Forgotten Horrors: Russia’s Headless Dogs

“I would rather live and love where death is king than have eternal life where love is not.” —Robert Green Ingersoll

In a Nutshell

In the 1930s, Soviet scientist Sergei Brukhonenko embarked on a series of gruesome experiments. Using a device called an ‘autojector’, he and his team managed to keep the body parts of a dog alive after removal, including the head…

The Whole Bushel

In 1940, a film appeared in Britain and America that was the stuff of nightmares. A record of Sergei Brukhonenko’s experiments, it showed faceless Soviet scientists reanimating first a heart, then a pair of lungs, and finally the severed head of a dog. You read that right: the decapitated head of a dog was brought back to life – and they captured it on film.

Or did they? There’s a lot of controversy surrounding this film. Aside from the ethical considerations, there’s the fact that it doesn’t go into much scientific detail on how the reanimations were achieved; or how the severed head manages to move without any neck muscles. In fact, there’s quite a bit of evidence to suggest it was a fake – unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the experiments themselves.

Despite the fake-looking film, it’s pretty much universally-accepted that Brukhonenko genuinely succeeded in keeping a severed head alive for a short period of time. However, the horror of it has probably been exaggerated. The severed dog heads rarely survived more than a few minutes, and those dogs he first exsanguinated then pumped back full of blood (see the end of the movie) were less resurrected zombie-dogs and more the product of abuse: brain damaged and unable to live very long. However, there’s no getting around the fact that the USSR once paid a man to decapitate dogs for a living – and there’s no telling how many strays died during the experiments. So we take that back: the horror was still very real – only less H.P Lovecraft and more Eli Roth.

Show Me The Proof

Youtube: The Film
Damn Interesting: Sergei’s Litter

  • Spanish Corrector Man

    No way.

    • Sadly yes

      • FILOSOFY

        Jamie Frater, who makes these?

        There’s no author on KN like there is on LV, do you make the nuts?

        • You don’t see the author name? What browser and OS are you using? This is what I see:

          • FILOSOFY

            I’m using Chrome… it should appear. I don’t know… my computer isn’t that good, sometimes it’s there sometimes I can like highlight the place but no text shows up.

            At least I know where it is now, thanks.

  • Snailboy

    A friend of mine showed me before a list of experiments conducted by mad scientists and one entry there was this one. Hell, it even came with a video presentation as to how they did it (not to mention you could hear the dog’s whimpers and stuff). Sadly, I could still remember a couple more gruesome experiments done to animals in that list.

  • edzyl blane

    Well, if you ask me, they should have used the autojector on Sergei Brukhonenko. Foul Beasts abusing dogs must be punished with utmost severity.

  • The Bully007

    If someone done that to my dog, i’d do the same to them. An eye for an eye.

    • anonymouse72

      makes the whole world go blind.

      • The Bully007

        True, then the people won’t be able to see what they’re doing to the animal and plus they’d be deadanyway, because the person(s) head(s) will be chopped off just like the dogs were.

      • FILOSOFY

        Do you know what that even means before you quote it…

      • Poptop

        Both parties would still have an eye..are you a cyclops sir?

      • PetePuma

        no, one person at the end has one eye.

    • Brother John

      That’s more than a little nutz. People and animals are not even roughly equivalent.

      • The Bully007

        We are all animals. But if u had a pet (dog or any other animal), and someone harms a hair on your pets’ head, then you’d want to harm that person.

        • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS

          I agree. I consider my dogs family and worth as much as people.

          • Gamer_2k4

            Well, you’re wrong.

          • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS

            Not really. Unless you consider scumbags like pedophiles and child abductors as more worthwhile to civilization than dogs. I have used my dachshund as a therapy dog and have taken her to two different nursing homes where I could tell by the patients’ expressions what joy she brought them. The joy that she brought to numerous people is incalculable. Moreover, the dogs listed at and at have done more for humanity than say the lowlife terrorists who attacked us on 11 September 2011. So, yes, there are indeed destructive and hateful “people” that are not worth as much to humanity as some dogs.

        • Brother John

          Sure, I would. But it is *not* my child, and there is no equivalency.

      • strukef

        Right,animals>humans(not all ofc)

      • Vidisha Kumar

        ‘People and animals are not even roughly equivalent’ … go back to school. Educate yourself.

      • Vidisha Kumar

        ‘People and animals are not even roughly equivalent’ … go back to school and educate yourself.
        People and animals alike are simply an inconsequential, complex arrangement of cells brought about as a result of natural selection and evolution in arbitrary design on an inconsequential planet in an inconsequential galaxy. Humanity likes to think itself important when it is merely a speck. You are no more a special snowflake than a dust mote on your shoe.

        • Brother John the Deplorable

          If you would like to think of yourself as worthy of no more respect than an animal, that’s fine with me.

  • Bored

    Please, please don’t post stuff like this anymore! It’s horrible and gruesome. I understand it might be interesting to some people. Maybe it could be a small part of a Listverse article instead of an entire article on this new site? I come to Listverse/KnowledgeNuts to read fun, educational articles, not articles about murdering dogs/torturing animals in the name of science. I don’t want to sound like a preachy, righteous, jerk but if one more article like this appears I won’t visit KnowledgeNuts ever again.

    P.S. Nothing against Morris M. (I love your articles on Listverse), I just don’t like the subject or the decision to post this type of stuff on an otherwise awesome website!

    • Peach

      This site is dedicated to providing information that the majority may be unaware of. I for one enjoy these type of subjects because it is odd and fascinating what has occurred in the past. We all have our opinions.

    • rhijulbec

      Not to be rude or preachy, really I do mean it, but maybe read the title and not the story. Lessons can be learned and there really are people who don’t mind reading articles like this. If it smacks of something I am sensitive about I just don’t read it.

    • Ricky Mohammad Nugraha

      The torturing is the one i cant stand too, but for me personally there’s something fascinating about reanimation.. so maybe these type of lists is something like knowledge over guilt for me:/

  • rhijulbec

    Ewwwww…disgusting. The title says it all.

  • Fameister

    If I had a choice between the death of my cat and a million dollars, I would keep my cat, now that I have read this article. I have pondered on that question for a long time, don’t ask me why. But thanks to this article, I can rest in peace.

  • Sewo

    How can we do things like this? We are disgusting. I hope we extinct, we do not deserve to be. We should have never been. We are abominations.

  • Fresco Martinez

    I like to kill dogs and birds. Been doing it since I was a boy. But cutting dogs heads off is better done with a sharp axe after they’re legs are broken. It took me a while to perfect the leg breaking but now I’m a expert at this.

    • Timone

      *their. If only you could perfect the English language as well as you have perfected the art of dog leg-breaking you crazy grammar/animal butchering bastard.

    • Vidisha Kumar

      Your contribution to everything is basically zero. Please euthanize yourself, we have other people to waste all that oxygen on.

  • Fresco Martinez

    Animals are born to die. So why not get pleasure from it in the process ?

  • leaves and bells

    Roald Dahl wrote a short story in which something similar, or maybe this video was a part. A doctor after seeing the video decides to do the same with a human being. And he actually manages to keep the brain and one eye alive.
    And the most creepy part was the pupils were dilated when the brain saw his wife but immediately constricted when the brain saw her smoking. He didn’t approve smoking.

  • Diego

    Some knowledge obtained by these experiments are today used to sustain human lifes.