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World War I Flying Hound

October 19, 2008

In this our third installment of our (quite) occasional series on famous real-life critters,* we take a look at Moritz, the Danish hound who was the notorious Red Baron’s “partner in flight” during World War I.

The Red Baron, whose real name was Baron Manfred von Richthofen, was Germany’s top pilot and the commander of the famed “Flying Circus,” an air force unit comprised of several elite fighter squadrons.

Like other pilots of his era, von Richthofen frequently took his dog with him into the air. The precise number of flights on which Moritz accompanied the Red Baron were not recorded, but since he was a very large dog, probably a Great Dane mix, Moritz was likely left off the longer trips.

Moritz lost an ear in a propellor accident, but survived. The propellor wasn’t so lucky. In his book, originally published in1917, von Richthofen wrote:

One day he [Moritz] rushed in front of a flying-machine which had been started. The aeroplane caught him up and a beautiful propeller was smashed to bits. Moritz howled terribly and a measure which I had hitherto omitted was taken. I had always refused to have his ears cut. One of his ears was cut off by the propeller. A long ear and a short ear do not go well together.

While Moritz’s ultimate fate is unknown, he lives on in the form of Muttley, the snickering cartoon canine who’s the villainous Dick Dastardly’s copilot in the animated TV series “Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah!”

Part One: Old Hemp the Border Collie

3 Comments leave one →
  1. truce permalink
    October 19, 2008 9:31 pm

    not the brightest of animals, then?! 😉

  2. October 19, 2008 11:15 pm

    Poor Moritz. Those pretty blades are hypnotic.

  3. June 30, 2014 12:33 am

    Cazare Constanta

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