Dogs were called to duty in 1942, as the US Army was expanding quickly due to WWII. The United States K9 Corps was established March 13, 1942. Mrs. Alene Erlanger, a private citizen, initiated a program called Dogs for Defense. She, along with some breeders and the AKC, started a group to train dogs for military use. They had the first dogs ready for service by November, 1942.
The dogs are trained in bomb, drug and weapon detection, tracking the enemy and defending their unit. These dogs’ loyalty, bravery and high level of training make them extremely valuable to any unit that they are attached to.
There are approximately 2,500 dogs in active service today, with about 700 deployed overseas.
Joseph White, a retired military working dog trainer, originated the idea for this special day – March 13th – National K9 Veterans Day.
We salute and thank all of the K-9 military and service dogs!