Flawed Dogs: The Novel: The Shocking Raid on Westminster

Common Sense Media says

Sweet story about the healing power of love.





What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

Teaches kids important lessons about overcoming adversity and persevering in the face of challenges. It also teaches the value of love between a human and a pet and the folly of revenge and ideals of perfection.

Positive role models

Heidy has a bit of a rebellious streak and is expelled from the St. Egregious Home for Troubled Girls for rigging the nuns’ toilets to flush in reverse. But she saves/steals a daschund named Sam whose owner only used him for his purebred status. Sam decides to take revenge on another dog and tries to rig a dog show but comes to his senses in the end.

Violence & scariness

Some chase scenes and a couple of dog fights where a dog admits wanting to kill his enemy. Sam’s leg is caught in a bear trap, he is hit by a car, and he is also shot. Dogs chase and tear the clothing off of a woman twice. There is a scene where it appears that a baby is in danger. Heidy is an orphan and says her parents were "eaten by schnauzers." 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this endearing book has some scenes that might be tough for sensitive readers to take. A dog is shot, hit by a car, loses his leg in a bear trap, and is separated from his owner. There are several exciting chases and dog fight scenes, but the violence is tempered with humor and sweetness. There is also a scene involving people betting on a dog fight.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

The story follows Sam, a $180,000 dachsund bred for excellence, as he discovers the love that is shared between a pet and a human. His human of choice, Heidy McCloud, is a 14-year-old girl with a \ rebellious streak, who thinks she doesn’t like dogs ever since her parents’ dog-related death. Sam and Heidy find each other unexpectedly and love each other instantly. All is right in their world until they are separated by a jealous and scheming poodle and his owner. Over the course of a few years, Sam is maimed and heartbroken with revenge on his mind. He recruits a pack of “flawed” dogs to help him sabotage the Westminster Dog Show, but his revenge scheme turns into \ something quite different when he and Heidy find each other again.

Is it any good?


FLAWED DOGS is hilarious and sweet with a message of friendship and faithfulness that anyone (even cat lovers) will find uplifting. Each animal in the book is an unforgettable character, drawn and written with Berkeley Breathed’s signature brand of wit. His illustrations add an extra measure of emotion to the already lovely book.

Berkeley Breathed's illustrations are amazing and they impart the message of the story with humor and poignancy.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about jealousy. Why were Cassius and Mrs. Beaglehole so jealous of Heidy and Sam? How could they have handled their feelings in a better way? Have you ever been jealous of somebody? What did it feel like and what could you do to overcome those feelings?

  • Why didn’t Sam’s physical imperfections matter to Heidy? Why did Cassius think the imperfections would matter?

  • Why do you think the dogs at the Last-Ditch Dog Depository loved watching Lassie Come Home?

Book details

Author:Berkeley Breathed
Illustrator:Berkeley Breathed
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:September 17, 2009
Number of pages:208
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Read aloud:4
Read alone:9

This review of Flawed Dogs: The Novel: The Shocking Raid on Westminster was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 10 years old February 7, 2010


I loved 'Flawed Dogs'! Sam the Lion, is the main character and some of the things he tries to do are not okay. For one thing he wants to find and KILL Cassius, the dog that caused him so much harm. But, Cassius is even worse in his own way. He takes a lady's baby and pins it on Sam; also he tries to kill Sam for because a human loves Sam more than him. Then when the human tries to save Sam and figures out that Cassius was the one who took the baby, Cassius realizes that she won't love him anymore so he tries to kill her! I believe this is best for kids aged 10+ because it is so sad and because some of the things characters are doing are so not okay! Younger kids could also probably read it as it is not a very high reading level, but parents should either read through it first or read it to their kids themselves. This is a really fun book even though it has some really creepy parts. For one thing, the dogs make up this really neat plan: they pile up in the shape of a human under some clothes and pretend they are walking Sam. For the first 'part' of the story the relationship between Sam and Heidy (the human girl) is very sweet. Also even though the means he uses are not okay, it is sweet to see how much Cassius wants Heidy to like him.
Kid, 11 years old April 19, 2011
LOVE IT!!! A bit confusing at times in the book, it is awesome! It has a bigger reason (at least to me) that is fun to figure you! (I LOVE PEACHES!)
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 16 years old Written byjosie1 June 5, 2011

Flawed dogs

Sam the lion is in trouble because of a mean dog named cassuis. thats all for this week dont worry i commet tommorow or next week


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