“Dogs Unleashed,” by Tamsin Pickeral. Thunder Bay Press. $34.95.
This lavish 320-page showcase profiles more than 400 purebreds and mutts with an engaging mix of content and photos.
Cutting a broad swath across the canine landscape, it categorizes them by Primitive Dogs and Sight Hounds, Sporting Dogs, Herding and Guarding Dogs, Scent Hounds, Spitz-Type Dogs, Terriers, Companion and Designer Dogs and Mutts.
Each profile – they range from a quarter page to two pages, includes these listings: At a Glance – size, amount of exercise recommended, aptitudes, height, weight, average life expectancy and AKC conformation group. It also notes the breed’s character with paw-print designations from 1-5 for affection, playfulness, friendliness to dogs, friendliness to strangers and ease of training.
Other highlights include overall health and hereditary disorders and common coat colors, with each exhibited in a color photo, along with coat close-up shots. Every vignette also features a short history of the breed.
It’s safe to assume that no one wholly knows all of these breeds and breed mixes. Hence, I posed these questions to the author and here are her responses:
What authorities were used for each breed profile?
“My research pool consisted of a combination of the American Kennel Club, The United Kennel Club, the British Kennel Club and the Kennel Club of India. I also contacted the various (and numerous) parent breed clubs, breed societies and associations. Being conscious of differences in breed standards etc. between the various U.S. and UK kennel clubs, I tried not to affiliate specifically to any one governing organization. In some cases, the breeds were extremely rare and not recognized by the main kennel clubs. In these instances I contacted breed societies (where they existed) directly, or breeders.”
Who did the grading for the character specifics – affection, playfulness, friendliness with other dogs, friendliness to strangers and ease of training?
“I did, based on research and my experience (veterinary health-care field and the daughter of a veterinary surgeon) around dogs. The grading is intended as a guide and not an exact science. One should approach these types of gradings with caution, as each and every dog is an individual and whilst breeds might exhibit certain breed similarities (and requirements) there is a huge range, too.”
How were the Mutts and Designer Dogs selected?
This was based on breeds requested by the publishers along with a combination of ones I felt would give a good mix of well-known and less well-known.
“Dogs Unleashed” is a basic pathway for anyone researching a potential new breed, and is a solid reference source for educators, dog fanciers, veterinary-medical professionals, humane and rescue-organization officials.
Consider it a meet-and-greet only for each breed. Once you have found your breed or the one that you consider right for you, more homework lies ahead.