This blog is for aboriginal breed enthusiasts. It is part of the INDog Project www.indog.co.in. Only INDogs (Indian Pariah) and INDog-mix mongrels are featured here. The two are NOT the same, do please read the text on the right to understand the difference. Our aim: to create awareness about the primitive natural breed called the Indian Pariah Dog/INDog. I sometimes feature other landrace breeds too.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior & Evolution
This is not just a book, it's a voyage of discovery.
The Coppingers look at dogs from the point of view of biologists, but don't let that scare you. The science is presented so clearly and beautifully, even I understood everything. Important gaps in our knowledge - how did dogs evolve from their wild ancestors, how did breeds develop, the link between nature and nurture, and much more - are all filled with very credible explanations. The authors infect us with their curiosity, and just in case you are one of those thousands who love dogs but aren't really interested in them, this could be a turning point for you.
"Love dogs but aren't really interested in them" may sound like a paradox, but it isn't. Thousands and millions of people love dogs, but not many (at least in India) will take the trouble to invest in even a basic dog care or training book let alone anything more detailed. Many will do a net search when some specific problem arises (e.g. My dog has started snapping, what could be the reason?) But a few good books could prevent so many canine health and behaviour problems. The general belief seems to be that we can find out all there is to know simply by living with dogs or working with them. NOT true. It's a terrible mistake to not do one's homework before bringing a dog home.
This was the first species to become domesticated, perhaps way back in the "middle" stone age. And yet there are so many unsolved mysteries about dogs, and so many astonishing errors in our assumptions about them. Sometimes I feel more is known about the rarest species than about Canis familiaris. Familiarity breeds contempt?
Anyway, if there is one book every dog lover should read, it's this one. The Coppingers shatter all illusions about dogs being "like humans," something most humans (strangely) seem to think an enormous compliment. They show how canine behaviour is shaped, and what leads dogs to behave the way they do. If we can respect and love dogs for what they are, without illusions about their intellectual and emotional capacity, that, to me, is true love.
The book also explains, in hard-hitting terms, the appalling wrongs we do to dogs through modern breeding practices and also through warped, exploitative human-dog relationships.
So please, if you want to appreciate what a dog really is, don't miss this one. Order it through any good bookstore, or through Amazon.