Four legged soldiers have been diligently protecting soldiers and American soil for centuries. The loyalty of the dogs is something money can’t buy, but many American’s aren’t familiar with the sacrifice the dogs make on their patrols.
Here are 15 Interesting Facts About Military Dogs:
- Dogs have been part of military history for as long as people have been fighting. The Romans, the Vikings and even in the Revolutionary War, all used dogs during conflicts.
- The official recognition for four legged soldiers didn’t come until World War II.
- Originally, dogs in wars involving the United States mostly were used to carry messages.
- Over 5,000 dogs served in the Vietnam War and many helped the soldiers in different capacities.
- Sergeant Stubby, a very famous dog who was part of the military was the most decorated War Dog in history. He saved an entire group of soldiers from an enemy attack and thanks to his help, everyone made it out safely. He also met three presidents during his lifetime.
- Another big hero who served with the military was a German shepherd named Chips. The dog single-handedly forced a large group of enemy soldiers to surrender. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and the Purple Heart after people heard of his bravery.
- A dog was part of the SEALS special forces team that was known to accompany the unit during the famous Osama bin Laden raid.
- Rin Tin Tin is the most famous dog military dog of the movies. A German war dog, he was abandoned, then adopted by American troops and brought to the U.S., where he became a movie star after World War I. American soldier, Lee Duncan, brought the dog back to America where he got his start in show business.
- Typically a dog will retire around the 10 year mark. The dogs who are physically fit and still able to do the job might stick around longer, but once they appear tired they can go home and relax.
- Military handlers of four legged soldiers get first option to adopt. 90% of the dogs find homes with individuals who have worked with the animals in the past and are already familiar with the needs of the animal.
- Dogs who retire adapt quickly to the slower change of pace after retiring. While dogs are aware of their surroundings, they come to realize that the instinctive nature of their previous job is always on demand allowing them to relax.
- Dogs who love a ball are more likely to be allowed into the training programs. Offering a reward for every time a command is followed, playing with a ball becomes a big treat.
- Dog names are given to the dog by breeders at birth. Rarely is a name changed as the dog becomes familiar with the word. However, sometimes the breeders do pick outrageous names and the term must be changed
- Soldier dogs don’t get a paycheck. The rewards – treats and playing with their ball – are what the dogs get in return for their hard work. Military handlers also give praise to the animals, but they dogs don’t get any money.
- Four legged soldiers are still officially considered equipment by the Defense Department.
Get more information about Four Legged Soldiers in the new book! It’s available now and a great way to learn about military dogs.