21 Great Books About Dogs

two samoyed puppies with some books

Reading a great book is a fantastic way to block out the world, engage your mind, and relax. If you love dogs, there are plenty of books available full of tales that are heartrending, heartwarming, exciting, adventurous, and more. No matter what type of story you’re looking for, there’s a book about dogs to fit. Here are a few great books about dogs to get you started:

1. A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

A Dog’s Purpose* (Amazon Affiliate Link) is the first book in the series and is what the movie was based on. This book is a dog’s eye perspective on life, human relationships, and the bond between people and dogs. The sequel is A Dog’s Journey*(Amazon Affiliate Link) and is followed by A Dog’s Promise* (Amazon Affiliate Link).

2. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Another one of the great books about dogs that was turned into a movie, The Art of Racing in the Rain* (Amazon Affiliate Link) is told from a canine perspective. The main character, Enzo, tells us all about his life and adventures spent supporting his dad who is a race car driver all while he hopes to become a human in his next life.

3. All Dogs Are Good: Poems and Memories by Courtney Peppernell

This is an excellent book for anyone who has known the true joy that loving and owning a dog can bring. All Dogs Are Good* (Amazon Affiliate Link) is a collection of prose and poems that shares the special experience dog owners have, this book will warm your heart.

4. Because of Winn-Dixie by Katie DiCamillo

Because of Winn-Dixie* (Amazon Affiliate Link) is a classic dog book that was also made into a movie. The story follows India Opal Buloni, who is ten years old, as she ends up with a dog on her trip to pick up groceries and the dog, Winn-Dixie, changes her life for the better.

5. The Call of the Wild by Jack London

The Call of the Wild* (Amazon Affiliate Link) is a classic and is considered a companion novel to one of Jack London’s other masterpieces, White Fang. The narrator of this story is Buck, a domesticated dog that is kidnapped and dropped into the Arctic wilderness during the Alaska Gold Rush.

Buck must learn to embrace his wild ancestry in order to survive. As the heroic dog survives and learns how to thrive in the wild, he must also face a choice to return and live in the human world or to stay and continue to return to his original nature.

If reading about the wild landscapes of Alaska inspires you to take a trip there one day with your dog, make sure you plan ahead so you know your dog will be welcome to join you. An Alaska dog-friendly travel guide is a good place to start your research.

6. The Chet and Bernie Mystery Series by Spencer Quinn

The Chet and Bernie Mystery Series* (Amazon Affiliate Link) is a multi-volume series for anyone who loves dogs and detectives. Chet is our super-sleuthing canine and is the narrator of the series.

Chet takes us along on all of his adventures with his human partner Bernie. There is plenty of action, adventure, and intrigue in addition to the comedy that comes from a canine perspective in the human world.

7. Dog Island by Jil Johnson

Dog Island* (Amazon Affiliate Link) is a sweet yet sad story told through the eyes of an abandoned Beagle named Willy. He tells a story of other dogs in shelters and how they eventually end up on Dog Island. This book helps to raise awareness about animal cruelty and how to prevent it.

8. The Forever Dog by Rodney Habib and Karen Shaw Becker

A must-read for any dog owner, The Forever Dog* (Amazon Affiliate Link) offers new science that can prolong your dog’s life. This book talks about how nutrition, stress management, and exercise are important aspects of owning a dog. It explains how all these things may potentially extend your dog’s life. This is a must-read for any dog owner.

9. The Friend by Sigrid Nunez

The Friend* (Amazon Affiliate Info) is both tragic and heartwarming. The story follows a woman whose best friend dies and his Great Dane that she inherits as they both mourn their loss of him. Throughout the book, they work through their grief together and form an unbreakable bond.

10. The Genius of Dogs by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods

We love our dogs for their comedic and goofy antics. Although they may do weird, and sometimes dumb, things, dogs show signs of incredible social intelligence. They often pick up on cues no other animal can.

The Genius of Dogs* (Amazon Affiliate Link) is a non-fiction book that explores compelling new research in cognitive science in dogs. In addition to valuable and mesmerizing insights into dogs you can use to bond better with them, you may also end up seeing your dog in a whole new light.

11. The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford

Homeward Bound is a classic animal movie that was based on the book, The Incredible Journey* (Amazon Affiliate Link). The adventurous and heartwarming story of three house pets, two dogs and a cat, making their way home through the wilderness is one of the great children’s stories of all time and it is perfect for dog lovers young and old.

12. Marley & Me by John Grogan

Marley & Me* (Amazon Affiliate Link) was a book first and then made into a popular movie. It’s an unforgettable, heartwarming story of a family and the hilariously neurotic dog that taught them the most about life and love.

13. Merle’s Door by Ted Kerasote

Merle’s Door* (Amazon Affiliate Link) is the story of a Labrador Mix living in the wild and Ted Kerasote, who met him while on a camping trip. During the trip, they form a bond. Kerasote names the Lab Mix Merle and brings him home, but also has to figure out how to make sure Merle is still happy. After all, he’s used to roaming free in the wild.

14. Off the Leash by Mattew Gilbert

In Off the Leash* (Amazon Affiliate Link), Matthew Gilbert collects his musings about the real-life characters and events at his local dog park. The Boston Globe TV Critic offers an interesting look into dog park culture and happenings from the perspective of a first-time dog owner.

15. The Philosopher and The Wolf by Mark Rowlands

The Philosopher and The Wolf* (Amazon Affiliate Link) is a memoir. Mark Rowlands writes about his experiences and lessons learned from raising a wolf he named Brenin.

Full of self-deprecating jokes and valuable lessons, this book is also an interesting philosophical look into the differences in canine and human intelligence, thinking, behavior, and more.

16. Rin Tin Tin: The Life and Legend by Susan Orlean

Rin Tin Tin is one of the most legendary dog heroes. The book, Rin Tin Tin: The Life and Legend* (Amazon Affiliate Link), is a great place to start to learn more about this incredible German Shepherd. You can follow along as Rin Tin Tin goes from an abandoned puppy on the battlefields of the First World War to his rise to international stardom and beyond.

17. The Speckled Beauty: A Dog and His People by Rick Bragg

In this memoir, Rick Bragg tells the story of Speck, a stray dog that appeared on Bragg’s mother’s farm. Appearing after Bragg’s cancer journey, Speck helped Bragg as he began his recovery. The Speckled Beauty* (Amazon Affiliate Link) is a heartwarming story that will make you laugh, cry, and want to hug your dog.

18. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

This novel does not feature a dog as the lead character. But, it is a harrowing story with three canines as strong supporting characters. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle* (Amazon Affiliate Link) follows the main character as he needs to learn how to survive on his own in the wild following a tragedy. However, he’s not really all on his own – he does have the help of three loyal dogs.

19. What A Dog Knows: A Novel by Susan Wilson

What a Dog Knows* (Amazon Affiliate Link) is a novel about a young woman named Ruby who, after a lightning storm, finds out she has psychic powers. She encounters a puppy and realizes she can communicate with animals. Ruby sets off with her new friend and begins the long journey of confronting her traumatic past.

20. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

Where the Red Fern Grows* (Amazon Affiliate Link) is a classic dog book. The story follows, Billy, a young boy who has always dreamed of owning two dogs as he works hard during tough times to get the dogs he has always wanted and trains them into some of the best hunting dogs in the region. The book follows their adventures as they grow together and learn together through hope, despair, and tragedy.

21. White Fang by Jack London

White Fang* (Amazon Affiliate Link) is one of Jack London’s masterpieces and is a great pairing to The Call of the Wild. This story is told from the perspective of a wild wolfdog as they go through domestication during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush in Canada.

Through this book, we get an outside perspective on how animals might view humans and how they view their world. While exploring complex themes like redemption, morality, and more, we are also faced with White Fang’s evaluation of the equally violent worlds of wild animals and of humans.

These are just a few great books about dogs to add to your reading list. Although nothing beats a good book, sometimes you might be in the mood for a movie instead. A lot of these books have movie adaptations. But, if you’re stuck on what to watch and you still want to stick with dogs, check out this list of awesome dog movies!

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