Skip to main content
Back to Results
Cover image of The Invention of the Modern Dog
Cover image of The Invention of the Modern Dog
Share this Title:

The Invention of the Modern Dog

Breed and Blood in Victorian Britain

Michael Worboys, Julie-Marie Strange, and Neil Pemberton

Publication Date
Binding Type
Request Exam CopyRequest Review Copy

The story of the thoroughly Victorian origins of dog breeds.

For centuries, different types of dogs were bred around the world for work, sport, or companionship. But it was not until Victorian times that breeders started to produce discrete, differentiated, standardized breeds.

In The Invention of the Modern Dog, Michael Worboys, Julie-Marie Strange, and Neil Pemberton explore when, where, why, and how Victorians invented the modern way of ordering and breeding dogs. Though talk of "breed" was common before this period in the context of livestock, the modern idea of a dog breed defined in terms…

The story of the thoroughly Victorian origins of dog breeds.

For centuries, different types of dogs were bred around the world for work, sport, or companionship. But it was not until Victorian times that breeders started to produce discrete, differentiated, standardized breeds.

In The Invention of the Modern Dog, Michael Worboys, Julie-Marie Strange, and Neil Pemberton explore when, where, why, and how Victorians invented the modern way of ordering and breeding dogs. Though talk of "breed" was common before this period in the context of livestock, the modern idea of a dog breed defined in terms of shape, size, coat, and color arose during the Victorian period in response to a burgeoning competitive dog show culture. The authors explain how breeders, exhibitors, and showmen borrowed ideas of inheritance and pure blood, as well as breeding practices of livestock, horse, poultry and other fancy breeders, and applied them to a species that was long thought about solely in terms of work and companionship.

The new dog breeds embodied and reflected key aspects of Victorian culture, and they quickly spread across the world, as some of Britain’s top dogs were taken on stud tours or exported in a growing international trade. Connecting the emergence and development of certain dog breeds to both scientific understandings of race and blood as well as Britain’s posture in a global empire, The Invention of the Modern Dog demonstrates that studying dog breeding cultures allows historians to better understand the complex social relationships of late-nineteenth-century Britain.

Jump to
Quick Add
The Invention of the Modern Dog

Michael Worboys, Julie-Marie Strange, and Neil Pemberton

Publication Date
Binding Type
Request Exam CopyRequest Review Copy
Related

Related Books

Cover image of Savages and Beasts
Savages and Beasts

Nigel Rothfels

$31.00
Quick Add
Savages and Beasts

Nigel Rothfels

Publication Date
Binding Type
Cover image of Entertaining Elephants
Entertaining Elephants

Susan Nance

$60.00
Quick Add
Entertaining Elephants

Susan Nance

Publication Date
Binding Type
Cover image of Spark from the Deep
Spark from the Deep

William J. Turkel

$40.00
Quick Add
Spark from the Deep

William J. Turkel

Publication Date
Binding Type
Preorder
Cover image of Making Machines of Animals
Making Machines of Animals

Neal A. Knapp

$60.00
Quick Add
Making Machines of Animals

Neal A. Knapp

Publication Date: May 9, 2023
Binding Type
Cover image of Elephant Trails
Elephant Trails

Nigel Rothfels

$40.00
Quick Add
Elephant Trails

Nigel Rothfels

Publication Date
Binding Type
Reviews

Reviews

Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens and P. T. Barnum walk into a pub... a classic comic set-up that can only lead to one punch line: The Invention of the Modern Dog. This chronicle—by science historians Michael Worboys and Neil Pemberton and historian Julie-Marie Strange—charts the confluence of biology, class, and popular entertainment that resulted in an unprecedented burst of nineteenth-century canine breeding. That tumult, they argue, stares out at us today from the eyes of our dogs.

Reveals how the Victorians invented the modern way of ordering and breeding man's best friend.

In The Invention of the Modern Dog, the authors show how our modern attitudes to breeds have been shaped by Victorian cultural ideals. The book makes for a fascinating read for anyone interested in the origins of today's dog breeds.

Worboys, Strange and Pemberton have produced a magnificent book... a wonderfully lively text that traces the sources of our own obsession with doggy design and offers a gentle warning about what is at stake when we fiddle too far.

Highly entertaining and plentifully illustrated.

See All Reviews
About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
304
ISBN
9781421443294
Illustration Description
41 halftones
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Part I. 1800-1873
Chapter 1. Before Breed, 1800-1860
Chapter 2. Adopting Breed, 1860-1867
Chapter 3. Showing Breed, 1867-1874
Part II. 1873-1901
Chapter 4. Governing Breed
Ch

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Part I. 1800-1873
Chapter 1. Before Breed, 1800-1860
Chapter 2. Adopting Breed, 1860-1867
Chapter 3. Showing Breed, 1867-1874
Part II. 1873-1901
Chapter 4. Governing Breed
Chapter 5. Improving Breed I: Experience
Chapter 6. Improving Breed II: Science
Chapter 7. Whither Breed
Conclusion. The Present in the Past
Notes
Index
Color plates appear following page XX

Author Bios
Michael Worboys
Featured Contributor

Michael Worboys

Michael Worboys (SHEFFIELD, UK) is an emeritus professor in the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester. He is the coauthor of Rabies in Britain: Dogs, Disease and Culture, 1830–2000.
Featured Contributor

Julie-Marie Strange

Julie-Marie Strange (COUNTY DURHAM, UK) is a professor of British history at Durham University. She is the author of Death, Grief and Poverty in Britain, 1870–1914.
Featured Contributor

Neil Pemberton

Neil Pemberton (MANCHESTER, UK) is a Senior Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow in the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester. He is the coauthor of Murder and the Making of English CSI.