Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Show Dog: The Charmed Life and Trying Times of a Near-Perfect Purebred by Josh Dean

By spending a year alongside rising star Jack, a champion Australian shepherd, and his canine and human friends, magazine journalist Josh Dean yanks back the curtain on the dog show world, providing not just a hilarious and often touching portrait of a colorful subculture only slightly exaggerated in the film Best in Show, but also a revealing look at our love affair with the world's most doted-upon and tinkered-with animal species, examining the colossal array of dog types and humans who love them.

The book follows Jack as he matures over the course of a year, from still-improving adolescent to seasoned adult show dog. We get to know him and the people around him—his owner, his handler, his breeder—to experience what it's like to own a show dog and to train one. And we come to appreciate him for what he is, a lovable and intelligent house pet—albeit one with a highly unusual occupation.

Along the way, Dean takes a close look at the eccentric and fascinating world of breeders and dog show fanciers—exploring the history and science of purebred dog breeding and the evolution of canine perfection via dog show culture, with that pursuit's many related peculiarities: judging, training, naming, promoting, hairstyling, kennel-owning, RV-driving, hotel-finding, treat-selecting, and more.~

About the Author~
Josh Dean is a former deputy editor of Men's Journal as well as a contributor, and was one of the founding editors of PLAY, the New York Times sports magazine. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Outside, GQ, Popular Science, Fast Company, Inc., Travel + Leisure, and many others. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, son, and imaginary pet dog.
Critical Praise for Show Dog

“A wonderful, charming look at the sport of dogs and dog shows and an absolute must read for anyone looking to get involved.”
— Pat Hastings, AKC Judge and author of Tricks of the Trade

— Mark Adams, author of Turn Right at Machu Picchu
“Filled with heart and humor, bringing to life extravagant characters, pampered pooches, and over-the-top humans without falling prey to tired stereotypes. That’s because it’s not really about animal beauty pageants; it’s about the unyielding bond between people and dogs and what they’ll do to make each other happy.”

— Jim Gorant, author of The Lost Dogs
“Fascinating and funny...as I was sucked into the story of Jack the show dog, I began to understand the subtleties of the sport, the amazing talents of these animals, and the affecting human-and canine-drama behind the show.”
— John Hodgman, author of That is All

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