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The Dogs that Made Australia: The Story of the Dogs that Brought about Australia's Transformation from Starving Colony to Pastoral Powerhouse

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Hunter. Worker. Legend. The untold story of the dog's role in building our nation. The Dogs That Made Australia pays tribute to the dogs that gave their all for our prosperity: the fearless hounds that saved fledgling colonies from famine; the courageous heelers and tireless collies that powered the rise of beef and wool; the tough little home-grown terriers that protected Hunter. Worker. Legend. The untold story of the dog's role in building our nation. The Dogs That Made Australia pays tribute to the dogs that gave their all for our prosperity: the fearless hounds that saved fledgling colonies from famine; the courageous heelers and tireless collies that powered the rise of beef and wool; the tough little home-grown terriers that protected the homestead and garden; and the extraordinary police dogs, ahead of their time, loved by the nation. The selfless exploits of our heroic dogs are writ indelibly in our nation's heritage and identity. The Dogs That Made Australia is a vivid and meticulously researched history of Australia told from the perspectives of the dingo and of the dogs that were imported and developed here, as well as the humans who loved, feared and worked them.PRAISE'A highly readable book about Australia's dog heroes and their contribution to Australia's development. This is a book for the ages. I loved every page!' Tony Parsons, OAM, author of The Kelpie


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Hunter. Worker. Legend. The untold story of the dog's role in building our nation. The Dogs That Made Australia pays tribute to the dogs that gave their all for our prosperity: the fearless hounds that saved fledgling colonies from famine; the courageous heelers and tireless collies that powered the rise of beef and wool; the tough little home-grown terriers that protected Hunter. Worker. Legend. The untold story of the dog's role in building our nation. The Dogs That Made Australia pays tribute to the dogs that gave their all for our prosperity: the fearless hounds that saved fledgling colonies from famine; the courageous heelers and tireless collies that powered the rise of beef and wool; the tough little home-grown terriers that protected the homestead and garden; and the extraordinary police dogs, ahead of their time, loved by the nation. The selfless exploits of our heroic dogs are writ indelibly in our nation's heritage and identity. The Dogs That Made Australia is a vivid and meticulously researched history of Australia told from the perspectives of the dingo and of the dogs that were imported and developed here, as well as the humans who loved, feared and worked them.PRAISE'A highly readable book about Australia's dog heroes and their contribution to Australia's development. This is a book for the ages. I loved every page!' Tony Parsons, OAM, author of The Kelpie

30 review for The Dogs that Made Australia: The Story of the Dogs that Brought about Australia's Transformation from Starving Colony to Pastoral Powerhouse

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kirsti

    Argh, I knew as soon as I saw this on the shelf that it would be for me. I adore Australian books about our history, regardless of whether it shows us in a positive light or not. I adore dogs, and Australian dogs. Two of my own dogs are KelpiexBorder Collie (Although Bob may have something else in him too) Both are complete failures as working dogs, although Danny's parents are both good, solid workers. In his litter, the males were useless and went as pets and the females good workers. Give Dan Argh, I knew as soon as I saw this on the shelf that it would be for me. I adore Australian books about our history, regardless of whether it shows us in a positive light or not. I adore dogs, and Australian dogs. Two of my own dogs are KelpiexBorder Collie (Although Bob may have something else in him too) Both are complete failures as working dogs, although Danny's parents are both good, solid workers. In his litter, the males were useless and went as pets and the females good workers. Give Danny a tennis ball (or stick. Frisbee. A clod of dirt) and he'll play until he collapses. Anyway, enough about my boys, what about the book? Well, if you want a concise history with as much information as we currently have on the origins of different Australian breeds (Heelers, Kelpies, Koolies) while talking about the impact they had on Australia at the time, then this is the book for you. It is also opinionated, and the author doesn't shy away from our rather inglorious past. All in all a good thing; no hiding or brushing away of our awful treatement of both the land and the people who lived here before colonists. A really great Aussie book, and a must for Aussie dog lovers. Five stars.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Saturday's Child

    This is a thoroughly entertaining read with interesting facts and information, as well as some wonderful “tall stories”.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ilma

    I absolutely loved this book. I now own my first kelpie and have an enormous respect for the breed. The book is written with humour and the style is engaging so a factual book did not become boring.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    I chose this read thinking it was going to be a well-researched tribute to the working dogs of Australian history. Instead I found that it was a well-researched, but mostly fantasised, book written by a disgruntled indigenous man with a massive grudge, chip on his shoulder, and racist bias against the British and Europeans who could barely cover his own hatred and contempt with racist insult after insult that any white would have been locked up for if they'd used them against the blacks. Full of I chose this read thinking it was going to be a well-researched tribute to the working dogs of Australian history. Instead I found that it was a well-researched, but mostly fantasised, book written by a disgruntled indigenous man with a massive grudge, chip on his shoulder, and racist bias against the British and Europeans who could barely cover his own hatred and contempt with racist insult after insult that any white would have been locked up for if they'd used them against the blacks. Full of insults about valid archives and he concocted lies about the early settlers that are unfounded and false which isn't surprising these days. Twisted. Ugly language. Full of uneducated cliches. Imagined history of dogs in Australia - except for the valid archival information collected by the whites. The only reason I would recommend it to anyone would be to find the real records and re-write the real version of events without the racist BS. Thumbs down. Don't waste your time otherwise.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    A highly enjoyable read about how dogs have changed the course of Australian history. The book does get a bit power-focused in the middle on kelpie breeding (which arguably doesn't quite fit the theme of the book and maybe didn't require four or so chapters dedicated to it) but if you can get past that, or just generally love kelpies anyway, it really is fascinating. I learnt a lot about Australian history, dogs and dog breeding, and where those intersect.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lynne Belokopitsky

    A surprisingly interesting read. I was afraid that this was going to be a dry, scientific book but the author made it interesting. I enjoyed learning a bit about Australia and it’s dogs. As the owner of an Australian Cattle Dog, I have often rolled my eyes and thought “why does she do that”. Now I understand some of those behaviors.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Candida

    I love working dogs best and cow dogs have a special place of esteem with me. I was lucky enough to own a kelpie of my own and I look for anything I can about this dog. This book was really well researched and while it is really informative it has a good pace with some humor in it. This really an entertaining book that offers a quick history of Australia and its dogs.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    Not what I expected, so while it was intresting in some aspects, there was times I felt like the topic was being repetitive in the telling. For avid dog lovers who want to know about the history of canine's in Australia, this book is for you.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    I enjoyed this book and learnt a lot about the background of the kelpie and blue heeled dogs. It even made me appreciate my dog a bit more. Apparently he is related to the dingo! Unfortunately the author was quick to disparage other historians in this field, which I didn’t find relevant

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tien

    Judging the book by the cover, I really thought the book was going to be humorous but... it's not. It's all about Aussie dogs & their histories - a very detailed account of breeds & breeding, etc. It just didn't capture my attention, tbh... Not for me :/ Judging the book by the cover, I really thought the book was going to be humorous but... it's not. It's all about Aussie dogs & their histories - a very detailed account of breeds & breeding, etc. It just didn't capture my attention, tbh... Not for me :/

  11. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Misleading but Interesting read. That’s a Heeler on the Cover! Got me excited! Where was Tom Bentley?! We all know about the Bentley Mark, but he wasn’t even mentioned. Kind of a drag. But, the rest was interesting.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nikki Balzer

    Interesting read. I flet the authorgot a bit bogged down at towards the end with the endless attacks on kaleski's writings. All in all well worth it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brendan Lambourne

    An enjoyable read outlining the history of working dogs in Australia - a must for any dog lover

  14. 5 out of 5

    Annie Smith

    A lot of history, not what I expected. However, did teach me.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Simone White

    Really wasn't what I was expecting, more of a history of the people in Australia then the actual dogs. It was interesting but unfortunately did let me down

  16. 5 out of 5

    Riobhcah

    Five stars to the 100th power! Kudos to the author for a wonderful look at the origins of Australia’s dogs — their bad times and their triumphs. I myself am a lover of the Blue Heeler dog and I found this book difficult to put down. Blue Heelers don’t know the meaning of the words “give up,” and they have a heart as vast as Australia itself. I’m so glad to have found a well-done book about the history of these courageous and Loyal dogs. If you love these awesome dogs, you will love this book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    I didn't get the definitive answers I was looking for with regard to exact cattle dog breed makeup- there still seems to be a lot of speculation. At least the book helped clear up what the cattle dog is NOT, somewhat. We have an ongoing argument in the ACD rescue group that I foster/volunteer with, and those members who have been conformation breeders in the past still stand very firm in their "dingo+Kelpie+Dalmatian+Bull Terrier" beliefs. I have always been in doubt, having read and collected a I didn't get the definitive answers I was looking for with regard to exact cattle dog breed makeup- there still seems to be a lot of speculation. At least the book helped clear up what the cattle dog is NOT, somewhat. We have an ongoing argument in the ACD rescue group that I foster/volunteer with, and those members who have been conformation breeders in the past still stand very firm in their "dingo+Kelpie+Dalmatian+Bull Terrier" beliefs. I have always been in doubt, having read and collected all of the old books that state such combinations were attempted, then scrapped for one reason or another. Yes, the bloodlines will still be out there, but that doesn't mean it's the genetic makeup of EVERY dog. I also feel that there's a definite difference between Thomas Hall's heeler, and the Americanized ACD of today. Type, indeed. I did very much appreciate that we can, at least, much more easily detail the Kelpie's background. Kelpie breed books are few and far-between. Guy Hull's chapters on this breed's history are much more thorough than the books I have on the subject. I also enjoyed the discussion of the Koolie (we've had a few mixes come through the rescue that showed some Koolie when DNA testing was done). I love herding dogs, and Aussie dogs, in particular, so I'm always reading and collecting information. It was a hoot to see Kaleski's work for what it really is. I have that particular book, and while it's a fun read, it's obviously one to take with several grains of salt. I didn't know, however, that he was a journalist, basically making his own name for himself, and, thus, making up stories during the same era that produced all of those sensationalized Wild West Dime Novels in the US and Penny Dreadfuls in the UK. That was definitely eye-opening, and explained a lot. Hull's book is written with a lot of wit and humor. It's an interesting and entertaining read, though you've got to read through the first half of the book before you even get to the cattle dogs and Kelpies. You'll learn a lot about other dogs you might have been unaware of, along the way, though.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Reb En

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sue White

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dr DJ Clark

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nadi

  23. 4 out of 5

    michaelt

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Kennedy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Claire Hayes

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jess

  27. 5 out of 5

    Barry Gallison

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alice

  29. 5 out of 5

    Megan Topham

  30. 4 out of 5

    Matt Wallace

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