March 13 is a day that is dedicated to honoring the brave and selfless military and working dogs around the world. These heroes have played a vital role throughout history, serving alongside their human partners. They have demonstrated loyalty, courage, and dedication throughout their service.

On March 13, 1942, the US Army created their War Dog Program (i.e. the K9 Corps). This program was used to train dogs for military purposes, marking the first time dogs were officially used in the Armed Forces.

Dogs that are chosen for military use undergo a serious amount of training before they work alongside their human counterparts. The most common breeds used are German Shepherds, Labradors, and the Belgian Malinois. The Department of Defense (DOD) finds dogs from elite breeders around the world, but a select 13% are born into the US Military--these puppies are raised through the DOD Military Working Dog Breeding Program. This program is only found in one place, which is the 341st Training Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio.

The 341st Training Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio works to socialize these puppies as they grow, and they are then placed into puppy raising homes nearby to learn basic obedience and behavior in public. The pups are usually in their foster homes for ~5 months. Once this process is complete, these dogs will go through a 4-month training process, including obedience, combat training, and learning to search for dangerous items. Once the dogs have learned their skills, they are trained alongside humans. Once the dogs and humans are properly trained, the dogs are officially called “War Dogs” and move on to complete their individual tasks with their humans.

Important Military Dogs

Sergeant Stubby

  • This guy is one of the most well-know K9 Veterans. He was a Boston Terrier mix who served in WWI. He is the only dog to ever be nominated for an official military rank.
  • Served in 17 battles in WWI! He was able to alert other soldiers to duck for cover when incoming artillery was headed their way. He could detect artillery before soldiers could see or hear anything--he did this by listening for the high-pitched sounds. He also helped locate missing soldiers.

Lucca, German Shepherd/Malinois mix

  • She was an explosives detection K9 who served in over 400 bomb detection missions. She found 40+ explosives during her missions.
  • Lucca retired after losing her left front leg due to a detonation. She received the Dickin Medal as well!

Be sure to celebrate all of the amazing military working dogs for their service and sacrifice this March 13!