Though many readers of Watership Down hoped for a sequel, Adams has so far not obliged them. Perhaps he believes that part of the charm of the story is that it is a unique, imaginative experience of the rabbit world.
In his third novel, Adams explores a different animal world. The Plague Dogs is a novel whose protagonists are two dogs, Snitter and Rowf, who escape from a scientific research station. Loose for the first time in the wild, Snitter and Rowf survive with the help of Tod, a fox who is wise in the ways of stealing chickens and hunting sheep. The two dogs elude recapture until they are reunited with their master in a surprising, happy ending.
These canine heroes are drawn with the same care as the rabbits of Watership Down; readers hope for them to escape as instinctively as they rooted for Hazel’s band to find a safe warren. Unfortunately, Adams’s canine world is not as fully imagined as his rabbit world. It does not possess the mythology, the psychology, and the politics which created the persuasive reality of the warren. The dogs deal extensively with human beings who remain in the background of Watership Down.
In 1978 Marin Rosen wrote, produced, and directed an animated version of Watership Down. Rosen’s script, which condensed the action of the book, focuses on the ecological theme. The sophisticated animation technique avoids the sentimentality associated with Disney animal tales and appeals to adults as well as children. A distinguished cast of actors, including Sir Ralph Richardson and Zero Mostel, provides the voices. The film was more of a critical than a popular success.