The Soviet Union, German and Japanese War Dogs of WW2

I realized that I focused so much on American Dogs of WW2, British Dogs of WW2, dog mascots of the Allies, and true stories of WW1 dogs, but what about the rest of the dogs that took part in world wars?

Red Army Dogs of WW2

The Red Army began WW2 with 50 000 dogs already trained. Most dogs were white Samoyeds trained to find and help wounded soldiers lost in the snow.

Rex and LloydVonSickel. Rex was one of the Samoyeds volunteered for service in the U.S. Army. Several dogs were trained to parachute from small aircraft for remote rescue missions. Source Tahoe Weekly
Rex and Lloyd VonSickel. Rex was one of the Samoyeds volunteered for service in the U.S. Army. Several dogs were trained to parachute from small aircraft for remote rescue missions. Source Tahoe Weekly

But the soviets were unscrupulous; they also trained their dogs to fight tanks, sniff mines and as spies (diversion service).

Russian military trained half-starved dogs to run underneath tanks and armored vehicles in search for food, while explosives were strapped to their bodies. The detonator was a rod which extended upwards from the explosive pouch the dogs wore. When they ducked under tanks the rod would hit the hull of the vehicle, detonating bomb and dog.

1945, Russia, a puppy sleeping between two soldiers
1945, Russia, a puppy sleeping between two soldiers

Luckily, the anti-tank dogs had mixed success as the dogs, trained to run under stationery, non-firing tanks, often retreated at the sound of enemy gunfire, returning to the Soviet trenches, exploding and taking their comrades with them.

The mechanism behind a bomb detonating dog - source WW2 Film Inspector
The mechanism behind a bomb detonating dog

German War Dogs during WW2

It is worth noticing the German’s cunning strategy. As the WWI Versailles Treaty limited Germany’s army to 100,000 members, German dog training school began operating under the disguised training of German civil and railroad policemen to not arouse the Western Powers.

A German soldier feeds a puppy-History Collection.jpg
A German soldier feeds a puppy

But Germany had a secret pact with Russia. They would train Russian officers in the art of warfare in exchange for a military facility, in Russia.

In conclusion, Germany began WW2 with 200 000 trained dogs and ten years K-9 experience. A vast majority of these dogs, forming the German Civil Police K-9 Unit, were sadly used to assist in the capturing and deportation of Jewish citizens to Nazi concentration and work camps.

Germany trained white dogs to point at the enemy. The Allies reported quite a few sightings of white dogs in North Africa. It was later concluded that the Germans trained some of their dogs to sniff the enemy (the Allies) and just point at them, standing perfectly still, and then returning to the German snipers.

Sadly, in the rushed withdrawal of Axis forces from North Africa so many dogs from the K-9 units were left behind that there was hardly any breeding stock left in the entire Germany.

Japanese War Dogs during WW2

Out of their 200 000 dogs secretly trained for ten years, the Germans gifted 25 000 to the Japanese to be used as patrols, scouts, and guards. But the Japanese trained their own suicide commandos dogs.

Japanese_dogs_WW2 propaganda. Source WW2 Film Inspector
Japanese Dogs – WW2 propaganda

The Japanese dogs were trained to pull small carts until close enough to the enemy, the Americans. Each cart was loaded with fifty pound bombs that were then exploded.

1945, Japan, Okinawa. A soldier and his pet dog.
1945, Japan, Okinawa. A soldier and his pet dog.

The Japanese also trained their own pointer dogs. Small sized dogs were trained to find the American troops and then run back to the Japanese. On timing the dogs and noticing the direction of their trajectory, the Japanese would approximate the location of the American troops. This tactic did not work for long as the Americans soon begun to follow the small dogs back to the Japanese.

Cheering for the dogs!

Next we will look at what happened to these amazing war dogs once WW2 was over and then at the fate of military dogs past WW2 to present times.

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Joyful Trouble, Based on the True Story of a Dog Enlisted in the Royal Navy
The simplest way to enjoy coffee? Pair it with an interesting book. Silent Heroes, When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for
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3 Replies to “The Soviet Union, German and Japanese War Dogs of WW2”

    1. It is, Brigid. And worth remembering. But wait, things will soon look up for these amazing dogs 🙂
      Thank you for your comment 🙂

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