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The Plague Dogs

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  6,169 Ratings  ·  476 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
Paperback, 390 pages
Published November 28th 2006 by Ballantine Books (first published September 22nd 1977)
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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)
Clare Farrelly Nope, Nope, Nope, do not give this book to a child to read. Especially if they are an animal lover. I read this way to young and hated it so much. I…moreNope, Nope, Nope, do not give this book to a child to read. Especially if they are an animal lover. I read this way to young and hated it so much. I would probably be boarding on okay now but then, no way........(less)
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Community Reviews

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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
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
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017

"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
Jan 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favourite books ever. My beat-up old copy is one of my prized possessions. I'm planning on rereading it soon, and I swear, more people need to read this book.

It's the tale of two dogs who escape from a laboratory that is very happy to use animals in its experiments. Whilst escaping, Rowf and Snitter pass through a room that is being used for research into the bubonic plague, and break a petri dish, thus convincing the scientists that these dogs have bubonic plague and are a pub
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 22, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
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
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. Th
Oct 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
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.
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
Mar 18, 2012 rated it liked it
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
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
Nov 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
3 stars for the whole story (because it might be 2 times shorter) and 5 stars for the ending
Rebecca McNutt
Truly fantastic book; The Plague Dogs is a tale of friendship, loyalty and adventure, and also an unintentional yet effective testament to animal rights.
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
Andrew Farr
Sep 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
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
John Gillespie
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this after finishing Watership Down, Adams' most famous novel. Plague Dogs is darker, angrier, and more polemical than Watership Down, but Adams is such a gifted writer that his characters transcend his political purpose. While I would recommend Watership Down to everyone, I suspect Plague Dogs would be an ideal book for later adolescents with a tendency to rail against society. I enjoyed it at forty-three, but it would have consumed me at sixteen. If, like me, you felt instant affinity w ...more
Saleh MoonWalker
Onvan : The Plague Dogs - Nevisande : Richard Adams - ISBN : 345494024 - ISBN13 : 9780345494023 - Dar 390 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 1977
Ben Goodridge
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just a hint - when a critic calls a book "Grave of the Fireflies with puppies," believe them.

Richard Adams, that son of a bitch who put us through bunny hell with "Watership Down," is back to torment us with dogs. Rowf and Snitter, a big black mutt and a little fox terrier, escape from a science lab where I'm not even going to finish that sentence, because you can probably fill in the rest yourself. While you cringe, I'll just go fetch another box of tissues because I seem to have run out for so
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With THE PLAGUE DOGS, Adams manages the difficult feat of writing a follow-up to WATERSHIP DOWN that's every bit as good as the original. This book is a different kind of story altogether, more interested in satire and exploring mankind's inhumanity to the animal world, shown through endless scenes of laboratory testing which are guaranteed to upset and horrify any animal lover. This makes Snitter and Rowf's escape all the more desperate and all the more enthralling.

This novel combines many diff
Sarah Brownlee
Aug 19, 2017 is currently reading it
I couldn't bring myself to finish it. Not remotely because of any negative aspect on part of the author (Richard Adams is a very fine writer and wrote one of my favourite books of all time, Watership Down) but because the suffering of any dog is quite unbearable. This is not to say I shut my eyes to it (I frequently involve myself in doing what I can to help prevent the horrors of the Dog Meat Trade in SE Asia, which is too terrible to behold and, frankly, one of the greatest stains and crimes t ...more
Stephen McQuiggan
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Adams makes it clear in the first few pages where he stands on animal experimentation - the acronym for the research centre the two dogs escape from is A.R.S.E. A rambling and surreal narrative that not only tackles Man's role in Nature, but warfare, media and government too - heavy stuff, but carried off with aplomb and a deftness of touch on more than one occasion. Apparently, a lot of the 'nicer' characters in the book are actually real - I hope that means 'The Tod'.
Jennifer Skutelsky
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This novel shares the same depth of compassion and hope that rendered 'Watership Down' unforgettable. Two laboratory dogs embark on a daring escape from the facility that imprisoned them: Rowf, angry and bitter, is fiercely protective of small Snitter, whose brain has been compromised but whose heroic streak remains intact. Despite everything they've endured, they both retain the dog's trademark capacity for love and loyalty. I approach animal stories with caution because they touch my soul in a ...more
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review: The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams.

For readers who are sensitive to what happens to animals that are used for experiments in a laboratory to find cures for terminal illnesses should not read this book. I love animals but I’m also one for finding cures for cancer, etc.

Richard Adams does a wonderful job when it comes to describing the environmental world around us. Sometimes a little too much but his descriptive writing impressed me. The book could have been shorter but I still went with the
Wolf (Alpha)
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book after reading Watership Down. I really enjoyed this book. I think that Richard Adams is a great writer. I'm glad that the dogs make friends with Tod the fox. I really feel bad for the dogs when they begin living in the forest, since they have no idea how to live out there. Definitely a 5 star book.
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2015 Reading Chal...: The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams 8 66 Mar 01, 2015 09:55AM  
watership down or plague dogs. 5 47 Feb 26, 2014 06:15PM  
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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

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“Dangerous thing, a name. Someone might catch hold of you by it, mightn't they?” 22 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.” 14 likes
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