First World War: Dogs Duties

In the beginning, dogs were used to locate the wounded after a battle. That is why the dogs were called rescue dogs. With the Germans and the French, they were supposed to find injured people and bring them bandages. But nurses also led to the injured so that they could take care of them.

However, rescue dogs were only used for a short time because the area between the respective trenches was not very large. So the injured could be found easily even without dogs.

Guard dogs

With the advent of the trenches, dogs were used in many different ways, such as guard dogs. For this purpose, dogs with a good scent were chosen, which could detect smells quickly and had good hearing. They should be able to scent enemy soldiers as they try to get to enemy lines. In this way, prisoners who could provide information about the enemy camp were taken.

In order for the dogs to do a good job, a close relationship between them and the “master” was necessary. That’s how the Germans and the English saw it. The French, on the other hand, believed that dogs could replace humans. Some dogs have been left alone all night without ever getting the ‘master’s’ encouragement. Many became ill from constant vigilance or facial paralysis from incessant sniffing or pricking up their ears.

Transport dogs for defence gadgets

Transport dogs had carrier bags tied to their flanks and they transported grenades, small duds or brought food to the trenches. Dogs are not very large, unlike humans, they could move around easily without being seen.

Messenger dogsDogaspet

Messenger dogs transported important information. Again, the usage looked different in each country.

The English placed great value on a strong bond between dog and owner. The master stayed behind, but the dog was brought into the battle line and tied. As soon as he was to deliver a message, they tied it around his neck and released him. The dog then had only one thing in mind and that is to get back to his master.

The French taught their dogs to walk from flag to flag, that is, from one piece of cloth to the next. As soon as the dog saw the second piece of cloth, he knew to turn back. The point of this exercise was that it made the relationship between dog and master superfluous.

The Germans combined both. The German dog had two masters and learned to walk from one to the other.  For military dog owners these days, they can check Dogaspet to get information on how to take care of their dogs properly.