The Plague Dogs

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The Plague Dogs is a novel by Richard Adams. It was first published in 1977, and is about Rowf and Snitter, two dogs who escape from Animal Research, Surgical and Experimental (A.R.S.E.), in the Lake District of England. Many characters speak in dialect and heavy accents, phonetically-spelled. The dialogue of one character, a tod Red Fox, was "a good deal simplified" for an American edition (Adams, 11).

Early in The Plague Dogs, Snitter, a terrier dog, is described: "at first sight it seemed to be wearing a kind of black cap, causing it rather to resemble one of those animals in children's comic papers which, while the draughtsman may have given it the head of a cat, dog, bear, mouse or what you will, nevertheless wears clothes and may even go so far as to possess inappropriate anatomical features (elbow-joints, for instance, or hands)." (Adams, 29).

An animated film based on the book was released in 1982.[1]


  • Rowf is a laboratory bred Labrador. He escapes with Snitter into the wilderness. Although Rowf is a courageous character, he has great fear of water. This due to the fact that the "whitecoats" would drown him in a tank and revive him to measure how his survival skills improve. Incidentally he no longer trusts humans.
  • Snitter is a Fox terrier, that was orphaned when his owner tried to push him out of the way from an oncoming car. This resulted in him being sold to an animal research lab. He has had several brain surgeries, resulting in him having visions and speaking in nonsense. Despite what he has been through, he remains an optimistic character.


  • Adams, Richard. The Plague Dogs. New York: Fawcett Books, 1993.

See also[edit]

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