Dogs on the Front Line: World War One’s Canine Soldiers

Dogs were used in a variety of different roles during World War One. By 1918, Britain and France employed over 20,000 dogs, Italy used 3,000, and Germany alone used 30,000 throughout the Western Front. Dogs were used routinely as sentries, scouts, mascots, and to bring aid to the wounded. In 1917 the British War Office founded the War Dog School of Instruction to train canines for the battlefield.

Dobermans and German Shepherds were most frequently used due to their agility and intelligence, as can be seen in this video of a French soldier and his dog surveying the battlefield.

Lee is a freelance writer with a keen interest in history and science.