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Little Lions, Bull Baiters, and Hunting Hounds: A History of Dog Breeds

by Jeff Crosby and Shelley Ann Jackson

Published by Tundra, 2008
72 pages
ISBN: 978-0887768156

Ages 8-12

Podcast featuring this book

When a child starts begging for a pet dog, it often turns into an endless argument. When the child begins requesting a specific type of dog, the pleading gets serious. In Little Lions, Bull Baiters, and Hunting Hounds: A History of Dog Breeds, husband and wife team Jeff Crosby and Shelley Ann Jackson provide a wealth of information about the origins of dogs as (hu)man’s best friend. Beginning with the domestication of wolves, the authors explain how people have long bred dogs for advantageous attributes. Smoothly written text with clear examples makes this history book an intriguing read from start to finish. Divided into four sections, the book focuses on the primary purposes dogs have served throughout time: hunting breeds, herding breeds, working breeds, and companion breeds. There are currently over 400 breeds of dogs, but only about ten key dogs are featured in each category. For each breed featured, a brief historical context is provided; describing how it came into existence and what roles it served. To give you an example, In the hunting section, a two-page spread shows the scene of athletic and golden-haired Visla, camouflaged in a grassy field and on the prowl, while its master takes aim at the fleeing game birds in flight. “The Visla (pronounced VEESH-la) developed from hunting dogs brought to Hungary from Central Asia by the Magyar tribes during the Middle Ages….Vislas became such prized hunters that they were favorites of wealthy barons and powerful warlords. They were always treated as part of the family so they are extremely affectionate pets.” Additionally, small inset maps and sidebars with supplemental facts grace many of the spreads. Realistic paintings with dramatic backdrops bring energy and excitement to the history and facts presented, although the depictions of the dogs are more visually appealing than the images of people. With the increased popularity of “new” designer dogs such as labradoodles, pomapoos, and puggles, this rich volume illuminates the original breeds and their place in human history. (TM) ©2008 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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