Best Children's Books About Dogs

A Roundup of the Best 61 Books About Dogs

Updated Apr. 8, 2019

Man's best friend! Known for their loyalty and friendliness, dogs have a special place in many people's hearts. If you're a dog lover (or happen to live with one!) we know you'll love this collection of books to read together from classics like Clifford and Old Yeller to new friends like Ruff and Doug.

Officer Buckle and Gloria book
#1
Officer Buckle and Gloria
Written and illustrated by Peggy Rathmann
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Grammy

It has been easily more than a decade since I read this book aloud and yet whenever someone brings up the book Officer Buckle and Gloria, I immediately think, "Always stick with your buddy." Officer Buckle is a roundish, straightish, serious police officer who makes a career of giving school presentations on safety tips. Once Gloria, a precocious and animated K-9, becomes his partner, their presentations get really entertaining. While the tips themselves are a little droll in their obviousness, Gloria's charades and Peggy Rathman's imaginative illustrations will have them laughing in the aisles. Officer Buckle and Gloria are much better together than singly; they learn how important it is to stick together.

The children at Napville Elementary School always ignore Officer Buckle's safety tips, until a police dog named Gloria accompanies him when he gives his safety speeches.

Ruff!: And the Wonderfully Amazing Busy Day book
#2
Ruff!: And the Wonderfully Amazing Busy Day
Written and illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This book is about making new friends, helping each other find new homes, and being busy! I love that Ruff found new friends to live by and that they were all happy working hard together. This book is pretty cute and I love how the animals all express themselves when they're happy, excited, or trying to get each other's attention. :) This story would be great to talk about emotions and how those, in turn, lead to certain actions. Cute illustrations, too!

Meet Ruff the Dog, star of the picture book Ruff! And the Wonderfully Amazing Busy Day. He’s an adorable new animal character created by bestselling illustrator Caroline Jayne Church. What Ruff wants most is to make some friends. He accidentally digs up the house of a little grey mouse named Hubble. By the time Ruff helps Hubble make a new home, he has a friend. Then he and Hubble decide to help Lottie, a duck who has also lost her home. And soon Ruff has a second friend! Caroline Jayne Chruch’s full-color illustrations bring all the animals in her charming story to life.

McDuff Moves In book
#3
McDuff Moves In
Written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Thoughts from Grammy

The most fitting word I can find for this book is appealing. McDuff, a little grey dog that no one seems to want, is surprisingly appealing for a stray. It is easy to see how life with Lucy and Fred would be appealing for McDuff--from their lovely home furnishings to their cozy habits, their picture-perfect life is missing just one thing--a dog. The text is on the spare side as if told from the perspective of the dog. Rosemary Wells' vibrant and warm illustrations give the story real heart. Although I am not sure which decade she was aiming for, I have always liked the period feel of the illustrations. Our family has never had a dog but, in the context of this book, even I find the idea of having a dog appealing.

One rainy night, a little white dog needed something to eat and a place to sleep. He went looking and found something he didn't expect--a home.

Hot Dog, Cold Dog book
#4
Hot Dog, Cold Dog
Written and illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Using simple rhyming text, follows the adventures of various Dachshund dogs, including playing in the snow, digging in the garden, reading, and roller skating.

Where the Red Fern Grows book
#5
Where the Red Fern Grows
Written by Wilson Rawls
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

I have very fond memories that come flooding back whenever I read this. I love Old Dan and Little Ann (Billy's two hounds)! Rawls tells an incredible story that tugs at the heart of any reader. There are so many gold nuggets that carry great lessons, like Billy's determination to catch his first coon, Billy's diligence throughout the book in caring for his dogs, and the family unity that Billy and his family share. Where the Red Fern Grows is one of the best books there is.

"Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two, dogs. So when he's finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own--Old Dan and Little Ann--he's ecstatic. It's true that times are tough, but together they'll roam the hills of the Ozarks. Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements spread throughout the region, and the combination of Old Dan's brawn, Little Ann's brains, and Billy's sheer will seems unbeatable. But tragedy waits for these determined hunters--now friends--and Billy will learn that hope can grow out of despair and that the seeds of the future can come from the scars of the past. This beloved classic is sure to delight readers of all ages as it captures the powerful bond between man and man's best friend. To commemorate more than fifty years in print, this special edition includes historical materials to enrich this treasured novel."

Floaty book
#6
Floaty
Written and illustrated by John Himmelman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

A delightful book filled about the wonderful friendship that develops between one very crotchety old man and one very light dog. This particular dog's unusual proclivity for floating adds humor and a novelty to the story that makes this a fresh take on a familiar tale of friendship and the illustrations beautifully convey the disposition of the old man and his changing feelings towards Floaty. Utterly enjoyable!

Blah! Mr. Raisin is a bit of a grump. He lives all alone in a little house, and he likes it that way just fine. One day, a mysterious basket appears on Mr. Raisin’s doorstep. When he opens it up, it seems there’s nothing inside . . . until he notices a floating dog bobbing along his ceiling. What follows is a heartwarming, hilarious tale about embracing the unexpected—and finding friendship that takes you to new heights.

Gaston book
#7
Gaston
Written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Christian Robinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

It seems two dogs may have been taken home with the wrong pup families, but they decide they are exactly where they're supposed to be. :) This fun and beautifully illustrated book has a great message about being yourself.

A bulldog and a poodle learn that family is about love, not appearances in this adorable doggy tale from New York Times bestselling author Kelly DiPucchio and illustrator Christian Robinson. This is the story of four puppies: Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La, and Gaston. Gaston works the hardest at his lessons on how to be a proper pooch. He sips—never slobbers! He yips—never yaps! And he walks with grace—never races! Gaston fits right in with his poodle sisters. But a chance encounter with a bulldog family in the park—Rocky, Ricky, Bruno, and Antoinette—reveals there’s been a mix-up, and so Gaston and Antoinette switch places. The new families look right…but they don’t feel right. Can these puppies follow their noses—and their hearts—to find where they belong?

Hey, Boy book
#8
Hey, Boy
Written by Benjamin Strouse and illustrated by Jennifer Phelan
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I don't even like dogs, and I thought that this was a beautiful coming of age story about true friendship and love—the kind that is patient and forgiving and lasts a lifetime. The minimalist illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to the sweetness of the story and it's one that will appeal broadly to the young and the old alike.

In the classic style of The Giving Tree comes a touching debut picture book about the unfaltering love between a boy and his pet. One day a boy finds a dog. He takes him home, already dreaming of the adventures they will have and the games they will play. But when the boy gets hurt, he and his new best friend are separated. Will the boy be able to grow up quickly enough to get his furry companion back, or will life keep getting in the way? With dreamily spare text and sweeping yet simple illustrations, Hey, Boy is a reminder that true friends always find their way home to each other.

Harry the Dirty Dog book
#9
Harry the Dirty Dog
Written by Gene Zion and illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Harry is a white dog with black spots who loves everything . . . except baths. So one day before bath time, Harry runs away. He plays outside all day long, digging and sliding in everything from garden soil to pavement tar. By the time he returns home, Harry is so dirty he looks like a black dog with white spots. His family doesn't even recognize him!

Clifford the Big Red Dog book
#10
Clifford the Big Red Dog
Written and illustrated by Norman Bridwell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Emily Elizabeth loves her huge dog Clifford even though he's far from perfect.

A Dog Named Doug book
#11
A Dog Named Doug
Written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Matt Myers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

The typography is my favorite part of this book—the way the illustrator uses the tunnels to create the words is fantastic and fun! There's no great moral or lesson to this story (mostly just a dog being a little naughty and digging) but it's humorous and the illustrations really make it.

Meet Doug. Doug is a dog that loves to dig. But when Doug digs he doesn’t just dig holes in the backyard. He digs...ditches the size of tractors! He digs...tunnels through gold mines! He even digs his way into...the White House! But not even the Secret Service can stop this digging doggy, because when Doug digs, oh boy, does Doug DIG!

Good Dog book
#12
Good Dog
Written and illustrated by Cori Doerffeld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This charming picture book—from the author-illustrator of The Rabbit Listened and Little Bunny Foo Foo: The Real Story—follows an adorable stray puppy who exemplifies what it truly means to be a “good dog.” When a puppy in need of a friend follows a kind girl into town, he lands himself into all sorts of trouble. He gets lost. He’s nearly run over. And he gets chased out of a bakery for being a “bad dog.” But when the pup and the girl reunite in the park and she leaves behind her favorite doll, the puppy has a chance to prove just what a good dog he really is! This heartwarming story told with bold, beautiful illustrations and sparse text is a perfect read-aloud book and great for beginning readers. Families who enjoyed Kelly DiPucchio’s bestselling Gaston, Patrick McDonnell’s lovable characters, and Mike Twohy’s award-winning Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run! will fall in love with Cori Doerrfeld’s Good Dog.

A Ball for Daisy book
#13
A Ball for Daisy
Written and illustrated by Chris Raschka
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A wordless picture book shows the fun a dog has with her ball, and what happens when it is lost.

Can I Be Your Dog? book
#14
Can I Be Your Dog?
Written and illustrated by Troy Cummings
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A dog looking for a home sends letters to prospective owners on Butternut Street, with surprising results.

Oh No, George! book
#15
Oh No, George!
Written and illustrated by Chris Haughton
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Trusted by his owner to be a well-behaved dog while alone during the day, George finds it hard to resist the many temptations about the house, including the cake on the table, the cat, and the flower pot dirt.

Good Dog, Carl book
#16
Good Dog, Carl
Written and illustrated by Alexandra Day
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Grammy

It was really interesting for me, coming back to this book after so many years. It reminded me of both The Cat in the Hat and Nana from Peter Pan. A few of the events in the book reminded me of our neighbor's old dog, Max, a German shepherd/great Dane mix who seemed competent enough to be left to mind the baby. Other scenes, though called for a little suspension of reality, like when the baby went down the laundry chute and landed perfectly fine in a pile of clothing at least one story down in the house. The illustrations, rich with color, are wonderful and the very limited text allows for plenty of opportunities to talk about what is happening on each page, including plausibility, if you are so inclined. Carl is the dog that every family needs and wants.

Available in paperback for the first time, the modern classic that introduced the beloved baby-sitting rottweiler to the world.

Doggies book
#17
Doggies
Written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4
Thoughts from Grammy

The is a fun counting book, working up to 9 dogs, each making a different dog sound--all the favorites! It is fun for toddlers to remember and help make the different doggie sounds. There is a good variety of identifiable dogs, and just one cat, to keep things interesting!

Count—and bark—with a fun pack of pups in this Sandra Boynton classic. Serious silliness for all ages. Artist Sandra Boynton is back and better than ever with completely redrawn versions of her multi-million selling board books. These whimsical and hilarious books, featuring nontraditional texts and her famous animal characters, have been printed on thick board pages, and are sure to educate and entertain children of all ages.

Land Shark book
#18
Land Shark
Written by Beth Ferry and illustrated by Ben Mantle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

The illustrations for this story are beyond amazing and add so much additional detail, emotion, suspense and depth to this story that was already pretty great to begin with. As a mom, I don't love the destruction that this dog wreaks without consequence all across the house, but I do love the awesome vocabulary and the fact that although it does take a while, the little boy is able to adjust his expectations and revel in the wonderful gift he WAS given.

The only thing Bobby wants for his birthday is a pet shark. So you can imagine his disappointment when his parents get him...a puppy. Everyone knows shark lovers can never become dog lovers. Or can they? Full of humor and heart, this book explores the idea that sometimes, getting exactly what you don't want turns out to be exactly what you need.

Dog Loves Drawing book
#19
Dog Loves Drawing
Written and illustrated by Louise Yates
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Such a cute book about imagination and the fun adventures it will take you. :) I love that this book starts with the dog unsure of what to think up next, and that it gives the idea to doodle to gain some inspiration. :)

Dog loves books, but one day he receives a strange one in the mail—it's blank! Soon, Dog realizes that this book is not for reading, but for drawing. Before long, Dog is doodling and drawing himself into a new world, full of friends and surprises.

Snuggle Puppy book
#20
Snuggle Puppy
Written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

A great big hug in book form, Snuggle Puppy is a year-round valentine from parent to child. It is bright, chunky, a pleasure to hold, and has a die-cut cover that reveals a glimpse of the joy inside before it's even opened. Best of all, it's packed, of course, with pure Boynton: her inimitable language, her inimitable illustrations, her inimitable sense of fun. OOO, Snuggle Puppy of mine! Everything about you is especially fine. I love what you are. I love what you do. Fuzzy little Snuggle Puppy, I love you. Featuring a sweet and cuddly doggie cast and rhyming verse, Snuggle Puppy is the perfect bedtime book to read last, because of an ending that kids will want again and again: I started with OOO. . . . Now we'll end like this: [BIG SMOOCH!]

Maggi and Milo book
#21
Maggi and Milo
Written by Juli Brenning and illustrated by Priscilla Burris
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Maggi and her dog Milo work as partners in perfecting the art of froghunting.

Everyone Sleeps book
#22
Everyone Sleeps
Written and illustrated by Marcellus Hall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

"A wide-awake dog looks for a friend in a nighttime world full of sleeping animals"--

Where's Spot? book
#23
Where's Spot?
Written and illustrated by Eric Hill
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

The bestselling puppy is better than ever. Spot’s 25th birthday presents are bold, beautiful color covers that give him a great new look. Enjoy Spot in paperback with full-color covers and traditional Lift-the-Flap features. Have more fun with Spot!

If You Give a Dog a Donut book
#24
If You Give a Dog a Donut
Written by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Chaos might ensue if you were to give a dog a donut.

The Firefighter book
#25
The Firefighter
Written by Jenny Goebel and illustrated by Alessandra Psacharopulo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Brr-ring! Up pops a fireman at the sound of the fire station alarm, and he rushes with his crew to put out a house fire in a nearby neighborhood. The family is safe, but one of their Dalmatian puppies is missing! It’s up to the brave fireman to rescue the pup from the burning house—and in the process, he finds himself a new firehouse friend.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.