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Good Reads  Mammals  Insectivores to Ungulates  Carnivores  Wolves, Dogs, Foxes & other Canids

Wonderdog How the Science of Dogs Changed the Science of Life

Popular Science
By: Jules Howard(Author)
287 pages, b/w illustrations
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  • Wonderdog ISBN: 9781472984227 Paperback Jun 2023 In stock
  • Wonderdog ISBN: 9781472984265 Hardback May 2022 In stock
Selected version: £12.99
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

What do dogs really think of us? What do dogs know and understand of the world? Do their emotions feel like our own? Do they love like we do?

Driven by his own love of dogs, Charles Darwin was nagged by questions like these. To root out answers, his contemporaries toyed with dog sign language, and they made special puzzle boxes and elaborate sniff tests using old socks to spill out clues. Later, the same perennial questions about the minds of dogs drove Pavlov and Pasteur to unspeakable cruelty in their search for truth. These big names in science influenced leagues of psychologists and animal behaviourists, each building upon the ideas and received wisdom of previous generations but failing to see what was staring them in the face – that the very methods humans used to study dogs’ minds were influencing the insights reflected back.

To discover the impressive cognitive feats that dogs are capable of, a new approach was needed. Treated with love and compassion, dogs would open up their unique perspective on the world, and a new breed of scientists would provide answers to life’s biggest questions. Wonderdog is the story of those dogs – a historical account of how we came to know what dogs are capable of. It’s a celebration of the dogs with answers in mind, just waiting for the right questions from humans in their care. And it’s a love letter to science, through the good times and the bad.

Customer Reviews


Jules Howard is a UK-based wildlife expert, zoologist, science writer and broadcaster. He is the author of four non-fction books for adults and four non-fction works for children and young adults, including Sex on Earth (2014) and The Wildlife Pond Book (2019). Jules writes for the Guardian, BBC Wildlife and BBC Focus. He appears regularly on TV and radio shows, including Good Morning Britain, BBC Radio Five Live, BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 4, Springwatch Unsprung and Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch. He also hosts a popular podcast about animals that visit urban ponds.

Popular Science
By: Jules Howard(Author)
287 pages, b/w illustrations
Media reviews

"A brilliant history of how we came to know our best friends better – the trials and tribulations, the highs and lows. Jules Howard reveals how we came to know dogs better and how that's helped us understand ourselves."
– Professor Alice Roberts, biological anthropologist, broadcaster and author of Ancestors

"With Wonderdog, Jules Howard explores the highs and the lows of science's sometimes troubled relationship with the domesticated wolf with which we share our homes and lives. With his characteristic lightness of touch, Howard takes us on journey of discovery that will leave no dog lover unmoved and no dog hater unconverted. A splendid, entertaining and hugely informative read!"
– Professor Adam Hart, scientist, broadcaster and author of Unfit for Purpose

"Turning wolves into dogs took knowledge, insight and a few cheeky treats along the way. This book contains all three and is the perfect companion to any dog lover."
– Professor Ben Garrod, evolutionary biologist, primatologist and broadcaster

"Full of insight and brilliantly researched, Wonderdog is a delightful read and a fascinating look at how much more there is to learn from man's best friend."
– Kate MacDougall, author of London's No. 1 Dog Walking Agency

"The book about dogs I never knew I needed, full of answers to questions I never thought to ask. A fascinating and eye-opening read for anyone that has ever loved a dog."
– Jess French, veterinarian, zoologist, broadcaster and author of Puppy Talk

"Turning wolves into dogs took knowledge, insight and a few cheeky treats along the way. This book contains all three and is the perfect companion to any dog lover."
– Professor Ben Garrod, evolutionary biologist, primatologist and broadcaster

"Howard does a masterful job blending the latest science with doses of common sense as he covers what we know and still need to know to give dogs the best lives possible. Wonderdog is a must-read."
– Marc Bekoff, University of Colorado, author of Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Do What They Do

"Wonderdog offers readers a whirlwind tour of 150 years of research on the minds and behavior of man's best friend. From Darwin and Pavlov to the latest research in canine science, Wonderdog reflects first-rate scholarship yet reads like a detective novel. This book puts Jules Howard in the top ranks of contemporary science writers."
– Hal Herzog, author of Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals

"Howard's portrayals of the villains and heroes in the research world of the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries makes for fascinating reading [...] his transformed view of love is a fitting end to an account describing the arc of dog research as bending towards just treatment for dogs."
– Barbara J. King, anthropologist and author of Animals' Best Friends

"Wonderdog is a paean to these clever, flexible, charming animals who sit and walk alongside us – and also a humane, thoughtful consideration of the science using and about dogs. You'll want to read it with a dog by your side, so you can regularly turn to them admiringly and tickle their ears."
– Alexandra Horowitz, professor and bestselling author of Inside of a Dog

"A wonderful book! I loved it. Informative and engaging."
– Virginia Morrell, author of Animal Wise

"An informative homage to dogs and to the scientists who have tried to get to the bottom of dog psychology"
– Ysenda Maxine Graham, Daily Mail

"Amusing and enlightening [...] It's a celebration of "a vibrant and engaging era in the history of animal science", and a love-letter to man's best friend."
– Mark Whitley, Countryman

"Zoologist Howard (Death on Earth) enlists the help of veterinary professionals, psychologists, ethologists, neurologists, historians, and others in this eclectic history of dogs [...] Howard peppers in charming stories of his own childhood dog, Biff, giving the survey equal parts heft and heart: 'We had all the hallmarks of love for one another, Biff and I.' This is just the thing for dog lovers."
Publishers Weekly

"In Wonderdog, science writer Jules Howard explores how for centuries scientists have studied dogs [...] many gems are there."
– Julia Llewellyn Smith, The Mail on Sunday

– Kevin Maher, The Times

"His message is profound"
– Zoe Williams, The Guardian

"This insightful historical account of the study of canine minds is essentially a love letter to science, through the good times and the bad [...] Engagingly written, Wonderdog is a refreshing celebration of dogs' minds."
Your Dog

"This book tells the fascinating story of how we came to understand the complex minds of dogs, while making key discoveries about ourselves along the way."
Woman's Own

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