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Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior & Evolution

4.31  ·  Rating Details  ·  247 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Marking the first time that dogs have been explained in such detail by eminent researchers, "Dogs" is a work of wide appeal, as absorbing as it is enlightening. Drawing on insight gleaned from forty-five years of raising, training, and studying the behaviors of dogs worldwide, Lorna and Raymond Coppinger explore the fascinating processes by which dog breeds have evolved in ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 27th 2001 by Scribner (first published 2001)
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Jan 05, 2012 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This must be the most interesting and most important dog book I've ever read. I can't recommend this book enough to anyone who owns a dog. It's written by Raymond Coppinger, a professor in biology, something that makes this book even better.

Too much of dog literature are written by people with no education in biology, zoology or dog behaviour. So this is one of the few dog books that is actualy rooted in science, and it effectivly strips away a lot of old myths about dogs relations to wolves, th
Jan 28, 2015 Dpdwyer rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-ficton
Excellent summary of current scientific understanding of dogs and their origins. The Coppingers believe dogs evolved from wolves as scavengers around early human settlements. The ideal dog for a companionship that works both ways, in their opinion, is the village, feral, or street dog, a kind of dog that has long fascinated me. They admire the true working dogs and have little respect for dog shows, which they believe are both disrespectful and harmful to the a dog’s true nature. I loved the cha ...more
Sep 02, 2007 Bianca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers interested in the evolution of the domestic dog.
I read this book for a class I was teaching on the evolution of the human-domestic dog relationship. I was worried it might be too specialized for me, but it was really accessible. And informative.
Feb 10, 2013 Caroline rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Contained some useful information, but was written with an extremely biased, snobby attitude towards pet owners.
Jan 16, 2009 Heather rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book asked more questions then providing answers. I did not like this book and would not recommend it.
Jan 03, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it
Raymond & Lorna Coppinger are not only biologists, but they are also former sled dog racers and have worked extensively with herd guarding dogs and village dogs along with herding dogs. Their book looks at 5 types of dogs-herding, guarding, sled, village and pets.
It has some controversial statements like assistance dogs are slaves, dogs are not directly evolved from wolves or trained by early humans but evolved to take advantage of village, and breeding for show (looks alone) is criticized
Mar 13, 2016 Uvindex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is not meant for answering questions. It's more about raising new ones.
It proposes a new hypothesis about the origin of dogs, a more humble one that the one we're used to know: dogs come from dumps, from human ones. At the same time these canids were attracted to human waste, they became domesticated and used to human contact, by a matter of natural selection and adaptation to a new niche.
Another of the highlights of this book is how the authors explain the different relationships tha
Oct 02, 2008 Diane rated it liked it
Recommends it for: hardened scientists
"A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior and Evolution."

Marking the first time that dogs have been explained in such detail by eminent researchers, "Dogs" is a work of wide appeal, as absorbing as it is enlightening.
Lorna and Raymond Coppinger explore the fascinating process by which dog breeds have evolved into their unique shapes and behaviors. Concentrating on five types of dogs - modern household dogs, village dogs, livestock-guarding dogs, sled dogs, and herding dogs - th
Jun 18, 2009 Shaya rated it it was amazing
I'm not exactly sure what to say about this.

I really I enjoyed how well-researched the ideas about dogs are and found them very interesting. But it does turn how we think about dogs on its head.

Coppinger discusses the dog's biology as village dogs rather than early humans domesticating dogs. He talks about how different breeds became what they are and tries to get across the point that behavior and shape are related. We damage dogs by trying to breed them so they have the same shape of a workin
Sep 19, 2013 Abby rated it liked it
Interesting to me, because I always like reading hard science about dogs, but the Coppingers are SO intense about them, often in unreasonable ways. For example, although I agree with them that dogs are best bred if they still preserve a working line, I disagree that dogs are just worthless "parasites" (their words) if kept as household companions. They seem to believe that dogs are only worth having if you can use them for a working purpose. This conclusion is obviously NOT the conclusion that m ...more
Jan 05, 2014 Sheena rated it really liked it
Kopeklerle ilgili okudugum en ilginc ve onemli kitaplardan biriydi. Kopek sahibi olup da kopegin evrimini, davranislarini merak eden herkesin okumasi gerektigini dusunuyorum.
Katildigim noktalar kadar katilmadigim noktalarin da oldugu, kopeklerimin asalak olarak nitelendirilmesinin hosuma gitmedigi, kopekler olmasa biz oluruz ama onlari kendimize oyle muhtac duruma soktuk ki biz olmasak onlar da olamaz sav'ini ciddi ciddi dusundurdugu, working line'larin korunmasina sonuna kadar katildigim bir k
Feb 19, 2009 Cwalsen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, animals
The Coppingers present here a theory about the evolution of dogs from a canid ancestor, but also include their strong opinions about the current use of pet dogs in the Western world. This is a good book to read if you are interested in dog behavior and morphology. However, the Coppingers become offensive (to most of us) when they talk about assistance dogs as slaves. Their discourse on the cost to the environment and the national economy of maintaining a large population of pets is well-reasoned ...more
Aug 13, 2008 Shawndra rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: dog lovers, behaviorists, trainers
Recommended to Shawndra by: Bark magazine
Somewhat rambling and repetitious in spots, but the message is fascinating - a biologist's summation of how dogs evolved differently from wolves and the impact this fact has on how to interact with dogs. Goodbye pack mentality and tired old "alpha" business. By turns refreshing and alarming - I definitely had my buttons pushed by the biological assessment of the family pet as parasite. Overall quite readable at least for a dog geek like myself.
"To be descended from a wolf is not to be a wolf"

This is a must read for all dog lovers and trainers. The title is perfect. I gained a new understanding of origin, evolution and behavior.

Trish King gave a great lecture in our Marin Humane Society Canine Behavior Academy class illustrating many theories from this book.
Jun 17, 2010 Lize rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010, dogs
I'd been hauling this one around forever. It's about dogs from an evolutionary biologist's perspective. Occasionally fascinating, it's also very dry and academic, and yes, often preachy. I'd rather read Temple Grandin's books five more times than slog through this again.
Dev Scott Flores
Sometimes sophomoric, but more often informative - excellent jumping off point for those who haven't been exposed to canine ethology (good revisit for those who have)
Apr 26, 2010 Christina rated it it was amazing
Eminently readable history of dogs by a biologist. Proposes the most plausible explanation yet for how dogs and humans co-evolved.
Robin Layton
Feb 13, 2011 Robin Layton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite possibly the most important dog book ever. Since it isn't on very many reading lists it gets overlooked.
Clif Brittain
Jul 29, 2010 Clif Brittain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Great point of view, especially as regards the evolution of dogs and their relationship with peope.
Jan 01, 2013 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
A tad on the dry side, but super-informative on the science and biology of dogs.
Feb 06, 2009 Saraberry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dog-training
I don't think he understands hounds and hunting, but good for the rest.
Nov 13, 2008 Hanna rated it it was amazing
Essential reading for anyone interested in dog behavior.
Oct 11, 2011 Fulden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a must read for anyone interested in canine science.
Nov 10, 2012 Jocelyn rated it it was amazing
Fascinating book. Made me look at dogs in a whole new way!
Jan 14, 2008 Tracey marked it as to-read
636.7 Coppinger 2001 -- Ginnie gave 4 stars
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