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"In WWII, they had a saying that there are no atheists in foxholes. I think the modern equivalent of that is that there are no jaded, bored people in the high-tech industry, in the land of really good hardcore geeks."
- Neal Stephenson

Robot Dog  
  A mechanical, robotic dog.  

First direct use of the phrase 'robot dog' as far as I know in science fiction.

You have not yet demonstrated that you can transfer your ego to this brain, or that it will govern a robot once it is intailed [sic].”

“Suppose you leave that to me. I have demonstrated it to my own satisfaction. I have transferred the ego of a dog to a synthetic dog brain in the skull case of a robot dog. Behold.”

He snapped his fingers, and a lean, rangy hound rose from the corner in which it had been lying, stretched, yawned, and came trotting toward him.

“A robot dog!”

“Exactly. And Cerberus, as I call him, because he has been brought back from the very gates of hell, acts exactly like a living dog, as you can plainly see. Yet I transferred nothing physical from the living dog. Every part of him is synthetic, even to his brain.”

“And how did you make this remarkable transfer?”

“With my telastral projector — the machine which will, when the time comes, transfer my ego to the brain you see in the solution before me.

Technovelgy from The Iron World, by Otis Adelbert Kline.
Published by Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1937
Additional resources -

Another complete and more detailed use of this idea appeared in Gramp and his Dog, by Frank Quattrocchi, published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1952:

Stranton bent down and examined the robot dog. John had evidently cut the switch on the intricate machine while it was in the midst of some sort of action. Its head was raised and its feet were still extended for standing. Beautiful job. He touched the synthetic fur of the nose. It was properly stiff.

The eyes were especially realistic. Although they were actually tiny image receptors for the computer-brain they were nevertheless ornamental. The ears were likewise excellently constructed.

Somewhere under the large hairy ear flaps there were a pair of tiny microphones which probably were tuned to a real dog’s sonic sensitivity — or even beyond.

The company’s label was still in place on a chain around the robot’s neck. Mark IV — Stranton remembered reading an advertisement regarding this model. It carried the most extensive — and expensive — computing device for its size in existence. He found himself wondering if the computer was actually contained in the robot’s head. Probably it was not. Not all of it anyway.


('Gramp and his Dog' by Frank Quattrocchi)

He allowed his hand to run experimentally over the concealed panel of studs under the fur of the robot’s belly. He pressed one of the studs.

Instantly the animal came alive. It rolled over quickly and retracted its legs. Almost at once it was on its feet. The head swung from side to side only briefly before coming to rest with the eyes glaring at him. Stranton felt the hair rise on the back of his neck. The dog rocked backward into a crouch, its hind legs cocked. It began a low growl, producing it deep in the mechanical throat.

His cousin had said something about a Watchdog pattern — They had simply cut the power switch — he had turned it on again!

Compare to the electric cat from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) by Philip K. Dick.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Iron World
  More Ideas and Technology by Otis Adelbert Kline
  Tech news articles related to The Iron World
  Tech news articles related to works by Otis Adelbert Kline

Robot Dog-related news articles:
  - Feisty Little Robot Dog Cheaper Than Boston Dynamics
  - DroneDog Ground Security Robot Dogs From Asylon
  - Ghost Robotics Developing Robotic Dog Border Guard
  - Laika Concept Robotic Dog Companion

Articles related to Robotics
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Micro-Robots Are Smallest, Fully Functional
DIY Robotic Hand Made After Loss Of Fingers
Robot Snakes No Longer Stopped By Stairs

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