The dog behind Braveheart – and the American Revolution!

Narrated from: Dog Stories

Braveheart is, without a doubt, one of the greatest movies of all time! However, like many movies, it is not historically accurate. The main protagonist, William Wallace, is more of a folk hero, since little is known about his actual life.

In fact, the main protagonist in real history was Robert the Bruce – he was the one who ultimately humbled England and secured Scotland’s independence.

However, as in most of history, there is a dog in the mix. 

A bloodhound to be exact – one of the most popular breeds among the Scottish (and English) nobility.

The dog’s name was Donnchadh – a joyous way to tie your tongue in a knot, eh? Donnchadh is an old Gaelic name, consisting of words meaning “brown” and “noble”. A more popular modern version of the same name is Duncan.

Donnchadh was one of Robert the Bruce’s prized bloodhounds. However, the loyal dog almost brought about his master’s downfall!

During the war with the English, Robert the Bruce and the Scots were sorely pressed, and quite often Robert had to separate his army into smaller units to avoid defeat – and to find supplies. Knowing that, some of Robert’s enemies devised a devious plan to locate him amid the chaos. They decided to use Donnchadh, a dog they knew Robert the Bruce favored, and to trust the loyal dog to lead them to his master.

The bloodhound, not knowing better, was joyous once he caught his master’s scent, and rushed to rejoin him – leading a crew ready to dispatch Robert the Bruce!

However, history has proven that something went wrong with the otherwise brilliant plot. Some claim that wily Robert managed to give the slip to his own dog by fleeing down a stream – however, bloodhounds are actually able to track some scents even through running water!

The more popular version of the story states that Robert’s assailants were surprised by none other than Donnchadh himself! The men who counted on Donnchadh’s loyalty to lead them to Robert hadn’t considered how the dog would react once his new leash-holders attacked Robert the Bruce.

The bloodhound, of course, turned upon the assailants, and with such ferocity that ultimately Robert the Bruce managed to live – and to put his name into the history books.

The results of this were far greater than the appearance of Braveheart. It can be claimed that if Donnchadh hadn’t saved Robert the Bruce’s life, the modern day USA might not exist – or it would be quite different. You see, Robert became not only a king, but ultimately married his daughter into the House of Stuart – a noble line that ultimately came to rule England. One of the most famous members of this family, and a direct descendant of Robert the Bruce, is none other than King George III, who, during his reign, managed to antagonize a bunch of colonists and to start a revolution that changed the very world!

So, if you’ve ever considered dogs to be insignificant, then think again – there is always a dog at the root of things!

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