War Dogs
Copyright 2014 © Barry M. Baker,
War Dog - During World War I the Germans used dogs in the military. The experience in Germany with military dogs during World War I led the
government to establish an organization that would be involved in breeding and training military and police dogs. The organization also bought dogs
from private breeders. It is estimated that by the time the U.S. got involved in World War II that the Germans had trained 200,000 military and police
dogs. The Germans provided 25,000 trained military dogs to their ally, Japan, that were used in the war against China.

The Russians also trained and used dogs in their military. White Samoyeds were used to pull white-clad marksmen on sleds close to enemy lines. In
one sector of the front, a team of sled dogs carried 1,239 wounded men from the battlefield and hauled 327 tons of ammunition within a five week
period. Dog teams were used to pull guns, men, and supplies. One Russian correspondent stated that "dogs have saved thousands upon thousands
of lives on the Russian front."

Americans have always been great dog lovers and owners, but before World War II there was no formal training for military dogs. There was also very
little use of dogs by the police. The use of dogs of any breed by the police and military really did not exist until World War II. In Europe, dogs bred to
herd sheep and cows were trained in police and military work. In the U.S., herding dogs did little "real" work as there weren't many sheep and men on
horse back, cowboys, did the cattle herding.

In a great many ways, not just military dogs, the U.S. was unprepared for war when World War II came to the country on a Sunday, December 7, 1941.
The real miracle of World War II was how an unprepared nation could achieve victory in four years.
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

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 1942-Present - 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.
K-9 HISTORY: THE DOGS OF WAR! - From Before Biblical Times To The Present - When we go to war, they go to war.
- 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
- 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 Cuba.
- 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
- 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
- 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 warfare.
- 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!
Dogs of War - Eleven of the most popular contributors to the Australian war effort in Vietnam could not return home when their tour of duty ended.
They were the black labrador tracker dogs used by the Australian Task Force.
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 property.
Military Working Dog Foundation, Inc. - The Mission of the Military Working Dog Foundation is to assist the Department of Defense Military
Working Dog Center in finding suitable homes for military working dogs that become available for adoption because they are no longer capable of
performing their military duties.  

Because on occasion, dogs are available for distribution to police departments and other law enforcement agencies, the Foundation's mission is also
to help this process involving law enforcement K-9 units. In most cases, the dogs made available to law enforcement would make excellent working
dogs, but due to time restraints, the military is unable to continue training them.

The dogs available for private adoption are not your ordinary house pets. They are anything but ordinary. They have served in protecting our country
or have been to military K-9 'boot camp" and are very special animals. Our goal is to aid the MWD Center in finding appropriate homes for the
working dogs available for private adoption to the public, former handlers and other persons capable of properly caring for these dogs as well as law
enforcement agencies having a special requirement for a trained K-9.
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 documentary
War Dogs, America's Forgotten Heroes.