Honoring Our Country’s Hero Military Dogs
Dogs are well-known for their unwavering love, loyalty, and obedience. These attributes not only make them quality companions for families and individuals, but it also makes them strong additions to military, police, fire, and rescue forces. National K9 Veterans Day on March 13 is set aside to honor the bravery and sacrifices made by the hero military and working dogs throughout the history of our country.
Dogs were first utilized in the police force in France in the early 1300s, and their skills quickly gained recognition and popularity all over the world.
During WW1, U.S. soldiers noticed the Europeans using dogs as sentries and message carriers, along with other roles. It’s believed that this is what initially sparked the idea to utilize dogs in the U.S. military. However, the official U.S. Army K9 Corps was not created until 1942.
Inside the United States, police forces first started incorporating German Shepherds into their teams to help control riots. While dogs are still used to track and apprehend suspects, they are also employed for their keen sense of smell. Their powerful noses can be used to sniff out drugs, weapons, explosives, and chemicals used in arson cases.
Types of Military and Working Dogs
K9 military and police dogs are trained by a handler. These officers are responsible for both training and ongoing care for the pups. To be prepared to work in the field, K9 units require a lot of specialized training. For certain tasks and areas of expertise, specific breeds are utilized due to the unique and useful characteristics in their genes.
Here are some examples of different breeds that are often selected for service:
- Police dogs – German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Labrador Retriever, Bloodhound, Beagle, Rottweiler
- Fire dogs – Dalmatian
- Search and Rescue dogs – Border Collie, German Shepherd, Bloodhound, Labrador Retriever
- S. Custom and Border Protection dogs – Sporting Dogs, Labrador Retrievers
- Military dogs – Dutch and German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois
Please take a moment on National K9 Veterans Day to honor the generations of hero military, police, fire, and rescue dogs that have bravely served and protected our country throughout history.