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Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior and Evolution Paperback – October 1, 2002
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- Publisher : University of Chicago Press; 1st edition (October 1, 2002)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0226115631
- ISBN-13 : 978-0226115634
- Item Weight : 1.08 pounds
- Dimensions : 9.14 x 6.34 x 0.94 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #229,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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There were a few flaws in this book. One of them was that, for a book such as this, I was expecting a little more science and less speculation. Another is that the authors sometimes make contradictory statements. For example, on one page they say that "any dog, if raised and trained properly, will do for any job," and then only a few pages later go on to explain why Greyhounds would not make good sled dogs because they have the wrong gait and how a sled dog has to be a specific size and shape to be able to do the job. The authors also use the very worst examples purebred dog breeders and service dogs to make their point but do not look at the other side. They talk about some of the breeds that show breeders have bred health problems into for the sake of looks but don't mention the many other breeds that are healthy (even the show lines.) They also seem to think that purebred and show-bred are one in the same, not mentioning that there are also purebred working dogs that are bred for their working ability above all and not looks, but are still purebred. As for service dogs, they mention an organization that treats their dogs poorly, but again do not talk about the other side. There are service dog organizations that use modern, force-free training techniques and care a great deal about the dog's wellbeing, and there are also a lot of owner-trained service dogs that are treated exceptionally well and trained with humane methods. Yes, there are plenty of service dogs who are treated abominably, but there are also many who are not.
Regardless, the parts about village dogs and the evolution of dogs are fascinating. And what this book does really well is explain the difference between dogs and wolves, and why we should not treat dogs as if they were wolves, something every dog owner needs to know with all the dogs-are-wolves-and-you-have-to-be-the-alpha myths still being popularized by TV dog trainers today.
Overall a good book, just keep in mind that it's very one-sided in parts. Read it, definitely, just take it with a grain of salt - as we should do with everything we read.
The book also talks about what it truly means to be one breed or another and how breeds may actually be a detriment to dogs in general.
I feel the book really allows one to open their mind to start heading in some new directions in the study of dogs and not stay under the restrictions of dogs are just a lesser wolves, but their own species at this point and should be studied as such. The book makes the aurguments that this is the equivilant of us always wanting to become more ape like since millennia ago we came from the same species that split. We don't think like that for ourselves and neither should we for dogs either.
Top reviews from other countries
I'm a behavioral biologist myself. The only book I've liked as much as this one is 'The 100 Silliest Things People Say About Dogs' -- in which the author often cites the Coppingers. These are people who really understand the domestic dog.
My only criticism of 'Dogs' is the initial tone in the first chapter. It sounds a bit smug -- look at us being celebrity biologists. HOWEVER, once I got beyond those first pages and into the Coppingers' wonderfully clear explanations of all kinds of things about the domestic dog, I instantly forgave the slightly irritating start.
A must-buy and must-read! Worth every penny and more that it costs to get this book into your library.