Must Read Novels Featuring Dogs

Celebrate National Novel Writing Month with dog novels.

By Cari Jorgensen | Posted: November 12, 2014, 12 p.m. PST

November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. Writers gather for the entire month all across the world and write. The goal? Write an entire novel in 30 days.

Easy, right? All you need to do is start writing. And maybe a little inspiration and motivation. What better place to get it than from dogs? Dog lovers know that these furry friends make great stories we likely share with friends and family at gatherings and on social media.

They make such great stories, in fact, that there have even been a few novels about them.

Get a blanket, your favorite hot beverage and perhaps a box of tissues, and cozy up with these 9 novels that feature dogs.


Dog Novels 

1. The Call of the Wild – Jack London
Originally published in 1903, this book is about a Mixed Breed dog living in California, until he’s stolen and forced to be a sled dog in the Yukon. It is at once a novel about journeys and surviving without losing spirit.


Dog Novels 

2. Cujo – Stephen King
Cujo is a great pet. He’s a huge Saint Bernard and Brett Camber loves him. He does what dogs do: he chases rabbits. One such chase changes Cujo, turning him into a terrifying creature, scaring the wits out of those around him (and perhaps those reading about him).


Dog Novels 

3. Because of Winn-Dixie – Kate DiCamillo
This debut novel received lots of critical acclaim. A young girl goes grocery shopping with her father and winds up with a dog she names Winn-Dixie. Because of her newfound friend, Opal meets lots of interesting people with great stories to tell and learns about friendship and forgiveness.


Dog Novels 

4. Old Yeller – Fred Gipson
First impressions are not always the best ones. Travis didn’t like Old Yeller much at the beginning. In time, the dog proved to be a valuable asset to Travis and his family, protecting them from anything. Travis must find out if he’s as strong and courageous as Old Yeller when the dog needs his help.


Dog Novels 

5. The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein
This novel takes a look at human life through the eyes of a dog. Enzo learns about human nature by listening to his owner, Denny Swift, and by watching TV. Facing death, Enzo looks back on his life, making this novel both warm and sad.


Dog Novels 

6. The Incredible Journey – Sheila Burnford
Most of us probably remember this novel best in its movie form ("Homeward Bound’), but this children’s novel is worth the read. Two dogs and a cat travel across the Canadian wilderness to get back to the family they love. They face wild animals, starvation and exposure to the elements. It is a great story of friendship, love and teamwork.


Dog Novels 

7. Where the Red Fern Grows – Wilson Rawls
As is common with novels with dogs, "Where the Red Fern Grows” is an adventure story. Dan and Ann, with the help of Billy were a great hunting team. They were so great that victory and glory were just around the corner. But sadness was there too. This is not just an adventure story, but also one of love and grief.


Dog Novels 

8. White Fang – Jack London
The second Jack London novel in this list, "White Fang” is just as much about surviving as "The Call of the Wild.” White Fang is part dog, part wolf. He finds himself alone, suffering the harsh Canadian wilderness. He is taken in by Beauty Smith, where he suffers even more and is forced to fight for money. Will the savagery end? Will White Fang find a kind owner and live out his remaining days in peace? Or will he die knowing only pain and suffering?


Dog Novels 

9. The 101 Dalmatians – Dodie Smith
Before this story became a Disney classic, it was a novel. First published in 1956, this children’s novel is about a large number of dogs being stolen by an evil woman known as Cruella de Vil, in order to skin them for their fur. The animals band together and a rescue mission begins. A great story of defeating evil that every dog lover should read.

Even if you’re not a writer, these are still pretty great novels about dogs. And if you are a writer, they’ll likely inspire you to start the next great dog novel.

Do you have a favorite dog novel that’s missing from this list? Tell us in the comments. Are you a writer? If so, what would the first line of your dog novel be? Share it with us in the comments below.

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Edith   Gassville, Arkansas

12/7/2014 8:13:04 AM

I've read all of these over the years. "....Driving in the Rain" was very good, but I liked the others, too.

Spencer Quinn and David Rosenfelt also have written a number of good books. All with dogs, of course. Quinn has Chet, and Rosenfelt has Tara.

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