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10 Military Dog Breeds That Fight Alongside Us

Military working dogs have the unique honor of assisting our armed forces and keeping them safe. But, certain dogs are better military dog breeds for getting the task done.

When we think about dogs that work in the military, we think about working dogs like the German Shepherd Dog (GSD). However, the GSD is just one of ten popular military dog breeds that serve alongside our armed forces. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), military dogs have been used in the following roles,  messengers, patrol, guards, mine detection, and medical dogs. The pups were also used to transport weapons, ammunition, food, and medical supplies. These pups truly prove to be man's best friends and have excellent dog training to perfect their skills. Some have even received medals for their work alongside our nation's military. There is even a Military Dog Training facility at Lackland Air Force Base, so these pups get the specific training they need. So which pups are the best military dog breeds? There are many usual suspects, but one breed is quite surprising.

1. German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd

According to MWDTSA, Captain Max von Stephanitz began selectively breeding the German Shepherd for use in law enforcement and the military between 1899 and 1914. During World War I, the pups joined the war efforts alongside the German military. After seeing the pups in action, both the United States and the British decided to develop their own military use German Shepherds. In World War II, both the U.S. military and the Germans had the pups by their side. To this day, German Shepherds are one of the popular breeds used by the military.

2. Belgian Malinois


belgian malinois

A close relative of the German Shepherd, it's no surprise that the Belgian Malinois is a military dog breed. According to the Navy Seal Museum, the breed is actually their preferred pup. Two pups, Raven and Bullet, even work at that museum and greet visitors. SEAL teams prefer Malinois because of their intelligence, agility, loyalty, fierceness, and stealthiness. They also are not afraid to jump out of planes and are the perfect size for a tandem jump or rappelling. Malinois also make for perfect Improvised Explosive Device detection dogs since they have an acute sense of smell. There was even a Belgian Malinois on the team that took out Osama bin Laden, a pup named Cairo.

3. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

Compared to the other military dogs on the list, a Yorkshire Terrier seems like an unlikely war dog. However, one tiny Yorkie came in handy for soldiers during World War II. According to National Geographic, a little pup named Smoky was the perfect size to pull wires through a pipe for her owner, Army Corporal Bill Wynne, and his unit. With her help, they were able to set up a communication network. Because of her, over 250 men's lives were saved. This little pup also served as a comfort dog for many wounded soldiers.

4. Huskies

military working dogs


Huskies found themselves being more than just sled dogs during World War II. They were part of the military service before Pearl Harbor was hit. Huskies were vital to search and rescue missions in the Arctic, not to mention they could travel through regions where vehicles could not. When the American forces were not using them anymore, they went back to Russia to provide support for the Russian army.

5. Alaskan Malamutes

alaskan malamute

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Another pup that found its stride with the military during WWII was the Alaskan Malamute. On top of being sled dogs, they were also trained to parachute out of planes and use their search and rescue techniques. These pups were mainly used for locating downed airplanes and retrieving their crews.

6. Giant Schnauzer

Giant Schnauzer stands in grass

Giant Schnauzers were first used in World War I by the Air Force. However, their use was tabled until the 1980s since the military did not think they were a good fit for military service dogs. But the Air Force wanted to give the pups a try. A Giant Schnauzer named Brock is currently the only one in 30 years to be a member of the DoD.


7. Boxer

military working dogs

The military used Boxers during World War I. They had many different tasks during the war. The versatile pups were used as messenger dogs, patrol dogs, and scouts. Many of the military branches currently employ the use of Boxers.

8. Rottweiler

Female Rottweiler

Rottweiler's have been used by the military for many years. Their service dates back to World War I, when they were used as night guards. If the pups sensed the enemy approaching, they would alert the troops by barking. These intelligent dogs are also fiercely loyal. With their strong jaws, it's been rumored that they were used as interrogation dogs too.

9. Airedale Terrier

airedale terrier

During World War I, the Airedale Terrier found many uses. It was the perfect sentry or courier for the British forces, and the pup often found itself on the front lines alerting the troops to the enemy's approach. The terriers were also used as messenger pups, and since they were excellent trackers, the Red Cross employed them as rescue dogs. One pup, Jack, was even awarded the Victoria Cross after he died for his excellent messaging skills.

10. Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinschers have a long history of working with the military. In fact, their use dates back to World War I. While Dobermans are typically thought of as guard dogs, these pups are highly trainable and could be used for various other tasks. For example, Dobermen were trained to be sentry dogs, messengers, detection dogs, and search and rescue pups. According to Dobermans Den, during World War II the U.S. Marine Corps developed a K-9 Corps called the "Devil Dogs" that put Doberman's skills to good use. Even though their mascot was a bulldog, the Corps was given a Doberman by the Doberman Pinscher Club, and the rest is history.

Do you have a fave military dog from the above list? Did we miss any of the most popular dog breeds? Please let us know on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page.  

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