War Dog Breeds

Virtually all breeds of dogs have been used at one time or another in military roles. Lt. Colonel Richardson of the British War Dog School started training Airdales as sentry and patrol dogs at the outbreak of World War I in 1914, finding them well adapted to the work.

St. Bernard War Dog with MP and Jeep in Texas, 1942
"Julius Caesar," St. Bernard mascot of the Military Police at Kelly Field, TX in 1942.

Today in WW II: 27 Sep 1939 Siege of Warsaw ends with surrender of Polish forces to Germany, although pockets of resistance remain throughout Poland.  More 
27 Sep 1940 Germany, Italy and Japan sign Tripartite Pact.
27 Sep 1941 SS Patrick Henry, the first Liberty Ship, launched by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard in Baltimore, MD.
27 Sep 1943 Airfields near Foggia, on the east coast of Italy, captured by British, giving Allied air power the base to hit targets in France, Germany and the Balkans.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

Breeds Used for Military Working Dogs

Early in World War II, as the Quartermaster Corps began training dogs for the Army's K-9 Corps, more than thirty breeds were accepted. But later, with more experience, the list was narrowed to five: German Shepherds, Belgian Sheep Dogs, Doberman Pinschers, Farm Collies (short coat) and Giant Schnauzers. Rejected breeds included Great Danes, difficult to train because of their size, and hunting dogs because animal scents occupied their attention. Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies were still trained for Arctic duty as sled dogs.

Standard Breeds of U.S. MWDs Today

The vast majority of U.S. military working dogs in recent times are German and Dutch shepherds and Belgian Malinois, breeds chosen because they are very aggressive, smart, loyal and athletic. The photo above, left is a German Shepherd MWD at Edwards AFB, CA, 23 January 2004. To the right is a photo of Oscar, a Belgian Malinios MWD, at Camp Al Asad, Iraq, 23 April 2004.

German Shepherd dogs are preferred as the standard breed because of their unique combination of traits. Shepherds are intelligent, dependable, predictable, easily trained, usually moderately aggressive, and can adapt readily to almost any climatic conditions. While many dog breeds exhibit some or most of these traits, the Shepherd more than any other breed, most consistently exhibits all of these traits.

For specialized roles, detector dogs in particular, other breeds are used. Retrievers (Labrador, Golden or Chesapeake Bay) are the preferred breeds for One Odor Detector dogs.

All dogs trained and used by the U.S. military are procured and trained by the 341st Military Working Dog Training Squadron, Lackland AFB, TX.

Find More Information on the Internet

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