Caras, who not only writes winningly about animals but lives with nine dogs and sundry other pets, here eases the task of matching the breed of dog to the potential owner's life style. In 123 concise, perceptive descriptions, he traces the origin of each breed; notes its outstanding traits, good and bad; and assesses its temperament. Golden and Labrador retrievers, for instance, are extremely adaptable; the most popular breed, and one of the most intelligent, is the poodle; but the dachshund may be the best apartment dog. And the Chihuahua, though temperamental, may be perfect for the elderly because they don't need outdoor exercise. In each case, a simple evaluative chart is provided, along with a character photo by Alton Anderson. (There's also a color section with greeting-card appeal.) But far from being mechanical or sentimental, the text is steeped in the Caras morality--he's strictly against training dogs to attack people, squeezing free-spirited clogs into small quarters, or the careless mass-production of puppies. An expert introduction for the novice that any dog-lover would enjoy.