You will never look at your German Shepherd the same way again.
The Nazis supported a bizarre project to teach dogs to talk, according to a new book. The Local’s Moises Mendoza spoke with the author Jan Bondeson about the German fascination with “educating” the beasts for the Third Reich.
Bondeson, a researcher at Britain’s Cardiff University, stumbled upon the information in German periodicals while conducting research in Berlin for his book about dogs.
But the quest for loquacious canines didn’t actually start with the Nazis, Bondeson told The Local, but years earlier with figures like Clever Hans, an infamous German horse who was supposedly able to figure out complex math problems.
Although the horse was proven a fraud – it was shown that instead of solving problems, he was responding to suggestion from his master – the idea that animals could possess surprising intelligence became increasing popular among Germans
Rolf the dog – an intellectual Airdale terrier who could supposedly tap out poetry with his paws and demanded to fight in World War I – pushed the hype to new levels.
By the time Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, an entire movement of animal psychology had been established that fit well with the image of the Nazi leader doting on his German Shepherd Blondi.