By Josie  July 28th, 2023

The Crucial Roles Dogs Played During WW2

The many and crucial roles that dogs played during WW2 only reinforce what we already know – that they’re man’s best friend.

It’s often overlooked that dogs were pivotal to the success of military operations.

The roles that these dogs played were largely determined by their breed, training, and individual capabilities.

Let's take a look at the different roles they had:

These dogs were trained to deliver messages between different parts of the military forces, often traversing dangerous and challenging terrain.

#1 Messengers

Patrol dogs were trained to detect enemy presence, often moving 30 to 40 feet ahead of human patrollers, primarily at night.

#2 Patrol Dogs

Many dogs, as well as other types of animals, played the simple yet essential role of companionship.

#3 Mascots and Companions

Medical dogs were used to locate wounded men among the dead, and save countless lives.

#4 Medical Dogs

A significant number of dogs, around 18,000, that served in the U.S. military were sourced from civilian homes.

Recruitment of Civilian Dogs

The training began with basic obedience, where dogs had to learn elementary commands like sit, stay, and heel.


It was crucial that the dogs learned to obey commands given with hand signals, any sound could alert the enemy – risking death.

Many soldiers chose to adopt their canine comrades after the war, not only for companionship but also to cope with PTSD.

Swipe up for the full story!

Scribbled Arrow