A black and white image of 5 dogs in an old fashioned open top car.
Five bulldogs clambering out of an open top car, New South Wales, c.1930s, nla.obj-162452856, courtesy Fairfax Syndication

Australia’s Dogs by Katherine Kovacic

Australians love dogs—big dogs, little dogs, fluffy couch potatoes and hardy working dogs. In fact, we have one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world. Australia’s Dogs is a celebration of the dog in Australian life, exploring the human-canine bond, and reflecting on the crucial role played by dogs in our life and work.

Embark on an outback adventure with Francis Birtles and his various faithful canine companions. Discover the incredible endurance of Mawson’s huskies in frozen Antarctica. Learn more about Australia’s home-grown dog breeds that played a central role in the development of pastoral industries, as well as the iconic dingo and its place in Indigenous life, and the Australian ecosystem, today.

Australia’s Dogs is generously illustrated with images drawn from the rich collections of the National Library of Australia. Some simply capture a photographer’s love for their own dog, while others tell epic tales of survival in harsh conditions, comment on an element of social history or record a significant moment. As the incredible variety of images shows, the story of dogs in Australia is a subject that is historically significant, with a broad and enduring appeal.

NLA Publishing will let Australia’s Dogs out (into bookstores) in May 2023.

About the author

Katherine Kovacic was a veterinarian but preferred training and having fun with dogs to taking their temperatures. She seized the chance to return to study and earned an MA, followed by a PhD in Art History. Her first book, The Portrait of Molly Dean, was shortlisted for a Ned Kelly Award for best first fiction. Katherine spends her spare time writing, dancing and teaching other people’s dogs to ride skateboards.

Additional Information

The cover for the NLA Publishing title, Australia's Dogs

Images for media use are available for download via Dropbox.

Extracts from the book are available on request.


Mirelle O'Mara, Media Liaison, National Library of Australia

M: 0401 226 697

E: media@nla.gov.au