Why Are German Shepherds Used in the Military: 6 Defining Traits

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The only dog breed ideally suited for police service is the German Shepherd dogs. According to its psychotype, it is the “boss”.

Yes, not only do humans have personalities, but military working dogs do too. A German Shepherd dog behaves like a friend, like a family member who understands everything, but cannot speak. This is a very smart and wise dog.

The military working dogs have acquired many positive qualities throughout their breeding. The German Shepherd dogs are perfectly suited for police service for various reasons, including the ability of lightning attacks and immobilization of an enemy.

Basically, they are trained to search for and detain criminals. This military working dogs, following the command, will not stop in front of obstacles in the form of high fences, water, etc.

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History of German Shepherds in the Military

The German Shepherd is currently one of the most common service dogs. But interestingly, the German Shepherd was not used as a service breed from the very beginning. The original standard for the German Shepherd breed was formed as a sheepdog. And today there is a reliable way to find out about a purebred German Shepherd, if required.

Only later, when cavalry captain Max von Stephanitz noticed German Shepherds at the exhibition, they began to gain popularity. It is not known exactly how the retraining of military working dog from shepherds to employees took place, but the earliest mentions relate to the World War I, where German Shepherds actively helped people.

Already during the World War II, they were so popular that there were several dogs in each platoon. Most likely, they attracted people with their mental and physical abilities, German Shepherds excel other dogs. That’s why the military began using them regardless of the breed dates.

After the World War II, these military working dogs remained in the military and police structures and remain there to this day.

I must say that during the World War II, not only German Shepherds were used, but also other breeds, but the Germans were the most common. Collies, various crossbreeds, and Hounds also participated in the World War I and other world wars.

Why German Shepherds Are Used in the Military?

As mentioned earlier, German Shepherds are distinguished by special qualities, thanks to which these military dogs are so well suited for the army. Here are some of them:


This military dogs is characterized by great endurance. They are patient, collected and hardy. They can tolerate many circumstances and perfectly show themselves in the most difficult conditions. They are also very loyal and will defend their master to the last, even at the cost of their own lives.


German Shepherds are one of the most courageous breeds. They confidently and unconditionally carry out any orders and commands. Fear means nothing to them. All of the above allows this breed to become the best and work effectively. They will not be afraid of any armed forces. Train dogs courage, and then you will get a great fighter.


German Shepherds are one of the smartest dog breeds. They learn easily and quickly thanks to the ability to concentrate. They are also the best at remembering smells and commands. In addition, they have a very great desire to train and learn new things.

Athletic Abilities

Military German Shepherds have very strong legs. Due to their size and body structure, they have very good athletic characteristics. They also have a large flow of energy and speed, which allows you to quickly catch criminals. With proper training, they are able to work in water and other places that are difficult for humans to reach.

Working abilities

Military German Shepherds have a very well-developed sense of smell and hearing, thanks to these qualities they are the best detectives. Their ability can extend for several kilometers. Their natural abilities often help not only the police, but also the military structure.


German Shepherd breed have great endurance. They are able to adapt and tolerate any difficult situations. Whether it’s physical or psychological stress, the German Shepherd Dog will still do its job stoically.

The main thing is not to forget to constantly train mental and physical endurance, otherwise it may weaken over time.

What Type of Work Do German Shepherds Do in the Military?

As you know, German Shepherds are able to do various jobs. But what exactly do police dogs do? We will tell you about this in detail in this section.

Patrol Dogs or Messenger Dogs

One of the most important functions is patrolling. This task is to protect a certain sector. Usually a person and a scout dog platoons walk around the territory to find out if there are any strangers on the object.

The dog, thanks to its keen sense and hearing, immediately identify unwanted guests. Another option for patrolling may be checking streets and people for prohibited substances. This practice is especially common in some states of the country.

The military, along with dogs, walk along the streets where a dealer or drug stocks may presumably be located. The sentry dogs will immediately smell the substances, if there are any, and will lead the military to this place.

Also, the sentry dogs can simply be used as a guard at military facilities. In such situations, as a rule, the dog is in the booth and guards the territory. During the war, such dogs were used as messengers or to help wounded soldiers.


Since the German Shepherd is very large, it can easily cope with a person. Therefore, often in dangerous situations, the dog is released forward, since it is faster and has sharp teeth in order to neutralize a criminal if necessary.

Such dogs are specially trained to eat in a certain place so as not to cause serious harm to a person, but at the same time to protect him for the further work of security personnel. Also, German Shepherds can attack people who have illegally entered the territory that they are guarding. In such a situation, there is no equal for these dogs.

They know and understand the measure, they can stop in time. In addition, thanks to high intelligence and upbringing, the army dogs will understand who is the enemy, and who is the friend who needs to be protected.

Tracking dogs

It’s no secret that German Shepherds are good at tracking people using their nose. It really is. German Shepherds are trained for a long time from birth, but the result fully justifies itself.

In situations where you need to find something or someone, they have no equal. The Germans can show where prohibited substances are hidden, where a bomb is planted, where an evidence is located, by the smell they can determine who the thing belonged to, who is the killer and much more. In the First World wartime, they were used as scout dogs. They could find wounded soldiers or other military facilities.

Explosives Detection

Explosives have their own specific smell, which the bomb squad dogs know well. This kind of working dog is bred specially. They have been dog training for this kind of work since childhood. If there is a threat of mining the territory, then a special person with dogs comes to the place.

The German army dog sniffs everything thoroughly and if it finds traces of an explosive substance or the explosive itself, GSD gives a signal to the sapper. Thanks to such dogs, it is possible to save many lives. Their nose is indispensable in such work.

Search and rescue dogs

German Shepherds on military service are often needed in search and rescue operations. There their functionality grows much stronger than a person.

First, tracking dogs can use their nose to track the target they need to find. Secondly, a war dog platoon can get through where a person cannot. For example, if help is needed for a child who is stuck in a hard-to-reach place, a dog can deliver the necessary medicines, water, and communication methods while the child is being rescued.

This will greatly facilitate the work of rescuers. Of course, such dogs must be well-trained and have a high concentration. These German army dogs serve the best.

Interesting Facts

German Shepherds are taken into service regardless of pedigree. It is considered that any individual of this species is perfect for military service.

The training dogs program lasts an average of 120 days. But there are also dual-purpose individuals, their training may be longer.

As soon as they finish dog training, they are assigned to one of the special services, depending on the direction. Usually, the dog stays in the office for the rest of his life.

According dog training to the US Department of Defense, dogs are used in various fields. For example, in the flight room. They undergo a course of special training. The basis is that the dog must get used to the wind, altitude, air, strong noise, and pressure drop.

Do not forget about the health of sled dogs. In addition to the fact that German Shepherds constantly undergo any training, they are entitled to a private medical examination. They even built hospitals for military dogs. Lieutenant Colonel Daniel E. is one of the best veterinarians in the military veterinary clinics of the qualified civilians’ Ministry of Defense. He saved a huge number of military working dogs lives.

Heroes of our time

First dog, Charlie is a heroic brave best dog in Air Force.

The job of explosive-detecting dogs and their handlers service members is to look for danger and hope they don’t find it. But when an Air Force staff sergeant Ben Siegel and his dog Charlie did just that – in Afghanistan, on May 8, 2011, the partners proved how strong their bond is. Working in the air Force requires a lot of preparation and endurance.

Another story that shows the importance of dogs in warfare relates to Lucca.

Lucca, an explosives detection dog in the Marine Corps, has served in Iraq and Afghanistan during his six-year career, led nearly 400 patrols and identified about 40 improvised explosive devices.

Not a single Marine was injured chasing a half-German Shepherd, half-Belgian Malinois. But on March 23, 2012, Lucca was leading a patrol in Afghanistan with her guide.

Shortly after she discovered the improvised explosive device, another device went off, seriously injuring Lucca. Her handler applied a tourniquet, and she was quickly given medical attention for in-depth treatment. She survived, but lost her left front leg.

Lucca was retired for medical reasons, but quickly adapted to life with three limbs and a new home with her former handler. In 2016, she became the first U.S. military working dog to receive the Deakin Medal for Animal Valor.

Chips is a brave and courageous dog. A mix of German Shepherd, Collie and Siberian Husky, Chips served overseas during World War II as one of the members of the newly formed K-9 military Corps.

During the invasion of Sicily in 1943, Chips attacked an enemy machine gun team firing at the soldiers of his platoon. He suffered a head wound and gunpowder burns, but was credited with saving the lives of his teammates.

About 75 years later, Chips received the posthumous Deakin Medal, a prestigious international award for the Valor of animal warriors.

I must say that the dogs showed themselves as heroes in the Vietnam War and in various other wars. These dogs are ubiquitous, with the exception of Cat Island.

They not only perform any military work, but also have proven themselves in the field of coast guard and infantry units. Their help to soldiers during any military work is invaluable. Due to their protective nature, they clearly concentrate on military work and are not distracted by extraneous actions.

Such a thing as a protective nature also helps dogs to show their abilities to the maximum. Both power and spiritual.

Chapter FAQ

Does the military still use German Shepherds?

Currently, German Shepherds are still used in military and security work. They remain constant helpers in many areas of life. They also deservedly, like people, receive titles and awards. German Shepherds are not just employees, but part of the team.

Does the German military use German Shepherds?

The German military, just like other countries, use German Shepherds in hard work, sometimes use Belgian Malinois. This breed of military working dog is widespread everywhere. All over the world, German Shepherds are considered to be the best employees for their inquisitive mind, endurance, courage, fortitude and courage. Their athletic skills, hearing and excellent nose make them special and stand out from other military working dog breeds.

What type of German Shepherd does the military use?

There is no separation between a purebred German Shepherd or a mixed one. Just like with or without a good pedigree. Any German Shepherds who fit the criteria of health and endurance are hired. History has repeatedly shown that mixed breeds of German Shepherds are not inferior to purebred. They are also brave, smart and hardy.

What is the most common military dog?

The most common breed for military operations, tactical missions and war zone is the German Shepherd. Thanks to their athletic skills, they are able to do many things. Through practice, it was found that no other breed of dog for example, the Collie, the Belgian Malinois, Siberian Huskies, Dutch Shepherds and other common breeds does not copes as well with the task as German Shepherds do.


Service dogs provide great support in various military structures. Thanks to German Shepherds, you can achieve very good results. You can save a life, catch a criminal, solve complex crimes, find someone or something, find prohibited substances, guard objects, help in rescue operations, find and defuse bombs. And they will forever go down in history as the best helpers in the World War I and II.

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