A Young Dog Lover's Other Best Friend

Article excerpt

Byline: Brandy Hilboldt Allport

Talk about an irresistible book. They don't come any cuter than 101 Adorable Dog Breeds. Whether you are already a dog lover who likes to linger over pictures and remark "aww" or are thinking about adding a canine companion to the clan, this book delivers.

Though a pooch's personality and looks play primary roles in how families select a pet, many other matters must be considered. Among them temperament, exercise requirements, a breed's mature size, the cost of food, vaccines and vet bills. Then there is the human stuff: Where do you live? Is home sweet home an apartment, or is it a house with a fenced yard? Does everyone at your home want a dog, or is a certain someone burning with puppy fever?

Flipping though a book like Adorable Breeds (Andrews McMeel, $24.99), provides a chance for parents to talk to children about these all-important issues. As they study the expressive portraits by Rachel Hale, a well-known animal photographer, and read the passages about breed history and characteristics, children learn an important lesson about books - that books contain information that is relevant and useful in real life and aren't just sources of homework assignments or items that make a backpack heavy.

"It says here on Page 44 that Briards are 'wary of strangers.' "

"And on Page 131, Dalmations are described as 'very active, capable of great endurance and speed.' "

"A French bull dog makes a perfect companion for the elderly . . . Page 135."

"Standard poodles . . . love . . . the freedom to swim and run."

Adults reading this book with a child will realize that Adorable Breeds is a "first-stop book." It offers descriptions of dogs' requirements and preferences, an invaluable guide at the beginning of a research trail. But good books lead to other good books. …