Your Dream Dog
Bash Dibra
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Buy *Your Dream Dog: A Guide to Choosing the Right Breed for You

Your Dream Dog: A Guide to Choosing the Right Breed for You
Bash Dibra
New American Library Trade
288 pages
June 2003
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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Bash Dibra, a well-known animal trainer (he also trains dogs to be movie and advertisement stars), author and organizer of events such as Paws Across America, is well known among the doggie set. He has trained famous people's dogs -- Martin Scorsese's, Jennifer Lopez's, and even Henry Kissinger's. His newest title, Your Dream Dog, is a basic, good beginners' guide to choosing the appropriate breed, full of advice and personal anecdotes.

Curled Up With a Good BookThe most useful sections are the descriptions of 140 "officially recognized" breeds, with photos and information about their habits, energy, hair and the diseases that most generally afflict these particular canines. For example, the German shorthaired pointer "should not be kept in the city or an apartment." These medium-sized dogs need a lot of exercise. They were meant to be pointers, hunters and guarders, and do not want to be left alone or become couch potatoes. Norwegian elkhounds have a lot of stamina and like large yards. Although Bash says her "medium-length coat sheds a little," in my sister-in-law's experience, her dog shed enough for her to knit a sweater quite quickly!

Certainly, the pug sounds extremely suitable for many possible animal companions, as does, somewhat surprisingly to me, the Chihuahua, the oldest breed in North America. Although I've known them to be barky, they live quite long and "are lively, intelligent, very affectionate, bold, and clever." Because they are so small, they are also extremely fragile and "toddlers should not handle them." The French bulldog, a breed I know little about, sounds appropriate for many families, especially those who live in apartments. "'Frenchies' have heart, humor, and friendliness all packed into a small package," writes Dibra. In fact, these smaller dogs are often most suitable for today's wannabe dog companions if they have a small amount of time or space.

Four other aspects that are excellent in this volume are

  • My Dream Dog Notebook, a form to fill out about physical care and temperament to help a person decide what to choose,
  • a directory of dog organizations, where a customer can find more information on dog traits and availability,
  • Dibra's fondness for kennel and rescue dogs and his discouraging of buying a dog in a pet shop and
  • his high recommendation of obedience training.
He also thinks older dogs often make good companions for older people, if chosen wisely.

Where this book falls down, in my opinion as an animal writer, is in two areas. Dibra does not cite any sources or recommend any other useful dog books. Nor does he give enough information about starting out with the most healthful tools -- the most nutritious food, the best quality animal dishes, the best toys, the safest drinking water. He is following the traditional party line here; he doesn't espouse an alternative health agenda, it appears. Therefore, it would behoove a first-time dog owner, or one who has recently lost a young dog, to read supplementary materials in addition to Your Dream Dog in order to get any new dream dog off on the right paw.

© 2003 by Deborah Straw for Curled Up With a Good Book.

Other books by Bash Dibra:

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