National K-9 Veterans Day commemorates the service and sacrifice of American military and working dogs. While military working dogs date back as far as World War 1, it’s celebrated on March 13th as it is the anniversary of the founding of the official U. S. Army K-9 Corps in 1942.
Today, there are approximately 2500 active Military Working Dogs, with around 700 currently deployed overseas with American troops. Their jobs are important ones – sentry dogs, scout and patrol dogs, messenger dogs, casualty dogs tasked with finding injured soldiers, and explosive detection dogs that turn their keen sense of smell to sniff out IEDs and other chemical weapons. Our troops rely on the dogs and their handlers to help keep them safe.
All Military Working Dogs are classified as Non-Commissioned Officers, which places them one rank higher than their handlers, to show respect for the dogs and their work.
The majority of Military Working Dogs are German or Dutch Shepherds or the Belgian Malinois breeds. Additional breeds like Labrador, Golden, or Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are often chosen for specialized roles because they are loyal, smart, and athletic. We are thankful for their service.