As you cuddle up for a bedtime story with your two-legged littles, there’s nothing more endearing or entertaining than a four-legged character who oozes personality on the page.
It’s often hard to resist the timeless classics, like Clifford the Big Red Dog from the 1960s, or the book adaptations of on-screen hits, like Paw Patrol and Bluey.
But, there are plenty of new plucky puppies and canine companions to fall in love with.
Bonnie Allen Tomka has been a journalist for 25 years and recently wrote a children’s book with her daughter about their Shiba Inu called Ruby.
In light of Ruby’s Camping Adventure publication, Tomka has comprised a list of 25 adorable picture books about dogs for parents and children looking for an adventure with a canine companion.
So, let’s meet some original dog characters from the past decade.
1. Please Don’t Tell Cooper He’s a Dog
Cooper is a mixed breed Golden Retriever, Rottweiler, and Pit Bull. But, the family dog doesn’t accept that he’s not a human. He wants to ski, drive a car, use a toilet, and put steak sauce on his kibble. If your dog is more than “just a pet” in your family, then this book will hit home. You can buy it on Amazon here.
2. Love Is My Favorite Thing
Plum is a whoosell – a Whippet mixed with Jack Russell and Poodle – who loves treats, the park, and, most of all, love itself. Her unstoppable zest for life and inability to resist temptation will resonate with dog-lovers. You can purchase it on Amazon via this link.
3. Ruby’s Camping Adventure
The only Shiba Inu on the list. Ruby is a cute, cuddly Shiba Inu with a mind of her own and a knack for trouble. When the fox-like pup gets lost on a camping trip, she discovers she’s not welcome in the forest. Through the darkness, Ruby searches for a kind friend who will see her for who she really is. Parents will appreciate the subtle message about the importance of tolerance and kindness. You can buy it on Amazon here.
4. Excellent Ed
This scruffy white dog named Ed is dubbed an “imperfect yet endearing mutt.” That’s pretty accurate. Ed is worried that he’s not special enough for his incredibly talented family. Despite some naughtiness, Ed learns he’s special to those who love him. You can buy it on Amazon here.
5. This Old Dog
There’s just something special about an aging dog who gets a little skip in his step for a child. This book beautifully captures a senior pooch who finds a new, tiny partner with whom to relish life’s simple moments. You can purchase it on Amazon via this link.
6. Pig the Pug
Love him or not, Pig the pug has hooked young readers in 10 books since 2014. The little dog is a rude, selfish, and mean-spirited pug who ignores the advice of his friend, Trevor, a kind, generous and sweet dachshund who always does the right thing. You can buy it on Amazon here.
7. Noodle and the No Bones Day
A much different kind of pug stars in this book. Noodle is a sweet, old pug – inspired by the real Noodle on TikTok at @JonGraz – who helps his human understand that it’s okay to just take a day to rest, relax, and rejuvenate. You can purchase it on Amazon via this link.
Gaston is a white French bulldog who doesn’t look like the rest of his poodle pack, although he tries very, very hard to behave like his poodle sisters. A chance encounter reveals there had been a mix-up at birth. As the story unfolds, it reveals lessons on belonging and being different. Spoiler alert: the ending involves a brood of English Boodles. You can purchase it on Amazon via this link.
9. Can I be your dog?
Arfy, a homeless mutt who lives in an alley, sends a pitch letter to every household on Butternut Street to sell himself as an excellent pet. This dog adoption story tugs at readers’ heart strings. You can buy it on Amazon here.
10. Madame Martine
If getting a dog changed your life, this sweet story about friendship and change will hit the mark. A stray dog disrupts the life of Madame Martine, a woman so stuck in her ways that she refuses to take in the sights of Paris. Soon, her new canine companion, Max, brightens up the woman’s life in all kinds of ways. You can purchase it on Amazon via this link.
11. The Most Magnificent Thing
This picture book doesn’t reveal the name of the dog or the little girl, but their connection speaks volumes. The girl, who aspires to make something magnificent but becomes frustrated when she fails, learns a valuable life lesson when her dog takes her for a walk. You can buy it on Amazon here.
12. Short and Stubby Wins the Race
Gatsby the Corgi and his best friend, Herbie, show that anything is possible with hard work and determination. The short-legged cutie is delightful and the story – an adaptation of the beloved folktale “The Tortoise and the Hare” – is a proven recipe. You can purchase it on Amazon via this link.
13. Stinkerton McPoo
Stinkerton McPoo is a black Labrador Retriever who is said to be “the world’s stinkiest and gassiest dog.” The mischievous dog escapes some sticky situations using her stinky secret weapon. You can buy it on Amazon here.
14. Eddy the Farting Pug: Crazy Flying Adventure
Yes, another book about a farting dog. Eddy the Pug’s farts can get him into trouble and save the day. Kids love dogs and talking about farts, so it’s no surprise that putting the two together in a book will delight. You can purchase it on Amazon via this link.
Oh, did you think we were done with smelly dogs? Stinker is a playful pooch who is repeatedly returned to the pound because of his stench. Then, Stinker makes a great escape in search of a forever home. You can buy it on Amazon here.
16. Stay: A Girl, a Dog, a Bucket List
Eli is a big, shaggy, white dog and a loyal friend to a little girl named Astrid. But, like all dog lovers, Astrid must eventually confront the reality that Eli is getting older. She wants to help Eli with a bucket list, but – like all good boys – Eli just wants to spend his remaining time with his human. It’s a beautiful story about aging and friendship. You can purchase it on Amazon via this link.
17. I Am the Longest Dog
Lucy is the world’s longest dog. She has a long, long, long white body with brown spots. This book stretches a simple concept into a silly and fun book for a young audience. You can buy it on Amazon here.
18. Roy Digs Dirt
You’ll dig Roy as much as Roy digs dirt. The lovable white dog enjoys the simple pleasures of burying balls, sticks, chew toys and more in dirt. He also loves mud. But he doesn’t love getting sprayed by a skunk. You can purchase it on Amazon via this link.
19. A Dog Named Doug
Another digging book. And while the book isn’t deep, Doug the dog likes to dig down deep in a tongue-twisting picture book that weaves illustrations and text in a clever, fun way. You can buy it on Amazon here.
20. Hannah and Sugar
Sugar is a popular puppy who gets a lot of love from schoolchildren at the bus stop. Except from Hannah. The little girl is scared of dogs. Then, one day, Sugar goes missing and Hannah joins the search. This book is about Hannah, not Sugar, but it’s still a lovely tale about empathy and understanding between a child and a dog. You can purchase it on Amazon via this link.
21. Hello Goodbye Dog
Moose the dog loves hello and hates goodbye. His best friend, a little girl named Zara, hatches an idea to train Moose as a therapy dog so he can join her at school. This book creates an opportunity for readers to learn about therapy dogs. You can purchase it on Amazon via this link.
22. Wolf Camp
Homer is a dog who fancies himself a wolf. He goes away to wolf camp to learn to howl and hunt, but must overcome being homesick. You can buy it on Amazon here.
23. Picture Book by Dog
“Hello, my name is Dog and I made you this book.” It’s a sweet take on a dog’s journey from being lost to found.
24. Silly Fluffy Barking Jumping Wet-Nosed Dog Book
This book doesn’t feature just one dog character, but rather a bunch of four-legged friends. Kids who love all kinds of dogs will like the chance to see a pug, greyhound, great dane, dalmatian, and more. You can buy it on Amazon here.
25. Scribbly: A Real Imaginary Friend Tale
Okay, it’s not a real dog, but even an imaginary dog can be a real friend. When Maude moves to a new town, she draws a blue puppy and names him Scribbly. The sketched canine plays catch, takes naps, and encourages Maude to be brave. You can purchase it on Amazon via this link.