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

by Josh Dean
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Overview

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

Every weekend, for nearly fifty weeks each year, tens of thousands of Americans pack up their SUVs and minivans with crates and dryers and treats and shampoos and hairsprays and plush toys and fan out for some of the two-thousand-plus dog shows held annually across the United States. More than two million pedigreed dogs, and exponentially more humans who handle and care for them, will take part in these events—for the most part happily—and the world that has grown up to support them is massive and vibrant, and almost impossible to imagine unless you've seen it in person.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062020482
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/07/2012
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

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.

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Show Dog 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 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 12 months ago
I would like to read this book it looks cute
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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