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The Dog Who Wouldn't Be
Farley Mowat
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The Dog Who Wouldn't Be

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  2,316 ratings  ·  159 reviews
The story of Mowat's boyhood pet, a dog of indeterminate breed and eccentric habits but of quite remarkable character and personality.
Published September 1st 1988 by Bantam Books (first published 1957)
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If you haven't made the acquaintance of the Canadian author Farley Mowat, you are now in for a treat. Perhaps best known for his book "Never Cry Wolf", he is at his best when describing wildlife in the Canadian prairies where he grew up in the 1920s-1930s. At the height of the dust bowl/depression years, Farley's father, a librarian, moved the family from Ontario to the remote prairie town of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. At the very edge of town, the untamed natural life of the prairie beckoned. As ...more
This is a light-hearted book by Farley Mowat, a writer with whom we normally associate more serious texts. Yet Mowat is just as fun-loving as the next person and it comes out in this collection of stories about his youth in Ontario and Manitoba. Mutt, the dog of the book's title, is a dog who very reasonably refuses to act like one. So he won't hunt ducks properly or do much else that is reckoned too dog-like, at least while anyone's watching. Mutt was Mowat's constant companion throughout many ...more
East Bay J
I’ve heard The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be described as perhaps Mowat’s best work. I’m not sure if that’s true but it’s a great read.

Mowat had an amazing childhood full of experiences with wildlife in the great outdoors. Mutt the dog was Mowat’s companion as a kid, among a great menagerie that included owls, snakes, gophers and more. Mutt argued with the family, wore goggles in the car and couldn’t seem to leave a skunk alone. He was certainly a dog worth writing a book about. Mowat’s bemused language a
Cheri Micheletti
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was a fun, light book with some undertone calling attention to the undesirable traits of human nature. I thought the last chapter was so eloquent and beautiful, I was there seeing everything. Spoiler Alert*** I was not surprised at the ending but disappointed (for the dog and his boy) at the manner in which it happened. However, I feel that it emphasized the underlying theme of human ugliness throughout the book. Ironically, Mutt (and other animals in the book) was portrayed very anthropomo ...more
Susan Prudhomme
This is a classic true-life children's story about a boy and his uniquely talented dog. The Mowat family is warm and loving, and the author knows how to turn a phrase for maximum humor. Even as an adult, I enjoyed it, although I thought some of the stories were "stretched" a little - but it all made for fun reading.
Oh my, do I love this book. Funny as to the dog's antics and the dad building the boat...a little heartbreaking about the owls. Mowat is one of my favorite writers to settle down with for a long, steady read; his style is comforting and challenging at the, oh, the same time. It was the dad and his travails with the boat trying to sail it from the dry prairie to the ocean that just made me howl out loud. Mowat and his changing collection of animals makes for a lively, warm, honest accounting of l ...more
I've read it quite a while ago, in grade school and at home for enjoyment, but I think it was heartwarming and a nice slice of rural life in Canada.
I remember thinking this was such a very fun book. I was totally enthralled at the idea of the back seat opening out of the back of the car - outside and subject to all the wind and dust of the road - this, of course, is where the boy and his dog sat. Somehow, this description remains the most vivid in my imagination of all the other great ones in the book.
This is another book I can't believe I missed until adulthood; I'm so glad my kids got to hear it at their young ages. My nine-year-old daughter loved it as much as I did. Yet another argument for avoiding labeling books as "for girls" or "for boys." (Not that I pay any attention to those labels anyway.)

I loved The Dog Who Wouldn't Be. The relationship between Mutt and his family---and especially Mutt and the author---was so pure and sweet, and there were so many hilarious parts, subtly written
Same author wrote "Never Cry Wolf".
This review is by my Son and Father. They both read the book and highly praised its content and life's lessons. Both said they smiled all the while, laughed outloud and cried in the end. That's a lot coming from my dad who never reads fiction. My son recommends it for everyone.
This book was a family favorite, and as an adult I find each re-read is enjoyable as the first. This is my ultimate book for when I need to boost my spirits (although I find now I tend to avoid the ending.) Farley Mowat consistently delivered in his stories - how I wish there were more!
I loved this book. It is about a dog and a family in Canada. The dog does not want to be a dog but more human. I read this book with my daughter, the second time I read it. I actually have read it three times.
This book is one of the most heart warming, funny, wonderfully written books I have ever read, and I have read a LOT of books.
A must read for anybody who reads.

Mowat is an amazing writer.
Carla Johnson-Hicks
This is a children's story that will engage all readers. Farley Mowat writes this light hearted story about his childhood dog and other various animals that resided with his family in his youth. Mutt was purchased by his mother for 4 cents and he was well worth it. A smart dog who learned to walk the fences, climb ladders, retrieve birds but would not come when called. He had a mind of his own and his antics entertained his family, the various communities they live in and readers for years. Also ...more
Anita Chen
The book "The Dog Who Wouldn't Be" is about a dog that was bought for 4 cents. Farley's mother was the one to buy the dog and Farley named him "Mutt". Mutt is somewhat obnoxious. Farley's father didn't think Mutt was a hunting dog and complained about it. Because of that, Farley's mother and Farley tries to show him the Mutt is more than what he thinks he is.

I picked up this book because one of my friends recommended it to me since they knew that I love dogs. Also think I have never read any if
Michael Loder
Jul 28, 2013 Michael Loder rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of biography
I believe I first read this story back in the 1950s at the time that it was Mowat's first book. I found the series of stories about growing up on the Canadian prairies to be whimsical, funny, rich in the use of language with a bit of nostalgia. Mowat had a light touch with just the right turn of phrase or word choice to exactly fit a character or incident in a reader's mind.
Each chapter is a separate story. Some are stronger than others. In the best, Mutt, the dog, is the central character. Oth
Farley Mowat, according to some sources, doesn't let the truth get in the way of a good story. Readers of his book, The Dog Who Wouldn't Be, have probably figured that out. But who cares? The story of Mutt is worth reading despite the fact that some of it involved a little truth stretching. Mutt came into Mowat's life as a puppy at the same time his parents moved from Ontario to Saskatoon during the depression. Mowat was a kid and was happy to have a dog. His father, who had been searching for a ...more
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It takes place in the mid-20th century, and it took me back to childhood times. The dog is a delightful character, but I enjoyed the family adventures almost as much as the dog shenanigans. The author, a Canadian, has written several books about his various animal companions, and I intend to indulge in another soon. Farley Mowat just recently passed away, and he was known as a lover of the natural world.
The Dog Who Wouldn't be was a great book. The genre of this book is non fiction. This book takes place in Saskatoon, a city in Saskatchowan, Canada. In the book Mutt the dog does some pretty amazing things. He walks on fences, climbs trees, chases cows, rides in boats, plays with owls and several other unusual un-dog like things. I have read Owls in the Family which is another good book by Farley Mowat. My Dad is the one who introduced me to the author Farley Mowat when he shared with me the boo ...more
I think this book was a short but sweet memoir of the author and his beloved dog. One thing I noticed while reading is that the author used words I've never encountered before to exactly describe everything, And it's a unique thing I encountered in reading so far. He's the author that doesn't use the "normal" English narrative in telling a memoir, and I liked it.
Jenny Cutler Lopez
Incredible book that stays with you. Mowat tells a story of his boyhood and the dozens of wild life with whom he shares his family home but the reader also hears about life on the Canadian prairies in the 1920's. I still think about two scenes in particular on a regular basis which are truly touching. Recommend for a child or adult.
I read this to my ten year old daughter who loves dogs and animals. There are some hilarious scenes, it is very much like what Garrison Keillor would write. One of the best is when the family is camping near a lake and two old lady bird watchers are commenting on the dog, how disgusting and smelly and the owner should be fined, etc. The family are all in a tent and can only hear the conversation. Finally the dad gets so mad he shouts out that that dog is his and he'll fight anyone who tries to ...more
When I tell people I'm from Saskatchewan, there's usually a mix of pity (and congratulations at leaving) in the tone of the reply, if not the words. I understand - sometimes - as Toronto has much to offer.
But whenever I read this book, I am filled with pangs for my boyhood home. They are the pangs of envy more than reality, because suburban Regina in the 80s was far different than dust bowl Saskatoon of the 30s; and more importantly, I did not have Mutt as my companion.
Still, Mowat clearly pain
It took a long time to get through this book with Tessa and Wyatt because the vocabulary was hard and the sentence structure was complex... but they loved it and so did I. It was the childhood memories of Farley Mowatt growing up in the Saskatchewan plains with his odd dog, Mutt. Mutt enters into his book about his pet owls in “Owls in the Family,” but this is Mutt’s story. “Owls in the Family” is much more accessible to read to kids, but I was surprised by the kids’ patience and their desire to ...more
A wonderful story taking place in Canada in 1929. A little boy comes to a home and asks the lady of the house if she would like to buy a duck. She tells the little boy that she has no place to keep a duck, but asks about the little dog the boy has by his side. He tells her the dog was dumped off at his folks farm and then asks the lady if she would like to buy the dog for the cost of one nickel. She buys the dog and gives the dog to her eight year old son. He names the dog, "Mutt" The story goes ...more
Shaun Bona
I should be rebuked for not having formerly read any Farley Mowat tales!

Written in a down-to-earth style, this is a tender story from a simpler time … enrapturing, mirthful, and heart-warming … a genuine joy to read.
Perrin Lindelauf
Charming, made me laugh out loud on the train, made me melancholy. Just not sure I could read it again. Something to keep around for my future children to read.
Jeff Short
A heart-warming biographical of a boy and his remarkable dog. One of the charms of this book is the view into a bygone era for boys and dogs. We did this as a family read-aloud and enjoyed it. Whenever I do a read-aloud, I am also an inline editor. I had to skip a thing or two in this one, but overall a good story.

I am not generally in for the "heart-warming" reads. I don't think it will really be spoiling anything to warn you ahead of time that nothing lasts forever. As a boy and his dog progr
Rick Bavera
I'd heard the name of Farley Mowat in the past, but had never read anything by him.

I am glad I found this book, and finally read something by him.

I enjoyed the tales of his childhood, and the adventures he had with his parents and his dog Mutt.
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Farley McGill Mowat was a conservationist and one of Canada's most widely-read authors.
Many of his most popular works have been memoirs of his childhood, his war service, and his work as a naturalist. His works have been translated into 52 languages and he has sold more than 14 million books.
Mowat studied biology at the University of Toronto. During a field trip to the Arctic, Mowat became outrag
More about Farley Mowat...
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“The third time out he concluded that we were hunting cows.
That was a day that will live long in memory. Mutt threw himself into cow chasing with a frenzy that was almost fanatical. He became, in a matter of hours, a dedicated dog. It was a ghastly day, yet it had its compensations for Father. When we returned home that night, very tired, very dusty–and sans birds—he was able to report to Mother that her "hunting dog" had attempted to retrieve forty-three heifers, two bulls, seventy-two steers, and an aged ox belonging to a Dukhobor family.”
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