For anyone who has worried that being beguiled by puppy love might lead only to a short-lived dalliance, Stanley Coren provides the ultimate matchmaking service. Combining his expertise in human psychology and animal behaviour with the research of other animal experts, Coren classifies dogs according to such personality traits as friendliness, protectiveness, and steadiness. To discover which dogs will suit them best, readers take simple personality tests that reveal what they are looking for in a relationship. Extroverted men, for example, may be surprised to find that poodles make the ideal companions; shy women are likely to prefer the company of a bulldog; and men lacking trust might consider an independent Shar-Pei. Stories about people and their four-legged best friends - and a gallery of photographs - capture the special dynamics between couples ranging from Freud and his Chow-Chow to Picasso and his Afghan hound.
Charles Darwin so loved his little West Highland white terrier, Coren reports, that he often wrote of his dog adventures around the house. Yet, the same man so loathed a big hound he had been given (he called it "graceless, noisy and drooling") that he ultimately had the dog shot. Dog expert Coren (What Do Dogs Know?) offers a scheme that describes why different types of people favor certain species of dogs. Entertaining the reader with historical anecdotes and odd facts, the author describes case after case of dogs who fit--or, disastrously, don't fit--an owner's temperament and lifestyle. Coren includes a conversation he had with Picasso about the many dogs the painter lived with, and reveals that Richard Nixon, who was greatly distrusted by the American public, liked dogs. Actor Jimmy Stewart was apparently as nice a man as the characters he played, and he, too, loved (and spoiled) dogs. Coren categorizes according to their basic temperaments some of the more than 400 breeds of dogs recognized by international kennel clubs. Golden retrievers and Labradors are warm and friendly, he explains, while dalmatians are independent and strong-willed. Coren supplies a personality inventory, "the interpersonal adjective scale," to enable readers to rate how well they are described by various adjectives that run the gamut from dominant to submissive, gregarious to cold, thus helping them to pick the appropriate dog for their personality. This is an engaging, edifying work, but the author's academic background does manifest in his prose from time to time. Photos not seen by PW.