Dog of the Decade

Breed Trends and What They Mean in America


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SKU: 9781476684338 Categories: ,
Imprint or Series:Dogs in Our World

About the Book

What do dogs mean in America? How do Americans make meaning through their dogs? The United States has long expressed its cultural unconscious through canine iconography. Through our dogs, we figure out what we’re thinking and who we are, representing by proxy the things that we don’t quite want to recognize in ourselves. Often, it’s a specific breed or type of dog that serves as an informal cultural mascot, embodying an era’s needs, fears, desires, longings, aspirations, repressions, and hopeless contradictions. Combining cultural studies with personal narrative, this book creates a playful, speculative reading of American culture through its canine self-representations. Looking at seven different breeds or types over the last seven decades, readers will go on an intellectual dog walk through some of the mazes of American cultural mythology.

About the Author(s)

Deborah Thompson is a professor of English at Colorado State University, where she teaches literature and creative nonfiction. She has published numerous creative and critical essays.

Bibliographic Details

Deborah Thompson. Series Editor Brian Patrick Duggan
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 212
Bibliographic Info: 14 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8433-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4556-8
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Dogs in Our World

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Introduction: Breedologies: How We Look with Dogs 1

Chapter One. Made in America: Cocker Spaniels in the 1950s 17

Chapter Two. Thousands of Howls: Beagles in the 1960s 38

Chapter Three. Rewilding: Dogs as Wolves in the 1970s 55

Chapter Four. Breeding Bullies: Pit Bulls in the 1980s 83

Chapter Five. A Dog for All Seasons: Labrador Retrievers in the 1990s 112

Chapter Six. Mutty Waters: Mixed Breeds in the 2000s 138

Chapter Seven. Made to Order: Designer Dogs in the 2010s 158

Afterword: How Will We Look with Dogs? 182

Chapter Notes 187

Bibliography 193

Index 199