Dogs:The First 125 Years of the American Kennel Club

An official publication of the American Kennel Club, Kennel Club Books, $29.95

AKCDOGSThis celebratory history of America’s premier dog registry is packaged beautifully with factoids, photos and detailed weave of growth and change.

Nicely crafted in a historical fashion from its roots of 12 sportsmen from 14 clubs who met in Philadelphia in 1884 to a variety of new endeavors in the 21st century, this rich, insightful weave will appeal strongly to fans of the purebred dog.

Many chapters are distinctly accented with boxes of Top 10 breeds and new breeds of the decade along with an absorbing portrait of the continuing rite of passage within the organization. In fact, if you ever wanted to play a trivia game involving the purebred dog, this should be your sourcebook.

Here are a few gems:

The AKC’s first five groups were established in 1924. They were Sporting, Working, Terrier, Toy and Non Sporting.

The hound group was recognized in 1937, and the herding group in 1983.

Benched shows were the norm in the early 20th century, but only six remain today: International Kennel Club of Chicago, Kennel Club of Philadelphia, Golden Gate Kennel Club, Westminster Kennel Club, Portland Kennel Club and Detroit Kennel Club.

Since its inception, the AKC allowed only men to serve as delegates. That changed in 1974 when the first women delegates were elected.

With a stylized earthiness and a nose for history and detail, “Dogs” is a charismatic winner.