Read an Excerpt
For over fifteen thousand years, dogs have been invaluable companions to humans. They have played a fundamental part in the growth of our civilization, and as a result have earned the title of ‘man’s best friend’. No other two species share the relationship that dogs and humans have. This symbiotic partnership has covered everything from providing friendship to working together, whether that work might be hunting, herding, guarding or any one of a whole host of other tasks where the dog has proved its worth.
Their versatility has led to them still playing a vital role in modern life. As the traditional jobs that dogs have performed have died out, they have adapted to modern life and new roles. They work as assistance dogs for the disabled, search out explosives, drugs or missing persons, give warning of impending seizures and even detect some forms of cancer. Dogs can and often do save lives.
In Beautiful Dogs, we celebrate dogs in a few of their numerous forms. Some of the dogs presented here are champion show dogs, while others are much-loved companions. Each photograph shows a different breed, developed in the past by humans or by circumstances to do a specific job – and now, with the advent of the show ring, to have a particular appearance.
Each dog featured in the book comes with a description of the breed’s history, where it originated and what it was originally bred to do. Nowadays, most purebred dogs are bred for the show ring or, far more often, as companions and family dogs. In many cases, their working relatives still continue in their original roles, but few of these find their way into the world of dog shows.
To fully appreciate the beauty of dogs, you need to see how they move, discover their personalities and share their enthusiasm for life in order to understand just why they hold such a special place in so many people’s hearts and lives – and I hope this book will inspire you to do just that. Enjoy discovering in this book a small sample of the world’s many varied dog breeds – from the common to the rare, from the hunter to the companion, from the silky to the dreadlocked – but all of them beautiful.