Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Plague Dogs” as Want to Read:
The Plague Dogs
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Plague Dogs

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  7,126 ratings  ·  571 reviews
Richard Adams, the author of Watership Down, creates a lyrical and engrossing tale, a remarkable journey into the hearts and minds of two canine heroes, Snitter and Rowf.

After being horribly mistreated at a government animal research facility, Snitter and Rowf escape into the isolation, and terror, of the wilderness. Aided only by a fox they call ''the Tod,'' the two dogs
Kindle Edition, 390 pages
Published November 3rd 2010 by Ballentine Books (first published September 22nd 1977)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Plague Dogs, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Xeneya Torres I wouldn't, although the book isn't quite graphic per say and the book focuses more on the dogs after they escape, the book does feature animal testin…moreI wouldn't, although the book isn't quite graphic per say and the book focuses more on the dogs after they escape, the book does feature animal testing for a good part of the beginning (with some animal deaths), along with some scenes throughout the book of farmer's trying to hunt the dogs. (less)
Marie Kos The prose is equally beautiful, but much more polemic in tone. I found the language to be as engaging as it is in Watership Down, but the tone of the …moreThe prose is equally beautiful, but much more polemic in tone. I found the language to be as engaging as it is in Watership Down, but the tone of the book to be too aggressive for what I am seeking currently.

Watership Down is fierce, but also optimistic and beautiful. Snitter is the most optimistic character in this book, but he is more heartbreaking to walk with than Hazel-rah was. On top of that, the humans are on the whole extremely cruel, and you see a lot more of them in this book than you do in WD.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,126 ratings  ·  571 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Plague Dogs
Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside)
I hated this book. I will never read it again, ever, as long as I live. And it absolutely deserves five stars.

The Plague Dogs is one of the most visceral, wrenching, emotional reads you'll ever find. It follows the fortunes of two dogs, Snitter and Rowf, who escape from a medical testing lab. In an attempt to cover up the unnecessary nature of the research done there, the humans running the lab start a media scare about the dogs, claiming that they carry a serious virus which may kill humans. In
Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile
DNFing at 38 pages in. I left 2 instead of 1 star, because it’s not bad writing, but I quickly realized this wasn’t going to be a book for me. Not sure why I ever added it in the first place, to be honest. The animal abuse and despair is too much and I’m just getting started, so yeah I’m gonna save myself a LOT of heartache and move on to another book!
Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, top-shelf
I really enjoy Richard Adams. Part of it is his writing - he has an excellent style and a definite gift for description. When he talks about a place, it is immediately obvious that he's actually been there. He uses multiple senses to tell you what a place looks, sounds and smells like, the feeling of the damp earth and the rolling mists, the tastes that seep through the air.... Not surprising when one is writing a book where a pair of dogs are the primary characters.

And that's another reason I l
Jan 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to disagree with the reviewer who says this is not realistic. I worked in a government lab in California only 2 years ago. Things have *not* changed. There are simply more organizations and welfare groups that have no actual say in day to day operations of labs. It's up to researchers and workers to follow the rules daily, and they always know when the inspections will happen.

Also, animal labs do use and buy animals from shelters for experiments. Back in 2006 for sure, Ingham County Anima
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
"What's a harangue?"
"Well, a harangue," said Mr. Powell, "it's sort of – well, if I make a very intense, excited sort of speech, about animals or something – "

Well, I've been harangued thoroughly by mr. Adams on the subject of scientific experiments on animals. [not a spoiler] Adams is clearly against it, in all circumstances.
An author is of course entitled to be passionate about his subject, it's even a desirable trait, and I am a big fan of several of his other novels. But with "The Plague D
Jul 22, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
Emotionally over wrought and not very well anchored in the reality of research. This type of book has lead to people believing all labs just use any animal of any type for prurient vivisection. I work in labs and there are no animals not bred for lab use by specialists. To compare results the animals must be very limited in their genetic diversity they are not common pet store animals. Of course most were mice but there were rats and rabbits in some labs. My own work with mice was to create knoc ...more
I rarely re-visit books that I start and don't complete in one try. I am so glad that I received this in a book exchange and returned to the adventures of Snitter and Rowf.

These two dogs find themselves in a facility that performs various experiments on all manner of animals. I won't go into details here, but if you are sensitive to this issue, I would recommend skimming certain portions of the book.

Snitter had an owner in his life before the facility and longs to return to this loving environm
Bam cooks the books ;-)
2015 Reading Challenge--week 7: Nonhuman characters.

Well, that was quite an adventure! Not as well done as Adams' more popular classic, Watership Down, perhaps but still well worth reading.

Two badly-treated dogs, Rowlf and Snitter, escape from Animal Research, Scientific and Experimental lab (A.R.S.E.--gotta love it!), in the beautiful English Lake District. The dogs have no idea how to survive in the wild but fortunately make friends with a wise fox (tod) who gives them advice and warnings. T
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have known me for any period time, you probably know that Watership Down is my all time favorite novel. So, you may be surprised to learn that I have just now read The Plague Dogs. That's odd, right? You would think I would be practically falling over myself to read this, and I did try to, years ago. I think I was in high school when I bought my first copy, and I couldn't even finish the first chapter. This may have been one of my earliest DNFs.

Before I read Watership Down I saw the film
J.K. Grice
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
An absolutely fascinating tale of two dogs that escape from a testing facility. Adams wonderfully chronicles their journey into the unknown world.
Oct 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Inteligent Readers
Bit of a spoiler following as I am discussing the book, itself, not just the jacket. Also, much of the book resembles the animated film, but the ending is entirely different--the film stops while the novel keeps going.

This novel chronicles medical experimentation in horrific detail. It is depressing, as many have said, but what makes it depressing is that it forces the reader to face profoundly shameful things that happen, or have happened, quite frequently, things that we allow or have allowed
May 10, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started this book at least ten times before I could read past the first chapter. This book will destroy the heart of any animal lover. It is the story of two animals that escape from an animal testing lab from the point of view of the animals. While the writing can be hard to absorb as Adams tries to show the mental condition of the characters, the tale is well worth the read. It seems to me to be a good way to step out of what we know and see the world from a different set of eyes.
da AL
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Watership Down is one of my favorite books. If this too wasn't written by Richard Adams, I would've set it aside -- a book about escaped lab animals is sure to end predictably and badly, right? Despite that and despite Adams admitting that he could be preachy, this audiobook definitely worthwhile, entertaining as well as educational. Performer Ralph Cosham brought it further to life in the best way! ...more
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Would that every person and animal in this world were safe and loved, had enough food and shelter, were treated well and had no enemies trying to maim or kill them.
There are a lot of things not to like about this book. It seems to go against everything your average Eng Lit graduate would consider ‘good’ writing. It’s rambling, overwritten, loosely edited and willfully biased. It’s peppered with gratuitous literary references, weighed down by lengthy passages of leaden political satire, and the whole thing has the slightly ponderous air of the kind of book a retired civil servant would write. (Which is perhaps appropriate because that’s exactly what Adams w ...more
It's not that this isn't a well written, thought provoking book. It is both of those things. It just isn't the kind of book that I like to read, because it's just too...sad. Too painful. Too much for me, with my delicate sensibilities.

It is, in fact, quite a good book. If you like Richard Adams, or if you do not like animal testing and are looking to get emotionally charged up about it, this would be a good book to read. If you are extremely sensitive about unreasonable abuse/violence to animal
Oct 22, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoyed Watership Down
Shelves: animals
One of the saddest books I have ever read. As an animal lover, especially somone who loves dogs it was very hard to finish-but the ending was appropriate and Adams's gift for storytelling helps soften the blow at the end of the journey.
It did make me hate scientists for awhile, though.
Bionic Jean
Gruelling fantasy with a serious underlying message.
Nov 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 stars for the whole story (because it might be 2 times shorter) and 5 stars for the ending
Prepare your tissues just in case... I get always very emotional when it comes to animals so when something happens in a lab that conducts tests on them and the two main canine characters remind me of my own dogs, my eyes get very misty.
But let's talk about the structure first. The book follows multiple participants on the plot so there are moments in which we follow the two main charaters who are dogs and experience their inner life (I wish my dogs could hold meaningful conversations like that
Steve Shilstone
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Adams breaks many a literary rule in this glorious chase across the English Lake District. Many a nugget for students of literary and art history. Far superior to the deservedly famous rabbit book.
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2019
Oh my, what a journey. To shortly describe the plot, this book is the tale of two dogs who escape their looming demise at an animal research facility and afterwards try to survive in the wilderness of the Lake District in northern England and by doing so they unintentionally cause quite the uproar. In addition to the two dogs they are joined by a fox and large parts of the book are also written from the point of view of human characters, scientists, journalists, farmers and even politicians all ...more
Wanda Hartzenberg
The Plague Dogs

I honestly do not know if I should recommend this book or warn people off of it.
It is a good book but any violence towards dogs, pets in general rubs me the wrong way and this degree of neglect, torture in the name of science etc is extreme.

Note, the true message is awesome. The writing is superb, I have seldom disliked so many characters so violently!
The plot line is intricate and flawless.
But....the poor puppies. Even the rats got to me and trust me, rats, spiders, mice etc s
Sumit Singla
This is probably the bleakest book I've read all year. It tells the tale of two dogs, Rowf and Snitter, who manage to escape from an animal research facility. The experiments that are being carried out at the facility are barbaric and make for tough reading.

The damaged past that Rowf and Snitter have faced impacts their current lives too, and Rowf has a deep-rooted mistrust of mankind. On the other hand, Snitter suffers from some kind of hallucinations or visions, and some of these seem to be st
Marcus Johnston
After I read Watership Down (30 years ago), I remember picking this book up and... immediately put it down just after the preface. I really should have listened to my younger self.

This book is... meh. The two main characters (the dogs) are somewhat interesting, all but two of the (surviving) human characters stick in my memory. The dogs have an adventure, but it's aimless, and doesn't seem to go anywhere. It's like the author wanted to do a travel guide to the Lake District rather than a novel.
Lis Carey
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dogs, fiction, audiobooks
Rowf, a big, shaggy, black mongrel dog, and Snitter, a black and white fox terrier, are experimental animals at the Animal Research Station--Scientific & Experimental (A.R.S.E.) Rowf was born there, but Snitter once had a loving master and a happy home, until his master was struck by a lorry in an accident that Snitter blames himself for. The two dogs, living in adjoining pens, have become friends, and share their experiences: Rowf is daily nearly drowned in a tank of water, while Snitter has ha ...more
Andrew Farr
This book was a major disappointment after loving Watership Down and Tales From Watership Down.

There were a lot of humans in this book. It clouded things quite a bit. In Watership Down we are taken into a new world because the rabbits are wild and they have their own folk-lore, language and interesting little bits of culture. In this book, however, the dogs only know man. They do not know the wild or nature. This keeps the story from truly captivating the reader by bringing him into a different
Lupin Sanchez
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can we, and is there a point in trying to, draw direct equivalents between the Western Canon and a furry one? We could say, for instance, that Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach is the furry New Testament, with its many passages about Jesus. Following that train of thought, maybe the Old Testament could be Watership Down, which gave new life to the concept of talking animals as acceptable subjects of serious literature, being arguably the first example since George Orwell's 1945 Animal ...more
Jul 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Animal lovers
Well where to start. I've had this book for about 10 years now, and never got around to reading it completely until now. There's some characters that talk in their native dialect (think a heavy scottish accent) and the author has written their speech the way it would sound. I think this was the reason I had originally stopped reading so many years ago. Really though, once you catch on to the words (and there's actually a glossary included) it's not so bad. There's only a few characters who speak ...more
Stefan Yates
If 1/2 stars were available I'd give this book a 2 1/2 instead of 3 star rating. It's not that it was all that terribly bad, I just felt that it was incredible average and quite honestly blah in parts. From what I have heard, and read myself, I feel that this is definitely the low point in Richard Adams' writing.

I think that my two main problems with this book are first the amount of space that Adams uses to push his political agenda down the reader's throat. While I totally agree that the inhum
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Animal-Lover ...: * January-April 2021 Read - The Plague Dogs 1 3 Jan 27, 2021 02:01PM  
Dog Lovers Book Club: THE PLAGUE DOGS 12 9 Apr 16, 2020 05:32AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams 8 70 Mar 01, 2015 09:55AM  
watership down or plague dogs. 5 53 Feb 26, 2014 06:15PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Duncton Wood (Duncton Chronicles, #1)
  • Man O'War
  • Fell (The Sight, #2)
  • The Sight (The Sight, #1)
  • The Ice House
  • Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation
  • Tailchaser's Song
  • Duncton Quest (Duncton Chronicles, #2)
  • 13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time
  • The Snake
  • Fire Bringer
  • Tarka the Otter
  • The Edge of the Sea
  • Leave Her to Heaven
  • Blood Tie
  • Evidence of Things Unseen
  • The Journal of Dora Damage
See similar books…
Adams was born in Newbury, Berkshire. From 1933 until 1938 he was educated at Bradfield College. In 1938 he went up to Worcester College, Oxford to read Modern History. On 3 September 1939 Neville Chamberlain announced that the United Kingdom was at war with Germany. In 1940 Adams joined the British Army, in which he served until 1946. He received a class B discharge enabling him to return to Worc ...more

Related Articles

Say what you will about George R.R. Martin's long-awaited fantasy installment, Winds of Winter. Some of the sequels in our roundup below have...
57 likes · 25 comments
“Dangerous thing, a name. Someone might catch hold of you by it, mightn't they?” 24 likes
“When the man was disgraced and told to go away, he was allowed to ask all the animals whether any of them would come with him and share his fortunes and his life. There were only two who agreed to come entirely of their own accord, and they were the dog and the cat. And ever since then, those two have been jealous of each other, and each is for ever trying to make man choose which one he likes best. Every man prefers one or the other.” 16 likes
More quotes…