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Dogs: Working Origins and Traditional Tasks (Hardback)

P&S History Colour Books Wildlife White Owl

By Mike Loades
Imprint: White Owl
Pages: 352
Illustrations: 250 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781526742308
Published: 2nd November 2020
Last Released: 16th March 2021

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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.

An inherently fascinating and exceptionally interesting survey of canine history, breeds, and cultural history, "Dogs: Working Origins and Traditional Tasks" is an extraordinarily informative and exceptionally well presented study.

Read the full review here

Midwest Book Review

In one word I can describe the book as: amazing.

The books is fantastic. It has over 250 photos, most of them taken by the author or with the author. He experienced first hand how dogs were worked, from sledding to herding to game dogs. I found all the different aspects fascinating, as I was not aware of many of the things he mentions in the book, for example Dalmatians and their history. Besides the gorgeous photos and his hands-on approach, this is a history book too, so there are plenty of primary sources starting from the 16th century. He presents how things changed and why. Also, he went to many different countries to see the dogs, the stories about the Kangals are great. Saluki are mentioned too, with lots of pictures and details about them used for hunting in the Jordanian desert.

5/5 stars

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Coffee and Books

Loades manages, therefore, in an extremely interesting book to list numerous dog breeds, on which he focuses by listing their strengths and weaknesses after having known and "used" them personally. This book makes us reflect on how much the dog has facilitated man's life by helping him or replacing him even for very difficult and dangerous tasks (for example, guarding and defending a flock from predators), but then it almost always ended up in the category of "companion dogs" which in a certain sense have "hidden" the intrinsic qualities of each breed. However Loades rediscovers these innate qualities that far from being a burden, instead make the dog "work" as they bring out its true nature, and it is a real pleasure to see these fantastic animals, outdoors to be happy in making themselves useful, enormously useful, to their human friend.

Read the full Italian review here

Omne Ignotum Pro Magnifico

Many breeds of dog with which we are familiar in this country, are covered by Mike Loades in this absorbing a thoroughly fascinating book about working dogs. But Mike's book is not just about the breeds we know about (I share my life with a tri-colour border collie, although he has never been a working dog), but with various breeds all over the world, with whom he has worked. The book is amazing, with beautiful photography and the text of someone who is totally committed to his subject matter. Highly recommended.

Books Monthly

Review by Col David Hancock

This book makes an important addition to our knowledge of functional dogs and I do not know of another author who could have achieved that; it is an excellent read and an extremely valuable addition to our libraries.

The Countrymans Weekly, January 2021

I just finished reading Dogs. It was delightful and informative, well researched, yet written in an accessible, narrative format. Photographs and other illustrations clearly depict details the author describes, adding immediacy and placing the reader in the midst of the action. Finally, a call for action to preserve the health and working qualities (over cosmetic appearances) of traditional dog breeds threads through the book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Craig Cheney
Dogs: Working Origins and Traditional Tasks
 Mike Loades

About Mike Loades

Best known for his many television appearances as a Historical Weapons Expert/ Military Historian, Mike also works as a director and writer for historical documentaries. Other work includes acting as a historical consultant to the video games industry. He is the author of several previous books, including major works such as War Bows and the highly acclaimed Swords and Swordsmen. Mike is British, though for the past 12-years he lived in California, where he co-founded the California Centaurs horse-archery club. He and his wife now live in Portugal. As well as having an interest in swords, bows and horses, Mike has also had a lifelong enthusiasm for dogs. In Dogs: Working Origins and Traditional Tasks, he has been able to blend his love of dogs with his passion for history.

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