Posted by: paperbacks | September 22, 2007

Military Working Dogs

Miltary dogs help defend our country as much as any soldier. They have an important job to do, and they usually seem to enjoy doing it. Military working dogs require handlers, who must meet certain requirements and go through extensive training before they can work with the dog. The dogs themselves need expensive specialized training to work effectively.

First, the breeds that the military works with are usually Labradors, Belgian Malinois, or German Shepherds. Labradors and German Shepherds are well-known dogs in the United States, but Belgian Malinois are not as common as pets. The American Kennel Club describes their temperament as protective, not aggressive. They will be affectionate with the people they see as their family, but they may be somewhat withdrawn with outsiders. These dogs are most happy when working and are very trainable.

The dogs are trained at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. The dogs are trained in endurance as well as special skills. This month at Fort Meade, they held an “Iron Dog Triathalon,” where teams of military dogs from different forts competed in events that included narcotics detection, a three-mile cross-country run, and attacking a dummy with the most force. These are just some of the skills the dogs need to learn.

There are about 2,000 dogs working in Iraq right now, and their numbers increase every year. They are especially needed to sniff out explosives. When wounded, they receive treatment and rehab the same as any soldier. It costs about $25,000 and 6 months to train one dog, and they provide services that no soldier or machine can, so they are highly valued.

The Army first began using dogs during World War II. Thousands of dogs were trained by the end of the war to aid several branches of the military. Traditional forms of obedience training evolved from the Army’s methods.

In past wars, when the Army no longer needed an animal, it would be killed. Today, when military dogs retire, they may be available for adoption but only to former dog handlers and law enforcement agencies. This is nice for soldiers who handled the dogs, who can then care for them in their retirement as a pet. The dogs are trained to be protective and attack, so their new owner must know how to handle them. However, if you have experience that you think qualifies you for adopting one of these dogs, you may be able to.





For information on adopting military dogs:

Photos from Flickr:




  1. Hey i was just wondering how ou got a pic of my do while we are deployed, even though it is a good pic. I was just wondering.

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