The best books for dog lovers

Why am I passionate about this?

I love animals, and I always have. I was an only child, but in a house full of animals with two dogs, two cats, fish, birds, and horses. My first words were “doggie” and “kitty” respectively. I work as a filmmaker now, and it seems like sacrilege to say that I only have one cat (and no dogs), but I still ride horses, and hope to expand my personal menagerie in years to come. I am thrilled to recommend my favorite dog books spanning various stages of my life, since these have always been favorites.


I wrote...

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas

By Emma Kragen,

Book cover of The Twelve Dogs of Christmas

What is my book about?

I wrote this parody of The 12 Days of Christmas when I was seven years old, replacing the days with dogs. It’s a fun rendition of the popular holiday song with mixed media illustrations and a surprise ending. The book was turned into a set of movies by the same title, and has an accompanying song and karaoke track that are available on music streaming platforms.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Art of Racing in the Rain

Emma Kragen Why did I love this book?

Once a dog lover, always a dog lover! I loved finding a novel in adulthood that is truly about a dog.

I don’t want to give too much away since part of the book’s appeal includes a reveal, but I will say that this book gives good insight into the inner workings of a dog’s mind. So creative and unique in its telling, and a fun read.

By Garth Stein,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked The Art of Racing in the Rain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soon to be a major motion picture, this heart-warming and inspirational tale follows Enzo, a loyal family dog, tells the story of his human family, how they nearly fell apart, and what he did to bring them back together.

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: he thinks and feels in nearly human ways. He has educated himself by watching extensive television, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo realizes that racing is a metaphor: that by applying the techniques a driver would apply on…


Book cover of Lessons in Chemistry

Emma Kragen Why did I love this book?

I know what you’re thinking: This isn’t a book about dogs. And you’d be right if you skimmed the book summary alone. But if you love dogs, you will absolutely have a soft spot for this book.

While the book spans so many wonderful themes, most prominently the inequity of gender roles in science in the mid-20th century, I think you’ll find that one of the best characters walks on four legs. This furry character is a treat I wasn’t expecting, and I loved the characters, writing, and story as a whole.

By Bonnie Garmus,

Why should I read it?

61 authors picked Lessons in Chemistry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK • Meet Elizabeth Zott: a “formidable, unapologetic and inspiring” (PARADE) scientist in 1960s California whose career takes a detour when she becomes the unlikely star of a beloved TV cooking show in this novel that is “irresistible, satisfying and full of fuel. It reminds you that change takes time and always requires heat” (The New York Times Book Review).

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Oprah Daily, Newsweek, GoodReads

"A unique heroine ... you'll find yourself wishing she wasn’t fictional." —Seattle Times…


Book cover of Where the Red Fern Grows

Emma Kragen Why did I love this book?

I read this book when I was in third grade, just slightly older than the age I was when I wrote my own book, and it has always held a place in my heart.

I do think it’s necessary to remind people, particularly with this book, that often when reading about animals, there can be sadness with the joy. So consider this a content warning: To this day, I have never cried harder after reading a book. But it was worth it.

By Wilson Rawls,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Where the Red Fern Grows as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Read the beloved classic that captures the powerful bond between man and man’s best friend. This edition also includes a special note to readers from Newbery Medal winner and Printz Honor winner Clare Vanderpool.
 
Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two, dogs. So when he’s finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own—Old Dan and Little Ann—he’s ecstatic. It doesn’t matter that times are tough; together they’ll roam the hills of the Ozarks.

Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements…


Book cover of The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog

Emma Kragen Why did I love this book?

I devoured these books as a kid! My best friend and I played the different characters in the school yard in elementary school.

Such fun depictions of various animal characters, and it’s serialized, so the characters get to live beyond just one book. Any kid who loves dogs or animals will delight in these.

By John R Erickson, Gerald L Holmes (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

The popular Hank the Cowdog series is based on the humorous antics of the canine Head of Ranch Security. In this first book, Hank and his little buddy, Drover, set out to solve a series of baffling murders on the ranch. Is Hank a suspect? An Outlaw? Can he clear his good name?


Book cover of Go, Dog. Go!

Emma Kragen Why did I love this book?

My dad used to read to me every night as a kid, and among my favorites were those of the whimsical Dr. Seuss-esque variety.

While this book isn’t technically penned by Dr. Seuss, it maintains the same whimsy through its illustrations. The simplicity of the text helped me learn to identify words as a small kid. Upon revisiting the book as an adult, I am also delighted by the blunt honesty of the illustrated dogs.

My dad passed away recently, and the memory of him reading this book to me has become even more cherished.

By P. D. Eastman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Go, Dog. Go! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Whether by foot, boat, car, or unicycle, P. D. Eastman's lovable dogs demonstrate the many ways one can travel in this condensed, board-book version perfect for babies and toddlers.


You might also like...

Ballad for Jasmine Town

By Molly Ringle,

Book cover of Ballad for Jasmine Town

Molly Ringle Author Of Sage and King

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Novelist Editor Sociolinguist HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) Good witch

Molly's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

A human child raised by the fae is an uncommon thing. But Rafi was such a child.

Now grown, half-fae but mortal, he lingers on the edge of human society in Miryoku, a nearby town sharing a border with fae territory. He doesn’t want to join the human world properly; he just wants to play music with a local cover band and avoid the cruelest members of his fae family.

Then, he meets Roxana, and his world shifts. She’s a human metalworking witch, up for a friendly fling with Rafi before she and her twelve-year-old daughter move away from Miryoku at summer’s end. But Rafi and Roxana grow too fond of each other to let go easily, and worse still, they soon become enmeshed in a much larger storm of prejudice and violence between fae and humans.

Ballad for Jasmine Town

By Molly Ringle,

What is this book about?

A law-abiding metalworking witch and a form-shifting half-fae musician embark on a secret romance, but soon become caught in escalating tensions between fae and humans that threaten their hometown. The second story after the popular Lava Red Feather Blue comes alive in Ballad for Jasmine Town.

The town of Miryoku has ocean views, fragrant jasmine vines, and a thriving arts scene, including a popular nineties cover band. It also sits on the verge, sharing a border with fae territory, a realm of both enchantments and dangers.

Rafi has been unusual all his life: a human born to a fae mother,…


Topics
  • Coming soon!

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in dogs, women in the sciences, and the Ozarks?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about dogs, women in the sciences, and the Ozarks.

Dogs Explore 401 books about dogs
Women In The Sciences Explore 32 books about women in the sciences
The Ozarks Explore 18 books about the Ozarks