A flak has just sent me an email to let me know that the AKC is about to put out The New Complete Dog Book which is described as "the American Kennel Club’s 'Bible' of dogs."
For the past 88 years it has been the ultimate breed resource — the one book that no purebred dog aficionado and expert can live without. In addition to being the longest continually published dog book in history, it is also the most successful dog book ever published, with over two million copies sold.
This is the 22nd edition of a book that has caused more misery in the world of dogs than any publication before or since.
Back in 2009 I wrote an article entitled So You Want a Dog? in which I noted:
Having decided to get a dog, most people start flipping through the pages of an all-breed book trying to decide which breed. Big mistake. Deciding to get a specific breed can dramatically increase your chance of getting a dog with serious health issues. Dog insurance records show pedigree dogs are less healthy, as a group, than cross-bred dogs. Canine health surveys show that 40 percent of Kennel Club dogs in the U.S. have genetic defects of one kind or another -- hip dysplasia, heart murmurs, deafness, cataracts, spinal problems, glaucoma, Cushings disease, autoimmune disorders, hypothyroidism, epilepsy, congenital skin conditions, polyarthritis, progressive renal atrophy, and genetic predispositions to cancer, to name a few. Instead of focusing on a breed of dog, consider focusing on a broad type of dog: a terrier, running dog, lap dog, guard dog, herding dog, retriever, or pointer, for example. After that, look for either a cross breed of the type, or get the healthiest breed of that type.
As for the dog on the cover of this $50 tome, it's a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, a basket-case of a breed that was literally created at a dog show out of universe of one. This is a breed in which over 80 percent of the dogs suffer serious heart conditions and which, when the parent club tried to prevent puppy mill registrations and install a health standard, they were shot down by the AKC which makes its money on puppy mills and deformed, defective, and diseased dogs.
This is the American Kennel Club, and this is how they do it, with slick pictures and potted histories, sniffing pretensions, and defective products.
The good news is that America is no longer buying, and less than 5 percent of all dogs acquired in the U.S. today are American Kennel Club registered.