Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Harry the Dirty Dog” as Want to Read:
Harry the Dirty Dog
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Harry the Dirty Dog

(Harry the Dog)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  52,656 ratings  ·  933 reviews
There's never been another dog as delightful–or dirty–as Harry.

This lovable white dog with black spots (or black dog with white spots) has charmed children for fifty years, and we are celebrating with an anniversary edition. This childhood favourite is perfect for reading aloud before going to bed or avoiding a bath.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 24th 2006 by HarperCollins (first published 1956)
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 Harry the Dirty Dog, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Jenn Griffith There are several themes to the story. 1. Cleanliness (as it is about a dog that avoids bathing by running away and getting even dirtier), 2. Percepti…moreThere are several themes to the story. 1. Cleanliness (as it is about a dog that avoids bathing by running away and getting even dirtier), 2. Perception of appearance (Harry gets so dirty that when he returns home, he is unrecognizable by his family, even despite performing his old tricks), 3. Problem-solving (Harry realizes the only way his family will recognize him is if he takes a bath), and 4. Returning home (despite having a fun day playing outside Harry ultimately returns home because he wants to return to his family and he knows that's where he belongs).(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  52,656 ratings  ·  933 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Harry the Dirty Dog
Mark Lawrence
Nov 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Gene Zion cunningly disguised one of the great existential questions of our age in this Dirty Harry book.

make my day

Do you feel lucky?

This is a book about identity:

Am I white (with black spots)
or black (with white spots)

About change and transition:

Do I have to remain how I was born. Can I not re-imagine myself. If I identify as a black dog with white spots (or by extension the ying to any yang be it gender, sexuality, or some more esoteric quality) can I not change? Can the leopard (or Scotty dog) change
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebooks
Pleasing little illustrations that woo your adult self to read it over and over again.

Harry, the dog, is not so fond of bathing and shoots away to the city for an adventure.
Well, as the name suggests, he gets dirty from the coal engines, the dusts and the smoke.

Gene Zion packs a good tale of the dog who faces rejection by his owners as they fail to recognize his changed guise. Is that a black dog with white spot or a white dog with black spots?

How will Harry ever get them to know!

This short stor
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Harry was a lovely white dog who sported a few black spots. He loved life to the fullest, but could not handle baths whatsoever. After disposing of his scrubbing brush, Harry set out to explore the world on his own, a very dirty world. Playing in the dirt and rolling in coal soon turned Harry into the blackest dog ever, with only a few white spots. After missing his family, Harry decided to return home, though things were not as easy as he might have hoped! Neo has never had a pet, but he quite ...more
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Children and adults who love dog stories
Recommended to Hilary by: Margie
A wonderful story about a little dog that goes on an adventure and gets so dirty he looks completely different. The illustrations are beautiful and so full of humour. We read a couple of Harry books when my children were young but didn't have this one, we love the one we own and have read it again and again. Definitely one I would buy if I came across it. Thanks to goodreads friend Margie mentioning how wonderful these are I found this one and several others on open library.

A great read for chi
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
Jul 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all young children & those young at heart, epecially dog lovers and those who hate baths :-)
I adored this book as a young child. It’s written for very young children, but I still enjoy it as an adult. It’s a very clever story and told with a lot of humor and warmth. I like all the Harry The Dirty Dog books but this one was the first I read and it remains my favorite. It holds up completely over time – a genuine classic.
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-children
I've read all of Gene Zion's sweet Harry... books and enjoyed them all. They were some of my most beloved as a child, with clever story lines and cute illustrations. A child's library is incomplete without them. ...more
Dec 24, 2016 rated it liked it
This was read by Betty white I found an online YouTube channel called storytime online great children stories read by famous people I absolutely loved it especially for the little ones
Jan 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
What a cute little face Harry has <3
Michelle Knudsen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tyler Jones
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you don't like Harry the Dirty Dog, then I don't want to be your friend. ...more
Benji Martin
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've always wondered... does the family really not recognize Harry, or are they just pretending they don't so that he'll take a bath? ...more
Chris Wolak
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of my childhood favorites! A friend shared a link to Betty White reading it, which is a lovely way to revisit the book. Here’s the link: ...more
Andrea Blythe
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My review: Harry is a white dog with black spots, who hates taking baths. So one day, he steals the bath brush and buries it in the yard and runs away from home. Along the way he gets very dirty.

I remember reading this book as a kid. I loved it then and I loved it now. It's a fun book of innocent mischief and great illustrations that clearly reveal how much fun Harry has getting dirty.

I'm going to have to buy No Roses for Harry for my niece, because I remember loving that one, too. It was anot
Sep 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
We love Harry in my family! I think this book is the perfect combination of whimsical author and illustrator completely attuned to him - they were married at the time of the four Harry books.

Here is a link to my review for the #1956Club:
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love the Harry books. Harry is so cute and his facial features is so expressive, really making the cartoon come alive.

Harry does not want to take a bath so he grabs the scrub brush and runs away. On his little adventure, he finds that maybe there are worse things than taking a bath.
Shane Moore
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely and perfect encouragement for a kid who needs a bath

A great length for an evening story, with cute, impressively detailed illustrations and a pleasant story. Afterwards my kid was much more excited about taking a bath.
Mar 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Sweet, funny story about a dog who gets so dirty while playing that his own family doesn't recognize him. The illustrations now look cheerfully retro, rather than just dated, and the humor is pretty timeless (even for a cat person, like me). ...more
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Yes
Shelves: y-childrens
★★★★★Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion

Cute story about a playful puppy who doesn't want a bath, but in the end is happy to be squeaky clean. My 9yo daughter loved this book.
Sep 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
I highly recommend the Storytime Online version of this book, read by Betty White. Magical!
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: preschool-lit
One of the few books my grandparents had at their house when I was little, so I grew to love this one.
3* art
3* story

We enjoyed this one today, Squirt told me as he was reading, "They won't know it's him!" Which was exactly what happened. So that was fun. He doesn't like the effort involved in reading, but he loves a story, and likes to add sound effects and actions whenever he can. Sometimes I just want him to read! but at the same time, his interest is what really matters.
Morgan Hedglin
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The first book I ever read on my own after listening to my Papaw read it to me several times. A wonderful story of Harry having adventures, but ultimately wanting to go back home.
Megan Boomgarden
This book is great for young children because it is filled with ideas that children can relate to- the main character is a dog, the idea of not wanting to take a bath, and the comfort and love of a family. I think this book is also good because it hints slightly, without being "in your face blunt" at racial issues. It shows that just because Harry changed his appearance from a white dog to a black dog, doesnt mean that Harry himself actually changed. He was still the same dog, capable of doing t ...more
Catherine Mason
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this when I was a child and loved it so much I tried to copy the whole story out from the library book so I would have it forever. I was happy to see new copies of it published recently and so bought it for myself but also for possible future grandchildren. It is a delightful story with cute illustrations. Harry is so adorable and naughty just like a human child. The tension builds but is happily resolved. Harry and his predicament is something a child can identify with.
Jennifer Segar
Feb 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jennifer by: my mom?
gotta be the best book i've ever read. hands down. i was recently given a paperback copy for my 26th birthday. i miss all my crayon marks in the old one, but was never ever to recover the original. ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This was a popular story back when I was a kid. It's so cute--Harry is so dirty that he's unrecognizable! Pair this with Al Perkins' The Digging-est Dog, another oldie from my childhood, for a dirty dogfest. ...more
Zuko Cornwell
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So delighted to see dogs these days represented how we truly are in major dramatic roles. I can't wait for more contemporary dog novels. We deserve more recognition for keeping the squirrel population at an all time minimum ...more
Mar 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Read this as a child and almost know it by heart. For every child (who hates baths) and every dog owner whose dog hates baths. A true classic and a must for every childhood library.
Jordyn collins
Dec 13, 2016 marked it as to-read
He dose not want to take
Dec 18, 2017 rated it liked it
A cute children’s book about a dog named Harry. Not one of my favourites.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
MCC Children's Li...: Harry the Dirty Dog- Challice 1 1 Apr 17, 2012 05:25PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Quackenstein Hatches a Family
  • Carla's Sandwich
  • Clark the Shark
  • Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile
  • Here Comes the Garbage Barge!
  • Hey, That's MY Monster!
  • Please Please the Bees
  • A Tale of Two Beasts
  • The Kiss That Missed
  • Arnie the Doughnut
  • Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business
  • Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
  • Guji Guji
  • The Coal Thief
  • No More Noisy Nights
  • Me and My Cat?
  • As Fast as Words Could Fly
  • Chester's Way
See similar books…
Born on October 5, in 1913, Gene Zion attended the New School of Social Research and the Pratt Institute. In 1948, he married artist Margaret Bloy Graham, who then collaborated with him on all his picture books. When their marriage ended in 1968, Zion also ended his career as an author. Zion is best known for his creation of the rascally dog, Harry, who appears in such books as HARRY THE DIRTY DOG ...more

Other books in the series

Harry the Dog (4 books)
  • No Roses for Harry!
  • Harry and the Lady Next Door
  • Harry by the Sea

News & Interviews

The idea for The Gilded Ones came to author Namina Forna in a dream. The recurring image was one of a young girl in armor walking up a...
77 likes · 8 comments