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The Complete Dog Book: 20th Edition


Author: American Kennel Club

Publisher: Ballantine Books


Publish Date: January 31, 2006

ISBN-10: 345476263

Pages: 858

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface


Purebred dogs are found in an impressive variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and personalities. Some breeds are old, others are new, and all have been molded over time to serve humanity in some capacity. Thus we have hunters, guards, trackers, shepherds, sled dogs, and above all, companions. We have energetic dogs, sedate dogs, extroverted dogs, and those that prefer the fellowship of one or a few familiar faces.

Choosing the purebred dog that’s right for you requires some work. There is no substitute for making a careful study of each breed’s characteristics and narrowing down the field until you are left with the one that best suits your temperament, lifestyle, accommodations, and taste. Unfortunately, many people purchase their puppy on impulse, without pausing to consider its eventual size, appearance, and personality—traits that are well established and largely predetermined by breed. Before you buy any puppy, be sure you fully understand what the future holds in store. Will the adult dog be large or require extensive grooming? Is it likely to need lots of outdoor exercise? Don’t forget to ask yourself whether its temperament will be appropriate for your family, especially the children. Once you’ve decided what pleases you in a dog, turn to the section of this book that describes each breed with a photograph, a historical account, and the official AKC standard. The allimportant standard is a detailed description of the ideal breed specimen.

For example, if you are interested in Labrador Retrievers, the standard describes color (yellow, black, and chocolate), size (sixty-five to seventy pounds at maturity for males), and general temperament (kind, outgoing).

The breed history explains why Labrador Retrievers have a special affinity for water. Additionally, the
photograph shows you a typical dog of that breed—handsome, strongly built, shorthaired, and alert.

A visit to one or more dog shows, companion events, or field trials is very helpful when selecting a breed. These events offer an opportunity to compare good representatives of various breeds, and you will also be able to talk with breeders, owners, and handlers. Other options include visiting kennels to interact with puppies and adult dogs and to discuss them with a knowledgeable breeder. It is also helpful to ask the advice of a veterinarian.

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