Whether you're fortunate enough to call one your own or you've been forever longing for a furry companion, if you've happened upon this article, chances are you are some kind of dog lover looking for a good read. Fortunately there are thousands of books to choose from with our canine friends as the star of the show, from chic coffee-table hardbacks to complex narratives and quick weekend reads.
In this article, we'll take a look at some of the bestselling books about dogs in the UK. From fiction to fact, training guides to stories for children, we've ranked the top 10 that we could find on popular retail sites such as Amazon and eBay. Read on to discover the key points to buying a dog book, then head on to our recommendations!
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Table of Contents
Are you looking for a guide to help care for your pet? Or are you longing for a captivating read that speaks to your heart? In this section, we'll share our top tips on how to narrow down your search for the perfect dog read!
The first question that you need to pose when searching for a new read is: fiction or non-fiction? Do you want a page-turner? An emotional ride? A heart-wrenching story that stays with you for a lifetime? Or do you need facts, information, and advice? In this section, we'll discuss some of the types of books on offer in each category.
Bringing a puppy home is beyond exciting, but it can also be a bit scary, especially if you've never owned a dog before. If you're new to animal care, it could do you wonders to pick up a guide on caring for your dog. These are packed with detailed information and advice to help you provide the best care for your pet.
Or perhaps you're looking for something a little more in-depth like a reference book on specific breeds, training or coat maintenance. Maybe you haven't decided what dog will suit your family and need to browse the options and see what type is the most suitable.
Either way, if you're after non-fiction books, choose one which answers your problem. Dogs are the most popular pet in the UK household, so it's not surprising that there seems to be an informational dog book on every subject under the sun.
Animal literature has become somewhat of a trending genre in recent years, and dogs are some of the most favoured stars of the show. If you're looking for a novel, fiction encompasses a broad range of genres, so ask yourself how you want to feel, and base your search on that.
Perhaps you're looking for a heart-warming family read for your children, or for a novel which transports you to other cities or countries. If adrenaline excites you, go for a thriller. If you want your heart to be lifted, crushed and poured out, go for a romance – dogs star in everything from fairy-tales to sci-fi.
Not looking for anything too serious? There are plenty of dog-themed books which are hilarious, entertaining and full of anecdotes about naughty alsatians and scheming terriers. Just like the genre itself, the fictional choice is endless.
Then, there are the ones in between. The memoirs, the real-life accounts of unique bonds between man and dog, or tales of people studying and living with wild dogs and wolves. The books which seem to cross the boundaries between fictional, anecdotal, worldly advice and life observations.
Consider these books if you favour tearjerkers, heartfelt connections, and moving stories – or the tales that follow people and canines throughout their years and which inevitably become family-friendly movies by Disney!
Everyone who reads seems to have a preference for the format of their books. If you're buying from online retailers such as Amazon and eBay, they don't always stock both hardbacks and paperbacks, and eBooks are often in a category of their own. That said, there are definite benefits for each one.
Hardback books tend to be the most expensive, but they are sturdier, more durable, and can generally hold their own for years, even after their pages have been turned for the fiftieth time. They also make wonderful gifts for dog lovers or coffee table books for the home.
A hardback book will typically have a separate cover which slips on like a sleeve, which at times, can become a little inconvenient. For example, you might want to take a dog training manual with you on walks or to parks to practice recall. In that case, a hardback book with a sleeve might not be the best option.
Paperbacks are cheaper, lighter and easier to carry, however, the spines, pages and covers don't stand the test of time well. Being small and lightweight, they are perfect for chucking in your bag as you head out for a day in the park with your pooch.
That said, if you have a few pets running around you'll know the mess that things can get in! Pawprints on the pages, covers creased down the middle, bite marks on the corners... If you're precious about your reads, a paperback might not be ideal.
If you own a Kindle or other eReader, you too will understand the joy and convenience of carrying a stack of books in a device no bigger than a thin notebook. Perfect for holidays, long afternoons in the park and indecisive readers.
The same goes for audiobooks. These are an excellent choice for hefty books which take up a large amount of precious luggage space. If you often take your dog for long walks, audiobooks are perfect for something to listen to along the way.
Sometimes you want a quick read that's not too heavy, which you can enjoy over a weekend by the fire. Or maybe you prefer a complex narrative, or a brick-book of substantial proportions packed with canine advice to pore over throughout their lives?
If you're reading to your children, short stories with lots of pictures are a great option. Whichever you go for, check the length before you purchase or it could put you off reading it entirely.
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Never Cry Wolf
The Study of Wolves That Became More Than a Memoir
Total Recall: Perfect Response Training for Puppies and Adult Dog
The Ultimate Guide to Training Your Dog to Follow Commands
The Art of Racing in the Rain
A Heartwarming Tale About a Dog Who Keeps the Family Together
In Defence of Dogs: Why Dogs Need Our Understanding
What if Everything We Knew About Dog Training Wasn't Quite Right?
Max the Miracle Dog
A Story for Anyone Who's Struggling and in Need of Hope
Gene Weingarten & Michael S. Williamson
Old Dogs Are the Best Dogs
Portraits of These Beautiful Old Men
Oh No, George!
The Mischievous Pooch With a Moral Dilemma
How to Raise the Perfect Dog
The Training Bible From One of the Most Famous Dog Trainers in the World
A Classic Tale of The Special Love That a Human Can Give a Dog
The Complete Dog Breed Book: Choose the Perfect Dog for You
An Essential Best of Breeds Manual for First-Time Owners
One of those stories that blends memoir with fiction, Never Cry Wolf is a fascinating account of a naturalist who spent time studying wolves in the Arctic. Farley Mowat follows a small pack of wolves around the Canadian wildlands and over time develops a deep connection with the animals.
Surrounding his observations is an adventure intertwined with records of myths and superstitions. Available in any format you could want, this is a story more fictional than memoir according to critics, so we've rated it as such. Essential reading for dog lovers!
At just under 250 pages, this is a relatively short book, but it's not meant as a quick-read. This dog training book takes you through a step-by-step process of identifying the problem areas and building a plan to reach your goals.
With any informational book, it pays to check the credibility of the author. In this case, being a dog trainer, a zoologist and author of multiple dog training books, Pippa Mattinson knows her stuff. The information is presented clearly, and it's easily digestible, but best of all, it also includes information on training older dogs, not just puppies.
Another narrative written from the dog's point of view, this is a heartwarming story about Enzo, a loyal family dog. Enzo learns about the human condition by watching television and listening to the family around him. He becomes an unsung hero helping them overcome their problems, keeping the family together through their tragedies and triumphs.
The Art of Racing in the Rain is the perfect book to lose yourself in if you're a fully-fledged dog lover. Full of drama, tragedy, laughter and love, this is a beautiful story told through the eyes of a loyal friend.
A book about the relationship between humans and dogs and how it has evolved over time, In Defence of Dogs begins retelling the author's memory of his grandfather's childhood dog. It compares how free dogs were when he was growing up to how restricted they are today, and how that might affect the relationship.
This compelling book discusses how the 'show the dog you're the alpha' approach is misunderstood and based on wolves living in packs, which is an entirely different relationship from a human and their pet. A fascinating, eye-opening book for any dog lover out there.
Us dog lovers are fascinated by a true story which tugs on your heartstrings as much as anyone. The book is about Kerry, who suffered severe injuries from a car accident which completely upturned his life. He became unemployed, and moved from cycling 600 miles a month to becoming completely housebound – that's when the depression started to kick in.
When he eventually braves the outside world again, he meets a dog called Max, and they create an everlasting bond so unique that it helps them both through the most challenging times of their lives. An inspiring story, guaranteed to leave you in tears.
Old Dogs Are the Best Dogs is a book filled with exquisitely-detailed photographs of senior dogs. Essentially, it's a series of portraits of 70 senior dogs which have been shot in black and white to appear as detailed, precise and sophisticated as possible.
To accompany each portrait is the dog's story. Some are only a few lines long, but each one is crafted beautifully. A fascinating read, and a great coffee table book that will give you a whole new appreciation for old dogs. The attention is always on the bouncy new puppy, but these old heroes need some love.
George is a dog with moral dilemmas. He wants to be good but gets tempted by all sorts of things like cakes and cats. The story follows this mischievous pooch after his owner pops out to do the shopping, leaving him all alone. Throughout the day, he battles with decisions on what he should do.
He's clearly trying his best but quite often falls short, though it's near impossible not to love him. Perfect for bedtime reading, this is a profound moral story surrounded by laughter, mischief and fun – the best kind of children's book if you ask us!
How to Raise the Perfect Dog is an excellent catch-all reference book for any new dog owner. Based on the teachings from one of the most famous dog trainers in the world – Cesar – How to Raise The Perfect Dog further unpacks his advice offering training techniques suitable for dogs of any age.
It contains a wealth of information including how to housebreak a puppy, proper nutrition, vaccinations, boundaries, being assertive and a general guide to raising dogs. Being quite the celebrity, there is a fair amount of content about the author and his life, which some readers found a bit distracting.
A true classic published in 1906, and often studied in English Literature classes, this is a story told from the viewpoint of the dog (well, half dog, half wolf). It's a moral tale which explores the special bond between humans and animals as it follows the life of White Fang and his relationship with his master who rescued him from his abuser.
At times the description of animal cruelty can be a little much to muster for some, especially as the narrative is told from the dog's point of view, but it's a captivating read (or listen) and full of suspense nonetheless.
The Complete Dog Breed Book is the perfect book for someone set on adding a four-legged friend to the family but hasn't gone much further than that. The book catalogues more than 420 breeds with a section of detailed information on each one.
It includes personality traits, specific training advice and needs, and other high-level information that will help you work it all out. However, while this book is great for helping to decide which breed to choose, it will only be a starting point. Once you've decided, you'll need to do more in-depth research on that particular breed.
Looking for more items to help you care for a furry new (or old!) member of the household? We have guides on those too! Follow the links below for tips and tricks on how to shop for all manner of doggy essentials.
Thanks for reading our guide to books about dogs in the UK! We hope a few have piqued your interest and will soon be sitting in a pile on your bedside table, waiting for your nose to be buried between its pages.
Author: Roxy Pratley
No. 1: Farley Mowat｜Never Cry Wolf
No. 2: Pippa Mattinson｜Total Recall: Perfect Response Training for Puppies and Adult Dog
No. 3: Garth Stein｜The Art of Racing in the Rain
No. 4: John Bradshaw｜In Defence of Dogs: Why Dogs Need Our Understanding
No. 5: Kerry Irving｜Max the Miracle Dog
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