Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Colter: The True Story of the Best Dog I Ever Had” as Want to Read:
Colter: The True Story of the Best Dog I Ever Had
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Colter: The True Story of the Best Dog I Ever Had

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  399 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
COLTER pairs one of America's most treasured writers with our most treasured "best friend." Colter, a German shorthair pup, was the runt of the litter, and Rick Bass took him only because nobody else would. Soon, though, Colter surprised his new owner, first with his raging genius, then with his innocent ability to lead Bass to new territory altogether, a place where he fe ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by Mariner Books (first published 2000)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Colter, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Colter

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 666)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Eva Leger
I didn't finish this and I'll get into why in a second. I just noticed my younger sister tried to read this in Jan. 2009 and now that I see her review here I can remember her borrowing it and quickly returning it. She didn't like it and let me know about the hunting factor which she knows I'm not in favor of. (Neither is she.)
Well, I kept it (obviously) because everyone is different and maybe there would be something that I liked.
There wasn't. I didn't even make it to page 30 I think. There is n
I only made it as far as Page 12 with this book. It's not that it was badly written or anything, but when I first read the jacket, it didn't say anything about hunting, which is why I decided to read it. However, it seems to me like that's mostly what this book is about, a man and his dog hunting together. And even though I don't like hunting and never will, that's not the reason why I couldn't read it. It's just that it was boring for me and I'm almost positive that it would have taken me a lon ...more
Jul 21, 2011 Chris rated it liked it
Good book. I am sooo not a hunter, but can't help but smile at a man who loves his dog(s) so deeply. Me too. I relate. Even though I have never hunted, I have lived with German Shorthairs most of my life. Still do. I will give this book to my dad who was quite a bird hunter in his day and trained many a hunting dog. I know it will bring memories, smiles and maybe a few tears remembering his favorite dog - Zeke, the most beautiful black and white English Setter I have ever seen. Abby, Meggie, Wil ...more
Nov 09, 2011 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2011
Rick Bass has a way with words that will capture your imagination, yet this book isn't one of his better written ones. I think the subject was too personal for him to back off and approach with a little more polish. Even so, the passion for Colter will carry you through the drier moments. [return][return]I enjoyed this love story for a dog he enjoyed for a few years. I tried not to criticize Bass in his relationship with Colter, but at times you wanted him to be a little more in charge. Colter w ...more
Danielle Bryan
Apr 21, 2015 Danielle Bryan rated it liked it
A best friend may leave you in the material world, but they will never leave your heart. Colter is the story of Rick Bass and a German Shorthair pointer name Colter set in the modern day. Colter was the runt of the litter, but Bass agreed to take him in because nobody else would. However, Colter surprised Bass with his abilities and brain. With the help of Colter, Bass discovered new territory and a new way to live in the world. Although Colter seemed to be the underdog, he grew to be Bass’ best ...more
Pour varier les plaisirs et les sujets, passons du polar noir à l'animal. Que lire, que lire ?! Parmi les jolis tas de livres qui ponctuent mon appartement et ma chambre au domicile parental (bibliothèque sans place disponible...), on trouve du grizzli, du loup et du chien. Et pourquoi pas du chien ? Dans la catégorie chien, un classique de London à relire, un possible bijou de Rick Bass et un OVNI, offert avec humour (un peu douteux) par une amie américaine qui fait de la relecture pour quelque ...more
Frances Morrier
Aug 05, 2013 Frances Morrier rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best
This is a terrific read--for a dog lover or appreciator of the natural beauty of our American northwest. Bass never disappoints--excellent writer with terrific descriptions of natural landscapes. He pulls the reader along on bird hunting (even a non-hunter) treks with Colter, his genius but also at times comical, shorthaired dog. He also writes about the contradictions in being a 'tree hugger' and a bird hunter--although a terrible shot.
May 26, 2015 Diane rated it liked it
This author reviewed a book I'd just finished reading so I decided I'd give him a try also. The true story of the best dog I ever had: Colter was at our local library so that's his book I decided to read. If I would have known this book was about hunting and Colter was a hunting dog, I probably wouldn't have chosen it to read. I've always found myself rooting for the hunted rather than the hunter, and Bass' descriptions of the birds' fruitless attempts to escape being shot made me uneasy. (It he ...more
Lynn Siler
Aug 13, 2009 Lynn Siler rated it really liked it
I'm not a hunter nor am I interested in hunting but Bass' vivid and moving prose helped me understand, and appreciate, one environmentalist's obsession with bird hunting. A beautifully written memoir about a hunting dog.
Jul 14, 2009 Jamie rated it it was amazing
I read this book almost every summer and have read all of his fiction and nonfiction alike. Bass writes with a kind of creativity, humility, and honesty that I really admire and appreciate.
Alice Harbin
May 01, 2016 Alice Harbin rated it really liked it
This is the story of a hunter and his birddog, a German shorthair pointer. The dog was an enthusiastic and excellent pointer, so much so, that his owner spent big bucks to have him stay with a trainer for a
whole summer (or was it two summers). He loved that dog, and the dog loved him. There are always frustrating times for owner and dog when both are learning to work with each other and these are shared beautifully.
The author is able to describe his love of the woods and the autumn colors. Anyon
Jan 04, 2008 Andrew rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: dog people
Best "I love my dog" book I've read. Warning...sad ending, don't read on public transportation.
Jun 03, 2010 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Dog owners, hunters, writers
Shelves: dogs
The prose in this book approaches poetry at times it is so beautiful. Rick Bass did a wonderful job of capturing the energy he experiences while hunting birds with his dog. He also did a great job of putting into words the love he has in his heart and the special connection he had with his dog. His talent in observation and being able to put what he sees and feels into words on paper is unmatched.

The story was easy to read and moved along at a good pace for a memoirish piece. Being a dog owner
Mimi Brooks
Mar 28, 2014 Mimi Brooks rated it liked it
ahhh. i wanted more colter stories and less hunting techniques or descriptions of birds. more stories of colter at home would have been just a tad more interesting; but otherwise it was a good and bittersweet book.
Jay Wright
Mar 30, 2016 Jay Wright rated it liked it
I liked the story and the style. I think it was probably better as a series of articles.
Apr 22, 2015 Sarahherold rated it really liked it
Great story about a dog and his relationship with animals and the enviroment around him. Beautiful descriptions of birds and Montana.
Feb 27, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it
A nice well-written memoir of a man's relationship to his hunting dogs, especially his favorite, Colter, a mischevious but talented pointer who captured his heart. I am not the greatest fan of hunting, though have fewer qualms with those who eat their prey, but I did enjoy the descriptions of nature and of the hunts, and particularly of the dogs. I think the best story is how he got his first two, sisters abandoned in an old house in the woods, destined for the pound yet saved by the mysterious ...more
May 10, 2015 Mskathy1031 rated it it was amazing
Very well written. An absolutely enjoyable book.
Apr 26, 2013 Andrea rated it really liked it
Beautiful memoir of his first bird dog, with quiet meditations on living and playing outside, the focus and full seeing and experiencing if the world through hunting, and many small asides about living life fully, with enthusiasm, and the gluttonous zest and yearning for living. I was already a fan of Bass, and this book meets my expectations. It is quite reminiscent of Aldo Leopold's essays, and is beautifully evocative that hunters can be, and really should be, our greatest environmentalists.
Sep 27, 2012 Jessica rated it it was ok
Really kind of disappointed in this book. It leads you to believe that its a happy tale. Just a guy and his dog, frolicking in the woods. Sure the hunting really isn't my thing, but he doesn't get many so its not so bad. What bugged me most was getting almost all the way through the book and then *spoiler alert*
tragedy strikes. The book ends on a downward note from there. I get that its real life and these things happen, but I wanted a happy ending and this just wasn't it.
Jul 03, 2009 Kt. rated it it was amazing
Let me start by saying I abhor hunting. Truly. I was almost put of by Mr. Bass's prologue because I don't want to read about "glee killings." This book has changed my mind. Mr. Bass has such a balanced approach to hunting, and to live, that I was intrigued. The writing is beautiful. He could almost - but not quite - pen menus and have me hooked. I am looking to read something else, anything else, by this author.
Sep 05, 2007 Natalie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: good folks
i read this one out loud to ben when we were living in a tent outside our friends home in vermont. well....actually we had moved in to the un-finished "addition" because of the stormy weather.....and well......this one is a tear jerker.....ben and i BOTH cried. we LOVED this book. i am a big fan of rick bass's writing and this one is one of my favorites. a little book, with a HUGE heart.
May 25, 2011 Samantha rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kristy McRae
Jul 26, 2011 Kristy McRae rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book--although admittedly not a big bird-hunting fan (and a good deal of this book revolves around hunting descriptions), Rick Bass's writing is so wonderful, I was drawn right in. His writing is vivid, and heartfelt, and at times very humorous. If you like good dog stories, or just plain skilled non-fiction writing, I'd recommend this book!
Jan 16, 2014 Trinka rated it really liked it
very well written. Love to read stories about dogs and their "intelligence"
Jul 19, 2007 Shelley rated it really liked it
If you have ever loved our pets more than your spouse or sister or whatever, you'll get the connection this author forged with his prized dog Colter. The entire story reminds me to cherish my pets and give back to them the little things they give me each day.

PS- I had fun learning about birding dogs, which I didn't know anything about.
Jul 25, 2008 Doug rated it it was amazing
Colter is simultaneously the most heartwarming, most heartbreaking story I have ever read. If you don't have a very soft spot for dogs, you may not give it a five, but you'll still enjoy the superb, descriptive prose.

I've read Colter twice and have given away two copies to others to demonstrate my love for this text.
May 06, 2008 Amanda rated it liked it
Recommends it for: dog people, nature lovers
Shelves: own
A sweet book about dogs, bird hunting, and love. Sometimes it reminded me of Old Yeller, other times it was more like Desert Solitaire. No major revelations here, but I did learn quite a bit about how hunting dogs are raised and trained. And it gave me a new respect for the amount of time and devotion one must invest.
This is a beautiful book. He describes perfectly the way any dog lover feels about his or her "IT" dog. The best dog EVER had no matter how bad the dog may be. While it's somewhat similar in this concept to "My Dog Tulip"... this story is touching and Ackerly's is.. well... unusual? and kind of creepy.
Feb 16, 2011 Carolyn rated it it was amazing
The best of the three dog books I have read this year. It is the best not because of the "best dog" but the author's ability to describe the emotion attached to hunting, appreciating nature and the ourdoors, and spending time with a dog you love. I will read some other titles from this author.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 22 23 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Dogs Never Lie About Love: Reflections on the Emotional World of Dogs
  • Indian Creek Chronicles: A Winter Alone in the Wilderness
  • Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, Vol 1
  • Where Rivers Change Direction
  • Something to Be Desired
  • Dog Walks Man: A Six-Legged Odyssey
  • Dogs
  • The Social Lives of Dogs: The Grace of Canine Company
  • Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs
  • Pieces of White Shell
  • Lucky Peach Issue 2
  • Dog Years
  • Irons in the Fire
  • Last Watch of the Night: Essays Too Personal and Otherwise
  • Howl: A Collection of the Best Contemporary Dog Wit
  • Batfishing in the Rainforest: Strange Tales of Travel and Fishing
  • Ansel Adams: An Autobiography
  • Dog is My Co-Pilot: Great Writers on the World's Oldest Friendship
Rick Bass was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up in Houston, the son of a geologist. He studied petroleum geology at Utah State University and while working as a petroleum geologist in Jackson, Mississippi, began writing short stories on his lunch breaks. In 1987, he moved with his wife, the artist Elizabeth Hughes Bass, to Montana’s remote Yaak Valley and became an active environmentalist, wo ...more
More about Rick Bass...

Share This Book

“I do not concern myself with my inability to feel such comfort amidst humans (other than with very few friends and family), but, rather, am simply thankful that at least dogs exist, and I’m humbly aware of how much less a person I’d be – how less a human – if they did not exist. ” 46 likes
“A dog creates, transcribes, a new landscape for you. A dog like Colter sharpens your joy of all the seasons, and for a while, sometimes a long while, such a dog seems capable, by himself alone, of holding time in place--of pinning it, and holding it taught. And then when he is gone, it is as if the world is taken away.

Dogs like that are young for what seems like a very long time....

One you have lost a dog--especially the first you trained from a pup, the one you first set sail into the world with--you can never fully give of yourself to another dog. You can never again look at a dog you love without hedging a tiny bit, if only subconsciously, against the day when that dog, too, must leave. You can never again hunt or enter the future so recklessly, so joyously, with that weight of forethought....

As I sleep restlessly, night after night, or more often, as I lie there awake, I can see him running and I feel guilty that I am not there to honor the birds he is finding... One way or the other, he is still out there running. He will never rest.... I will always want him to know a moment's rest, and peace, and he will always know in his hot heart that the only peace to be gotten is by never resting, by always pushing on.

He is my Colter.... I am still his, and he is still mine.”
More quotes…