A Matter of Breeding (Paperback)

A Biting History of Pedigree Dogs and How the Quest for Status Has Harmed Man's Best Friend

By Michael Brandow

Beacon Press, 9780807033432, 288pp.

Publication Date: February 3, 2015

List Price: 18.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


 A provocative look at the “cult of pedigree” and an entertaining social history of purebred dogs
In this illuminating and entertaining social history, social critic Michael Brandow probes the “cult of pedigree” and traces the commercial rise of the purebred dog. Combining consumer studies with sharp commentary, A Matter of Breeding reveals the sordid history of the dog industry and shows how our brand-name pets—from Labs to French bulldogs and everything in between—pay the price with devastatingly poor health.

About the Author

With a background in journalism, dog care, and community activism, Michael Brandow is a sought-after commentator on dog-related issues and has written for publications including the New York Times, Town & Country, ARTNews, the BARk, and Animal Fair. He lives in New York City.

Praise For A Matter of Breeding: A Biting History of Pedigree Dogs and How the Quest for Status Has Harmed Man's Best Friend

“A must-read for all dog lovers.”
Booklist, starred review

“A no-holds-barred defense of dogs that are the hapless victims of their clueless owners.”
Kirkus Reviews

“If you’re considering welcoming a dog (or two) into your family, read Michael Brandow’s fascinating and eye-opening book before visiting a pet store or breeder. Brandow not only unearths the status-driven history of so-called ‘purebreds’ but exhorts us to love all dogs regardless of breed. A dog is a living, loving creature, not an accessory item, and Brandow makes his case persuasively and with wit.”
—Betsy Banks Saul, founder of Petfinder.com
“A Matter of Breeding addresses a critical but often ignored ethical issue: dog pedigrees… This book is not only incredibly important but is a delightful read with fascinating insights into the history and psychology of the purebred-dog world.”
Alan M. Beck, ScD, professor and director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond, Purdue University
“Brandow’s A Matter of Breeding is at once a keenly observed memoir of his days as a New York City dog walker, a thoroughly researched history of purebred dogs, and an often biting social critique of people, their dogs, and the world they have made for each other.”
Mark Derr, author of How the Dog Became the Dog