Dmitry Gurov, under the age of forty years, Muscovite, a philologist by education, but working in a bank, is having a rest in Yalta. In Moscow remained unloved wife, who he often cheats, the daughter of twelve years, and two sons-schoolboy. In appearance and character of his is something attractive and elusive which dispose women to him. He himself despises women, considering them as an inferior race, and at the same time cannot do without them and is constantly looking for love affairs, having great experience with it. On the waterfront, he meets a young lady. This is a woman of medium height, wearing a beret, with a white spitz following her. Vacationers called her "the lady with the dog."
Gurov decides that it would be nice to start an affair with her, and met with her during lunch in the city park. Their conversation begins in the usual way.
Anna was born in St. Petersburg, but came from the city of S., where she had been living for two years, being married to an officer by the name of von Diderits (his grandfather was a German, and he is Orthodox). The work of her husband is not interesting for her, she cannot even remember the name of his place of service. Apparently, she does not love her husband, and is unhappy in life. Their romance begins a week after they met. She is going painful through her fall, considering that Gurov is the first who will not respect her. He does not know what to say. She fervently swears that she always wanted to have clean and honest life, that her sin is disgusting. Gurov is trying to calm her down, cheer, depicts passion, which he is no likely to experience.
Their affair flows smoothly, as if nothing threatened them both. One hopes that her husband will come. Instead, he asks in a letter his wife to come back. Gurov sees her off to the station. When parting, she does not cry, but looks sad and sick. He also is touched, sad and feels a slight remorse. After the departure of Anna he decides to return home.
Moscow life captures Gurov. He likes to Moscow, its clubs, dinners in restaurants. It seems that he forgets about Yalta affair, but suddenly for no apparent reason, the image of Anna begins to worry him again, he could hear her breathing, gentle rustle of her dress. On the street he watched the women, looking, no one like her. Love awakens within him, and it is even more difficult to carry it no having anyone to share his feelings.
Finally Gurov decides to go to the city of S. He takes a room in a hotel, the doorman knows where Diderits live, but as he cannot directly pay them a visit, lies in wait for Anna in the theater. He sees her husband there, in whom there is something servile and modest and who fully meets the provincial boredom and banality of the town S. Anna is frightened with the meeting, pleads Gurov to leave and promises herself to come to him. She lies to her husband that he was going to consult about a female disease, and every two or three months meets Gurov in Moscow in the hotel "Slavic Bazaar".
At the end their meeting is described - is not the first and probably not the last. She cries. He orders tea and thinks, "Well, let her cry ..." then goes up to her and takes her by the shoulders. In the mirror, he sees that his head begins to turn gray, he became older and plainer during the last few years. He understands that he and she have committed in life some fatal mistake, he and she were not happy, and only now, when old age is close, really know the love. They are close to each other as husband and wife; their meeting - the most important thing in their lives.
And it requires a little more - and the solution will be found, and then a new, beautiful life begin; and both were clear that the end is far, far away and that the most complex and difficult only begins.