History of Military Dogs: The German Shepherd

The German Shepherd breed is known for its intelligence, its dedication, and its loyalty — which makes these dogs the perfect choice for the military. The breed was first used in the military by the German army during World War I, and by World War II, the United States military began to work with these dogs. Today, working German Shepherd dogs continue to help service members in a variety of different roles.

Facts About German Shepherds and the Military

  • German Shepherds were used during World War II by the United States military. Most of these dogs worked as messenger dogs, helping soldiers to communicate during the war. They also served as guard dogs and rescue dogs.
  • Today, many military working dogs are used in the Army. Many of these dogs were used during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Some military working dogs that are not deployed to a war zone specialize in narcotics enforcement as well as explosive detection. They play a pivotal role in national security as well. These dogs also may work with the United States Secret Service in order to keep the top leaders of the country safe from harm.
  • There are special adoption programs available for working German Shepherd dogs who served in the military. Previous handlers and qualified civilians are able to adopt military dogs after they have retired from service, allowing them to enjoy a relaxing and quiet life after giving so much to the country.

The German Shepherd breed was created during the late 19th century, and these dogs were always bred to be working animals. Almost immediately, it was noted that these dogs would be the perfect addition to military operations. To this day, hundreds of German Shepherds serve the country and work to protect the freedom and rights of United States citizens. They fulfill important roles in the military, and citizens are encouraged to give these dogs the respect that they deserve should they have the privilege to meet one.


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