Quick Reads: “What’s a Dog For?” by John Homans

What’s a Dog For?

By John Homans


The spayed and shampooed apartment-dwelling puppy has come a long way from its wolf ancestors. John Homans, a dog lover and executive editor of New York magazine, retraces that journey from Darwin’s study of canine emotions to puppy mills to a canine-science conclave in Vienna. The book covers doggie consciousness and evolution, but Homans hits his stride on topics like the red-state (pro)/blue-state (con) divide over euthanasia and the aristocratic origins of canine pedigree. Sprinkled throughout are charming anecdotes that will delight dog lovers and even likely appeal to die-hard cat people.

This review originally appeared in our November/December issue of Mother Jones.