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Reviews

"Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens and P. T. Barnum walk into a pub... a classic comic set-up that can only lead to one punch line: The Invention of the Modern Dog. This chronicle—by science historians Michael Worboys and Neil Pemberton and historian Julie-Marie Strange—charts the confluence of biology, class, and popular entertainment that resulted in an unprecedented burst of nineteenth-century canine breeding. That tumult, they argue, stares out at us today from the eyes of our dogs."

"Reveals how the Victorians invented the modern way of ordering and breeding man's best friend."

"In The Invention of the Modern Dog, the authors show how our modern attitudes to breeds have been shaped by Victorian cultural ideals. The book makes for a fascinating read for anyone interested in the origins of today's dog breeds."

"Worboys, Strange and Pemberton have produced a magnificent book... a wonderfully lively text that traces the sources of our own obsession with doggy design and offers a gentle warning about what is at stake when we fiddle too far."

"Highly entertaining and plentifully illustrated."

"A treasure-trove of detail, and a wonderful synthesis of information that would otherwise be buried in the rather obscure annals of the enthusiasts of dog breeding. There really is no better guide to this material. Fun as well as instructive, particularly when we learn about the history of specific breeds, this book provides a very important service to historians of animals and anyone with an interest in Victorian social and cultural history."

"Histories of animals often portray breeds as timeless. The Invention of the Modern Dog shows otherwise. Today’s notion of breeds, often based on appearance rather than behavior, is a recent creation. It developed amidst the new passion that arose in Victorian England: dog shows. This well-researched and insightful book takes us inside that world to reveal the source for ideas, such as the value of ‘pure breeding,’ that we take for granted today."

"Superbly researched and beautifully written, The Invention of the Modern Dog traces the development of pedigree breeding through a vast range of historical sources. The book provides a subtle and important contribution to our understanding not only of dog breeding but also of the Victorian period."

"The age of the Labradoodle takes it for granted that dogs come in distinct but mixable breeds. This remarkable book reconstructs the interlocking histories—social, cultural, and scientific—that brought the idea of standardized dog breeds, along with many of the breeds themselves, into being in Britain in the nineteenth century. A tour de force."