Top 5 Coffee Table Books about Dogs

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While my coffee table is typically used for everything from a footrest after a long day at work to a dining-room table during those late night Netflix marathons, there are those who walk among us that actually use this lowly piece of awkwardly placed furniture to display the aptly named “coffee table” book. You know those oversized glossy paperweights that feature aspirational lifestyles of exotic travel, gourmet dining and architectural design… all wrapped up with those delicious eye-candy photographs!

Well, hang on to your remote and clear some space, because in keeping with the philosophy that “every dog has his day” today’s coffee table books now features the lovable mugs of everything from a diving dog to a decked-out diva staring back at you. Yes, a number of photographers have translated some pretty unique and utterly amazing pooch pix into a series of superb large format books that really speak the language of pet parents.

From among the many, here’s a short-list of five that just smell of “best in class”:

  1. underwater dogsUnderwater Dogs by Seth Casteel: While we’ve all donned the goggles to watch our pooch paddle, photographer Seth Casteel took it one giant leap further by capturing the underwater facial expressions of dogs in action – catching balls and toys that have just broken below the surface. The result is hilariously dramatic, is described by the publisher as a “chaotic ballet of bared teeth and bubbles” and is a New York Times bestseller. The photographer and animal rights activist offers up more than 80 portraits of plunging pooches in the book version as well as puzzles and wall calendars.

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  1. DogsDogs by Tim Flach: Based in the UK, accredited photographer Tim Flach lives with his wife, son and two cats – nope, no dogs. So what prompts a cat lover to produce such an “exquisite study of man’s best friend”? A recognition of the many important roles that dogs have played in our lives over time and a burning desire to showcase the variety of shapes and sizes that have evolved. In fact, his models range from premium divas on show at Crufts and Westminster to shelter dogs lovingly rescued by volunteers. Worthy of a Vogue cover, this highly artistic series of black and white photos will appeal to all animal lovers.
  2. BreedsBreeds: A Canine Compendium by Fenella Smith and The Brothers McLeod: For those of us who truly believe our dogs have a sense of humor, this book is for you. It’s a lovingly compiled listing of 100 dog breeds, each beautifully illustrated in watercolor and accompanied by a witty little ditty about the pooch. E.g. “Scottie – Elegant and compact. Trots along like a dressage horse. Deeply suspicious of other dogs, all of whom are considered lesser beings.” How fun is that! Yes, everything from an Afghan to a Yorkie gets the treatment and pet owners will most definitely spot their canine’s characteristics in the descriptions.

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  1. ShakeShake by Carli Davidson: Ears flying, gums flapping and tongues hanging out. All the action that takes place when your pup decides to shake his head is brilliantly captured in a single action shot by photographer Carli Davidson. The book is a collection of 61 highly animated photos that capture lovable pooches in some seriously contorted yet totally hilarious head-shaking moments. Yes, spit happens and dignity walks out the door in a way that only an animal lover can appreciate!
  2. Old DogsOld Dogs Are the Best Dogs by Gene Weingarten, Michael S. Williamson (Photographer): Who better to honor our senior side-kicks than a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer and a Washington Post columnist? I mean seriously, don’t our boys deserve the absolute best story-tellers available? The images and shared experiences are ones that any pet parent of a golden-aged pooch can relate to: the dog who is an escape artist, the one who thinks he is a cat, the singer, the daredevil, the fetcher. These and others are lovingly featured in 61 black and white photographs that celebrate man’s best friend in his twilight years and act as a tribute to every dog who reaches this stage of life.

Mary SimpsonMary Simpson is an animal-loving writer and communications professional.  A soft touch for anything stray, she shares her century home with an eclectic collection of rescues that include orange tabby Chico, tuxedo Simon, and jet black Owen.  She enjoys running, politics, exploring local wine regions and is an avid supporter of the “shop local” movement.