What Kind of Dogs Does the Military Use? 10 Excellent Breeds Are Here!

In movies, we almost saw Dobermans or German Shepherds in military or K9 uniforms sniffing for bombs, thefts, or enemies. However, that was only in movies, in reality, there are other dog breeds that can be used in military service. And if you will actually explore the list, you will generally be surprised how wide the coverage of those breed of dog is. But, most people really want to know what kind of dogs does the military use.

In this article, we will discover the different dog breeds used in military forces. Aside from that, we will try to get to know them one-by-one and identify what makes them unique from the others. So, if you want to have a deeper understanding of them, just continue to read on until the end.

The Origin of the Working Dogs

In connection with our search of what kind of dogs does the military use, it also entails knowing the specific jobs usually tasks with this four-legged animal by the military. Actually, the tasks of canines in the military forces are endless which generally demand opposite behaviors. Here are some of the tasks being assigned to working dogs:

* Sentry dogs

Usually, they walk at the side of their handler and warn intruders through growling or barking

* Scout dogs

They generally work without any noise in order to detect snipers, enemy, and potential ambushes

* Messenger dogs

These working dogs basically held information between handlers

* Mine dogs

They typically detect land-mines even traps and tripwires

* Casualty dogs

Basically, they are the battle version of the search and rescue dogs which can find injured soldiers easily

* Tunnel dogs

These dogs usually explore the undergrounds and look for any traces of their enemies and inform the handlers about this

* Explosive detection dogs

The responsibility of these dogs is to find the scent of bombs and alert their handlers with it

what kind of dogs does military use

Even during the Revolutionary War, the military forces of the United States had been using working dogs basically as pack animals. Eventually, during World War I the responsibilities of the working dogs moved on to the next level by killing rats in trenches. Yet, World War II is proof of the unforgettable emergence of the working dogs in support with the military workforces.

There are more than 10,000 canines working as sentries, messengers, scouts, and mine detectors which had been deployed by the US forces. Moreover, patrol dogs, drug detectors, and explosive dogs are now supporting the military forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Reasons for Using Working Dogs

Generally, canines have smell sensitivity which is 5 to 10 times stronger compared to humans. That’s the reason why these dogs are able to determine the presence of drugs and bombs. They can also warn the handlers regarding the existence of these substances. Aside from that, the working dogs are also able to defend the handlers up to the end.

What Kind of Dogs Does the Military Use? The Working Dog Breeds!

Basically, the behaviors of the working dogs used in military forces involve aggression, smartness, loyalty, and being athletic. But, what kind of dogs does the military use? Generally, most of the working dogs in military forces come from the Shepherd breeds. And one of these is the Belgian Malinois which is included on those groups of what kind of dogs does the military use.

The military forces generally have high expectations on these dog breeds. They highly need to be strong, aggressive, and athletic in order to comply with the requirement of their mission. Canines are usually part of the fighting groups of the military within the battlefield. These dogs were provided with razor-sharp collars by the Romans as they had been sent into the bases of the enemy.

Aside from the Shepherds and the Malinois, there are also broad breed varieties under what kind of dogs does the military use as the range tasks for the working dogs are also in demand for them. Ever since then, the US military has been training various dog breeds over the years to end up with the list of what kind of dog does the military use.

German Shepherd

what kind of dogs does military use

The first on the list of what kind of dogs does the military use is none other than the German Shepherd. There are generally numbers of reasons why they fall on the number one spot. Initially, they are agile, strong, and easily trainable as scout dogs. Next in line is that the German Shepherds know how to stay calm within hostile places. Moreover, this dog breed is very loyal and has predictable behavior that makes them a reliable support buddy within the battlefield.

Belgian Malinois

Basically, the Belgian Malinois looks similarly the same with the German Shepherd. Aside from the appearance, this dog breed has similar dependability, intelligence, and trainability. That’s why the Belgian Malinois also belongs to those groups under what kind of dogs does the military use.

However, since not all dogs are equal, you can also observe a little difference between the two breeds. They have a more compact size compared to the German Shepherds which are better for war missions and operations.


The Boxer also falls on what kind of dogs does the military use having an innate wariness for strangers. Moreover, this dog breed became ideal working dogs in World War I because of their alertness, strength, and agility. These features also give them stunning appeal and iconic underbites.

In fact, during World War I, the Boxers performed numbers of tasks such as scout dogs, messenger dogs, and patrol dogs. Due to that, they were recognized as the most versatile breed of dogs and progress for training under military service up to now.

Doberman Pinscher

What kind of dogs does the military use? Generally, one of them is the Doberman Pinscher. Because of their slender and athletic build, the Dobermans became the apple of the eye of the US Marines during World War II.

They are generally perfect as scout dogs or patrol dogs as they are being recognized as the Devil Dog of the Marines. For over the years, the Dobermans became the front liners as they get into the war zone. Give credits to their intelligence, alertness, and highly trainable attitude.

Labrador Retriever

A Labrador Retriever basically has an extremely good sense of smell. This is the reason why they fall under what kind of dogs does the military use. They are generally perfect for smelling and detecting explosives. Moreover, Labrador Retrievers are also a good choice for most search and rescue operations due to their obedience.


What kind of dogs does the military use? Generally, the military forces are after for dogs that are confident enough to face the warzone, prepared for work, and ever loyal. All of these traits are present on the Rottweiler. Due to that, this dog breed was the perfect messenger dog during the World Wars.

Additionally, the Rottweiler has a strong loyalty to their handlers as they are walking their way on dangerous terrain handling information. However, messenger dogs are not already part of the military nowadays. But, the Rottweiler still offers good service in the military forces.

Airedale Terrier

If you are still asking on what kind of dogs does the military use, you can also consider looking for canines that are a bit headstrong, athletic; easily get on commands, loyal, and obedient. Knowing that the Airedale Terrier is the dog breed that fits in. And since strangers are not really fond of them, they are excellently perfect as scout dogs and patrol dogs. Moreover, they also have a good sense of smell making them helpful during search and rescue operations in World War I.

Alaskan Malamutes and Syberian Huskies

During World War II, there were some planes crashing and landing over Greenland. This incident demands a special type of dog. So, having this in mind, what kind of dogs does the military use over this situation? Generally, they need dogs that would help them in locating and rescuing the airmen who had been victims of the plane crash.

The Alaskan Malamutes and the Huskies are the perfect candidates for these tasks. They are excellently good to perform various tasks within the snow. That’s also the reason why they are also been recognized as military service animals within places with low temperatures.

Giant Schnauzer

Basically, this dog breed was originated as a foundation breed that served the Soviets and army in the ’40s. If you think about what kind of dogs does the military use in the form of the Giant Schnauzer, you will generally find a dog with a reserved personality. And since they are territorial, they are good to be taken on the night patrol.

Yorkshire Terrier

Looking at the cuddly appearance of the Yorkshire Terrier, you may have a second thought of what kind of dogs does military use. Well, size doesn’t really matter even on battles. This was proved true by Smoky, the Yorkie who got credits as he protected the human troop way back World War II.          

Final Thoughts

What kind of dogs does the military use? Basically, they are numbers of dog breeds that really set their name on the battlefield helping the military forces. They have excellent personalities which generally allow them to perform various tasks and military responsibilities. And since they are easily trainable and most of them have a great sense of smell, the military forces benefit a lot from them.