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

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

4.2 20
by Josh Dean
     
 

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Journalist Josh Dean tells the story of a loveable Australian Shepherd, Jack, on his novice tour through the exciting world of professional dog showing, following Jack from his first competitions in local school gymnasiums all the way to the great granddaddy of them all, the Westminster Dog Show. A veteran journalist, Dean shines a warm, steady light on the trials

Overview

Journalist Josh Dean tells the story of a loveable Australian Shepherd, Jack, on his novice tour through the exciting world of professional dog showing, following Jack from his first competitions in local school gymnasiums all the way to the great granddaddy of them all, the Westminster Dog Show. A veteran journalist, Dean shines a warm, steady light on the trials that Jack and his plucky, dedicated owners come to face, and uses their story to explore the larger histories of dog shows themselves; the fascinating and sometimes bizarre history of purebred dogs; and our complex, heartfelt relationships to the pets we grow to love. For dog lovers, readers of Marley & Me, Merle’s Door, and Oogy, and fans of Best in Show, Dean’s Show Dog is an irresistible instant classic.

Editorial Reviews

Wendy Toth
“With Dean, curiosity reigns, making it possible to enter this subculture without the fanaticism of a disciple or the condescension of a cynic. He delivers an earnest, wry, and humorous look into what possesses people to spend nearly all their free time and money [showing dogs].”
Entertainment Weekly
“If you don’t know your toy group from your terriers, pick up this beguiling nonfiction account that follows Jack, a lovable, handsome Australian shepherd and an aspiring Best in Show.”
Star magazine
“Fascinating and often very funny.”
Star Magazine
"Fascinating and often very funny."
Pat Hastings
“A wonderful, charming look at the sport of dogs and dog shows and an absolute must read for anyone looking to get involved.”
Mark Adams
“A hilarious chronicle of blow-dried poodles, diva trainers and egregious canine puns. Above all, though, this is an irresistible story about the wondrous bond between humans and animals.”
Jim Gorant
“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.”
John Hodgman
“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.”
David Frei
“A well-written, entertaining and accurate look at our great sport of dog shows . . . Dean makes you feel like you are right there with a brush or a show lead in your handa . . . a great accessory for anyone who wants to know more.”
Colin McEnroe
“Terrific”
Michael Solomon
“Superb”
Benoit Denizet-Lewis
“Excellent”
Ranny Green
“Show Dog is the real thing with focus, frustration, commitment, passion, ambition and a bit of celebration at times. In the process, it is remarkably informative while delivering vivid, priceless, behind-the-scenes snapshots and a few bizarre characters from small-town America to Manhattan.”
Virginia Prescott
“Eccentric and really fascinating, sometimes treacherous, behind-the-grooming-stand look at the show circuit.”
Craig Wilson
“The literary answer to that laugh-out-loud movie Best in Show.”
David Baker
“A spellbinding diary written by an outsider looking in, and it’s filled with intriguing observations and lessons learned. It’s also quite poignant at times. Think of the movie Best in Show and then dial it back just a hair.”
Tracie Hotchner
“Amazing, absolutely amazing. No matter how much you think you know about dog shows, this is the real deal. It’s not just the whole history, so beautifully interwoven - [Dean has] really delved in and shown this world from every possible angle, and remarkably uncritically.”
Mary Carillo
“Show Dog added greatly to my already over-the-top love for the subject.Josh has written an absorbing, intimate and good-natured journey into the making of a champion. If you’re like me, you’ll come for the dogs, but you’ll stay for the people.”
Billy Wheeler
“A tale that represents the world of show dogs fairly and factually in a fashion that people outside our cloistered community will understand and appreciate. It may even persuade a few to join us.”
Kirkus Reviews
A lighthearted account of a year in the life of a show dog. Dog shows may appear inscrutable to the outsider due to the amount of time and money devoted to promoting and showing animals that, to an untrained eye, appear equally attractive. Former Men's Journal editor Dean's major achievement is his effective demystification of this world. The author demonstrates to readers how easily one can become invested, emotionally and financially, in the success of a show dog. The author focuses on Jack, an Australian shepherd who enjoyed early success in the ring. However, when readers meet him, he is struggling to fulfill his potential. Dean also profiles Jack's entourage--including his fretful but proud owner, Kimberly, his tough but effective handler, Heather, and many other strong personalities who inhabit the dog-show community--and ably explains the motivation behind dog shows: the recognition of dogs who are nearly flawless representations of the exacting standards of their breed. This recognition helps keep these breeds alive, but, writes the author, it also leads to cheating and overbreeding. Unfortunately, the author doesn't seriously examine these problems, and he only mentions--but never develops--his provocative theory that dog-show judges are so influenced by the decisions made by other judges that once a dog gets on a winning streak, few judges want to be the one to break it. Light on investigative journalism, this book will be an amiable companion for those looking for a sympathetic and educational look at the dog-show community.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062020499
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/05/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
620,237
Product dimensions:
6.16(w) x 8.82(h) x 1.18(d)

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What People are saying about this

Colin McEnroe
“Terrific”
Michael Solomon
“Superb”
Ranny Green
“Show Dog is the real thing with focus, frustration, commitment, passion, ambition and a bit of celebration at times. In the process, it is remarkably informative while delivering vivid, priceless, behind-the-scenes snapshots and a few bizarre characters from small-town America to Manhattan.”
Mary Carillo
“Show Dog added greatly to my already over-the-top love for the subject.Josh has written an absorbing, intimate and good-natured journey into the making of a champion. If you’re like me, you’ll come for the dogs, but you’ll stay for the people.”
John Hodgman
“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.”
Virginia Prescott
“Eccentric and really fascinating, sometimes treacherous, behind-the-grooming-stand look at the show circuit.”
Craig Wilson
“The literary answer to that laugh-out-loud movie Best in Show.”
Mark Adams
“A hilarious chronicle of blow-dried poodles, diva trainers and egregious canine puns. Above all, though, this is an irresistible story about the wondrous bond between humans and animals.”
Tracie Hotchner
“Amazing, absolutely amazing. No matter how much you think you know about dog shows, this is the real deal. It’s not just the whole history, so beautifully interwoven - [Dean has] really delved in and shown this world from every possible angle, and remarkably uncritically.”
Pat Hastings
“A wonderful, charming look at the sport of dogs and dog shows and an absolute must read for anyone looking to get involved.”
Jim Gorant
“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.”
David Baker
“A spellbinding diary written by an outsider looking in, and it’s filled with intriguing observations and lessons learned. It’s also quite poignant at times. Think of the movie Best in Show and then dial it back just a hair.”
Billy Wheeler
“A tale that represents the world of show dogs fairly and factually in a fashion that people outside our cloistered community will understand and appreciate. It may even persuade a few to join us.”
David Frei
“A well-written, entertaining and accurate look at our great sport of dog shows . . . Dean makes you feel like you are right there with a brush or a show lead in your handa . . . a great accessory for anyone who wants to know more.”
Benoit Denizet-Lewis
“Excellent”

Meet the Author

Josh Dean is a former deputy editor of Men's Journal 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, and many others. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.

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Show Dog 4.3 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 19 reviews.
Mesinead More than 1 year ago
Anyone who has ever wondered about the world of dog shows and the people and their dogs that inhabit them will find this book instructive as well as entertaining; those experienced in dog shows will find it a hoot! A good read. Check it out.
gritsgal More than 1 year ago
A friend of mine, knowing my wife shows Chinese Crested dogs and that I own an Aussie, suggested I pick up this book. I found it totally engaging, funny, and an accurate portrayal of the Show world. We are relatively new to showing, my wife got into it 5 years ago under circumstances weirdly similar to Kim Smith, and she has been hooked ever since. My wife shows and I watch and provide moral support. I found Josh's book to be an extremely accurate and heartfelt portrayal of this world from the viewpoint of someone who has never bred or shown dogs. My wife was hesitant to read the book and actually asked me today, "is it judgmental?" I told her I found it to be the opposite, the people portrayed in the book are people who love dogs and love their sport. I would recommend this book to anyone who shows, is interested in what goes on with showing, or just loves dogs. BTW, I was floored to find out that the breeder of my Aussies' sire, Kerry Kirtley, was one of the main figures in the book. Small world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even with 30 years in dogs behind me I learned something more from this new angle that I didn't know before.
RUFUSNY More than 1 year ago
"A DAY IN THE LIFE"....VIVID,EVEN-HANDED PROFILES OF THE BREEDER, OWNER, HANDLERS WHO SPIRIT JACK, THE AUSTRALIAN SHEPARD IN HIS QUEST FOR TOP RANKING IN THE PURE BRED SHOW DOG WORLD. A JOY; FILLED WITH INFORMATION,HISTORY,HUMAN FOIBLES AND EXPLANATIONS OF DOG SHOW RULES AND NOMENCLATURE TO SATISFY BOTH SEASONED DOG SHOW PARTICIPANTS AND CASUAL OBSERVERS. IF YOU LIKE DOGS, I'LL BET YOU'LL LOVE THIS BOOK.
slypork More than 1 year ago
I boughtnthismbook because I have owned two Australian Shepherds and absolutely love the breed. So many of Jack's characteristics made me smile as they reminded of my own wonderful dogs. Fun, easy to read, informative and totally unique book! I evene picked up a few new training ideas!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book follows an individual and a dog that has great show potential through the trials and successes of showing a dog to the top 10 of the breed. If you always wanted to know more about how a dog becomes a top show dog (other than because they are a great representative of the breed) -- and there is much to it, take a look at this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an informative, funny, interesting and highly readable book. It immersed me in the dog show world without becoming overwhelming. I definitely have much more appreciation for all that entails a dog show. The dog highlighted, an Australian Shepherd "Jack" was very engaging and I found myself eagerly turning the pages to find out what would happen both in his home environment and his show life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am truly enjoying this fascinating and well-written book. But I have one bitch (no pun...). There are many fascinating footnotes indicated with a "*". Great! But getting back takes a delicate touch that can take several frustrating tries. A "back" button appears briefly, but unless one is a super speed reader, it disappears well before the footnote can be read. Trial and error revealed that by touching the asterick lightly and exactly it will take you back. But--and it's a big butt, complete with a tail--the star is very tiny and right next to the left side. So three out of four times I've been sent to the previous footnote! I'm on about page 100 out of over 400 (you get your money's worth with this delightful read) and, as I have tiny fingers, I am training the tip of my little pinky to perform a light tap exactly on the *, but still I often miss. Please publishers, correct this! It is really frustrating. A tip for the reader. If you can stand it, widen the margins so the * is not so close to the edge. I also shrunk the typeface, but that's a matter of taste and eyesight. But don't ignore the footnotes. They are worth the trouble! So, five, uh, "Wags" from me! JMcC
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I love aussies and this booklooks really good but i am 12and im not sure if i should get the book please someone reply i need to know!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think in dog shows people should NOT work the poor dogs to hard and harshly