant as I agree with everything previous reviewers have written. One of my favorite dog books to date.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2012
I hate showing dogs in the AKC conformation ring. I've done it a few times but learned quickly that it's NOT my thing. There is no way on earth I can run a straight line down-and-back, so if I ever have a dog who is nice enough to try to finish, I'll pay someone to do all the hard work. This book helped me figure out some of the mysterious stuff related to gaining an AKC championship and helped me gain insight into the motivations/mindset of those folks I know who actually campaign champions, spend every weekend at dog shows and aspire (and have) shown at Westminster. I know a lot of people like that, and have acquaintances who are AKC breed judges and AKC regional reps. I've met several of the folks who show up in this book. Honestly, I'd just rather have a fun bunch of Siberian huskies (my breed of choice) to share my life with and it's fine if they never set foot in a conformation show ring. For breed fanciers like me, there's always obedience, agility and other specialty events (I LOVED doing herding with a rough collie) and the book does mention some of this. I did enjoy the Aussie aspect....I'd have one myself but can't support tail cropping.
If you don't have these kinds of connections, this book may bore you to tears. But I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has the slightest interest in AKC conformation. To be honest, I think I would have enjoyed the book more if I hadn't tried to read it in kindle format. I'm sure the photos would have been easier to enjoy and all those pages and pages of footnotes at the back would have been more easily accessible.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2012
Wow, thanks so much for writing this book! Showing dogs has been a lifelong hobby for me and I often agonize that I am spending so much time and money on something that is "frivolous". Now I know that a life in dogs is worthwhile. Josh Dean plugged himself in to the psychological and emotional lives of people in the dog show world in a way that is so believeable it is uncanny--but even more that that, it is reassuring. I don't know the people in the book, but I sure as heck know plenty of characters in the dog world who are just like them! I also backed a showdog for about a year and a half, and boy do I wish I had read Josh's book before I did. I still would have done it, but I would have enjoyed it more. Not that its a "how-to" book per se, because half the time while reading it I was laughing out loud at the drama unfolding before me. (For example, just wait for the story on the club board member's adjudication of discipline for the lady at the show who couldn't find a place to relieve herself.)For someone like me, who's an introvert, dog shows provide the perfect means to be more social. Dogs, especially "show dogs" are, as Josh says, "awesome!" And so is his book about them.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2012
As the blurb says this is a true story following an Australian Shepherd from a newbie to a champion AKC (American Kennel Club) conformation show dog. Jack, as he's known to his people, or Grand Champion Wyndstar's Honorable Mention as the AKC knows him, is a stunning blue merle (look at the cover pic) with a lot of presence and personality. He was bred to be a show dog, but by a strange twist of fate, he was bought by a woman who wanted a pet first, and possibly a show dog second. The breeder took some convincing but finally decided to sell Jack to his human. The rest, as they say, is history.
Mr. Dean deftly tells the story of Jack as he goes from an untried puppy to a champion conformation dog. He followed this dog's story for just over a year, attending shows, and getting to know the owner, Jack's handler, and many other personalities in the show world. He also weaves in history of both the AKC, dog shows, the Aussie breed, and many other things in the story, to give a very vivid picture of the show world for both dogs and people. It's very clear that Jack is first a pet and companion, and second a champion show dog, and that he loves every minute of it. Mr. Dean also gives a very candid look as a newbie outsider (him) turns into a newbie insider and learns the ropes of the very strange world of showing dogs. Not only do we get to follow Jack's story in detail but we hear about many of the other top dogs in the circuit. We also learn about some of the controversies and find out that "Aussie people" are a lot saner than many other breeds as well as getting a good look at how professional handlers do their jobs. And really... poodles? LOL. He does touch on the hows and whys of poodle showing as well.
Over all I really enjoyed this book. It was well written and highly entertaining. Show Dog did a very good job of introducing me to a world that I only vaguely understood before. My only complaint was that I didn't feel he did enough wrap up with Jack at the end. I would have liked to see a little more recap on all his accomplishments since the book was about him.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Aussies, the conformation world, or dogs in general.
(This review is also posted on my blog and website.)
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2012
What a great book! I've only been to one dog show, and currently don't even own a dog, but once I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down. Jack is a charmer, and I loved following him and his handling team through a year of shows. Making it an even more interesting read, the book is filled with fascinating back stories and funny details about everything from grooming to dog psychology. I'll be watching Westminster with a newfound appreciation for the incredible amount of work and dedication that goes into the making of a show dog.