[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/plaguedogs_3003.jpg]]
A 1977 novel by RichardAdams about two dogs named [[BigFriendlyDog Rowf]] and [[MisterMuffykins Snitter]]. The two narrowly escape from an animal testing lab and roam the English countryside with the help of a fox known only as "[[NoNameGiven the tod]]" (a dialect word for "fox"). The facility, [[FunWithAcronyms Animal Research, Scientific and Experimental]], attempts to reclaim the dogs and spreads a rumour that the two harbour a dangerous bioweapon to assist in their capture, hence the title. It was [[AnimatedAdaptation made into an animated feature-length film]] in TheEighties a few of years after RichardAdams' other book ''Literature/WatershipDown''.

Known for being DarkerAndGrittier than the previous work, it is set in the [[GrimUpNorth gray and wintry fells]] of England's [[OopNorth Lake District]]. The animated adaptation is an [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotForKids infamous]] [[TearJerker/WesternAnimation Tear Jerker]] as well; the original print of the film was censored for wide release and is [[KeepCirculatingTheTapes considered rare]].

Emphasis is made of Rowf's [[TheWoobie Woobie]] status as an animal subjected to repeated drowning experiments, and Snitter's role as a DoomMagnet is emphasized in at least one scene of [[IJustShotMarvinInTheFace death and serious injury]] that is probably the emotional nadir of the story.

Should not be confused with the ''Series/{{Revolution}}'' episode "[[Recap/RevolutionS1E4ThePlagueDogs The Plague Dogs]]", even though the episode title almost certainly refers to this book and/or film adaptation.
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!!This novel provides examples of:

* AndThereWasMuchRejoicing: The dogs have a song about another dog from their lab. It ends with "His name was Kiff, he was black and white/He was burned to cinders--serve him right." [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]], since Rowf and Snitter actually seem to miss Kiff and often mention him
* AnimalNemesis: The dogs to Geoffrey Westcott.
* AnimalTesting
* AnimalTalk
* TheAtoner: [[IntrepidReporter Digby Driver]]. A lot of what goes wrong for the dogs is his fault, but he later makes up for it by [[spoiler:finding Snitter's owner and helping save the two dogs]].
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: Rowf asks Snitter if he can make the humans afraid of them. Pretty soon they are--because they think the dogs have the plague.
* BetterToDieThanBeKilled: [[spoiler: The two dogs swim out to sea to escape their human pursuers.]]
* BewilderingPunishment: Rowf and Snitter aren't certain why the humans have all turned against them.
* BreakTheCutie: It happens over and over and it only gets worse as the plot progresses.
* BriefAccentImitation: Rowf after their encounter with the sheepdogs. Snitter tells him it's not funny.
** Snitter imitates the tod's accent a lot.
* CelebrityParadox: Near the end, Ronald Lockley mentions Richard Adams, and criticizes him for [[Literature/WatershipDown antropomorphizing rabbits]].
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Snitter, due to multiple brain surgeries that removed the barrier between his conscious and subconscious.
** TheCuckoolanderWasRight: Occasionally.
* ColdBloodedTorture: Animal testing includes drowning, vivisection, etc.
* CrapsackWorld: For Rowf and Snitter.
* CunningLikeAFox: The tod is a literal example.
* DeusExMachina:
** At the end of the novel [[spoiler:both dogs are rescued [[ContrivedCoincidence by a boat that just happened to be hanging around]] -- a boat piloted by Sir Peter Scott and Ronald Lockley, no less.]]
** The novel also pulls off the impressive trick of suggesting that ''the reader themselves'' managed to talk the author into [[spoiler:sparing them]].
* DiabolusExMachina: The hunter who wants to adopt Snitter.
* DisproportionateRetribution: Geoffrey Westcott is determined to hunt down the dogs because they invaded his car and ate his groceries.
* DogsAreDumb: Both subverted and played straight.
* DoomMagnet: Snitter literally believes himself to be this, suggesting that they cannot kill him because if he dies all the humans would die, too.
* EveryoneHasStandards: Driver Digby is generally a selfish, amoral bastard. However, he's disgusted and angered [[spoiler:when he finds out that Snitter's owner didn't die, and his sister still sold Snitter to A.R.S.E. Digby's anger over this surprises even himself.]]
* EyeScream: The hunter pointed his rifle at just the right angle, although we see nothing more than him clutching his face with blood everywhere.
* FamilyUnfriendlyDeath: Oh so very many. [[spoiler: The tod]] is killed by hunters, both dogs are strongly implied to have drowned, a man is shot in the face with blood splattering everywhere, and a hunter is killed by a long fall and his corpse is eaten.
* ForScience: Most of Dr. Boycott's animal testing. For example, in one experiment, cats are forced to wear hoods that constantly cover their eyes and ears. The purpose of the experiment is to find out what happens to cats who are forced to wear hoods that constantly cover their eyes and ears.
* FunetikAksent: Most of the characters besides Snitter and Rowf.
* FunWithAcronyms: The animal testing laboratory is called Animal Research: Scientific and Experimental, or A.R.S.E.
* GallowsHumor: Snitter has a dark sense of humor. It irritates Rowf.
* GodIsInept: Rowf believes that the star dog gave the world up as a bad job.
* GreyAndGrayMorality: When the story starts it seems quite clear that the baddies are the whitecoats and the men with guns, while the goodies are those who show sympathy to the dogs. Later, as the characters become more developed, the "baddies" begin to appear more human, reasonable and even nice in their own way, while the "goodies" show signs of shallowness or hypocrisy. (See HumansAreBastards.)
* {{Hallucinations}}: Snitter often has them, due to his brain damage.
* HeroicSacrifice: Snitter's master threw him out of the way of a lorry and was run over instead.
* HeroWithBadPublicity: Thanks to Digby Driver.
* HumansAreTheRealMonsters: Played with. The "[[ManInWhite White]] [[MadScientist coats]]" certainly qualify here, even to the point of being [[HumansAreCthulhu Cthulhu-esque]], but most of the humans are three dimensional and are only after Rowf and Snitter because they killed sheep and eventually [[spoiler: a man]]. Completely averted in the case of Snitter's idea of "Masters," whom he almost deifies.
* HumansAreCthulhu
* IJustShotMarvinInTheFace: Probably the most infamous and depressing scene in the book and film.
* IntellectualAnimal
* IntrepidReporter: Digby Driver. He's a negative example, as he doesn't care about finding out the truth; he only wants to stir up trouble so he could sell his newspaper.
* IWillOnlySlowYouDown: Both Snitter and Rowf tell the other to go on without them at some point.
* MadnessMantra: For Snitter, "The lorry's coming, the lorry's coming!"
* MoodWhiplash: See Marvin, above.
* NoOneGetsLeftBehind: Rowf goes back for Snitter, even though the valley is full of hunters looking for them.
* NoPartyLikeADonnerParty: Strongly implied.
* NoNameGiven: The tod. When Snitter asks his name he gives a tangential answer: he doesn't even understand the question.
* NotQuiteDead: In the novel, [[spoiler:Snitter's owner]].
* OopNorth: It's {{grim up north}} if you are a dog on the run.
* PetTheDog: The above-mentioned hunter who can't bring himself to shoot Snitter, and tries to literally pet him. It... doesn't go so well.
* PunnyName: Several
** Rowf: Canine onomatopoeia.
** Snitter: Nervous noise a dog makes
** Animal Research, Scientific and Experimental: A.R.S.E.
* RageAgainstTheHeavens: Snitter and Rowf view Humans as a [[HumansAreCthulhu dangerous cosmic force]] that have turned against them.
* RevisedEnding: In the original print of the book, the DeusExMachina fails to take place.
* SanitySlippage: Snitter. He starts out crazy and only gets worse as the story progresses.
** SanitySlippageSong‎
* SeriousBusiness: Geoffrey Westcott takes the fact that the dogs broke into his car to steal some food a bit too seriously, and goes on a one man crusade to try and hunt them down.
* ShellShockedVeteran: At the research facility Rowf was forced to swim around in a tank of water until he couldn't swim anymore and drowns. He would then be taken out of the tank, revived and forced to repeat the whole process over again. The experience has understandably left him with a crippling fear of water.
* ShootTheShaggyDog: Surprisingly literal.
* SparedByTheAdaptation: Geoffrey Westcott. Although he appears in the film, his role as the man that [[spoiler:falls off a cliff]] is taken by Ackland, a BountyHunter hired by Dr. Boycott to take out the dogs.
* SpellMyNameWithAThe: The Tod.
* TalkativeLoon: Snitter is crazy and talks all the time.
* TheMusical: Has a surprising number of songs for a book about dogs.
* ThePowerOfFriendship: What keeps Rowf and Snitter together.
* ThisIsAWorkOfFiction: In the foreword, Adams explains that the unsympathetic characters are entirely fictional, but the sympathetic ones are usually real (though many of them already moved from the Lake District or died by the time the novel was published). Also, Animal Research: Scientific and Experimental does not exist, but the experiments described were all carried out in reality.
* ThroughTheEyesOfMadness: Frequently from Snitter's point of view.
* WaifProphet: Snitter is a bit of an {{expy}} for [[WatershipDown Fiver]].
* WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes: Rowf is afraid of water because of the drowning experiments he went through. At the end, he has to scape by swimming into the sea.
* WickedStepmother: Snitter's master's sister sells him to the animal testing lab, leaving Snitter to assume his master [[LeftForDead is dead]].
* {{Xenofiction}}: The dogs' [[DogsAreDumb limited]] intelligence is portrayed surprisingly realistically, although they are much more intelligent than the [[CarnivoreConfusion monstrous beasts]] of ''WatershipDown''.

!! The Film Adaptation provides examples of
* AnimalsLackAttributes: Averted. Snitter, Rowf and many other animals are anatomically correct.
* ArtShift: Snitter's mental hallucinations are portrayed this way on film, and also in-story to suggest his [[{{Xenofiction}} limited eyesight]]
* BlatantLies: In the film, while Rowf and Snitter are running from the humans, the tod offers to distract the humans so they can get away. [[spoiler: He ends up getting killed in the process, and Rowf and Snitter are very aware of it, but assure each other that there's no way the humans got him, because he was too clever.]] They are both quite aware that this isn't true.
* BolivianArmyEnding: The movie ends with the two dogs swimming out to sea trying to reach an island. [[spoiler:Just to increase your doubt in either direction further, the last shot is of an island, while the music for the credits is a song about dying and going to Heaven.]]
* BookEnds: [[spoiler:The film begins and ends in water.]]
** More specifically, [[spoiler:it begins and ends showing a dog in the water, struggling to stay afloat]].
* Creator/BradBird: Helped [[NightmareFuel animate]] {{the film of the book}} before joining {{Pixar}}.
* DeathByAdaptation: [[spoiler:Rowf, Snitter and Snitter's owner.]]
* [[spoiler:DownerEnding: The DeusExMachina is not present in the film version and it's strongly implied that the two protagonists die by drowning.]]
* {{Foreshadowing}}: The ''[[NotMakingThisUpDisclaimer first shot of the movie]]'' gives away how it ends by showing [[spoiler:one of the dogs in a vat of water, failing to stay afloat and beginning to drown]].
* GenderFlip: In the book, the IntrepidReporter chasing the dogs is a man named Digby Driver. In the film, for no apparent reason, the reporter is a woman named Lynn Driver.
* HeroicSacrifice: In the film, [[spoiler: the tod]] gives himself up to buy the two protagonists time to escape. In the book, [[spoiler: the tod is dead long before the dogs run for the sea.]]
* SoundtrackDissonance: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpVU-JI8iF0#t=5m00s Time And Tide]], a cheerful, Cat Stevens-esque ''gospel song'' about dying.

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