French Army Uses Dogs in World War I

The French army employs dog couriers to take supplies to men in the most exposed positions during WWI.

By Dog World Eds. | June 21, 2012

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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.

Trench warfare certainly interferes with the fighter’s meals. After capturing the enemy’s position in particular, the fighter is at a loss to know how he will get his regular rations; for no sooner does the enemy find himself dispossessed of his original trenches than he opens up with an intense barrage fire designed to prevent ammunition and food from reaching the new occupants.

The French army believes it has solved the problem of carrying food to men in isolated trenches in its lunch dogs, says the Scientific American. Carrying light lunches and coffee and even cartridges for the men in the first line trenches when the combat is hot and protracted, these splendid trained dogs are more certain to get through barrages than men. Each dog is equipped with a sort of doubled bag strapped tight over its body, and provided with numerous pockets for food, coffee cans, ammunition and other supplies.

It is at the military dog-training grounds at Paris that dogs are prepared for this servise. Not only are these four-legged couriers taught to avoid the enemy and be aware of tricks, but also to crawl on their stomachs in order to escape flying bullets. Special masks are provided for these dogs when they must pass through a poison gas area.


Excerpted from Dog World, September 1918, Vol. 3, No. 9.


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