The authoritative and usually methodical Roger Caras has filled this latest book with sundry ways in which dogs are wonderfully present in human life, and speculations thereon: why, for example, have humans been breeding dogs for upwards of 10,000 years? The result lacks cohesion (or conclusiveness)--but not interest. The first half is devoted to the development of breeds and the logic (or lack of logic) that determines which Group each breed belongs to. By concentrating on representative breeds, Caras delineates the diversity of the dog world: from the Pekingese lap dogs of the Chinese nobility, the Vikings' Norwegian elkhound, and the Muslims' saluki and greyhound, to the late-come Doberman pinscher, a genetically-engineered guard dog. (Many breeds, however, are skimmed over or omitted altogether.) The second section offers a chapter on the inner rites of The Dog Show; a report on soon-to-be-recognized breeds (the border collie, the Australian kelpie); and a brief history of the early humane movement. Also: gruesome legends of human abuse of dogs. Interspersed throughout, however, are Caras' engaging anecdotes of the dogs he's known since childhood and their role in his family life--the best testimony to the human-canine bond in evidence. Not on a par with The Roger Caras Dog Book (1980) but not without curiosa-appeal for enthusiasts.