Every year, it seems like dozens of new dog books hit the shelves. And while many of them will make you laugh, cry, and everything in between, there are a few must-reads that canine lovers (and pet parents) shouldn’t pass up.
Below is a list of some all-time favorites — both new and old — covering fiction, children’s books, training, and a special section dedicated to service dogs.
Fiction Dog Books: Stories That Move Canine Lovers To Tears (And Give A Few Laughs Too)
A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel For Humans By W. Bruce Cameron
The first book in the wildly popular A Dog’s Purpose series follows the incredible journey of one truly good dog as he searches for his purpose over the course of many lives — some tragic and some filled with undeniable joy and adventure. This massive New York Times bestseller pulls at the heartstrings, making it an instant classic for dog lovers everywhere.1
The Art Of Racing In The Rain By Garth Stein
This is a dog story for the ages — a canine by the name of Enzo astutely observes his owner Denny Swift, a rising race car driver, as he navigates life as a human in all its glory and tribulations. Enzo approaches life believing the legend that if he’s prepared, he will be reincarnated as a human. So, he studies and experiences the human condition right alongside Denny, as he prepares himself for his next life.2
Children’s Dog Books: Stories About Man’s Best Friend To Enliven Young Hearts And Minds
Where The Red Fern Grows By Wilson Rawls
With over 14 million copies in print, it’s easy to see why this classic children’s novel still enthralls generation after generation. Where the Red Fern Grows tells the story of young Billy Colman and his two redbone coonhounds — Old Dan and Little Ann — as the trio traverse the rugged landscape of the Ozark Mountains. Their notoriety as a skilled hunting team spreads throughout the valley, with Little Ann’s brains, Old Dan’s brawn, and Billy’s sheer determination. But the glory is eclipsed by tragedy, and Billy must learn his greatest lesson of all: hope.3
Old Yeller By Fred Gipson
A recipient of the distinguished Newbery Honor, Old Yeller is the story of a rascal of a dog, dingy and mischievous, who wins the affection of 14-year-old Travis Coates and his younger brother and mother, after rescuing the family numerous times in the backcountry of Texas. As his love for his yellow-coated furry friend grows, he’s left to make the hardest decision of his young life. Gripping and heart-wrenching — this timeless classic speaks to the unbelievable bond between man and dog.4
Dog Behavior Books: From Puppy Training And Beyond
The Art Of Raising A Puppy (Revised) By Monks Of New Skete
You read that correctly — this is puppy training book written by monks, which makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Anyone who has tried to train a puppy may tell you it takes the patience of a monk. As long-time breeders of German shepherds, the Monks of Skete cover everything from canine health to the animal-human bond in this book, right down to the nitty-gritty details of training. This revised picture book has new photos throughout, as well as updated chapters on rescue dog organizations and raising dogs in urban settings.5
Cesar’s Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide To Understanding & Correcting Common Dog Problems By Cesar Millan
Known as the “Dog Whisperer” from his popular TV show, Cesar Millan has built a reputation for understanding the needs of canines and correcting wayward behavior with discipline rather than punishment. Part memoir, part indispensable dog training manual, Millan explains there are no “problem breeds” — and that all dog breeds can be trained with his formula focused on just three simple actions: affection, exercise, and discipline.6
Service Dog Books: More Than Just A Good Dog, These Canine Companions Are Heroes
A Dog Called Hope: A Wounded Warrior And The Service Dog Who Saved Him By Jason Morgan
In this touching memoir, special forces soldier Jason Morgan tells his story of regaining consciousness after a horrible parachuting accident while on a mission in the Central American jungle to be told he will never walk again. After innumerable surgeries, chronic pain, and raising three sons on his own — wheelchair-bound Jason reached his lowest point. And then Napal, a black Labrador service dog came into his life, giving him and his young family a new beginning and new hope.7
Secret Service Dogs: The Heroes Who Protect The President Of The United States By Maria Goodavage
Get the ultimate behind-the-scenes look at some of the most elite canine teams in the world. These dogs protect presidential candidates, first families, and popes. Secret Service Dogs delves into the selection process of the dogs and their handlers, their year-round training schedule, as well as their unique missions all over the globe. But most importantly, this book highlights the bond and trust between dog and handler in some of the most intense and harrowing circumstances.8
Canine Lovers, Rejoice: Dog Books For Every Age, Interest, And Emotion
No matter if your favorite furry friend is a German shepherd, golden retriever, or a pit bull — canine lovers tend to have an open heart to nearly all dogs, big and small. Hopefully, you’ve been inspired by this list to pick up one (or more) of these books for yourself or a fellow dog lover. Yes, this list has a few tearjerkers, but there are also a lot of laughs and a lot to learn — much like living with a dog. Happy reading.
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