A Brief History
On August 26, 2022, we all celebrate National Dog Day, a day invented by Colleen Paige in 2004. While our canine friends are useful in so many ways, today we take a look at a more grim aspect of our relationship with dogs.
While it is highly possible that even Cave men that first domesticated dogs thousands of years ago may have in some manner used their canine friends as co-combatants, some early civilizations such as the ancient Greeks used of dogs in a combat as the Romans around the time of the Roman Republic (509 BC to 27 BC). These Roman warrior dogs were of the Molossian hound breed, now extinct. The spiked collar war hounds not only attacked the enemy with teeth and claw, they were also made to carry combustible fire weapons into the enemy midst as well.
Modern militaries use war dogs to detect mines, stand guard, aid the wounded, and carry messages among other duties. And they do those duties rather well!
Question for students (and subscribers): What is your favorite breed of dog? (Hint: Ours are Dachshunds and Basset Hounds.) Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Cawthorne, Nigel. Canine Commandos: The Heroism, Devotion, and Sacrifice of Dogs in War. Ulysses Press, 2012.
Weintraub, Robert. No Better Friend: One Man, One Dog, and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage and Survival in WWII. Back Bay Books, 2016.
The featured image in this article, a photograph by Sgt. Christopher Bonebrake of U.S. Army Sgt. Brian Curd, a dog handler, waiting for U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Allen, a mine detection dog, to finish checking a route during a training session at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, Jan. 8, 2013, is a work of a U.S. Army soldier or employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, it is in the public domain in the United States.
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