Study Guide

A Dog's Purpose Loyalty

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Here are a few words we associate with dogs: cuddly, furry, lovable, slobbery, loyal. All of these traits are important—especially the slobber factor—but most people probably place the highest value on loyalty. There are even lists of "Most Loyal Dog Breeds," with beagles and collies often featuring prominently. On the other hand, never turn your back on a Chihuahua.

We're not always told what breed our dog narrator is in A Dog's Purpose, but he appears as both a retriever of some sort and a German shepherd—both very loyal breeds. But because the dog is born a mutt and returns as an unknown breed late in the book, we think that it might not be the breed of the dog the matters: it's the spirit of the pooch inside.

Questions About Loyalty

  1. Which owners is the dog loyal to? Are there some owners he respects more than others? Why?
  2. The dog is often loyal to his owners, but are the owners always loyal to the dog? What does loyalty mean in a human-canine relationship?
  3. Are the humans in the book more loyal to animals or to other people?
  4. For a dog, is there a difference between loyalty and love?

Chew on This

The dog is always loyal to a human on first sight, until that human does something to break that trust. For the pup, humans are innocent until proven guilty.

The dog forms bonds of loyalty with humans that he does not have with other animals—not even dogs in its own family. And definitely not cats.

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