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Flawed Dogs: The Shocking Raid on Westminster

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,890 ratings  ·  385 reviews
The Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of Bloom County and Opus delivers a humorous and heartwarming illustrated novel for kids and dog-lovers of any age!"Breathed, through words and lush illustrations, tells a story that will charm many readers."--The New York Times
Sam the Lion is actually a priceless dachshund, bred to be a show dog. More important, he is Heidy's best
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Hardcover, 216 pages
Published September 17th 2009 by Philomel Books (first published January 1st 2003)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,890 ratings  ·  385 reviews


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Emily Northcutt
Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Allow me to set a scene for you, review reader. Picture a comfy couch covered in snuggly blankets where a reader is perched with two miniature dachshunds ready to read a book featuring another wiener dog. Picture the reader clutching the two dogs close as she reads the opening scene. Sam (the book's main character) has laid his long, broken, little body on the floor of a dog fighting ring. That, my friends, is how I read this book. I had to hope that Sam was going to make it and we were all ...more
Jennifer Weibel
Nov 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I'm not the kind of mom who troubles herself too deeply about the contents of books or movies. My kids aren't watching the Saw series, but if they enjoy the Nightmare Before Christmas or find Futurama funny, so be it. We began reading Flawed Dogs to our five-year-old, and after the first few disturbing chapters I had to read ahead to make sure that this was a book we could finish reading to him.

This book broke my heart several times. I knew this was going to be a problem when the book opened in
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Natalie Cheetham
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
Sam once had it all. He was a perfect purebred with an elusive tuft of hair that entranced show judges. But more importantly, he had the love of his owner, Heidy. But Sam's winning ways and his bond with young Heidy drive Cassius, the pompous poodle of the housekeeper, to plan his demise. Sam lives, but he's now flawed...and even worse, separated from Heidy. He undergoes unspeakable horrors for three years, meeting an interesting band of misfit dogs along the way. With these "underdogs," Sam ...more
Lisa Lewis
Oct 04, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
You’ve heard the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”...well that certainly applies to this book. Why? The cover gives the prospective reader the impression that the “read” will be a delightful romp with man’s best friend, but Flawed Dogs is anything but that.

Being a huge animal lover myself, I bought this book hoping to be entertained, and I was not. The first chapter has Sam, the main dog (character) and dachshund, being placed in the ring to fight a pit bull. When he realizes why he has
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Amanda
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was an adorably dark book that made me tear up more than once. A little dachshund with a ladle for a leg is being put in a dog fighting ring. He sees what he's up against and just lays down to die.

This is how we start the book!

We flashback to how Sam the Lion wiener dog is actually bought and paid for by Mrs. Nutbush for the sole purpose of winning the Westminster Dog Show. Fortunately for Sam, he spies an girl, Heidy, who looks like she should be his human. Heidy is an orphan, going to
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William Bentrim
Sep 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Flawed Dogs by Berkeley Breathed

A fairy tale illustrating that everyone or every dog should have it’s day. That regardless of size, shape or breed overweening ambition can corrupt and unconditional love can console. A perfect dachshund becomes flawed, despondent, abandoned and maligned. He conquers all and returns in triumph. It is a story of acceptance and redemption.

You may not recall Opus the penguin or Billy and the Boingers but Berkeley Breathed has been around for quite awhile. I admit to
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Abby Johnson
Jan 17, 2010 rated it liked it
This is the story of Sam, a pedigreed dachshund with a rare Duuglitz tuft. Meant to be a show dog, he soon escapes the clutches of the overbearing Mrs. Nutbush and elects to follow an orphan named Heidy who is going to live with her uncle. But when Sam steals the attention away from the champion standard poodle Cassius, Cassius will get his revenge. What ensues is a wild and wacky adventure as the flawed dogs decide to claim what is rightfully theirs.

This book read just like an animated
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Jacqie
Oct 06, 2009 rated it it was ok
I really love Bloom County. This book just sat wrong with me for some reason. I heard Berk Breathed speak, and he said that he believes that kids' books should take one into the valley of hard emotions so that one can climb out again. I agree that kids don't need to be coddled or shielded from negative emotions. But this book started off with a dachshund being flung into a fighting dog pit and lying down to die in despair. I've got a soft spot for animals, and I had a hard time with that one. I ...more
Jessica
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
So, you won't often see me give 5 stars, especially not to a juvenile novel, but this one deserved it. Berkeley Breathed's "Flawed Dogs: The Novel" was fantastic! Based on his picture book, "Flawed Dogs: The Year-End Leftovers at the Piddleton Last Chance Dog Pound," the book follows Sam the Lion as he becomes a flawed dog and then learns that heart matters more than those flaws. It's a must read for dog lovers, but will bring a smile to your heart, regardless.

"Sam watched his commandos meet
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Myleigh
Nov 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
It was a great book with ups and downs. It had a good storyboard and is a heartwarming story of friendship and love. Although you sometimes get lost, it was a great book everyone should read.
Lori Posten
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have to say I was really surprised and a little disappointed when I read other reviews on this book. The part about the dog arena was brought up more than once. I thought that this part was very important to the story as it showed how this little dog learned strength and confidence. It was written well without going over the top. I did not find it offensive at all. Having said that , I must add that this little dog really won my heart. The love and heartache was so real. The struggle to ...more
Karen
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've really enjoyed Breathed's comics, and this book, recommended by a young friend whom I love, turned out to be very engaging. My favorite character was the dog Tusk.
Lexie
Oct 29, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: younger children
I read Flawed Dogs a couple years ago. I bought it, in fact, at a book fair because everyone was saying how amazing it looked. But, in fact, I hated it.

SUMMARY A group of dogs with flaws (hence the title) set out to show the world that they're better than pedigreed dogs.

COVER Okay, the cover is what gives it its one star. It's the best thing about this book. And I'm not even a huge fan of it.

PLOT The plot was a bit dull, and I remember that I put down the book to even go do my HOMEWORK.

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Shelley
Mar 29, 2013 rated it liked it
I would like to give this book a little higher rating but I found the content pretty deep and a little depressing for the age rang this book is aimed at. The life of this dog is plagued with all kinds of heartbreak including being in a dog fighting ring, spending time in an animal testing facility, and bieng in a dog pound for dogs which will never be adopted because of their flaws. With that said, the book does pick up at the end and is quite enjoyable. The reading would depending on the ...more
Jodi
May 08, 2010 rated it liked it
There is a lot to like about this book. Sam the lion, a daschund, is particularly funny and the other flawed dogs had great personalities. What kept me from rating this book higher was the amount of cruelty that is shown rather than told. It was a little disturbing. When Sam is taken from his person, Heidy, he decides to get revenge against the Westminster dog that framed him. He has allies, a set of unwanted dogs waiting in vain for adoption. Sam may be small but he's creative and doesn't let ...more
Maddy
Nov 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pamela
Aug 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
5 stars for the illustrations but only 3 for the very sad story. Though Sam and friends get their love in the end, it is truly a heartbreaking and brutal journey.
Zachary Yoo
Oct 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
I would rate this book at about 4 stars. It is very sad because the owner's beloved dog goes through all this pain. I have empathy for
Dale
Feb 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
Originally published in 2009.

I am a big fan of Berkeley Breathed and have been for 35+ years. I have multiple volumes of his Bloom County books, I enjoyed his movie Mars Needs Moms so much that I went out and bought it after I had rented it. I love his children's book Pete and Pickles .

This book, however, is a rare misfire.

To begin with, the book assumes that you read an earlier childrens book called Flawed Dogs: The Year End Leftovers at the Piddleton "Last Chance" Dog Pound . This book is
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Maicey
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was WAY more sad than I expected it to be. It was a phenomenal read; I couldn't put it down and read the whole thing in one sitting. But it really broke my heart to see all the trials poor Sam the Lion had to go through. My own dog is a rescue, which I think made the story even more heart-wrenching to me. He sat by my side the whole time I was reading, and in my head I could imagine him going through the things Sam did in the story, and it about near broke me. I had to keep reminding ...more
Sassafras Lowrey
Oct 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
I had really high hopes for this book because I LOVE the picture book that it's based on. My first critique was that the author really doesn't seem to undersatnd dog shows - i know it sounds petty but I found that irritating. there were some things i felt like were intentionally funny / mixed up with breeds etc but the overall function/structure of dog shows wasn't remotely accurate - yet used actual dog show names (Westminster) also text confusion between pitbulls and bull terriers

My primary
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Tobias
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read the book as a kid(3rd-5th grade) and remembered really enjoying it, despite knowing the book was a bit dark I was never really put off by it.

I had a hard time keeping an attention span to read books as a younger kid, and to even retain information from books I had to have them read to me, this book was really a turning point and is what kind of kick started my joy of actually reading on my own, I remember sitting down every morning and reading this as I ate breakfast and couldn't wait to
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Melissa Lee-Tammeus
As a huge fan of Berkeley Breathed, I bought this for my son many moons ago. We are now packing away his childhood and I just can't bear to give this away - it is too beautifully illustrated and I hope one day he can share it with his own kids. While the story is a bit sad and may be difficult for very young kids to enjoy, middle schoolers with an understanding of sarcasm who love to draw will simply love it. It is a very sad story of a dachshund who falls in love with a girl but is torn away ...more
Darin Johnston
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you like any of Berkeley Breathed's other work with Opus and Bloom County, you'll love this book.

It's a story of a dog named Sam, who starts out on the fast track to win at the dog show. However, Sam is framed for a crime he didn't commit by Cassius, a poodle who wants the "best in show" title. Sam is forced to go on the run and finds himself in a number of hilarious, but seemingly disastrous situations, which show the true character of Sam. The story builds towards Westminster Dog Show and a
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Michelle M
Nov 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
Mr. Breathed is an excellent cartoonist. Unfortunately, I don't think he tones down his cartoonist side enough when he writes novels. He packs a huge punch into elaborate sentences. With the novel's lack of depth, these wordy, showy sentences seem out of place. My intellect was tense with anticipation while adjectives continually held excitement captive. Even if the writing style didn't rub me the wrong way, the characters and the storyline were also huge punches. It's an agonizing book overall.
Kelly
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a book about a dog who gets separated from his owner. In the years that follow, there are many things that happen to this forlorn dog, not all of them pleasant. The book is heart-wrenching, sad, hopeful, and beautifully written. Plus, the periodic illustrations capture the essense and feelings of the story. Breathed is amazing.

I was going to give it 5 stars. However, I took one away because of the inherent sadness to the story in the middle. But trust me...it's definitely worth reading.
Kendra
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I was a lot younger I read this book over and over, and I remember that it was one of my very favorite reads. The pictures were awesome and I remember recommending it to my friends. Since I read this so long ago and I just got Goodreads I do not actually remember the whole story line, but I remember loving it. The ending was amazing. I think this book is perfect for younger kids who are just getting into reading because it goes by so fast and is very easy to understand.
jayden
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childhood
I first read this book when I was a kid, and I loved it, even though I couldn't comprehend the seriousness of many of the situations at the time. Today, I still like coming back to this book for the characters it brings, the beautiful and quirky illustrations, and an enjoyable story. Great book for younger teens & even young adults who are looking for an emotional story centered around a dog.
Sharon Falduto
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I do love the author of Bloom County, and was happy to read his first illustrated novel. I couldn't always quite keep up with where his mind was going, which I thought was challenging for a children's book. But it's hard not to love the story of dachund Sam the Lion and his search for love and a home, along with several other flawed dogs he meets along the way.
Kevin Pereyra
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am almost done with this book and things have gone out of wack. The book is very interesting. I would describe it as a mix of drama, action, and adventure. Big warning although for all those dog lovers out there the story gets pretty gruesome half way through the book where it might break a few hearts and might create major sadness.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #84 Flawed Dogs by Berkeley Breathed 4 4 Apr 24, 2015 08:53AM  

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Guy Berkeley "Berke" Breathed is an American cartoonist, children's book author/illustrator, director, and screenwriter, best known for Bloom County, a 1980s cartoon-comic strip which dealt with socio-political issues as seen through the eyes of highly exaggerated characters (e.g. Bill the Cat and Opus the Penguin) and humorous analogies.

“Neither knew it at the time, but a line had been crossed that could not be uncrossed- a running leap over a chasm of ignorance and misunderstanding between species and worlds...and a baby step taken into life's endless possibilities for wonder and joy and surprise that could no more be reversed than one's first taste of chocolate.

A dog kiss.”
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