The Whelping of Woof!
Woof! has been percolating for years, nearly twenty. The author has been working as an editor (and part-time author) of dog books since the mid 1980s, concentrating mainly on breed-specific books, ranging in size and depth, as well as breed selection guides and training titles (of the sit, stay, don’t eat the furniture variety). In fact, hundreds and hundreds of such books have come and gone (some out of print), and every one of them has been, for lack of a better term, straight. That is to say, that the word gay in these books could only have referred to the desired tail carriage of a Cocker Spaniel or the temperament of a Westie. Many of the books recommended which breeds of dog were ideal for hunters, joggers, and Frisbee fans, for families with children, for the elderly or disabled, but not a single book advised a bewildered Drag Queen on which dog was best for her. And I started to wonder, how does a wayward Drag Diva select the right breed of dog for her. How would she know whether or not that Afghan Hound tugging on the end of a brocade leash would snap her heel? Would her giant Jimmy Choos be safer with a Standard Poodle?

My mission became clear: a dog-breed selection guide for Drag Queens. Before long, I worried that the topic might be a skosh too narrow. Were Drag Queens the only clueless dog-loving homosexuals? What were the Chelsea Queens using for a reference work? The breeds that would excite a Drag Queen might not be the same ones that attract Bears, Leathermen, or Size Queens. The mission expanded: I must reach out to the gay world en masse and become the canine rainbow tour guide. And thus, Woof! was conceived.

After extensive sociological and demographical research within the gay community (aka cruising, were one not to have a book contract), I was able to classify the gay men around me into twenty-eight breeds, which are arranged alphabetically in the text, from All-American Boy to Yenta. For each gay-man breed profiled, I recommend the best ten or twelve breeds that suit his temperament and lifestyle. If the reader follows the author’s advice, selects and purchases the dog following the guidelines in the book, raises and trains the dog precisely as outlined, he can expect unbridled success and happiness (and fairly few pee stains on his silk floor coverings).

About Andrew
A lifelong resident of New Jersey, the author has been writing and editing books about dogs for the past two decades. Among his most popular titles are Choosing a Dog for Life, A New Owner’s Guide to Training the Perfect Puppy, The Mini-Atlas of Dog Breeds, and Canine Lexicon. For Kennel Club Books, he wrote a breed book on the Shiba Inu. He’s also written books on cats and lives with three Bengal cats, who have insisted that their names be withheld. In addition to the three anonymous felines, Andrew lives with his partner of ten years Robert White and their three dogs, two Shiba Inus and a Vizsla (see below).

Andrew is the Editor-in-Chief of Kennel Club Books, a division of BowTie, Inc. He is proud to count many of the dog world’s most famous judges, authors, and breeders among his close friends. Many of these canine authorities contributed their knowledge and wit to Woof!. (Some of them even knew what the quotes were for.)

Andrew is also the founder and president of Cabaret for Life, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that raises funds for AIDS and cancer charities in New Jersey. In the group’s twelve years of existence, it has contributed over $150,000 to local charities. In 2006 Andrew was honored by the Monmouth County Volunteer Center for community leadership for his work for Cabaret for Life.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARY BLOOM

Meet the Author’s Dogs
The author grew up with cats and never much cared for dogs. As a child I was bitten by the neighbor’s Doberman Pinscher (though my sister insists it was a pocket Beagle). I discovered the unadulterated joys of dog love right around the time I discovered something similar in men. My first dog was born in 1990, a male Japanese Shiba Inu, bred by Rick Tomita (of the famous Jacquet Kennels in Oakland, NJ). His name is Tengu, and he is sixteen years old. In his prime, he was a gorgeous, red sesame Shiba, aloof and independent. (I fantasized that if I were as strikingly good-looking as Tengu, I would be just as aloof and have much hotter boyfriends.) It was the Shiba’s cat-like qualities that attracted me to the breed in the first place, and Shibas in the early 1990s were completely exotic. Today Tengu continues to enjoy eating and sleeping, though he’s lost his table manners along with this hearing. He enjoys attention and cuddling more than ever, in part because he can’t run away as swiftly these days.

My second Shiba followed less than a year after I got Tengu, when I envisioned how desirable I would appear walking two fabulous rare dogs around my beach-front community (instead of just one). The “kids” and I fast became an urban legend in my own mind.

Kabuki was the name I instantly gave her the moment I met her at Rick’s kennel. An animated four-month-old puppy, she was theatrical, glamorous and extremely vocal, just like that form of Japanese theatre. It was the perfect name, though her breeder, Mr. Akatani, laughed when I told him the name. (I guess it would be like calling an American dog Musical Comedy.) She lived for twelve years and approached every day as if it were the greatest one ever created. She had a zest for life that was inspiring (and exhausting!). Even when she lost her sight for a few months, she never stopped enjoying her life. Dogs are so amazingly resilient in so many ways. Cataract surgery restored her eyesight; I luckily found a yummy canine ophthalmologist in our own county. She lived for two years with her restored vision, but despite our best efforts, she died of complications from the diabetes.

The author’s third dog came as a part of a package deal, attached to the leash held by my partner Robert White. Max (clever name!) is a Vizsla—that’s the rust-colored pointing dog from Hungary. He’s a handsome dog in his own right, and if you prefer floppy ears to erect ones (Why!), you’d think so too. Unlike the Shibas, Max is very needy, which is never attractive, in dogs or men; though he’s nonetheless loved by both his dads. Max is ten years old, and you can read about him in the Prelude of the book.

Last year a new Shiba entered our lives, and her name is Azuki. (It’s officially San Jo’s Jelly Bean—we got her at Easter and her breeder insisted we name her after candy.) Azuki was bred by the very beautiful and talented Leslie Engen on the West Coast. Azuki is a clear red with symmetrical white markings (which the Japanese call Urajiro). When she was a puppy, she literally stopped traffic; as a young adult she continues to turn heads and has an avid fan club. She knows she’s a princess and isn’t hesitant to allow doting mortals to worship her (or to join her club for a fee).

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARY BLOOM
About Jason
Recently selected as one of the “200 Best Illustrators Worldwide” by Lurzer’s Archive, Jason O’Malley has had his work published in Vogue, The New York Times, Elle Decor, and OUT as well as Off the Cuff, a style guide by Queer Eye’s Carson Kressley. His extensive line of greeting cards are sold in hip shops around the United States and Europe. In 2005, he launched Handsome Devil Press Greeting Cards for Modern Bohemians with partner J.R. Craigmile. More than 100 designs, including many featured in Woof!, can be found at www.handsomedevilpress.com. That Jason’s art is appreciated around the globe is really no surprise: he is the progeny of an art director (dad) and an illustrator (mom). Jason and his partner divide their time between New York City and the Catskills, and their dogs, Tino (a Miniature Pinscher) and Simon (a supersize Rhodesian Ridgeback), are never far behind.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARY BLOOM