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The United States War Dogs
Association, Inc.
- is a nonprofit
organization of Former and Current US
Military Dog Handlers and supporting
members committed to promoting the
long history of the Military Service Dogs,
establishing permanent War Dog
Memorials, and educating the public
about the invaluable service of these
canines to our country.  

Our background in military War Dog
service and our dedication to honoring
the memory of the service and sacrifice of
the US Military Working Dogs gives us a
unique perspective that we can use to
educate the public on the history of
Military War Dogs.
War Dogs - U.S Army's use of dogs
- The Army Quartermaster
Corps began the U.S. Armed Forces first
war dog training during WWII.  By 1945
they had trained almost 10,000 war dogs
for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and
Coast Guard.   Fifteen War Dog platoons
served overseas in World War II. Seven
saw service in Europe and eight in the
Pacific.  In 1951 the responsibility for
training military dogs was given to the
Military Police Corps.  Dogs continued to
serve the armed forces with distinction in
Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm,
Afghanistan and Iraq and many recent
contingency operations.
From Before Biblical Times To The
- When we go to war, they go to
- Throughout the histories of warfare,
from the days of the Egyptians, the
Greeks and the Persians and the
conquests of the Roman Empire.
- To the United Nation's Police Action in
Korea, the war in Vietnam, the Gulf War,
and more recently during the war in
Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo.
- Dogs have undergone active service at
the sides of their masters, they have
played the role of hero, by showing
bravery under fire, saving lives (often by
sacrificing their own), and bringing
comfort to the injured and infirm.
- Atilla the Hun, used giant Molossian
dogs, precursors of the mastiff, and
Talbots, ancestors of the bloodhound, in
his campaigns.
- During the Middle Ages, war dogs were
outfited with armor and frequently were
used to defend caravans.
- And in the Seven Years War, Russian
dogs were used as messengers by the
army of Frederick the Great.
- Napoleon had dogs posted as sentries
at the gates of Alexandria, in Egypt, to
warn his troops of any attacks.
- Two centuries earlier, on this side of
the Atlantic, they helped the Spaniards
conquer the indians of Mexico and Peru.
- Then later on, it was the native North
American Indians who were to develop
the use of dogs for pack and draft work,
as well as for sentry duty.
- In the early part of the 14th Century,
the French Navy started to use attack
dogs in St. Malo, France, to guard naval
dock installations. These were used up to
1770, when they were abolished after a
young naval officer was unfortunately
killed by one of the dogs.
- The first recorded American Canine
Corp was during the Seminole War of
1835, and again in 1842, in Florida and
Louisana, where Cuban-bred
bloodhounds were used by the army to
track the indians and runaway slaves in
the swamps!
- And during the bleakest time in the
history of the United States, the Civil
War, dogs were used as messengers,
guards and as mascots.
- In 1884, the German Army established
the first organize Military School for
training war dogs at Lechernich, near
Berlin; and in 1885 wrote the very first
training manual for MWD.
- In 1898, during the Spanish-American
War, dogs were used by Teddy's
Roughriders, as scouts in the jungles of
- By the early part of the twentieth
century most European countries were
utilizing dogs in their armies and for
police work.
- In 1904, Imperial Russia used
ambulance dogs during the
Russo-Japanese War; trained by a British
dog fancier, who later went on to
establish the first Army Dog School in
England, at the start of The Great War.
- The Bulgarians and Italians employed
dogs as sentries during the war in the
Balkans and in Tripoli, as did the British
on the Abor Expedition in the Himalayas.
- Dogs were used in sizable numbers in
both World War I and II, particularly by
the Germans, French, Belgians; and
proved to be of considerable value!
- In 1988, the Israeli Special Forces sent
bomb carrying Rottweilers on a suicide
mission, code named "Blue and Brown,"
against enemy bunkers in Lebanon. But
more about that later!
- And when the Berlin Wall came down,
Nov. 9, 1989, the East German
communist government was using 5,000
dogs just to patrol the wall and another
2,500 watch dogs plus 2,700 so called
horse dogs to patrol their borders.
- During the Gulf War, at least 1,177
highly trained German Shepherds were
use by the French forces to guard and
protect their troops, supplies and
aircraft. The USA used 88 teams.
- But it was initially during the days of
the Roman Empire, that entire formations
of attack dogs, frequently equipped with
armour or spiked collars were sent into
battle against the enemy as a recognized
and effective instruments of offensive
- However, recently with the development
of modern long range warfare and the
consequential change in military tactics,
the value of dogs as combat soldiers has
steadily diminished.
- But at the same time their usefulness in
other military activities has increased.

This is their story and in some ways,
mans as well!
During the Civil War, Confederate
regiments unleashed
bloodhounds against negro
Wood engraved illustration from
Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper,
March 5, 1864
Dogs were first domesticated
somewhere between 15,000 to
20,000 years ago and were
initially used for hunting, hauling,
and guarding camps and
settlements. At some point,
imperialistic and class-based
societies began to exploit dogs'
aggressive potential for both
offensive purposes (military
dogs) and for internal social
control, particularly to control
slaves and to guard accumulated
War Dogs: Canines in Combat -
America's war dogs prevented over
10,000 casualties in Vietnam alone and
bravely served our country in Operation
Desert Storm as well as World War II.
Yet, many of these K-9 Soldiers were
declared "surplus armaments" and were
unceremoniously euthanised or left to
unknown fates in Vietnam.  America's war
dogs were trained to recognize booby
traps, mines tunnels and weapons
caches. They were trained for parachutte
landings. They warned troops about
ambushes. They saved lives by dragging
wounded soldiers to safety. These canine
heroes lived, bonded and fought
side-by-side with our veterans.

After World War II, surviving war dogs
were sent home to their families with
honorable discharges. But at the end of
the Vietnam War, military officials
abandoned almost all the American war
dogs. None of the dogs of the Vietnam
War have ever been honored for their
bravery and service until the
War Dogs, America's
Forgotten Heroes.
Copyright 2021 © Barry M. Baker
The Dogs of War: The U.S. Army’s Use
of Canines in WWII
- Throughout
history, dogs have accompanied man at
work and play.  Even in the midst of men’
s wars, dogs have been found serving in
functions ranging from mascots to
weapons of war.  Therefore, it was not
without precedence that in 1942,
following the attack on Pearl Harbor and
the entrance of the United States into
World War II, a small group of civilian
dog enthusiasts approached the Army
about creating a program that would
utilize the special traits and skills of “man’
s best friend” in order to further the war
War Dogs in the Marine Corps - Marine
Corps University
- In the late summer
of 1942, the Marine Corps decided to
experiment with the use of dogs in war,
which may have been a new departure for
the Corps but not a new idea in warfare.
Since ancient times dogs have served
man in various ways: the Romans used
the heavy Mastiffs with armored collars to
attack their enemies in the legs, thus
forcing them to lower their shields; first
aid dogs were used in World War I; and,
of course, all kinds and breeds of dogs
have been used for centuries for pulling
small carriages and sleds or as pack
animals to transport light loads over
difficult trails.
Military Working Dogs: Canine War
Heroes Through History
- On Oct. 27,
2019, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois
military working dog named Conan took
part in the Barisha raid, which resulted in
the death of the leader of ISIS. Conan
joined a long list of heroic military
working dogs.
Dog Day Afternoon | The National WWII
Museum | New Orleans
- For many of
us dog lovers and dog owners it is hard
to imagine volunteering your dog for
military service. Nevertheless, at the
outset of World War II, that is exactly
what many Americans did. Through Dogs
for Defense, established in 1942, 18,000
dogs were procured for military service.
Many of these canine recruits belonged to
everyday citizens wanting to help the war

At the beginning of World War I, the only
military working dogs the United States
owned were sled dogs. In comparison,
European nations in World War I used
canines as sentries, messengers,
ambulance, and draft dogs. In 1942,
members of the
American public, created
Dogs for Defense Inc.
to help recruit
dogs for military use. By the end of the
Vietnam War, dogs no longer were
donated by the American public for use,
rather the American military owned the
dogs they deployed.
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