It goes without saying, dogs are man’s best friends. They always want to be with us and want to be part of whatever we do— lounging on the couch, running, hiking, eating (most of the time). In fact, they’ve been on our side for more than 10,000 years, walking alongside us in hunting, herding, sled-pulling, acting as emotional support, guards, even nannies. They are intelligent and energetic creatures (most of them, at least), not to mention goofy and cuddly, too. These reasons, and more, make them the perfect companion in the military. Let’s have a look at the common (and not-so-common) military working dog breeds accompanying our troops in the war field.


Becoming an Official Military Working Dog

Before we get there, let’s have a quick look at the process of how a dog becomes a certified military dog. Ever wonder if your puppy can become a K9?


It starts with acquiring puppies, usually from DoD’s own military working dog breeding program. There are puppy development specialists who look after and take care of these puppies until they are 8-10 weeks old.


This allows dogs to live a normal puppyhood, at the same time, learn how to socialize.

Selection and Training

Through puppy training, the dogs are screened to see if they have the attributes needed for a Military Working Dog (MWD). Unqualified dogs may still be used by other agencies or adopted out.

Dog Boot Camp

Dogs usually have to be trained and assessed for four to seven months to be certified as an MWD. If they pass, they will be assigned their respective U.S. military bases.

Handler Assignment

The MWD will then be partnered with their first MWD handler for their obedience, patrol, and detection training.