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Describe a Dog

When cousins Dennis and Mellie decide to get a dog, they consider carefully what breed would be best for each family. For example, Dennis wants a big dog, but Mellie wants tiny. He has no other pets, but she has other pets that a dog must get along with. They consider different dog personalities, family situations, and personal preferences. They describe the perfect dog for each family!

Dennis writes an opinion essay for his teacher, Mrs. Shirky. But will his essay convince his parents to get the dog of his dreams?

This story book takes a popular subject—kids getting a pet—and adds dogs of all sizes and shapes: all writing lessons should be this much fun. In the end, it’s cousins and the dogs that keep a reader turning the page. What kind of dog will Dennis choose? Will Mellie want the same kind of dog?

What are the most popular dog breeds in the US?

Here are the top 10 most popular dog breeds (in no particular order).

  • Golden retriever
  • German shepherd
  • Rottweiler
  • Poodle
  • Bulldog
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Boxer
  • Dachshunds
  • Beagle
  • Yorkshire terrier

10 Most Popular dog breeds

What are good criteria for deciding on the best dog for your family?

These are some of the criteria you should consider before getting a dog.

  • Big or little?
  • How energetic?
  • Needs exercise?
  • Needs play time?
  • A loving dog?
  • Get along with other pets?
  • Easy to train?
  • A guard dog?
  • Grooming needs?

Add any other criteria particular to your family. For example, your family may love a particular breed. Does anyone have allergies so you need a dog who doesn't shed hair? Or one girl told me that they needed a big dog because her father had back problems and couldn't bend over to pet a small dog. Discuss all the criteria with kids to help them understand the implications of becoming a dog owner. Then use an interactive Dog Breed Selector tool. Different tools will emphasize different criteria, but each will give you a list of breeds making your criteria.

How Can You Help Kids Write a Dog Essay or Pet Essay?

When a child goes through the ten criteria listed above, they start to formulate opinions. My Pet Dog Essay becomes simple because they have already thought about the criteria. To get you started on writing opinion essays, download our Printables pack for the Read and Write series.  The book includes a sample essay to make it even easier.


“Darcy Pattison does a remarkable job on several fronts with her wonderful new book I Want A Dog: My Opinion Essay. She introduces the value of the written text at an early age to children. This cannot be emphasized enough in our early classrooms. With this comes an important lesson regarding the responsibility of owning and caring for a dog. As President of the Labrador Retriever Club representing the breed with the largest number of dogs I know how imperative responsible dog ownership is and Darcy does a wonderful job instilling this at an early age. This is a remarkable children’s book that has a lesson.”
–Fred Kampo, President of the Labrador Retriever Club

This story book hits many notes:

  • A family story about cousins, Dennis and Mellie
  • Describe a dog, and the different breeds of dogs
  • Responsible dog ownership
  • Mentor-text for teaching writing
  • Model opinion essay for elementary students
  • Models the writing process, especially the importance of pre-writing or planning before you write
  • Completes the writing process by showing the results of Dennis’s essay

I WANT A DOG almost makes opinion essays look too easy. For STEM classes, a good study of dog species.


Mims House supports kids reading and writing with THE READ AND WRITE SERIES, which includes four books. It covers opinion, narrative, and informative writing. Click the book covers for more information on the complete series.

Read and Write Series


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