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A Matter of Breeding
Cover of A Matter of Breeding
A Matter of Breeding
A Biting History of Pedigree Dogs and How the Quest for Status Has Harmed Man's Best Friend
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A provocative look at the "cult of pedigree" and an entertaining social history of purebred dogs In this illuminating and entertaining social history, social critic Michael Brandow probes the "cult of...
A provocative look at the "cult of pedigree" and an entertaining social history of purebred dogs In this illuminating and entertaining social history, social critic Michael Brandow probes the "cult of...
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  • A provocative look at the "cult of pedigree" and an entertaining social history of purebred dogs

    In this illuminating and entertaining social history, social critic Michael Brandow probes the "cult of pedigree" and traces the commercial rise of the purebred dog. Combining consumer studies with sharp commentary, A Matter of Breeding reveals the sordid history of the dog industry and shows how our brand-name pets—from Labs to French bulldogs and everything in between—pay the price with devastatingly poor health.

Excerpts-

  • From the book From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author-

  • With a background in journalism, dog care, and community activism, Michael Brandow is a sought-after commentator on dog-related issues and has written for publications including the New York Times, Town & Country, ARTNews, the BARk, and Animal Fair. He lives in New York City.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    November 15, 2014
    A no-holds-barred defense of dogs that are the hapless victims of their clueless owners.Brandow, a professional dog-walker and petsitter in New York City, deconstructs the idea of diversity when it comes to dog breeds. His subjects are not working dogs bred and trained for special skills but those that have been bred for appearance, a standard he equates to racism. The author writes that as he studied his charges and their owners over the years, his focus shifted from the problems faced by overbred dogs to "the humans hooked on their looks." Brandow enumerates the disastrous results of modern breeding practices-higher levels of cancer, structural deformities, skin conditions and more-and many of his stories are distressing-e.g., a baby bulldog that, despite bulging muscles, barely had the strength to walk. He was the cherished pet of a gay couple who were muscle-builders themselves and had chosen a puppy to match their own self-image. (The author explains that he allows himself the liberty of satirizing the owners as faddists because he, too, is gay.) Remarking that the lineage of bulldogs is traceable to dogs bred to take on bulls in fights, the author marvels at their popularity with modern opponents of violence and cruelty to animals. Over time, such practices as bull baiting were outlawed in England, and the bulldog was refashioned into a house pet. In 1929, the American Kennel Club was incorporated, becoming the standard-setter for all breeds. "Dog breeding and showing have had more to do with social survival of the owner than survival or fitness as a basic concern," writes the author in this occasionally overheated book, but he is optimistic that the tide is changing as more pet owners are rejecting such false standards and opting for rescue dogs. Brandow's vitriolic style can be distracting, but his message is serious.

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist, starred review "A must-read for all dog lovers."
  • Kirkus Reviews "A no-holds-barred defense of dogs that are the hapless victims of their clueless owners."

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    Beacon Press
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A Matter of Breeding
A Matter of Breeding
A Biting History of Pedigree Dogs and How the Quest for Status Has Harmed Man's Best Friend
Michael Brandow
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Michael Brandow
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