Go inside the American Kennel Club's rare book library

A deep dive on the bulldog, the history of the British dog, and a page-turner like The Kennel Murder Case—all are within the climate-controlled glass walls of the American Kennel Club's rare book library, one of the largest libraries devoted to dogs in the world.

"These books range from things on hunting and herding, from veterinary science, all the way to niche topics like dog astrology, so anything about dogs you can imagine, it's here," said Joshua Coty, the AKC's assistant librarian.

Many of the books in the collection are rare copies, some dating as far back as the 1500s.

"We have some of the very earliest books written solely on dogs," Coty said.

In an era of instant access to information at our fingertips, the contents of many of the books in the collection can't be found online.

"A lot of the world's knowledge is still contained in books, and a lot of it is actually not really online," Coty said. "So a lot of it is hidden away here waiting to be discovered.

The library is sought out by bibliophiles and dog-lovers alike and is open to any researcher who can show they're working on a relevant project. The material must be studied at the library, under supervision from the staff.

"There's a number of reasons why books are still such a good resource compared to the internet, part of it is the materiality of them, actually having that physical book," Coty said of the appeal of reading physical books.

"A lot of our older books from the 16th century, the 17th century, the handmade paper alone is a completely different experience.

More information on accessing the library can be found here.


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