By spending a year alongside rising star Jack, a champion Australian Shepherd, and his friends, magazine journalist Josh Dean rips back the curtain on the dog show world, providing not just a hilarious and often touching portrait of a colorful subculture only slightly exaggerated in the film Best in Show, but also a revealing look at our love affair with the world’s most doted upon and tinkered with animal species, examining the colossal array of dog types and humans who love them.
By and large, the book follows Jack as he grows over the course of a year (through Westminster, in February of 2011) from still-improving adolescent to seasoned adult show dog. We get to know him and the people around him, to experience what it’s like to own a show dog, and to train one. And at the end of every day we come to appreciate him for what he is, a loveable and intelligent house pet—albeit one with a highly unusual acumen.
Supplementing Jack’s story is the history and sociology of this eccentric and fascinating subculture of breeders and dog show fanciers. Dean explores the history of breeding and of dog shows, and all the many related peculiarities: judging, training, naming, promoting, hair styling, kennel owning, RV driving, hotel finding, treat selecting, and more.