he Nazis famously dismissed the Jews as "sub-human" and held the darker races to be lesser species. But, they believed dogs were almost as intelligent as humans and make extraordinary efforts to build an army of "educated" canines, new research has revealed.
The findings, revealed by Dr Bondeson, a senior lecturer at Cardiff University in his book Amazing Dogs: A Cabinet of Canine Curiosities, shows that the Nazis recruited dogs from all over Germany and trained them to speak and tap out signals using their paws.
The Daily Telegraph reports that one dog was "educated" to imitate the human voice and, when asked who Adolf Hitler was, replied "Mein Fuhrer". Another dog, Rolf, an Airedale terrier, was unable to "speak" but communicated by tapping his paw against a board, each letter of the alphabet being represented by a certain number of taps. Rolf was said to have speculated about religion, learnt foreign languages, wrote poetry and, somewhat ungallantly, asked a visiting noblewoman "could you wag your tail?" Despite his English pedigree, Rolf was clearly a patriotic German, who expressed a wish to join the army, because he disliked the French.
Dr Bondeson told the newspaper: "Part of the Nazi philosophy was that — they believed a good Nazi should be an animal friend. Indeed, when they started interning Jews, the newspapers were flooded with outraged letters from Germans wondering what had happened to the pets they left behind. They seemed to think nothing of human rights, but lots about animal rights".
The Nazis, with Hitler's approval, established a dog school near Hanover in the 1920s. The establishment had some success. A German pointer named Don was capable of speaking and when hungry was known to bark: "Hungry! Give me cakes", in German.
A Dachschund named Kurwenal, was also able to speak using a different number of barks for each letter, but doubtless to the Nazi leader's despair, he told his teachers he would be voting for Hitler's political opponent, Hindenburg.
Bondeson told The Daily Telegraph: "My guess would be that they were intended to work with the SS or be used as guard dogs in concentration camps" to free up officers
Hitler himself was devoted to his two German Shepherds, Blondi and Bella. But when it came to the crunch, he was ruthless even towards them. He shot Blondi moments before committing suicide in his bunker in 1945.