Editorial: May 28, 2021
Recent editorials have addressed the American Kennel Club’s Museum of the Dog and the American Kennel Club’s Humane Fund. Which got us thinking about the forgotten of late, the American Kennel Club’s library. Once a thriving part of the kennel club’s New York offices, it is now only available on a limited basis. The upside of lockdown is getting around to the list of things to do that remain just that – things to do. While undertaking the herculean task of tackling bookcases and condensing and organizing our canine library of several hundred books, perusing some old-time favorites delayed the task at hand.
Some titles that took longer to be replaced on the bookshelves included the oldest and latest editions of the AKC Complete Dog Book, the newest edition printed in 2017. A great reference book for any and every dog owner. From the breed history to the breed standard, just a fun and informative read. Along those same lines is the oddly shaped Visualizations of the Standards of Purebred Dogs of the United States; while we have several editions, the one at hand was edited by the late Joan Brearley. A one-time bible for any dog breeder, the book includes a photograph of each breed with canine terminology and arrows pointing to that part of the anatomy.
Then there is The American Kennel Club 1884-1984, a hundred-year source book edited by Charles A.T. O’Neill and the kennel-club staff. Another great reference book of top winners from the past that is harder to get than a Best in Show win is Great Show Dogs of America by Irene Castle Khatoonian Schlintz. Irene created the first national rating system in the United States, the Phillips System for Show Awards, that is used to this day by Dog News.
There are several editions of Who’s Who in Dogs by several different authors: The 1958 Who’s Who in American Dogdom edited by Harry Miller, the 1998 Who’s Who in Dogs edited by Connie Vanacore, Who’s Who in Handling by Kerry Nesbit. All interesting reads about people you only know by reputation and friends long gone but not forgotten. Then there is the Martha Covington Thorne tome Handling Your Own Dog for Show, Obedience and Field Trials. Martha was a well-known, successful and highly respected Canadian handler who attended many dog shows in the States.
A book that has been read and reread many times is Juliette de Bairacli Levy’s The Complete Herbal Book of the Dog, a handbook of natural care and rearing. Her herbal remedies have stood the test of time, and in this age of vegetarians and vegans, it’s a natural (pardon the pun). Juliette was the breeder of Sunny Shay’s Afghan Hound Ch. Turkuman Nissim’s Laurel, the 1950 Westminster Kennel Club Hound Group winner.
The best and most comprehensive breed book Greyhounds In America, edited by Sue Lackey, is a must for any Greyhound lover. On a broader level there’s The International Encyclopedia of Dogs edited by Anne Rogers Clark and Andrew Brace, with special contributions by Renee Sporre-Willes. When it was published it covered every breed recognized by the American, Canadian and British kennel clubs, and FCI. Last but certainly not the least, we end this book tour with Patricia V. Craig Trotter’s Born To Win, written by the next Westminster Kennel Club Best in Show judge and 11-time Hound Group winner with her Vin-Melca Norwegian Elkhounds. Those credentials alone are enough said.
Make one of these books your summer read, you’ll be amazed at what you can learn.