The original novel, The Fox and the Hound, was written by Daniel Mannix and published in 1967. The book follows the movie for only the first half; after Tod goes back into the wild, the stories begin to differ. In the book, the hunter's favorite hunting dog does die, and he and Copper vow to hunt Tod down until the fox is killed. It takes several years for them to find the fox; each year, Tod looks forward to it in a way, as it is the only part of his old life that remains.
While in the wild, Tod finds a mate, and with he raises several litters of fox pups. However, the hunter uses several hunting techniques to kill all of Tod's children, as well as his mate. The same thing happens a few years later. During this time, the once-rural area that the hunter lives turns into an urban setting. The hunter loses most of his land, and after a while owns Copper--his only remaining hunting dog. He realizes he only has one last chance to kill the fox, which has eluded him for so long, and he has Copper go and do just that. But instead of being killed, Tod--by now a very aged fox--exhausts himself to death. Copper collapses beside the fox, and gains instant popularity. But the popularity does down, and after his master is forced into a nursing home, Copper is put down with a gun,meeting the same fate as Tod.
The novel received critical acclaim, being selected as a Reader's Digest Book Club book in 1967. It received several awards, and in 1975, Walt Disney Pictures purchased the rights to adapt it into a film. Though the film was successful, nobody forgot about the original book, The Fox and the Hound.