12 Books Every Dog Lover Should Explore

Dogs, with their wagging tails, warm eyes, and unwavering loyalty, bring a unique kind of joy and unconditional love into our lives. From the time we acquired them from our trusted best dog breeders, until the day we have to let them go. They are not just pets but companions, confidantes, and members of the family. 

Literature, over centuries, has mirrored this profound bond between humans and dogs, encapsulating the emotional and often life-changing experiences shared with these four-legged friends. Today we have a curated list of must-read books that delve into the essence of the human-dog relationship, exploring it through fictional tales, factual insights, and children’s stories.

Fiction Books

  • The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

This poignant tale is narrated by Enzo, a wise and philosophical dog, who believes he will be reincarnated as a human in his next life. As he reflects on his life with his owner, a struggling race car driver, Enzo offers insights on love, loss, and the human condition.

The main human character is Denny Swift, a skilled race car driver facing personal and professional challenges, while Enzo, his loyal canine companion, offers a unique perspective on the trials and tribulations of his human friend.

The emotional narrative and Enzo’s insightful observations on life resonate deeply with dog lovers, showcasing the profound bond between humans and their canine companions​.

  • Marley & Me by John Grogan

This heartwarming memoir chronicles the life and antics of Marley, a lovable but mischievous Labrador Retriever, as he brings joy, love, and a fair share of chaos into the lives of the Grogan family.

John and Jenny Grogan are a young couple who decide to start their family by adopting Marley, an adorable but incorrigible Labrador, whose misadventures provide both challenges and endless amusement.

The book encapsulates the unyielding loyalty, boundless energy, and unconditional love that dogs bring into our lives, making it a touching read for dog enthusiasts​.

  • A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

This touching narrative follows a devoted dog as he reincarnates into several lives, each time with a different owner, learning and teaching valuable life lessons along the way.

The story centers around a thoughtful dog who goes by several names across his lifetimes, such as Bailey, Ellie, and Buddy, each time forming a deep bond with his human companions.

Through a blend of humor, adventure, and emotional depth, this book explores the enduring bond between dogs and humans, making it a compelling read for dog lovers.

In a stark departure from the heartwarming tales, Cujo tells the story of a friendly Saint Bernard who turns deadly after contracting rabies, leading to a terrifying ordeal for a mother and her son trapped by the ferocious dog.

The Trenton family, particularly Donna and her son Tad, find themselves at the center of a horrifying siege by Cujo, whose tragic transformation from a gentle giant to a monstrous creature forms the crux of the story.

This thrilling narrative explores the darker, less savory aspects of the connection between human and dog – fear, power, and trauma. It’s a horror literature classic, and for good reason. 

  • One Good Dog by Susan Wilson

This tale of redemption brings together Adam March, a man facing a personal crisis, and Chance, a Pit Bull rescued from a life of dogfighting. Together, they embark on a journey of healing, forgiveness, and mutual companionship.

Adam March, facing a downfall in his professional and personal life, finds an unlikely companion in Chance, a pit bull with a brutal past, as they help each other overcome their respective challenges.

Through a heartfelt narrative, the book delves into themes of redemption, the healing power of companionship, and the remarkable ability of dogs to touch and better human lives​​.

Non-Fiction Books

  • How Dogs Work by Raymond Coppinger

This insightful book delves into the science of canine behavior and evolution, exploring how dogs’ various abilities and behaviors are honed for the roles they are bred to fill.

Readers can gain a better understanding of the natural instincts and behaviors of dogs, as well as the evolutionary factors that have shaped dogs into the companions we know today. The book also sheds light on various breeds and their specific traits and capabilities​​.

  • Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Do What They Do by Marc Bekoff

Marc Bekoff, a renowned ethologist, explores the emotional lives and behaviors of dogs in this eye-opening book. Through observations and scientific research, Bekoff delves into the minds of dogs, explaining their actions, emotions, and the bonds they share with humans.

Readers can learn about the complex emotional lives of dogs, the underlying reasons for their behaviors, and how to foster a deeper connection and understanding with their canine companions​​.

  • The Book Your Dog Wishes You Would Read by Louise Glazebrook

Written by a renowned dog behaviorist and trainer, this book serves as a guide to understanding and effectively communicating with dogs. It provides practical advice on training, socialization, and addressing behavioral issues.

Dog owners can gain valuable insights into the psychology of dogs, learning effective communication techniques and training methods to build a better relationship with their furry friends​​.

  • Dogs with Jobs: Inspirational Tales of the World’s Hardest Working Dogs by Penny Junor

Celebrating the incredible contributions of service dogs, this book narrates the inspiring tales of dogs who have made significant impacts in the lives of individuals and communities, showcasing the vast array of jobs dogs can perform.

From assistance dogs to search-and-rescue dogs, readers can learn about the remarkable abilities and the profound difference that well-trained dogs can make in the world. The book also highlights the strong bond between service dogs and their handlers, exemplifying the incredible loyalty and intelligence of dogs​​.

Children’s Books

  • Lessons from Shadow: My Life Lessons for Boys and Girls by Shadow Bregman, translated by Wally (Daddy) Bregman

This endearing picture book narrates the life lessons shared by Shadow, a 12-year-old black Labrador, making it a delightful read for young readers. Through simple yet impactful narratives, Shadow imparts wisdom on friendship, love, and kindness.

Children can learn valuable life lessons on empathy, friendship, and the importance of love and family, nurturing a love for animals from a tender age​​.

  • Walter the Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray

This humorous tale follows Walter, a good-natured dog with a flatulence problem. Despite his stinky issue, Walter’s flatulence saves the day, making him a hero in a series of funny and heartwarming adventures.

Through laughter and playful storytelling, children learn about acceptance, understanding, and the idea that everyone has unique qualities that can be beneficial in unexpected ways​.

  • Rollo the Bulldog by Reed Duncan:

Rollo is a curious bulldog who often finds himself in amusing and tricky situations due to his adventurous spirit. His tales are filled with playful mischief and heartwarming moments as he explores the world around him.

The playful narrative teaches children about curiosity, resilience, and the importance of being oneself, all while fostering a love for animals through the lovable character of Rollo​​.

Honorable Mentions

  • Red Dog by Louis de Bernières: An adventurous tale of a charismatic dog bringing a community together​.
  • 14 Dogs and Me: One Woman’s Story of Never Saying No by Mary Roberts: A memoir exploring the fulfilling journey of rescuing and living with fourteen dogs​​.
  • Dog Breath: The Horrible Trouble with Hally Tosis by Dav Pilkey: A humorous children’s book that is both entertaining and educative, narrating the story of a dog with a bad breath problem​​.


The diverse selection of books featured in this article celebrate the timeless bond between humans and dogs in myriad ways. From heartwarming tales of companionship to educational insights into canine behavior, these books offer a rich exploration into the beautiful world of dogs through literature. Whether you’re a dog lover or someone curious about the human-canine bond, picking up one of these books will surely provide a rewarding experience.