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The Best & Brightest in the World of Dogs
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Mark Neff, a professor at the University of California, Davis, participated in the Dog Genome Project at UC Berkeley as a postdoctoral fellow. More recently, he has been working to locate the genes that cause a variety of genetic disorders in domestic dogs. Among his research results is the identification of the gene that causes dwarfism in several breeds, and his findings continue to inform veterinary medicine about the inheritance of many canine diseases. 

On the trail of human and canine cancer, Elaine Ostrander and her group map the genes responsible for cancer susceptibility in both. Earlier, as part of the Dog Genome Project, she searched for the genetic markers that make up the concept of a “breed,” and found that genotyping could be used to assign 99 percent of individual dogs to their correct breeds. 

Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, co-director of the Genome Sequencing and Analysis Program at the Broad Institute, maps genes associated with cancer and autoimmune diseases in dogs. Her group developed a SNP chip that has been used to identify the genes for several canine diseases. 

James Serpell, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society, is currently involved in researching the relationships between domestic animals—especially dogs—and people. He has also traced the natural history of the human-animal bond, including the processes by which various species have been domesticated. 

Stanley Olsen, a pioneer in the discipline of zooarchaeology, was among the first to search for the origins of the domestic dog; his work laid the foundation for later studies that significantly pushed back his original 8,000 year date. 

Geneticist Jasper Rine and his Dog Genome Project collaborators began with a theory that it was possible to map the chromosomes of the domestic dog and thereby discover the genetic basis of mammalian development and behavior. In his early research on purebred dog behaviors, he crossed a Newfoundland with a Border Collie, two distinct breeds with very different breed typical behaviors, and then bred the offspring to see how these various behaviors were inherited. 

MESSENGERS
Through their words, art and photography, these creative people make tangible the intense and heartfelt connections we have with our dogs.

Mark Derr, journalist and author, set the “fancy” world spinning in 1990 with his Atlantic Monthly article about practices in the show-dog realm. In his seminal book, Dog’s Best Friend, he proved that his range of interests in all things canine extended far beyond that topic. With an investigative reporter’s love for unearthing a scoop balanced by a wide-ranging knowledge of his subject, he is highly regarded by dog aficionados (and a nudge to some). As Bark’s science editor, he has been an invaluable advisor and translator when it comes to the latest research and discoveries. 

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas took a bite out of the bestseller lists with her original examinations of dogs. Fueled by her Husky’s ramblings through civilization, field work with wolves and anthropology training, Thomas described surprising behaviors that in ensuing years have been affirmed in studies. In The Hidden Life of Dogs and The Social Lives of Dogs, Thomas deployed her keen eye and novelist’s sensibility to shed light on the mystery of dogs without erasing their magic. 

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Submitted by AliKat | February 13 2010 |

Although I know the article wasn't about the dogs pictured on page 49, it was still a thrill to see the little round photo of our Chow Chow Rowdy in the picture(7th from left, down 3 spots), especially since The Bark has also just chosen him (puppy pic) and one of our other Chows(who passed 9/25/09) in the smiling dogs online for this past week. Rowdy was also in The Bark magazine as one of the smiling dogs in the Nov./Dec. 2008 issue. Naturally, we think he's a real handsome guy, but it's nice to know someone else thinks so too. Thanks Bark!

Submitted by Julie Hirt | March 12 2010 |

Hello The Bark!

I am surprised that Cesar Millan didn't make the list - of the top 100 or the honorable mention story above. I hear rumblings of him being a controversial figure in the dog world (not sure I understand why) but he has, at the very minimum taught thousands of dog guardians that a daily 20 minute walk a day is crucial to a dog's physical and mental well-being. Not to mention that he's been showing millions of viewers that it isn't the dog's fault - it is the human's.

I am trying to figure out why he would have been omitted. Maybe he is too commercial. I don't know. But isn't it important to note what he's been able to contribute to the overall collaborative work by the pet community as a whole?

Sincerely,

Julie Hirt

Submitted by Matthew | April 13 2010 |

Hi Julie,

Typical comments in our canine search and rescue group is that Cesar is 80% correct. Once you've advanced to the point that you understand which 20% is garbage, you don't need him anymore.

The nonsense is all that alpha-aggressive stuff. Granted I'm biased in that you can not teach wilderness Search and Rescue through discipline methods. No dog is going to go look for someone lost in the woods for 8 hours because of fear of reprisal. You MUST make them want to do the work more than anything else. There are zero obedience commands given during the actual search training. I know this colors my perspective on dog training. :)

For an alternative view, check out http://www.phoenixbooksandaudio.com/books/detail/the-behavior-savior/ .

Fair disclosure: Dina was a Mission Ready member of our search and rescue team before the tragic, untimely death of her partner. We've both trained dogs and taken classes together, and it my professional opinion that she is very good at what she does. This is my first working dog and I have certainly learned important lessons about my partner by applying her principles and methods. I'm also fortunate to be able to call her a friend. No, I don't get anything from mentioning her book.

Read Culture Clash; if you're in the area, work with Dina; and you'll have all the tools you need to develop a great relationship with your dog. After that it is up to you and your willingness to devote 1 hour a day to giving your dog exercise, obedience training, and affection. (That's a Dina saying. :)

Matthew

Submitted by Anonymous | April 7 2010 |

I do not disagree with anyone on this list and what a wonderful list it is. There are some of the top people here and kudos to Bark for pointing them all out to the public. I am just wondering, where is Suzanne Clothier? She is one of the leading figures on canine assessments and relationship based training methods. Please consider her for next years list.

Submitted by pierre | August 19 2013 |

There are some of the top people here and kudos to Bark for pointing them all out to the public. I am just wondering, where is Suzanne Clothier? She is one of the leading figures on canine assessments and relationship based training methods. Please consider her for next years list.

http://binaereoptionen.webgarden.com/

Submitted by Laura | April 8 2010 |

But I have to agree...Where is Suzanne Clothier?? I hope she's considered next year!

I was relieved not to see Cesar Milan! Kudos to you for not including someone who uses a lot of controversial and harsh approaches.

Submitted by Anonymous | April 30 2010 |

Myrna Miliani is brilliant and it's about time we started to listen to what she has been writing (for years) about.

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