The Long and Proud History of War Dogs

The Long and Proud History of War Dogs

War dogs have been used by military branches across the world for centuries and have saved countless lives in the process. Since ancient times, dogs have been a critical part of battle, and their bravery and loyalty have made them invaluable members of military units.

A statue of a solider and a war dog.

Alt-Text: A statue of a solider and a war dog.

One of the earliest recorded uses of war dogs was by the ancient Egyptians, who used them as guard dogs and as battle companions. However, these brave K-9s still fight by our side in modern days.

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War Dogs Make a Difference

Dogs have been used in battle since ancient times, and their bravery and loyalty have made them invaluable members of military units.

War dogs can make a difference by sniffing out explosives, providing emotional support to troops, and helping to track the enemy. They are often the first line of defense in a military operation and their heroism. Because of these brave dogs, more soldiers come home safe.

Celebrate these brave dogs by treating your dog to something special. Muttcracker Sweets Peanut Butter Chunk treats are the perfect snack for any dog. Grab a bag today.


An art piece of two dogs with a fallen soldier.

Alt-Text: An art piece of two dogs with a fallen soldier.  

A Brief History of Dogs in War

In March of 1942, the military officially established a branch specifically for war dogs known as the K-9 Corps. However, during WWI, they still used dogs for many things, and they were just a part of the unit.

During WWII, The U.S. Marines favored the sharp look and trainability of the Doberman Pinscher, and with the help of the Doberman Club of America, these dogs became war heroes. Other breeds were used, but these dogs were often used as messengers, mine-detection, sentry, and given scout duties.

The Korean War and Vietnam War brought a new light to our canine warriors. These dogs were mainly used for night patrols because they had a keen sense of smell. The North Koreans and Chinese soldiers grew to hate these dogs because they were so good at finding ambushes, snipers, and other enemy positions.

Furthermore, Vietnam brought new challenges for k9s and their handlers. This war was the first where dogs were dropped via air. The Doberman again took this task, earning the breed the nickname "Devil Dog."

Even today, dogs are worldwide helping support our fight for freedom.

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Dogs Were Once Considered Equipment

In early wars, dogs were classed as "surplus equipment" and often left behind when the American troops withdrew. This was despite pleas from many handlers who were willing to pay for their dog's flight home. As a result, many of these dogs were transferred to the South Vietnamese military and police units, where they were branded unruly and euthanized. Out of the 4,000 dogs that served, less than 200 ever returned home.

Since the passing of "Robby's Law" in 2000, many law enforcement agencies have adopted military dogs. These dogs have been able to retire with their former handlers or other qualified people

You can learn more about adopting a retired military dog through Mission K9 Rescue.


A war dog on a tank.

Alt-Text: A war dog on a tank.

Dogs Are Heros

Dogs have been used in war for centuries and have saved countless lives. The dogs were often considered "surplus equipment" and left behind when troops withdrew, but they continue to serve our country loyally. That loyalty is why dogs today have even earned honorary medals. 

Dogs play an essential role in both night patrols and search-and-rescue missions. They can detect explosives, find drugs, and catch the bad guys (like Conan, who helped take down Isis).

Related: Is Chocolate Safe for Dogs?

March 13th is National K9 Veterans Day, and it's the perfect time to go visit a war dog memorial. While there are not as many across the country, some places pay tribute to these furry heroes.

Celebrate the history of war dogs with your furry best friend this month. Shop The Tail Wags for the cutest fashion, treats, toys and more.