Dogs of War: 4 Dog Breeds Used and Militarized Throughout History

Dogs of War

4 Dog Breeds Used

Dogs have been used for centuries to help troops engage in military conflicts. These canine companions come in handy for their keen senses and other innate abilities that give soldiers advantages over their enemies. The following four dog breeds have commonly been utilized and militarized as dogs of war throughout much of history.


These robust and agile dogs have been useful in terrorizing enemy forces. Some mastiffs can weigh more than 200 pounds, which can make these dogs more effective when it comes to forcing other soldiers into submission. The ancient Greeks and Romans frequently brought these dogs into battle. During certain points in history, mastiffs were even used to fend off lions and other ferocious wild animals.

Dogs of War: 4 Dog Breeds Used and Militarized Throughout History
Image: By Pleple2000 (Own work) [GFDL] ( or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0

German Shepherd Dogs

Even though German Shepherd Dogs are often known for their friendly temperaments, they can be trained for battle and cause serious bodily harm to enemies. The force of their bites rivals those of pit bulls. German Shepherd Dogs have also been trained by the military to parachute out of airplanes and transport explosives that would later be detonated to destroy enemy tanks. Troops have even relied on German Shepherd Dogs as messenger and rescue dogs.

Dogs of War: 4 Dog Breeds Used and Militarized Throughout History
Image: Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho -

Black Russian Terriers

Developed by the Soviet military immediately following World War II, the Black Russian Terrier was related to several different dog breeds and known for its intimidating appearance. Anyone who is interested in earning a master’s degree in military history can review pictures to see the dog’s thick black coat and sharp teeth. The thick coats of these dogs make it possible for them to withstand cold Russian winters. Many troops value this dog for its loyalty and fearlessness. Black Russian Terriers also have excellent stamina and can help military personnel transport heavy loads for long distances.

Dogs of War: 4 Dog Breeds Used and Militarized Throughout History
By Carlyleshl (Iz Teremka Kennel) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons


These practical dogs originate from Germany and have performed many essential duties for the military. Boxers were used in both World War I and World War II to carry packs, guard troops, and attack rival soldiers. The fact that these dogs can maneuver much easier over unstable landscapes also makes them a great asset in wartime. Boxers have also been used at times to help soldiers hunt for food and sniff out where enemies are hiding.

Dogs of War: 4 Dog Breeds Used and Militarized Throughout History
Image: Creative Commons,

Many military operations have been carried out successfully thanks in large part to dogs. These loyal, obedient, and physically-strong animals can be trained to help with many tasks and relieve some of the burdens that soldiers carry.


Dogs of War: 4 Dog Breeds Used and Militarized Throughout History

Rachelle Wilber, Freelance WriterAuthor Bio: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. Rachelle tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow Rachelle on Twitter and Facebook

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4 thoughts on “Dogs of War: 4 Dog Breeds Used and Militarized Throughout History”

  1. I totally believe that the German Shepherd is the ultimate war dog. Here’s why: I was a substitute mailman for 5 years. Anytime I’d encounter the same dog, it would look for a different way to attack me. Some days it’d try to go over the fence, other days it would try to knock the fence down. I feared them more than any other dog, because I knew eventually they’d figure out a way to get to me.

    • Jason, I understand why you would fear that particular German Shepherd Dog. Yikes! I would have been nervous too. GSDs sure can look fierce. I had one named Star. She was one of the best dogs I ever had and she lived to the ripe old age of 14 years old. She was a pussy cat though, and I don’t think she ever would have attacked another human being, although I was never attacked by a person while in her presence. She did, however, attack another dog that was threatening to bite me. I loved that girl. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!


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