AKC Complete Dog Book Contradictory, Still a Great Book


The American Kennel Club New Complete Dog Book, 22nd Edition is my sixth pet book of Christmas.

This isn’t a book as much as it is a planet; it’s 919 pages and must weigh more than most toy dogs.

More than 200 dog breeds are arranged by Group (as dogs are shown in dog shows): Sporting Group, Hound Group, Working Group, Terrier Group, Toy Group, Non-Sporting Group, Herding Group, and Miscellaneous Class.

However, I find it ironic that starting on page 25, the AKC book writes about finding a “responsible” or “reputable” breeder. For starters, I’m unsure why those words are in quotes in the book. I agree that people should search for a responsible or reputable breeder, as described in this book, but what’s written in this book is different than what the AKC supports in the real world.

It’s fitting that under the AKC book’s own description of “red flag” breeders are breeders you can’t visit, a breeder not affiliated with a club or organization, a breeder only concerned if you can afford the asking price, breeders that don’t offer papers (although papers aren’t worth all that much anyway), and breeders that won’t show you any health screening results. Based on this description (and more outlined in the book), people shouldn’t buy from pet stores.

Yet, the AKC is quite contradictory on that issue by strongly supporting pet store sales of dogs, and the AKC has spent a ton of money to fight laws that ban pet store sales of dogs and cats. The reasons the laws are being advocated for in the first place, and are being passed all over the country, are interestingly the same reasons that the AKC supports in defining “responsible” or “reputable” breeders.

If that explanation is unclear, buying puppies at pet stores is encouraged by the AKC in the real world (no matter what they say in this book). When you buy at a pet store, there’s no way to meet the breeder, there may be limited or no health guarantees (aside from some state lemon laws), papers may or may not be available, and the pet store does not care if you are an appropriate match for that specific dog being purchased. The only question you will be asked when purchasing at a pet store is, “Will that be cash or charge?” These all fall under AKC’s own definition of “red flags.” Yet, again, the AKC supports pet store sales.

So, why am I touting this book? If you’re interested in a purebred dog, you honestly won’t find a book that offers more detail that is absolutely technically correct. For each of the many breeds, you can read about that breed’s history, form/function, temperament, and confirmation. And, the images of each breed include puppies and adults, and they are simply stunning.

No book will tell you more about purebred dogs. But I still have to say, shame on the AKC.