Canine Characters in Fiction

Many fictional books include canine characters. They can end up being as popular with readers as their human counterparts. They can evoke a range of emotions, and for those of us who have enjoyed the company of dogs, remind us of those relationships.

In The Abattoir of Dreams, 14-year-old Michael rescues a dog he sees tied up in a yard, adopts him and names him Oxo. This boy and dog partnership created quite an emotional response in readers, with many commenting on it in their reviews.
For example:

‘I have to mention briefly Michael’s relationship with his childhood pet Oxo as well as Liam who he befriends in the boys home. These relationships moved me to tears and are ones that will stay with me for a long time to come.’
(From a review by Sarah Hardy.)

Oxo – although I’m a dog lover – I don’t usually mention animals in my reviews – but seriously – Oxo the dog – the scenes with him and Michael melted my heart – I was literally mush reading them!
(From a review by Sharon Bairdon.)

Every single character will evoke an emotion for one reason or another and that includes Oxo, Michael’s dog.
(From A review by Neats Wilson.)

When I was 8 years old, I overheard that a puppy was due to be put down after its elderly owner couldn’t look after it any more. All day I begged and pleaded with my parents to let me have the puppy. I couldn’t bare the thought of it being put down. The begging worked and Cindy was brought home.

Cindy (above) was a Poodle and Red Setter cross. Between the ages of 8 and 24 she was a major part of my life. The photo above is one of my favourites. It also reminds me of when my Father did some work on the above lawnmower, then took hold of it and began jumping about. A younger me thought he was trying to  dance, but then realised why you need to be careful when working with electrickery!

Cindy was a good friend. Much like Michael and Oxo, we’d spend a lot of time together. I loved that dog. Once, when on leave from the Navy, I got home drunk and thought Cindy’s bed looked comfortable and tried to get in it. I slept that night with my head in her bed with her wrapped around me. Cindy and Oxo may have been different in looks, but how Michael and I felt about our dogs was the same.


In The Key to Death’s Door, teenager Paul and his family live and work on a farm and own a Border Collie named Sally. Paul loves Sally, and although she has a habit of trying to herd everything (including chickens,) he takes great care of her. Without giving too much away, I gave Sally a part to play in what Paul goes through. She was fun to write as she shared many of the qualities and behaviours of a the collie I owned.




The Sally I owned and my youngest daughter, Danielle, could sometimes be found crunching dried spaghetti strands. One at each end, meeting in the middle, nose to nose. She was a very gentle and affectionate dog but one who had a look in her eyes that warned us there’d soon be chaos. The look in the photo below  = trouble brewing!

Memories of both my dogs still make me smile, and I’m pleased that I could include them in some of my work.


I’ve also read some books that have great canine characters in, including:
Cujo by Stephen King, featuring Cujo.
The Forgotten by Linda Prather, featuring Bruiser.
The Psychic Surveys series by Shani Struthers, featuring Jed.
A Child for the Devil by Conrad Jones, featuring Evie.

If you’ve read a great book featuring a memorable canine in, then please let me know about the book and why you liked the four-legged character so much.


As always, thank you for your continued support.

Best wishes.





6 thoughts on “Canine Characters in Fiction

  1. Lucy Dillon’ s books always feature dogs, their characters developed as strongly as the humans! The digs normally play an important part in the plot too. 🙂

  2. My books are set where we did our first ever dog-sit in Provence. I had to include them! Not only did I love them, they had great names so they appeared as themselves.

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