12 Incredible Facts About Military Dogs You Probably Don't Know

Diply 14 Apr 2016

We cannot thank those who serve in the armed forces enough for their services. Placing your own life at risk to protect others is a selfless and heroic act.

Everyone who serves should be commended for their work, including military dogs! You may not be aware of the work that these animals do to help ensure the safety of our troops and our country, so we're here to enlighten you. Their keen senses are better than almost any weapon, and the love and loyalty they show to their handlers is unmatched.

Here are 12 important facts about military dogs that you probably didn’t know.

1. Military dogs have saved over 10,000 American lives.

Imgur | Hiznolt

The United States War Dog Association estimates that since the the beginning of their service, war dogs have been responsible for helping to bring home thousands of American soldiers safe and sound.

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2. The most common dogs used are German shepherds and retrievers. 

Flickr | Airwolfhound

Belgian Malinois are also seen as a suitable choice and hold a high reputation within the armed forces. This breed is most commonly used by Navy SEALs.

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3. They are trained from birth.

Facebook | DoD Military Working Dog Breeding Program

Puppy Development Specialist is actually a real job. From birth to eight weeks, puppies are exposed to different activities and stimulation to prepare them for the next phase of their life. There is no guarantee that these puppies will go on to serve in the military. It is an important first step to determine if they are a right fit.

The DoD Military Working Dog Breeding Program is just one center in the U.S. that breeds military dogs, but most military dogs are purchased from overseas.

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4. Sergeant Stubby is the most decorated U.S. military dog.  

Bad | Bad

Stubby was found wandering around the campus of Yale University and became the mascot of the 102nd Infantry, 26th Yankee Division. He once caught a German spy that was mapping out the Allied trenches by biting him on the leg. He was promoted to Sergeant after capturing the spy and was the first dog to be given that rank.

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5. Military dogs can develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Flickr | DVIDSHUB

Just like humans, military dogs can experience symptoms of PTSD. More than 5% of dogs that are deployed are developing canine PTSD, according to the New York Times. They can develop symptoms of PTSD while they are still serving in the military. One of the symptoms is that they will stop doing the tasks they were trained to do, which can put them and their handlers at risk.

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6. There are 2,500 active military dogs.

Flickr | Brandon Jasper

Of those 2,500, around 500 are deployed at one time.

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7. There is a U.S. War Dogs Memorial in Holmdel, New Jersey.

Troop Dogs | Troop Dogs

The bronze statue of a soldier with his dog guards the gateway of the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial. It was dedicated on June 10, 2006.

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8. They mourn the loss of their handlers.

Daily Mail | Daily Mail

Military dogs spend a lot of time with their handlers and often form a deep connection with their partner. While in the field, dog and soldier rely on each other for protection and safety.

This picture of Hawkeye, a Labrador with the Navy SEALs, lying next to his handler's coffin broke hearts all over the internet. Hawkeye was adopted by his fallen master's best friend and now has a happy home.

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9. Only 50% make it through training.

Navy SEALs | Navy SEALs

Military dogs must go through some tough and rigorous training before making to the big leagues. The weak are weeded out and only the top half are selected to join the forces.

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10. The majority of military dogs are purchased from Germany and the Netherlands.

The Atlantic | The Atlantic

Although some dogs are bred in the U.S., 85% are bought from Germany and the Netherlands. These countries have been breeding military dogs for years and are known for training elite canines.

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11. 90% of military dogs are adopted by their handler.

Bryce Harper | New York Times

Before 2000, most canines were euthanized after their service. It was thought that after being in a stressful and violent environment, the dogs would not be able to adapt to normal surroundings. The implementation of Robby's Law changed that philosophy. Robby's Law gives handlers the option of adopting their military dogs, and about 90% choose to make their work buddy their lifelong buddy.

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12. They are highly trained and much smarter than you.

Express | Express

Military dogs complete intense drills to detect bombs, weapons, and drugs, as well as to take down enemy soldiers. Can you do that?

Share to support our soldiers and to inform others about the amazing work of military dogs!

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