Dogs Serving in the German Army

A variety of dog breeds, such as German Sheep Dogs, were trained to work in the hospital service during World War I.

By Dog World Eds. | June 19, 2012

From the Archives of Dog World: Enjoy this all-access pass to dog history from the pages of the longest published dog magazine.This content remains in its original form and reflects the language and views of its time. Health and behavior information evolves and only the most current advice should be followed.

Dog World magazine June 1916When Germany’s army was mobilized in July 1914, it had just eight dogs trained for military service. The German Red Cross Society was immediately notified to train a large number of dogs for work in the field in the hospital service with the result that there are now or were recently 2,500 dogs in the various regions where the German armies are operating. Many of the animals have been killed and wounded in action and a special dog hospital is maintained at Jena.

There are many breeds in the list including shepherd dogs, Airedales terriers, retrievers and pointers, each about two years old. German shepherd dogs comprise the majority. They have learned to obey commands both by word of mouth and pistol shot. They can distinguish the living from the dead and pass by men still able to stand in their search for the wounded.

Excerpted from Dog World magazine, June 1916, Vol. 1, No. 6. For back issues of Dog World, click here.


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