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40 Wag-Worthy Dog Books You’ll Want to Get Your Paws On

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Yaika Sabat

Staff Writer

Yaika Sabat spends her days as a library assistant in Texas. Raised by Puerto Ricans and German Shepherds, her background is as diverse as her writing. Her favorite things include comics, books, challenging the idea that comics are an inherently male space, Doctor Who, her cats, and puns. When she's not contributing to Book Riot, you can catch her at her blog, Glasses Attached. Twitter: @yikesyaika

Want to read more dog books? Of course you do. Here’s where to get started.

Dogs and Books: You Can’t Go Wrong

Two things that have always been a part of my life are dogs and books. I learned how to walk by the side of my German Shepherd, Abby, and I was lucky enough to grow up with books all around.

Although I currently own two cats (who are amazing), I will always be a person who splits my heart equally between cats and dogs.

This means I will never turn down a good book involving a dog. I work in a library, and if I pass a book and see a dog involved, I investigate. I’m not alone. We had an entire display of dog books recently, and I’m pretty sure the entire library staff was happier each time they passed it.

dog wearing glasses with head on magazine

Dogs and dog books make life better. Stories about dogs can move people as few other things can. Anyone who tries to tell me they didn’t cry their face off while reading Where the Red Fern Grows is either lying or a robot.

So for all of you looking for your next round of dog books, I’ve included a list of some I’ve read and loved or added to my TBR list. I’ve tried to include a little something for everyone. The list isn’t meant to be the end all be all, but a good guide (we even have some more suggestions here).

Enjoy the list below, and let me know which titles you’d add!

Just don’t tell my cats what I’ve been up to (they’re watching me from the loveseat as I write).

40 Wag-Worthy Dog Books

Peanut Butter Dogs by Greg MurrayPeanut Butter Dogs book cover

An entire book of portraits of dogs eating peanut butter. What else do you need?

Old Dogs: Are the Best Dogs by Gene Weingarten and Michael S. Williamson

Senior dogs are amazing, and sometimes don’t get the appreciation they deserve. This collection of photographs and stories helps give much-deserved appreciation to special seniors everywhere.

Shelter Dogs in a Photo Booth by Guinnevere Shuster

Dog photo books just give such lovely insight into the personality of individual pups, and this one helps show the character of a cast of shelter dogs who got to ham it up in a photo booth. This book lets people see the beauty in shelter dogs.  Smiles for days.

#WERATEDOGS: The Most Hilarious and Adorable Pups You’ve Ever Seen by Matt Nelson

This is pure entertainment. It’s basically dog Twitter/Instagram in a book, and no dogs get bad ratings in this book. This is one of my go-tos when I need a quick laugh.

The Lost Dogs book coverThe Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tales of Rescue and Redemption by Jim gorant

I think all dog lovers can agree that the entire Vick situation was horrific, and enraging. So this book, which focuses on the amazing canine survivors, is a reminder that dogs can be forgiving, resilient, and loving in the face of almost any situation.

Texts from Dog by October Jones

This hilarious book is precisely what it sounds like. October Jones (alter ego of animator Jim Butcher) gives his bulldog a voice through a series of amazing texts.

OOGY: The Dog Only A Family Could Love by Larry Levin

Oogy survived life as bait for dogfights with only one ear and a face full of scars. He was not likely to be considered a first choice. But thankfully, as told in this heartwarming story, sometimes it just takes the right people to see just how special an animal is. Personally, I think Oogy is adorable!

Dog Shaming by Pascal Lemire

Anyone who has owned a dog has wanted to put a sign on them and display their shame to the world. Favorite purse destroyed? Had floorboards eaten? Well, dog shaming displays the owners who have shamed their pups, in a hilarious, playful manner.

Dog Shaming book coverTravels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

Travel along with Steinbeck as he takes a road trip through America with his poodle, Charley, to better understand the country and its people.

My Dog: The Paradox by The Oatmeal and Matthew Inman

Join Inman as he pays tribute to his dog Rambo and explores all the mysterious habits many dog owners have seen and questioned. Told in glorious Oatmeal style.

The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey

A legitimate Little Golden Book classic that follows the story of a curious little puppy. Always a joy to read.

You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secret of Happiness by Julie Klam

Julie Klam’s memoir of falling for her first Boston terrier. A story of a woman, her dogs, and the many lessons we can learn from our furry friends.

Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham

One of my childhood favorites, this is the simple story of Harry, a dog who likes to be dirty and hates a bath. Simple premise, but fun and super cute book.

Harry the Dirty Dog book coverThe Call of the Wild by Jack London

Buck is a domesticated dog who goes through an intense journey away from his once stable life. A classic tale of learning to survive, and even embrace, the wild.

Ribsy by Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary was one of my obsessions as a child. If it was Beverly Cleary, I would try it. The final book in the Henry Huggins book, this follows Henry’s dog Ribsy on a journey to get home.

Off the Leash: The Secret Life of Dogs by Rupert Fawcett

Fawcett’s comics about life with dogs and the inner thoughts of dogs have gained a massive following for a reason.

Dogs and Their People: Photos and Stories of Life with A Four-Legged Love by BarkBox

Cute photos of dogs and fun stories? I’m in. Plus, it gives some insight into the background of BarkBox and even has tips for owners.

Dog Songs by Mary Oliver

Oliver uses her own personal experiences to examine the bond between humans and dogs. That personal touch makes it particularly gorgeous and moving.

Dogs and Chairs book coverDogs and Chairs: Designer Pairs by Cristina Amodeo

I love everything about this book. Furniture design perfectly (and cleverly) paired with dogs in stylish illustrations. I am not sure how Amodeo had this come to mind, but it’s wonderful.

The Perfect Dog by Kevin O’Malley

A fantastic picture book for any child. The story of a little girl searching for the perfect dog she has in mind, who learns that sometimes what is truly perfect can surprise you.

Unleashed: Poems by Writers’ Dogs by Amy Hempel and Jim Shepard

Something about people writing poems for their dogs, or in their dog’s voices, always seems to give me a certain level of insight into the writer. Sweet, funny, enjoyable all around.

My Big Dog by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel

Ok, so the main character of this book is a cat. A cat who has to learn that the big new dog isn’t actually the end of the world. One of the cutest picture books I’ve ever read. A perfect read for any cat who might be about to get a new dog sibling.

Lives of the Monster Dogs by Kirsten Bakis

This one’s not about puppies or pet dogs. Instead, highly intelligent Victorian monster dogs who have lived in seclusion stumble into modern New York, having known only their way of life. It was an immediate add to my TBR list.

Gaston book coverGaston by Kelly DiPucchio and Christian Robinson

An adorable picture book about Gaston, the French Bulldog, who lives with all poodles. Filled with lovely illustrations, Gaston teaches us what really makes a family.

You’re a Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day

The Carl series is a genuine classic (he remains one of my favorites). Follow Carl as he keeps baby Madeleine company through all her adventures. Basically, Carl is the best boy.

Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean

Susan Orlean tells the story of the German Shepherd extraordinaire, from his rough start as a puppy in the middle of World War I to his rise to fame.

The Dog Who Loved Too Much: Tales, Treatments, and the Psychology of Dogs by Nicholas H. Dodman

Perfect for anyone interested in dog behavior. A collection of tales of all types of issues that Dodman has seen over the years working with dogs and owners. Great insight into the various issues dogs can display, and ways to help them through.

Wish by Barbara O’Connor

Charlie is eleven and suddenly in a new place with unfamiliar family. In an uncertain and lonely situation, she meets and befriends a stray dog, who may help her learn to connect.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

The plot of this book is basically Hamlet. If Hamlet was mute and spoke strictly by signing, the setting was a farm in Wisconsin, and the family was highly involved in raising dogs. The story of Edward and his family is interesting on its own, but his connection with his dog Almondine (and the other dogs he has grown with), makes this especially appealing for dog lovers.

The Other End of the Leash book coverThe Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell

What makes us act the way we do around dogs, and what do our dogs think of behavior? This is the central question at the heart of The Other End of the Leash.

What the Dog Knows: Scent, Science and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World by Cat Warren

I’ve always found the way dogs work and behave really interesting, so books like this, which study the world through a dog’s perspective, are fascinating.

A Wolf Named Romeo by Nick Jans

Nick Jans tells the story of a single black wolf that began to interact with the residents and dogs of Juneau, Alaska. A look at the relationship formed with Romeo, and what it taught those who encountered him.

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

A modern classic about a girl whose life is changed when she meets and befriends a dog she names Winn Dixie.

Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell

Clifford is a playful, curious, lovable dog, who just happens to be giant and red. His adventures with his owner Emily Elizabeth are childhood fixtures.

The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford

Two dogs, one cat, and a journey to get back to their family. Have you seen Homeward Bound? It was based on this. The adventure these three go on through the wilderness to get back to their family is not only exciting for young readers but shows just how dedicated pets are.

How Dogs Love Us book coverHow Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain by Gregory Berns

The fact that dogs love us is clear, but I think we’ve all stopped at some point and wondered what’s going on in their heads. Gregory Berns certainly did, and after adopting his dog, he decided to try and decipher how a dog’s mind works.

Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton

George wants to be a good pup. But there are cats, and there is cake, and other temptations. What’s a dog to do?

Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard

The story of Dion, an ultramarathoner, and Gobi, the little dog who joined him on his trek. A story of the power of friendships made in unlikely places, and the sacrifices made for love.

Wedgie & Gizmo by Suzanne Selfors

This series is pretty popular in my library, and I’m not surprised. The illustrated books about a slightly evil guinea pig and his new energetic corgi brother are funny and well drawn. Bonus: they help explain the process of blended families adjusting in a really fun way.

Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog by Pamela S. Turner and Yan Nascimbene

This will make you cry. I’m sorry. But Hachi’s story of extreme loyalty and love for his owner makes him worthy to be on any list of great dog stories. There’s a reason he has his own statue.

Hit the comments to share your favorite dog books!