Anna M. Waller
Department of the Army
Office of the Quartermaster General

Study on the history of War Dog training and utilization during and after World War II.


 War Dogs in World War II



History of Military Use of Dogs

While the horse and mule were rapidly passing from the military scene the Army during World War II, ventured into a new and comparatively untried field of activity – the use of dogs for military purposes. Even though it had utilized a few dogs in minor roles earlier, it was not until World War II that they were used to any significant extent as auxiliaries to our fighting men when trained for sentry, messenger, scout, sled and pack duties. However the use of dogs for such purposes was by no means new to the world.

The extraordinary characteristics of the dog – acuteness of his senses, his docility, his affection for man, his watchfulness, and his speed enable him to be of great value for military purposes. This fact was recognized centuries ago. As methods of warfare changed through the ages, so did the military use of dogs change.

Prior to the introduction of gunpowder, dogs usually took an active part in combat. The early Greek and Roman soldiers made use of large dogs by equipping them with spike collars and sending them forward to attack the enemy. During the Middle Ages, war dogs were outfitted with armor and frequently were used to defend caravans. The North American Indians developed the dog for pack and draft work as well as for sentry duty. By the early part of the twentieth century most European countries were utilizing dogs in their armies. Russia used ambulance dogs during the Russo-Japanese War. The Bulgarians and Italians employed dogs as sentries in the Balkans and in Tripoli, as did the British on the Abor Expedition in the Himalayas. During the long drawn-out Spanish-Morocco War the Riffs camouflaged the animals in garments to make them indistinguishable from their owners in the hazy desert visibility and trained them to run along the front lines and draw the fire of the Spaniards, thus revealing gun positions.

Dogs were used in sizable numbers in World War I, particularly by the Germans, French, and Belgians, and proved of considerable value under advantageous conditions for certain types of auxiliary duties. The German Army is reported to have utilized approximately 30.,000 of the animals for messenger and ambulance service, The French and Belgian Armies employed them on a smaller scale for messenger, ambulance, and draft work.

In the Spring of 1918, during World War I, a recommendation was made by G-5. General Headquarters, American Expeditionary Forces that dogs be used as sentries, messengers, patrol aids and for special supply missions. It was proposed to procure 500 dogs from French training centers every three months to equip American Divisions with 228 each; training to extend to the United States, five kennels with 200 dog capacity each. However, the project was disapproved by G-3, General Headquarter, and the matter dropped.

At the time of Pearl Harbor, the sled dog was the only working type


to be found in the Army. About fifty of these animals were assigned to military stations in Alaska, where they-were employed when snow and ice precluded the use of horses mules or motorized transportation. Apart from the animals in Alaska, the only other sled dogs were the forty obtained from the Byrd Antarctic Expedition on its return early in 1941. They were used by the Air Corps Ferrying Command in rescuing airmen forced down in snowbound and desolate parts of Newfoundland, Greenland, and Iceland.

Origin of the War Dog Program

The Army still had no plans for training dogs when the United States entered World War II. -That such a program eventually was adopted was due partly to the enthusiastic support given the idea by the major organizations of dog owners and breeders and partly to the vision of a few military men who foresaw various ways in which dogs could be used to excellent advantage. As soon as it became apparent that the United States might become actively involved in the new global conflict fanciers of dogs pointed out the possible value of the animals to the Armed Forces, and leaders of several prominent dog organizations turned their attention to developing training techniques that might be militarily useful, particularly for sentry and casualty work.

The attack upon Pearl Harbor and the sudden entry of the United States into the war greatly stimulated interest in the use of dogs for sentry duty, With the rapid expansion of industrial plants and Army installations, the potential damage that might be done by saboteurs enemy aliens, and fascist-minded groups was constantly mounting, and precautionary measures were required. The necessity for such measures was further emphasized early in 1942 when German submarines began to operate in large numbers near the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, and landing of expert saboteurs loomed as a distinct possibility. Dog fanciers were not slow to point out that the animals might be extremely valuable auxiliaries if they were attached to Coast Guard beach patrols then being organized to prevent such landings and if they were used as guards at industrial plants and Army installations.

Role of Dogs for Defense Inc. as Procurement Agency

Meanwhile -steps were being taken to establish a national organization to guide the patriotic purpose of dog owners along constructive lines, Outstanding among the leaders of this movement were Mrs. Milton Erlanger, prominent dog breeder and exhibitor Arthur Kilbon, who for years had written articles about dogs for the New York Sun and other publications under the pseudonyms, Arthur Roland and Roland Kilbon; Harry I. Caesar, who was elected President of the newly formed organization, Dogs for Defense and Len Brumby head of the Professional Dog Handlers Association,, The result was the establishment of Dogs for Defense, Inc.,*

*See Appendix I for List of Board of Directive, Dogs for Defense Inc. (Not included in this Document)


which was designed to serve as a clearing house for coordinating the various attempts to develop interest in sentry dogs. This new group obtained the cooperation of the American Kennel Club, which as the registration body for all pure-bred dogs, wielded a strong influence among owners and fanciers. The most powerful professional and amateur influences thus were mobilized to assist in launching Dogs for Defense in January 1942. Funds to finance the operation of Dogs for Defense were to be obtained through member clubs of the American Kennel Club and by donation from individual financiers. The animals were to be acquired by donation trained at kennels under the supervision of Dogs for Defense, and distributed for use where they were most needed, Regional offices were to conduct most of the work actually required in connection with procurement and training.**

Shortly after the establishment of Dogs for Defense, the American Theatre Wing War Service made a formal offer to donate dogs to the Quartermaster Corps for defense purposes. In view of the mounting interest in sentry dogs and the fact that the Army had no regular means of obtaining them The Quartermaster General asked permission of the Secretary of War to accept the dogs without cost to the Government. The authority was granted in February.. Inasmuch as the organization of the Theatre Wing group did not lend itself readily to the actual procurement and training of dogs, officials of Dogs for Defense agreed to assume these responsibilities.

The program embarked upon was experimental because canine supply and training, except in connection with sled dogs were entirely new tasks for the Army. It was designed primarily to provide a test of the usefulness of dogs at Quartermaster Installations. Supervision of the new program was assigned initially to the Plant Protection Branch, Inspection Division OQMG (Office of The Quartermaster General) on the theory that dogs would be used chiefly with guards at civilian war plants and Quartermaster depots. Original estimates listed requirements at only 200 animals.

To fill this order, Dogs for Defense asked qualified trainers to volunteer their services without pay and called for the donation of animals and the use of-private kennels for instructional purposes. Donations of 100 acceptable dogs were soon obtained but none of the kennels offered was sufficiently large to carry on the training of so many animals- so it was necessary to maintain a dozen small training centers in various parts of the country. This meant that standardization of instruction was impossible. Moreover, few animals were actually delivered to using agencies. An Army inspection made in June, three months after the program began, revealed that the dogs in training had made little progress. This was due largely to the fact that available instructors generally were inexperienced in teaching sentry dogs and unfamiliar with military conditions most of them having specialized in preparing animals for routine obedience tests or for field trail work. Another striking weakness of the program was the failure to teach men to handle the dogs. This defect however, was due primarily to the fact that the Army did not make enlisted personnel available for this purpose.

Partly because of the discouraging conditions, under which Dogs for

**See Appendix 11 for List of ‘Regional Directors, Dogs for Defenses, Inc. (Not included in this Document)


Defense conducted its activities and partly because the demand for sentry dogs was beginning to outstrip the original limited conception of the number required, a new training program was developed in the summer of 1942, The first step toward formulating such a program was the transfer of the responsibility for procuring, handling, and training dogs from the Plant Protection Branch to the Remount Branch. The extensive and specialized organization of the Remount Branch its long experience in dealing with animals and its strategically located depots made it the logical agency to handle an enlarged program. Inasmuch as it was still intended to use only sentry dogs and these largely at civilian plants the responsibility for the issue was retained for the time being in the Plant Protection Branch but this function too was shifted to the Remount Branch in September. This realignment of functions meant that while Dogs for Defense lost its training function, it retained the procurement function by delegation from the Remount Branch.

Evidence that military interest was developing in the potentialities of war dogs for tactical purposes was demonstrated early in July 1942 when Headquarters, Army Ground Forces announced plans to utilize 100 messenger and scout dogs and 100 sled dogs in the proposed Mountain Division, and submitted a request for eleven of these dogs in November for use in a test at Camp Hale in Colorado. Another token of interest in tactical dogs was the request made by Army Ground Forces a short time later for specially selected animals for experimental training in message carrying wire-laying, pack-carrying, first-aid, scout., attack., and trail work.

Formal recognition of the possible military value of dogs came on 16 July 1942., when the Secretary of War directed The Quartermaster General to broaden the scope of the War Dog Program to include training for roving patrol messenger and sled work in addition to fixed sentry duty. Instruction in this latter category it was pointed out, should be modified to meet the needs of the Army Air Force in guarding air fields, and possible uses by other agencies. This directive also ordered the Army Ground Forces, the Army Air Force and the theaters of operations “to explore the possibilities of using dogs advantageously in the various activities under their control.”

Pending the determination of military needs, The Quartermaster General was ordered not only to conduct training of dogs in the four categories but also to teach handlers, develop training techniques, and establish schools capable of rapid expansion. Thus the program originally based on the assumption that dogs would be employed only in small numbers and only for fixed sentry duty at industrial plants and Quartermaster installations became one based on the supposition that these animals might be utilized generally for a wide variety of tactical purposes by other arms and services.

The functions of the Quartermaster Corps expanded still further in the fall of 1942 when the Corps was made responsible for procuring and training dogs for the Navy and the Coast Guard. This was an out- growth of the steady increase in demand for dogs among the Armed Forces.


The Coast Guard required dogs in mounting numbers for its beach patrols and the Navy needed them for sentry duty at its yards, air stations ordnance plants,, and ammunition depots.

At this time Mrs. Milton Erlanger, mentioned earlier as having been one of the most enthusiastic leaders in organizing Dogs for Defense Inc. entered on duty as Expert Consultant to The Quartermaster General in setting up the War Dog Program, unofficially known as the “K-9 Corps”. While this title was never officially adopted, it became the popular title of the Program, obviously due to its phonetic association with the words “canine corps”. Mrs. Erlanger worked directly with the then Chief of Remount Branch Colonel E. M. Daniels, in formulating plans for the procurement of “suitable dogs and for their training as well as the recruitment of personnel for the latter function. By reason of her many years’ experience as a dog fancier breeder exhibitor and judge of shows she was eminently fitted for this position. She authored the Training Manual known as TM 10-396-WAR DOGS, technical bulletins, training films, etc…

Procurement and Training

To implement the greatly expanded program, The Quartermaster General ordered the establishment of war dog reception and training centers. Their function was to receive animals procured by Dogs for Defense, give them a rigid physical examination classify them accordingly to the type of work for which they seemed best fitted, and provide the training necessary to make them useful to the Army. In addition the centers had the task of training enlisted men to serve as dog handlers in order that there might always be available personnel capable of caring for the animals and supervising their work.

Location of Training Centers

The first of these centers was established in August 1942 at the Front Royal Virginia Quartermaster Remount Depot, Three others were opened late in l942 .- Fort Robinson Nebraska, Camp Rimini Montana, and San Carlos, California — and a fourth in April 1943 at Cat Island, Gulfport, Mississippi. Small temporary training centers were set up at Beltsville, Maryland, and Fort Belvoir, Virginia, when it was decided to train mine detection dogs. This highly specialized training was later transferred to the San Carlos War Dog Reception and Training Center, California.

The centers at Front Royal and Fort Robinson were located at permanent remount installations while the others were independent establishments Camp Rimini, situated in a region in the Rocky, Mountains where the snow lay on the ground for many months of the year, was utilized exclusively for the training of sled and pack dogs. Cat Island was used for tactical training because its semi- tropical climate and dense vegetation made it a suitable place to prepare dogs for use in jungle warfare.

All of these centers, except the one at Fort Robinson, were


discontinued during the latter half of 1944, By the summer of that year the Allied military situation had improved to the extent that the need for dogs to assist in guarding United States coast lines and zone of interior installations had virtually disappeared, As a result the number of sentry dogs returned began to exceed by far the number issued. Training activities which were then being devoted increasingly to the instruction of scout dogs, ‘Were concentrated thereafter at the Nebraska post.

In 1942 and 1943, when practically all of the dogs were trained to perform the comparatively simple tasks involved in sentry duty more than thirty breeds of both sexes were considered suitable for military service. Experience revealed, however, that even for sentry duty some breeds were unsatisfactory. Among these were Great Danes, whose large size made them difficult to train, and hunting breeds in general because they were too easily diverted by animal scents. By the fail of 1944 the number of preferred breeds had been reduced to seven, German Shepherds, Belgian sheep dogs,, Doberman-Pinschers, farm collies, Siberian huskies, Malamutes and Eskimo dogs. Crosses of these breeds also were acceptable. “

At the beginning of the program dogs of acceptable breeds from one to five years old were taken. It was soon found that dogs of five years were too old to begin their training so the maximum procurement age was lowered first to three and one half years and then to two in the fall of 1944 when most of the dogs were being trained for tactical service. Requirements called for animals of neutral color such as gray, tan, or salt and pepper. Those with extensive white or buff markings were unacceptable as too conspicuous. Specifications as to size and weight varied over the years, but by the fall of 1944 the acceptance height range was from 20 to 26 inches at, the shoulder and the weight from 40 to 80 pounds, except for sled and pack dogs which could weigh more.

The elaborate regional organization of Dogs for Defense, its many enthusiastic volunteer workers, and the fact that widespread publicity had acquainted virtually all dog owners with its objectives made it an ideal agency for obtaining the donation of animals, On receiving an offer of a dog, the nearest regional office sent out a questionnaire to ascertain whether the animal met the specifications for military service. If such appeared to be the case, the dog was inspected and given a preliminary physical examination. Only about 40 percent of the animals passed this test. These were forwarded to the war dog reception and training centers for a more thorough inspection, classification, and training, In general, Dogs for Defense was able to maintain a fairly even flow of animals, On some occasions, however there were more student handlers at the centers than could be provides with dogs, and it was suggested that the animals be obtained before the men.

Dogs for Defense served as the procurement agency for the Corps until March 1945, when its officials asked to be relieved of this


responsibility. At that time the Quartermaster Corps set up its own organization for dog procurement. During its 3 years of operation, Dogs for Defense obtained approximately 18 000 dogs through donations. Purchases of sled and pack dogs had been made earlier by the Quartermaster Corps. Thus a total of approximately 20,000 dogs were procured during the war. Of these only slightly more than 10,000 finished training for some form of war work, the others being disqualified for one reason or another. Undersize, disease, temperamental defects, inferior scenting powers, and extreme excitability under the influence of noise or gunfire were the principal causes for rejection.

A highly specialized program for training both dogs and their handlers was set up by the Remount Branch through the cooperation of technical experts of the Military Training Division Office of The Quartermaster General, and leading dog trainers in the country. Of basic significance was the development of a comprehensive plan whereby dogs and handlers could be trained together as a team for sentry or tactical work for the effectiveness with which the animals performed their duties depended not only upon the thoroughness of their own training but upon that of their masters as well,

Student handlers were drawn not only from the Quartermaster Corps but also from civilian plants, the Coast Guard, the Navy and other sources requisitioning dogs. When their instruction had been completed, the students, then full-fledged handlers accompanied their dogs to using units or agencies and were responsible for their care, housing and feeding as well as their handling. Inasmuch as a dog worked best with the man recognized as master the policy was to keep the dog and his handler together if feasible throughout their military, careers. Moreover, no one but the master was authorized to feed, pet, or handle the dog on the theory that the animal otherwise would soon regard all persons as friends and become a mere mascot.

Originally, training activities were conducted in the ratio of one man per eight sentry dogs. It soon became evident however, that man and dogs would both be better instructed if the ratio was one man to four dogs and this change was made early in December 1942. A few months later when the Coast Guard expressed a wish for attack dogs provision was made for teaching two and even only one guardsman to one dog, As a result more handlers were trained for the Coast Guard than for the Army, 2,662 men being instructed for the former and 2,169 for the latter.

Attempts were made to standardize training methods insofar as possible. Conditions varied considerably, however and adjustments had to be made in accordance with the number and quality of men and dogs to be trained, the number and quality of instructors, the availability of facilities, and the time that could be allotted. Sentry dogs could be trained in about 8 week, but other types usually required approximately 12 weeks.

Normally the first month was devoted to basic training intended to develop patterns of behavior fundamental in all war dogs, and to determine


their classification for specialized service. They learned to obey verbal commands and gestures and were accustomed to muzzle and gas mask, to riding in cars and trucks, and to working under gunfire. Meanwhile, the student handlers learned about grooming feeding, and kenneling, and about the capabilities and limitations of dogs. They also learned the value of patience.

Upon completing basic training, each dog was given specialized instruction to prepare him for his Specific mission. He was selected for a particular type of training on the basis of his aptitudes and abilities. Although experimentation was carried on early in the war for the use of dogs for other purposes, only five types were actually trained and issued to using agencies. These were sentry, sled and pack , messenger, mine detector, and scout dogs.

Sentry dogs worked chiefly on leash and required less instruction than other types but were required to be moderately intelligent, willing and aggressive. Attack dogs, which were included in the category of sentry dogs, were taught not merely to warn of the presence of a stranger by growling or barking, but also to work off leash and attack on command or provocation. It was necessary that they possess high intelligence, willingness energy, and above all aggressiveness. Moreover, they had to be strong, courageous, and large and heavy enough to throw a man to the ground. Attack dogs like all sentry dogs were used mostly for interior guard work. The sentry dog was taught to accompany a military or civilian guard on patrol in daylight or darkness and give him warning of the approach or presence of strangers within the area being protected. He worked on a short leash and was restrained from actually attacking unless the intruder should threaten his master. The animal at first was taught to become aggressive and pugnacious. Later the handler assumed the role of a sentry to familiarize the animal with the conditions under which he would work. During this phase of instruction the dog was schooled to detect the presence of any stranger in the neighborhood, The aggravator hid in ditches, behind fences or boxes, in tall grass, and in trees.

Only those dogs exhibiting exceptional qualifications could be trained for tactical use, scouting with combat Patrols and carrying messages.

The Scout dog, trained to work with combat units and give silent warning of the presence of a strange individual or group was preferably a strong dog of medium size and quiet disposition. He was required to have acute hearing, highly developed sensitive powers, and ability to detect motion.

Loyalty was the quality most desired in the messenger dog since he was motivated by the desire to please two masters between whom he carried messages. He also had to possess great speed, stamina, strength, endurance, ability to swim and superior powers of scenting and hearing. Unlike most other types, messenger dogs were not required to look for trouble, and hence it was desirable that they have a suspicious rather


than an aggressive nature.

Experiments in the use of dogs for other military purposes were carried on, but it was 1944 before other types were trained on any sizeable scale. Of the 10,425 dogs trained at the war dog centers during World War II, nearly 9,300 were for sentry duty. The Coast Guard utilized approximately one-third of these as shown in the following table.

Type and Number of Dogs Trained

Type of Dog Trained for Army Trained for
Coast Guard
Sentry 6,121 3,174 9,295
Scout 571 0 571
Sled and pack 263 0 268
Messenger 151 0 151
Mine detection 140 0 140

Trained sentry dogs were issued by the Quartermaster Corps to hundreds of military installations of various types, such as coastal fortifications., harbor defenses, arsenals, ammunition dumps, airfields, and depots as well as to industrial plants. Although many civilian establishments which were engaged in the production of military items employed one or more dogs to help guard their plants, the bulk of the animals trained by the Corps were utilized by the armed services. At the height of enemy submarine activities the largest group of sentry dogs was, of course that attached to the Coast Guard beach patrols guarding the long stretches of shoreline along the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific. The Coast Guard came to prefer that type of sentry dog called the attack dog because he was more fully trained. Animals of this type were assigned to the Coast Guard in the summer of 1943 just before that agency initiated a large-scale training program of its own.

Reports from military installations and civilian establishments using sentry dogs were on the whole, favorable. The generally satisfactory nature of the services the dogs performed was demonstrated by the small number of using agencies which abandoned their employment and by the large number of requisitions for additional animals. Failure to obtain satisfactory results usually occurred when the dogs were handled by constantly changing or inexperienced personnel. In many instances the use of dogs made it possible to reduce the number of human sentries and at the same time increase the efficiency of patrols, particularly when the post covered a large area. The dogs enhanced the efficiency of protective work both by supplementing man’s limited powers of hearing and smelling with their own superior senses and by enabling a more thorough search to be made for intruders in stacked supplies, in holes, in ditches, and in other places not readily accessible to man.

Shift in Emphasis to Tactical Dogs

By early 1944 the war dog program had begun to undergo extensive


changes. With the gradual abatement of the submarine menace after mid-1943 and the eventual lifting of the blackout, the need for guarding coast lines and zone of interior installations steadily decreased. Consequently the demand for sentry dogs became progressively smaller and more of these animals were being returned to the training centers than were being issued. A few of the sentry dogs were detrained and returned to their owners, some were sent overseas for sentry- duty and others were -retained for tactical service with units in the theaters where demand for dogs in combat became more urgent, particularly in the Pacific. Eventually all dog-training activities were centralized at Fort Robinson and more attention was devoted to instruction of tactical dogs and their handlers.

In the absence of any definite policy on the part of the Army Ground Forces regarding their use the training of tactical dogs in 1942 and 1943 was necessarily limited and experimental, Military officers generally were unfamiliar with the possible utilization of these animals in combat and rather skeptical of their value. There also was a widespread belief that they could not be sent to tropical areas on account of the large variety of diseases and parasites likely to attack them. The few animals that had been trained for tactical work therefore were employed chiefly for tests or demonstration purposes. The instruction of even these dogs was seriously handicapped at first by the scarcity of trainers experienced in teaching scout and messenger work; most of the men with foreign experience in schooling war dogs were engaged in other essential work.

Moreover, preliminary reports on the use of scout and messenger dogs in North Africa by the British in 1942 and 1943 had indicated that their work was unsatisfactory. According to observers the animals were easily frightened and confused by artillery fire those doing scout work losing their sense of direction and neglecting to smell out the enemy. While ordinarily giving good service on short patrols messenger dogs also were affected adversely by heavy gunfire, It was suggested, however that, though conditions in North Africa might preclude their successful employment in that region in close country such as the islands of the South Pacific they would have a very definite use in guarding lines of communication and particularly in detecting infiltrating troops.

As a precautionary measure in the event the Army might find valuable uses for tactical dogs, the Quartermaster Corps continued to train them in small numbers, emphasis being placed upon scout and messenger dogs. The War Department General Staff decided in the Spring of 1943 to send a detachment of six scout and two messenger dogs overseas to operate with troops in the Pacific as a test of their value under combat conditions.

When our Army decided to train dogs for tactical purposes, it was found necessary to seek assistance in developing doctrine from our allies, since there were no trainers in this country qualified to develop such doctrine. The British sent over the Director of their War Dog Training School., Captain John B. Garle, together with two non-commissioned officers (handlers) and four dogs., an a sort of “leash-lend basis”.


Captain Garle arrived in the United States on I February 1943, He proceeded with his entourage to the War Dog Reception and Training Center at Beltsville, Maryland, where he demonstrated his messenger and scout dogs to officers interested. So successful were these demonstrations that Captain Garle was sent on a tour of all Quartermaster War Dog Reception and Training Centers to indoctrinate our trainers in his methods.

Scout and Messenger Dogs

Reports received from the Southwest Pacific on the experiments with scout and messenger dogs were on the whole highly favorable. The observer with the dogs in New Guinea reported that in the period between July and December 1943 the animals were used in the forward and combat areas and had given “consistently excellent performances”. This experience established the fact that dogs could be employed effectively in tactical units. He found that scout dogs used in reconnaissance work warned patrols of the presence of Japanese within ranges varying up to I000 yards depending upon conditions of open or closed terrain, wind direction, dampness of ground, and that they could be employed effectively in amphibious operations to detect the enemy on beaches and in undergrowth along the shore. He noted that the dogs had no fear of water or travel by small boats, He reported that messenger dogs demonstrated that they could cover distances of from 600 to 1,000 yards with great speed over any kind of terrain and that their chances of getting through were excellent as they presented small targets. The observer reported that the animals worked more effectively when the dogs and their handlers were thoroughly familiar with each other.

On the other hand the observer reported that combat experience revealed certain weaknesses in the training of dogs, While the dogs had been conditioned against firing of small arms, most of them had not been conditioned to withstand the noise of heavy gunfire and as a consequence their usefulness deteriorated rapidly when suddenly exposed to heavy artillery action.

As a result of this and similar reports that came in later the program for training tactical dogs was expanded in 1944 and efforts were made to overcome the short-comings brought to light by combat experience, Particular emphasis was placed upon training scout dogs, teaching the animals be silent at all times and exposing them to simulated battle noises in the early course of their instruction in order that they might learn to exhibit no fear or reaction in the presence of heavy gunfire.

Since the function of scout dogs was to give silent warning of the approach of any enemy they were trained for use principally with reconnaissance and combat patrols at outposts. Their chief tasks were to warn of ambushes or attempts at infiltration. Though the distance at which they were able to give warning depended upon a number of factors, such as the ability of the master to understand his dog, wind direction and velocity, volume or concentration of human scent humidity, and denseness or openness of country the dogs usually could detect the presence of enemies long before the men became aware of them. When


operating with reconnaissance or combat groups, the dog and his master proceeded a short distance in advance of the patrol, following the general direction indicated by the patrol leader., but moving so as to take advantage of wind and other conditions favoring the dog’s power of scenting. Upon the dog’s warning of a hostile presence the master immediately signaled the patrol leader, who in turn issued instructions as to the course of action to be taken. At outposts the dog and his master remained at a fixed position a short distance from the unit to which they were attached and the animal was taught to be alert while stationary .

The initial stages of instruction were similar to those employed in training sentry dogs, but the scout dog was taught not to bark or growl, and more emphasis was placed upon accustoming the animal to heavy gunfire. Since the dog was expected to discover an alien presence partly by his ability to detect wind-blown scent and partly by his extraordinarily keen hearing, instruction was aimed at stimulating him to employ these natural endowments. The dog was trained to detect human scent as a bird dog is trained to detect hidden birds. When he “winded the enemy” he signified his discovery by “freezing” stiffening his body, raising his hackles, pricking his ears and holding his tail rigid.

Messenger dogs usually were used in connection with scout dogs and were trained to deliver field communications from a scouting patrol to the scouting headquarters or from an advanced position to the rear. In contrast to scout dogs, two handlers were employed for the messenger dog, for, since he had to run between two points, it was necessary to place at each point a master to whom he was loyal,, This feeling was fostered by having each handler take equal turns at teaching and feeding the animal. At first the training was carried on in an enclosed area but later over rough terrain and crossing streams. In the latter phase of his instruction the dog was accustomed to the confusion of moving troops and simulated battle noises. The two masters alternated their positions and frequently hid themselves, never using the same place of concealment twice. The dog was taught to locate them by body scent. When he was successful, lavish praise was given him as his reward.

Mine Detection Dogs

During the African Campaign, non-metallic land mines were first utilized by the enemy. Mechanical mine detectors proving ineffective against them, it became vitally important to discover a counter-measures. One of our answers to the enemy’s new weapon was the M-dog (mine detection dog).

Dogs had been employed for this purpose prior to the invention and use of non-metallic mines; although armies of all nations (exception ours) were aware of their value as sentries, messengers scouts and as aids to the Medical Corps in finding wounded it was not until necessity arose for a reliable method of detecting plastic and wooden mines that the suggestion was made that dogs might be trained to use their instinct for finding buried bones for finding buried objects of less innocence.


The first mine detection unit was ordered activated in November 1943. The M-dog was taught to detect buried objects of all kinds in order that he could be used in discovering metallic and more particularly non-metallic mines, anti-tank and anti-tank personnel mines, trip wires and booby traps. He was taught to indicate the position of a buried mine by sitting down from one to four paces from the concealed objects. If he detected a trip wire or booby trap he was trained to halt or refuse to advance. Properly trained dogs, it was hoped, would not advance over any type of mine or trap. If this objective could be achieved M-dogs could help men locate mines, determine whether a mine field could be by-passed, and clear a path through a field if it could not be skirted.

The training of an M-dog was based on arousing the emotion of fear and instinct of self preservation. A light electric charge was concealed in the trap and the dog was shocked when he came in contact with it. This was done to teach him that there were objects in the ground which would hurt him. When he had learned this, his fear of being injured made it possible to teach him to shun objects foreign to the terrain and to rely on all his senses in trying to detect them.

The enthusiasm with which this training began later turned to disappointment. Only two war dog mine detection units were activated and trained. Both were sent to North Africa, where the animals failed to prove their proficiency in locating mines when used on typical German mine fields. The dogs had been tested in the United States and pronounced excellent detectors but when tried out in North Africa under battlefield conditions they fell far short of attaining the standard of efficiency that had been established by the Corps of Engineers. In two tests in September 1944 the dogs located only 51 and 48% respectively of the mines planted. Inasmuch as the discovery of at least 90% was considered essential to make a method of mine detection practicable, it was decided not to employ the dogs. Both units were deactivated and mine-dog training was discontinued.

Establishment of War Dog Platoons

Except for the two experimental Engineer mine dog detection units, the initial issues of dogs and handlers trained for duty overseas were casual detachments. It was not until March 1944 that the War Department authorized the establishment of Quartermaster war dog platoons and issued special Tables of Organization and Equipment (T/O & E) for that purpose. Originally a platoon consisted of twelve scout dogs twelve messenger dogs, one mine detection dog, one officer and twenty-six enlisted men. Three months later, however, on the basis of early theater experience, the mine detection dog was eliminated and the number of scout dogs was increased to eighteen, while the number of messenger dogs was reduced to six and the number of enlisted men to twenty. Fifteen Quartermaster war dog platoons were activated and trained in 1944, and all were shipped overseas. Seven of them saw service in Europe and eight in the Pacific.


These platoons were unique in that they served with infantry units and engaged in tacticel operations in the combat areas yet the Quartermaster Corps supplied and trained not only the dogs but the handlers as well. The men were expert in directing the work of the dogs but the fact that many of the handlers were physically unfit for combat service and had had no experience in infantry tactics, scouting, and patrolling proved to be a serious defect. Another weakness of the early platoons was the failure to give them advanced training with Army Ground Forces units of the kind with which they were to be associated.

To correct these deficiencies the War Department transferred the responsibility for the activation, training and preparation of the dog units for overseas movement to the Amy Ground Forces later in 1944.

This meant that handlers were to be selected by the Army Ground Forces from men who had been trained in infantry tactics and scouting and that the units would be given advanced instruction with infantry organizations. The Quartermaster General however, retained responsibility for the procurement, basic training, and issue of dogs and handlers.

A concurrent development was the decision to revise the T/O & E and eliminate all messenger dogs from the platoons “Since combat reports indicate that this type dog has proved neither as desirable nor as essential as the silent scout dogs.” The new T/O & E, released in December 1944, changed the name of the units to infantry scout dog platoons and provided that each was to consist of 27 scout dogs.

Between December 1944 and the spring of 1945 the fifteen Quartermaster war dog platoons were redesignated as infantry scout dog platoons and reorganized to conform with the new T/O & E. During 1945 the Army Ground Forces activated and trained six infantry scout dog platoons. Five of these however, did not complete their training until shortly after V-J Day and consequently were not sent overseas. Thus all but one of the war dog platoons that saw service in the war were activated and trained by the Quartermaster Corps.

At first the war dog program was conducted largely as an experiment to determine which, if any, types of militarily trained dogs might be of value to the Army in modern warfare. Numerous uses for the animals had been envisioned by dog fanciers but after extensive tests the Quartermaster Corps actually trained and issued dogs for only five types of duties. Of these, pack and sled mine detection and messenger dogs proved of slight service either because of superior facilities afforded by the latest mechanical devices or because of limitations on the part of the animals themselves. The training of mine detection dogs was discontinued completely after tests in North Africa revealed they had no practical value. Opinion was divided concerning the usefulness of messenger dogs. Some observers reported excellent results under certain conditions but their use proved quite limited and the War Department eventually eliminated them from war dog platoons.

The two types of dogs for which a real need was demonstrated were sentry dogs and silent scout dogs. The former proved of outstanding assistance in guarding Army and Navy installations both in the zone of


interior and in the theaters of operations. But insofar as tactical service was concerned, the silent scout dog alone survived the severe tests to which the animals were put in World War II. Scout dog platoons which emerged in the latter part of the war were found to be “a capable and valuable adjunct when properly trained and used.”

The experimental nature and limited success of the war dog program is reflected in statistics. Although approximately 20,000 of the animals were procured only about half of that number were trained and issued by the Quartermaster Corps, and fewer than 1,900 of these were shipped overseas. It was late in 1944 before scout dogs were being sent to the theaters in any sizable numbers, and by the end of the war only 436 had been shipped abroad, as shown in the following table:

Total Number of Dogs Issued in Z/I (Zone of Interior = US) – Total Number of Dogs Shipped O/S

Type of Dog Total Trained Issued In ZI Shipped Overseas
Sentry 9,295 8,396 899
Scout 571 135 436
Sled & Pack 268 0 268
Messenger 151 0 151
Mine Detection 140 0 140
Total 10,425 8,531 1,894

These figures fail to give an accurate representation of the comparative military value of the various types of dogs, for, in contrast to all other types, the demand for scout dogs was increasing in the closing months of the war and plans were launched in the summer of 1945 to recruit at least 1,600 more of the animals for scout work in the Pacific.

Though requirements were relatively small, when a real need arose for scout dogs there was no substitute for their particular capabilities. At the same time, there were various conditions and circumstances under which the dogs were unable to perform satisfactorily, and consequently it was of vital importance that the handlers be acutely aware of the limitations of the animals as well as their abilities. It was equally important that the dogs be thoroughly schooled in their duties and their handlers be well trained in scouting, patrolling, and minor tactics.

Reports received from overseas during and immediately following the war gave ample evidence that while many satisfactory results were obtained from the use of scout dogs in the war against Germany, these animals were employed much more effectively in the islands of the Pacific. The dense tropical vegetation and the semidarkness of the jungles even at midday afforded the Japanese excellent opportunities to infiltrate behind the American lines and conduct reconnaissance. Such hostile operations could not easily be detected by ordinary patrols. When dogs accompanied these patrols they were able to detect and give silent warning of the enemy long before the men became aware of them. The dogs could also be used to good advantage in mountainous areas, in river bottoms, and in heavily wooded terrain.


The presence of the animals with patrols greatly lessened the danger of ambush and tended to boost the morale of the soldiers. Personnel who used the dogs stated that they saved many lives and were enthusiastic over their value. It was noted that where a dog was present on a patrol there was a feeling of security and relief from the nervous tension caused by fear of an ambush. This enabled the patrols to operate more efficiently and cover greater distances.

The fighting on Morotai in the Netherlands East Indies Illustrates the manner in which scout dogs could be used to maximum benefit, There the enemy offered at first but slight resistance retreating into the mountainous jungles of the interior and then sallying forth in small groups to harass the Americans. In patrol operations designed to uncover Japanese bivouac areas, supply dumps, and lines of communications, the 26th War Dog Platoon proved invaluable. During the period 17 September –10 November 1944, the dogs made more than one hundred patrols with infantry troops ranging from a patrol of five men to a rifle company of two hundred or more. The Commander of the 155th Infantry Regiment reported that the dogs never failed to alert at less than 75 yards and not a single casualty was suffered while a scout dog was being employed. The ability of the dog to pick up enemy bivouacs, positions, patrols, troop reconnaissance, etc, long before our patrol reached them frequently enabled our troops to achieve surprise and inflict heavy casualties on the Japanese.

In the war against Germany conditions generally were unfavorable to widespread use of dogs. Scout dogs in two platoons operating with the Fifth Army in Italy in the autumn of 1944 were reported to have been extremely gun shy under artillery fire. This was a major weakness of most of the dogs assigned to the early platoons as they were trained to become accustomed only to the firing of small arms. Later, the training program was adjusted to overcome this failing, but it was never found particularly advantageous to use the animals in heavy combat. More and more their activities were restricted to duty with reconnaissance patrols.

Other reports from Italy stated that in open country the scout dogs were so conspicuous that the enemy discovered them before they could alert. In the mountains, in which so much of the fighting was waged, soft, deep snow and steep slippery trails prevented the dogs from working satisfactorily. Likewise, the animals were found to be of little use in heavy rains and deep mud. But on a static front, when the weather was clear with no snow or mud on the ground, or when there was a firm crust on the snow, scout dogs could be employed advantageously. After the final offensive against Germany began the rapid movement of troops and the occasionally intense gunfire made the utilization of dogs for scouting impractical, and they were used instead as sentries.

That scout dogs did perform valuable service in the European Theater as well as in the Pacific is illustrated by one experience of the 33rd Quartermaster War Dog Platoon while serving with the Sixth South African Division of the Fifth Army in Italy. On the night of 20 December 1944 a small reconnaissance patrol led by one of the dogs of the platoon and his


handler, Corporal Robert Bennett, left a forward outpost to investigate a village approximately a mile inside enemy territory.

A few hundred yards into the enemy territory the dog halted suddenly. Not yet sure of the scent he advanced a few steps then halted again, this time every hair bristling, his nose pointed straight ahead. The patrol leader crept cautiously forward alone and not more than 200 yards away discovered a large group of German soldiers in ambush. With this valuable information the patrol returned to the outpost where they called for mortar fire to wipe out the enemy position.

Evaluation of War Dog Program

Although the results of much of the war dog program during World War II were negative these undoubtedly were outweighed by the positive results. The best evidence of this was the fact that the War Department authorized scout dog platoons in the postwar Military Establishment. For the first time in its history the Army recognized that dogs possessed sufficient tactical value to justify their inclusion among the regular peacetime units,

Recognition of War Dogs

A number of war dogs trained by the Quartermaster Corps established outstanding records overseas. At least one member of the “K-9 Corps” was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart by an overseas command. Both were later revoked as contrary to an Army policy which prohibited official commendation for outstanding performance by animals. In January 1944, the War Department relaxed restrictions in this regard however and permitted publication of commendations in individual unit General Orders. Later approval was granted for issuance by The Quartermaster General of citation certificates to donors of war dogs that had been usually helpful during the war. The first issued were in recognition of the work of eight dogs comprising the first experimental unit in the Pacific Area.

Some Outstanding Dogs

CHIPS, Brand Number 11A. CHIPS was a member of a War Dog Detachment, the first to be sent overseas from the United States. He was donated by Edward J. Wren of Pleasantville, New York. CHIPS was received at the War Dog Training Center, Front Royal, Virginia, early in 1942. He returned to Front Royal on 20 October 1945, from which point he was discharged on 10 December 1945.

CHIPS was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division at Camp Pickett, Virginia in October 1942 then staging for overseas and served with it for the duration. Leaving this country, serving through the Algerian-Moroccan and Tunisian


Campaigns, his assignments included sentry duty at the Roosevelt-Churchill Conference in January 1943.

He went with his Division to Sicily arriving there on 10 July 1943. Following the Sicilian campaign he moved with his unit to Italy, arriving there on 18 September 1943 and served through the Naples-Foggia and the Rome-Arno Campaigns; he moved with his unit to Southern France, arriving there on 15 August 1944 and served through the French, Rhineland and Central European Campaigns.

During these campaigns he served with the following units of the 3rd Division: Company I. 30th Infantry; Headquarters, and Military Police.

Although trained for and serving on sentry duty while in Sicily he was reported by Company I as having attacked an enemy machine gun crew in a pillbox after he had broken away from his handler, seizing one man and forcing the entire crew of four to surrender. Also he was credited by his units with having been directly responsible for the capture of numerous enemy soldiers by alerting to their presence.

In recognition of his service, the Theater Forces awarded him the Silver Star and the Purple Heart, both later revoked as contrary to Army policy. His Unit unofficially awarded him the Theater Ribbon with the arrowhead for an assault landing and a Battle Star-for each of the eight campaigns in which he participated.

TEDDY, Brand Number T115, In October 1943 the War Dog Unit of which TEDDY was a member was reassigned to a Marine Raider Regiment of the Sixth Army. Traveling by plane, the dog and his handler went to another staging area. In December, the Raiders moved to Finschafen to take part in the Cape Gloucester operations in the South Pacific. The entire dog detachment went ashore with the first wave and figured prominently in the operations. Until March, the dog was used continuously for patrol and messenger work. Lines were gradually extended to make contact with the Army Forces near Gilnit, In these weeks, there was not a single instance in which any of the dogs failed to accomplish a mission, nor was there an instance when a patrol led by a war dog was fired upon first or suffered casualties. In contrast, dogless patrols suffered casualties usually as a result of ambush or surprise attacks. During this period, the patrols led by dogs were officially credited with 180 Japanese casualties and 20 prisoners.

SANDY, Brand Number B11. SANDY was a natural selection for messenger training. Handled by Sgt. Guy C. Sheldon and Sgt. Menzo J, Brown, yeoman service was contributed throughout the Cape Gloucester Campaign. His outstanding performance was


carried out during the advance on the airstrips. Near Turzi Point, the advance units were held up by Japanese pillboxes and fortifications and aid of the artillery could not be sought by the walkie-talkies which were temporarily out of commission. A message was dispatched by Sgt. Brown back to the Battalion Command Post through SANDY. Although the dog had not seen Sgt. Sheldon since the night before and he was then in a new location SANDY unerringly found his way to Sgt. Sheldon’s foxhole. The dog had to travel through the tall Kunai grass, swim a river, and for part of the distance make his way beneath a curtain of mortar and tank fire and finally jump a barbed wire fence that protected Sgt. Sheldon. As a result of this message artillery fire was directed on the Japanese defenses pulverizing them and permitting the American forward units to resume their advances.

DICK, Brand Number T127. DICK and his handler, Sgt. Herman H. Boude, patrolled 48 days out of 53 and scarcely a day passed without his alerting to Japanese in numbers varying from single stragglers attempting to rejoin their units to entire platoons. In no instance did DICK fail to warn of the enemy in time to allow him to be either killed or captured in a surprise attack. Once while on patrol, the scouting party was warned of the enemy’s presence by DICK’S alerting; by quartering the patrol discovered a camouflaged bivouac of five huts indicating it to be the only inhabited one. This proved to be the case when a surprise attack was made in which four Japanese were annihilated without a single casualty.

BOBO, Brand Number Z303. BOBO and his handler, Sgt. John Coleman, led a reconnaissance patrol safely into German-held territory. Their mission accomplished the patrol started back to their own lines. Scarcely a hundred yards from the outpost, BOBO alerted sharply and definitely straight ahead then to the left, then to the right. A German patrol was in the act of surrounding the outpost so a scout was sent on to warn the man who were holding it. The enemy was dispersed, and the patrol proceeded back to Headquarters.

SILVER, Brand Number A595. SILVER was killed in action 17 February 1945 in a foxhole by enemy hard grenade. She was responsible for preventing serious casualties by alerting prior to a bayonet attack.

PEEFKE, Brand Number T133. PEEFKE was killed in action by a direct hit from an enemy hand grenade on 20 March 1945. Members of the patrol on which he was killed commended him highly. Prior to his death on this patrol he discovered a wire and alerted his handler who, upon examination of the wire, found three enemy “S” mines, which were then neutralized, These mines, had they not been discovered, could have caused grave damage to the patrol. PEEFKE performed faithful service throughout his tour of duty.


PAL, Brand Number 8M2. PAL was killed by enemy action on the 23rd of April 1945 at San Benedetto Po, Italy. In blocking a shrapnel charge with his own body PAL prevented the serious wounding of several men. His body absorbed the shrapnel destined to wipe out the advance patrol.

BUSTER, Brand Number A684. While operating an a messenger dog with “F” Company 155th Infantry Regiment on Morotai Island, BUSTER was directly responsible for saving the lives of an entire patrol consisting of seventeen men.

His determined effort carried him through heavy enemy machine gun and mortar fire on a total of two trips, bringing instructions for the patrol to hold its position at all costs. He was thus responsible for reinforcements which accounted for the destruction of an entire enemy force.

BRUCE, Brand Number T178, During a banzai attack occurring in Northern Luzon at 0315 hours on 17 February 1945 against “E” Company 27th Infantry. BRUCE without command voluntarily attacked three Japanese infantrymen advancing with fixed bayonets towards a foxhole containing two wounded American soldiers. By his fearless action the lives of the two wounded men were saved; by discouraging the advance of these particular Japanese, more casualties were averted.

WOLF, Brand Number T121. WOLF was committed to combat with the 27th Infantry battling through the Corabello Mountain in Northern Luzon toward the strategic Balate Pass. While leading an Infantry Patrol he scented the presence of the enemy entrenched on a hillside about 150 yards distant in time to allow the members of the patrol to take favorable cover and resist the attack that was imminent. During the ensuing fire-fight, WOLF received shrapnel wounds. Showing no sign of pain and determined at all costs to remain silent, his wound was not detected by surrounding personnel. Greatly outnumbered and partly encircled by the enemy the patrol decided to withdraw to insure the delivery to Headquarters of the vital information they had gained. WOLF on the point of the patrol succeeded on three different occasions in alerting the patrol, enabling them to bypass the enemy and return to their camp without a single casualty. In spite of expert medical care and an emergency operation the 25th Division’s casualty list included among others–WOLF, US Army War Dog, T121, Died of Wounds – Wounded in action.

DUCHESS, Brand Number 7H74, DUCHESS was a member of the 39th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon. On 30 April 1945 DUCHESS handled by Sgt. Knight, on patrol with the 3rd Battalion, 123rd Infantry, was used in the inspection of enemy cave installations on Luzon in the Philippines. On approaching a large one, the dog was permitted to go to the entrance. At this point she gave a strong alert. Grenades were thrown into the cave, after which


the patrol moved on. Investigation the following day revealed 33 Japanese dead in the cave.

On another occasion DUCHESS and Sgt. Knight were on patrol with the same unit. DUCHESS alerted on some Filipino huts, 800 yards away. Investigation disclosed the presence of enemy. Mortar and machine-gun fire were used to kill 9 Japanese.

BLACKIE, Brand Number H24. On 12 and 13 April 1945 while on a two-day-patrol with Company F, 123rd Infantry, BLACKIE, handled by Corporal Technician Kido, was used alternately on that point. The patrol successfully completed its mission without detection by the enemy, locating an area where 500 Japanese were bivouacked. As patrol was on reconnaissance, all contact with the enemy was avoided.

Returning War Dogs To Civilian Life

When World War II hostilities ended, the Quartermaster Corps put into operation a well-conceived plan for return of war dogs to their civilian owners. No dog it was announced, would be considered ready for release by the Army until it had undergone a complete “demilitarizing” process.

When a dog was considered surplus to Army needs it was immediately transferred to a reprocessing section for rehabilitation to civilian life. Its past record was carefully studied for such a study often revealed how best to approach it, Handlers made a point of convincing the dog that every human being is a friend. If he was inclined to romp, they played with him. If he were suspicious they talked to him gently. A dog that is not under control is difficult to handle. For this reason, every time a dog was taken from his kennel during the demilitarizing process he was made to “heel” properly and respond to commands to “sit” to “down” and to “stay”. Before a dog was returned he was thoroughly grounded in this type of obedience training.

An accurate record was kept of the daily progress of each dog and when reaction was favorable over a period of time he was subjected to different tests. While working in a group of other dogs for example, he might be subjected to gunfire, have people ride around him on bicycles or be placed in an area where there was a great deal of noise. Passing such tests as these indicated a readiness for return to civilian life.

More freedom was given the dog as each test was passed successfully. He was permitted to run and frolic at the end of a 30 foot exercise leash and subjected to handling by men in civilian clothes. As one of the final tests, an element of surprise was introduced. The dog was walked on leash by a secluded building, As he passed the building an aggravator jumped at him from behind, waving a sack and shouting. If the dog showed no unusual alarm and readily tried to make friends with the aggravator it was felt that he had earned the right to return to civilian life. Before being shipped, every canine was given a final check by a veterinary officer.


Under the policy through which dogs were secured for the Army, they were first offered to their original owners. If the original owner indicated that he wanted the dog, the animal was shipped at Government expense. If the owner did not ask for return of the dog, it was offered for sale. Dogs for Defense conducted investigations to assure that prospective purchasers could provide the ex-war dogs with proper homes.

While the Army could not absolutely guarantee the future behavior of any returned dog nor assume any responsibility once it had left Army jurisdiction there were very few complaints as to the behavior of the 3,000 odd dogs discharged from the service. By early 1947, the return of all borrowed dogs had been completed.

The following excerpts from unsolicited letters received by The Quartermaster General are reassuring as to the success of rehabilitation:

“DOLF arrived yesterday afternoon in excellent condition and survived the long trip remarkably well. He knew each and all of us immediately and within a very short time had taken up where he left off two years ago. He is beautifully trained and his behavior is remarkable. He had not in the least forgotten many of the things we had taught him.” Submitted by John B. Osborn, New York.

“Thank you for your good care and training of our dog MIKE. He knew all of us and still remembers the tricks he knew before he entered the service, My son, Edward, an Army officer, and all of us are proud of his honorable discharge and his deportment.” – Submitted by Mrs, Edward Jo Conally, Utah.

“I want to thank you for the wonderful dog you returned to use SMARTY is a perfect example of health and alertness and she was so eager to show us her obedience commands that we understood them even before the instructions arrived two days late. It was a genuine sacrifice for Herbie to donate his dog to the armed forces, but now he is receiving his reward by receiving a dog more beautiful and better trained than he ever thought possible.” – Submitted by Mrs, Herbert E. Allen, Washington.

“QUEENE seems to be exceedingly happy to be home. She certainly shows the effects of wonderful care and splendid training, and proudly, exhibits her show-off traits. Our son (in the submarine service) is very proud of QUEENE having been in the Service.” – Submitted by Mrs. C. A. Pryor, California.

“At 6:45 on October 1955 our German Shepherd DANNIE passed away due to old age. DANNIE served in the K-9 Corps


from June 1943 until April 1945, when he was honorably discharged. We could write a story about the faithful, loving service DANNIE has given our home and children since he came home to use It is almost like losing a child. He was bright and on guard until the very last although partially paralyzed for some time. He lay watching my daughter’s bedroom window as he went into his last sleep humming as though to comfort us. His master, Captain Carl Johnson Air Force is now stationed in Arizona (my three sons are all officers). Carl and DANNIE enlisted about the same time because DANNIE was lonesome for his master.

“We can’t thank the K-9 Corps enough for their good care of DANNIE and the valuable training they gave him.”

Submitted by Mrs. Henry Johnson, Cardiff, R#3, Lafayette, Now York,

Army Dog Association

In view of the difficulty experienced in World War II in procuring suitable dogs for the military service and in order to insure an adequate supply of superior dogs of the German Shepherd breed the Army Dog Association, Inc. was organized. It was composed of leading breeders and fanciers of the breed who agreed to accept breeding stock from the Government and arrange for its transfer to responsible individuals or agents interested in breeding dogs for our purposes.

The individual or agent selected would agree to purchase the dog from the Army Dog Association for the sum of $1.00, subject to such rules and regulations as might be prescribed by that organization. The Government would reserve the right to select from each of the first three litters of the parent bitches and from each of the first three litter of each bitch produced by any of the parent bitches or their female offspring, one male puppy- between the ages of 1 year and 15 months.

To implement this plan, a recognized authority on German Shepherds, Sergeant William Hankinson, then a member of our Armed Forces was ordered to proceed to the European Theatre in the fall of 1945 to inspect and purchase foundation breeding stock, since there was a dearth of outstanding stock in this country. As a result of his trip, the United States Army imported eight German Shepherds, which included seven bitches and one dog. They were turned over to the Army Dog Association to be used in the breeding program as outlined above. In the ensuing five years, dog requirements were particularly non-existent. Furthermore, the Quartermaster Corps had, during that time lost all of its training installations and the responsibility for training. Consequently, there was no need to call on the agents sponsored by the Army Dog Association for military replacements or requirements. Since there was no immediate demand and no assurance as to whether the Government would again be in the market, the program bogged down, agents became understandingly disinterested, and the Army Dog Association was eventually dissolved.


Transfer of Training Responsibility

With the discontinuance of the Quartermaster Remount Depot System in 1948 the training responsibility was transferred from the Quartermaster Corps to the Army Field Forces and the one remaining dog training center, located at Front Royal, Virginia, was relocated at Fort Riley, Kansas. However, the Quartermaster Corps retained the mission of dog procurement. From that time until the Korean emergency developed, very little was accomplished relative to dog training except in Europe where, since the early days of occupation many dogs had been utilized for guarding supply points and aircraft and for other types of security. Responsibility for training in Europe was, by direction of the Commanding General, European Forces, continued under the jurisdiction of the Quartermaster Corps. Late in 1951 the task of dog training in CONUS was again transferred – this time to the Military Police Corps, and early in 1952 the training center was moved from Fort Riley, Kansas to Camp Carson, Colorado, later designated Fort Carson.

Because of the difficulties experienced in fully coordinating the programming, procurement, processing, conditioning, training and issue of war dogs, a Staff Study pertaining to possible return of responsibility for war dog training to the Quartermaster Corps was submitted to the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4 on 28 August 1953. The study included a recommendation that the Office of The Quartermaster General be charged with war dog training for the Department of the Army and that a War Dog Reception and Training Center be activated as a Class II installation at Fort Lee, Virginia; concurrent with its opening, the Amy Dog Training Center at Fort Carson, Colorado, would be phased out, A directive dated may 1954 was received stating that – “The Dog Training Center will remain a Class I Activity at Fort Carson – The Chief, Army Field Forces will retain and discharge the responsibility for supervision of war dog training – Under provisions of AR 880-5 The Quartermaster General will continue to be charged with the responsibility for procurement of dogs.” Thus the responsibility for training passed from the jurisdiction of the Military Police Corps to the Chief, Army Field Forces, Fort Monroe, Virginia.

Post-World War II Dog Program

The World War II method of acquiring dogs on a loan basis from patriotic citizens, having proved to be impractical and uneconomical, due to the large percentage of animals that had to be returned when they were found unsuitable, it was decided in 1946 that dogs would be purchased thereby becoming the sole property of the Government as had been the practice with other types of animals for many years.

Standardization of One Breed

In World War II almost every breed of dog, large and small, was procured by “Dogs for Defense” for the military service. During the war years the dogs were utilized in every theater of operations, which


encompassed every type of climate from Greenland’s perpetual ice to New Guinea’s steaming jungles. It was soon determined that many breeds had shortcomings which limited their serviceability, However, at that time, “beggars could not be choosers” and the animals received were utilized to the best of their ability.

A few examples of the shortcomings were that sporting breeds were unsatisfactory for scouting patrols because it was too difficult to overcome the game instinct which had been bred into them for generations; collies on the whole did not have the stamina to withstand the rigors of combat, especially in tropical climates; and Doberman Pinschers were “temperate” climate dogs which could not be used satisfactorily either in the tropics or in the Arctic. It was decided to select the one breed which would be best for training and service throughout the world. This breed had to meet three basic requirements; (1) have the ability to perform all types of service demanded by the armed forces; (2) be suitable for duty in all climates and (3) be bred extensively enough to meet all possible demands. The breed selected was the German Shepherd,

The German Shepherd fulfils the requirements because of the natural uniformity within the breed and ready availability of supply. These dogs also exhibit suitable temperament for the various types of work that might be demanded, good working ability adequate size and ruggedness. Physically, the German Shepherd is ideally adapted to all climates. This breed has a short dense undercoat which grows profusely in a cold climate and is shed readily in a warm one. The outer coat is harsh and provides adequate protection against insect bites and sunburn.

The choice has proven to be a very satisfactory one not only for routine duty within the United States and Germany but also in combat in Korea. In every instance the dog’s performance has been superior.

The required physical specifications prior to presenting the dog for purchase cover various points in addition to general physical and mental soundness. He should be a sturdy compact working type, revealing evidence of power, endurance and energy. The dog must have good bones, well-proportioned body, deep chest with ribs well sprung, strong pasterns and muscular feet with hard wall-cushioned paws. Front feet should not toe inward or outward, Hind quarters should have moderate angulation, and, as viewed from the rear, hind legs should be straight. The temperament of the dog should show general alertness, steadiness, vigor and responsiveness. He should not be timid, nervous, gun or noise-shy. In addition, the dog must be from nine months to three years old, must be between 22 inches and 28 inches high at the shoulder and must weigh between 60 and 90 pounds, The dog may be either male or female, but a female must have been spayed 60 days prior to being offered for purchase.

For economic and practical reasons, individual inspection of each dog offered cannot be accomplished. In lieu thereof, a two-part questionnaire is furnished each person who offers a dog or dogs for the military service. Part I of the questionnaire is filled out by the owner and serves to provide


a history of the dog i.e., name age sex color, whether or not registered height and weight. It also furnishes a description of the dog’s temperament, indicating whether it is timid, vicious, gun shy, friendly, and whether it has any other unusual traits. The owner also encloses snapshots of three different views of the dog to be purchased, and the price he is willing to accept. Part II of the questionnaire is made out by a licensed veterinarian at the owner’s expenses. It provides a complete physical description and history where possible, of the dog’s vaccinations, illnesses and abnormalities. The veterinarian also runs a test for heartworm. Upon evaluation of the questionnaire by the Purchasing Officer determination is made as to whether or not the dog should be accepted on a 10 to 15 days trial basis after he is shipped to the training center at Government expense in a Government crate provided for this purpose. During this period, determination is made as to the dog’s fitness, physically and temperamentally, for military training. If not suitable, the dog is returned to the owner at Government expense. If accepted, procurement is accomplished and the dog begins his training schedule.

When in the market for a large number of dogs, a publicity campaign is launched in leading newspapers and periodicals throughout the country giving general specifications and specific instructions for offering dogs.



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