Today, I am delighted to be sharing my review for; Dogs: Working Origins and Traditional Tasks by Mike Loades. I can’t wait to share this highly interesting book with you all, firstly, I quick thank you to Rosie at Pen and Sword Publishers for my Complimentary Copy.

about the book

Dogs: Working Origins and Traditional Tasks by Mike Loades.

Genre: Non-Fiction

With his signature hands-on style, Mike Loades experiences what it is like to handle various dogs engaged in their traditional tasks. These adventures take him to the Jordanian desert, where he shares the saddle of his camel with a Saluki and to the green hills of Wales, where he works cattle with a Corgi. He mushes Huskies in Alaska, drives carriages with Dalmatians and flies falcons with Spaniels. Each encounter not only highlights the bond between humans and dogs, it also frames that connection in its historical context. Different types of dogs appear the way they do because, at some stage in their development, they were bred selectively for a specialist job.

The author takes key types on a walk through history. Along the way he explores the methods and practices of their original occupations. He delves into when, where and why they were first bred as the types we recognize today. The fascinating and engaging text is supported by over 250 stunning colour photographs of dogs in action. It results in an illuminating journey through many cultures and time periods. This book is a personal and heartfelt tribute to the enduring partnership between humans and dogs. 


Dogs: Working Origins and Traditional Tasks is an enlightening and knowledgeable book full of interesting facts and brilliantly researched history into all breeds. The author writes with knowledge and expertise that can only be gotten with in-depth and hands-on research and because of his passion for dog’s this book is hugely enjoyable and an absolute must-read for anyone with an interest in dogs.

The book cover’s a huge variety of types of working dogs from all of your well-known family pet’s, breeds which we all know and love to breeds I have never heard of before. I have always been fascinated with dog’s history, and the jobs that they were bred to do, some of the dog’s history I already knew such as how the Dalmation was used as guards for coaches, how Fox Hounds and Beagles were and quite despicably still used today for the hunt (which in my opinion is well past due to be banned) how the Staffordshire Bull terrier has a history of bringing bulls down but also how they were known as the ‘Nanny dog’.

I have had Staffie’s for so many years (before my two boys) and in my personal opinion they are easily the best dog’s I have ever had, the loyalty and intelligence wrapped up in such a tough shell is incredible and if I ever get the chance to have another Staffiey then I will, I love them. I also knew about the different Terrier breeds; Patterdales, fell, Border, Jack Russells and so on, how they were bred for ratting/foxing – again, I knew this because my current two are terrier crossbreeds and I see both have the ratting/hunting/prey drive of the terrier (especially my little one whose mother was a working ratter) so that wasn’t a surprise, but what was, was the breeds such as the Labrador how they are loosely related to the New Foundlands and how Labrador didn’t exist two hundred years ago and what is the Lab now used to be called a Waterdog, that fascinated me.

What really hit me was how because of human intervention to ‘have perfect breeds’ how humans have changed dogs in such ways that not only how they live but in most cases how they look, how humans have either changed a breed beyond recognition in their pursuit of ‘perfection’ or tey have eradicated certain breeds from existence.

This book is very easy to read, you can easily skip to a section of your choosing, the book is section into categories making it very easy to navigate, it would make a brilliant reference book and also very insightful for just looking up breeds if you are looking into getting a dog, I fully believe you should always research the dogs breed if possible so you have an idea of the inherited traits your dog may present.

I love the huge selection of high-quality pictures throughout too, which mostly have been supplied by the author from his own catalogue and some taken by himself too.

I originally thought that this book would be full of uncomfortable history and unsightly diagrams of harsh working procedures for dogs but I was pleasantly surprised just how engaging this book is.


2 thoughts on “Dogs: Working Origins and Traditional Tasks by Mike Loades ~ Book Review.

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