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Book Review: The Dog Selector by David Alderton

How To Choose the Right Dog For You

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Book Review: The Dog Selector by David Alderton

One of the best "dog match-making" books I've read!

© Barron’s Educational Series

This is one of the best “breed” books I’ve ever read. It provides concise breed descriptions presented in a new, appealing way. This book appeals to anyone who appreciates beautiful dogs but is particularly of value to those researching their first puppy. Highly recommended!


  • Reasonable price
  • Short one-page breed information
  • Attractive coffee-table large format
  • 200 gorgeous full color pictures
  • Authoritative text
  • Rare to Popular Breeds
  • Breakout boxes of Canine Characteristics
  • At-A-Glance chart of dog breeds and human issues
  • Glossary, Resources List and Index


  • Mostly adult vs puppy pictures
  • Brevity may omit some key tips
  • “Just the facts” style


  • Published by Barron’s Educational Series
  • Written by David Alderton
  • ISBN # 13-978-0-7641-6365-4
  • Price $24.99

Book Review: The Dog Selector, by David Alderton

David Alderton has written many award winning dog books that have been translated into 30 languages. He also assists with broadcasts specializing in dogs, including the Discovery Channel show “It’s A Dog’s Life.”

This book offers concise, useful information in one-page spreads that specify a particular breed’s size, exercise needs, grooming requirements, and health challenges. Rather than an alphabetical list of breeds, the book categorizes dogs into function and family suitability. For instance, “Dogs For Beginners” includes the expected Labrador and Sheltie but the less known Tibetan Spaniel. Other categories include little dogs and big dogs, “Family Friendly Dogs,” and “Good Mixers” that get along well with others, as well as “Dogs that Love to Run” and “Weird and Wonderful Dogs” such as the Xoloitzcuintli.

From well known breeds to rarer selections, the book offers a brief history, information unique the breed, and a Canine Characteristics chart that details size, exercise requirements, behavior, health issues, and at home concerns. An additional “At A Glance” gives a bulleted list of the top must-knows about the breed. The back of the book compiles and ranks each of these “at a glance” tidbits into a comparison chart in “The Dog Selector” chart. Another chart called “The Human Selector” provides a flow chart of possible considerations such as a family member’s allergy to dogs, if you have other pets, or have never before owned a dog.

I only know of a handful of dog books that address dog breeds in terms of pet owner compatibility in such an innovative and useful way, and none that do it so well. The author covers the positives and the challenges of each breed in context of how they “fit” into human lifestyle, and goes beyond coat type and size to more esoteric yet important determinations. The 200+ stunning photos make this a gorgeous book one would expect to cost twice the cover price. While the text could do with a bit more “warm and fuzzy” language, the just-the-facts style works well with the reference work. In terms of beauty, content, and educational value, this is a must read.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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