Sit, Stay, Think: Sniff Out the Answers in Our War Dog Quiz

By: Staff
Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

While you’re at home training Lucky to shake, there are dogs being trained to save lives and sniff out explosives on the battlefield. These war dogs, or K-9 Corps as they've been called, have been fighting alongside humans for centuries. How much do you know about these powerful pooches?

When did the U.S. military officially implement its War Dog program?

The first dogs entered the U.S. Army on March 13, 1942, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and America's entry into World War II. The Quartermaster Corps oversaw the program at first and began training animals at a facility in Front Royal, Va. The Marines opened a similar training center at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Which breeds are considered top dog in the modern military?

The Germans bred Doberman pinschers and German shepherds to be working dogs in the 19th century. When World War II began, these breeds were favorites in the American War Dog program. German shepherds remain popular today, but they're joined by other breeds, such as Belgian Malinois and Labrador retrievers, which are prized for their trainability and quick-to-please dispositions.

If you were trying to infiltrate a military base guarded by sentry dogs, how would you most likely be detected?

With 225 million olfactory receptors, a dog's nose is one of the most powerful sniffing machines on the planet. It's not just the canine nose that's special, either. The amount of a dog's brain dedicated to controlling these receptors is 40 times greater than that of a human. The sentry dogs would sniff you out long before you stepped foot in the perimeter.

Which is NOT an activity that dogs have performed during wartime?

While we may trust man's best friend for a lot of things, we still don't allow military working dogs to carry guns. They're used mostly as scouts, for sentry duty and to detect potentially hazardous explosives. War dogs have also been known to make life on the battlefield more bearable, providing comfort and companionship to the soldiers.

What's the most common threat for dogs serving in the Middle East?

Surprisingly, war dogs are more at risk of overheating than being injured by roadside bombs or gunfire. Overheating can spur a dangerous condition called bloat, which causes an animal's stomach to swell rapidly and can be fatal. While no dogs have suffered humiliation at the claws of jungle cats, they have received spider and scorpion stings.

Which of the following is NOT equipment used by war dogs in the field?

Titanium teeth cost as much as $2,000 dollars each and give their owners fearsome bites. Dogs also wear goggles, which shield their eyes from harsh winds and blowing sand, and vests, which protect their torsos from bullet and stab wounds. Booties, however, usually aren't part of their getup.

About how many dogs are currently serving in active duty for the U.S. military?

According to the Department of Defense, about 2,800 highly trained war dogs are attached to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Which branch of the U.S. military has adopted the English bulldog as its official mascot?

During World War I, U.S. Marine recruiting posters depicted a snarling English bulldog. The image quickly became a symbol of the tenacity and fighting spirit of the Marines, prompting the Corps to adopt a bulldog, King Bulwark. In 1922, Gen. Smedley D. Butler signed documents naming the bulldog as the official mascot of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Dogs are known as man's best friend. Who is a military working dog's best friend?

Every military working dog is paired with a handler, a soldier who trains, feeds and cares for the animal. When it's time for deployment, handler and dog travel together and serve as a team during their tour of duty.

Which branch of the military uses war dogs?

Every branch of the military recruits, trains and deploys military working dogs. The Marines have a particularly fabled history with the War Dog program, proving the value of canine combatants in the Pacific Theater of World War II.

What job did the sanitary dogs of World War I perform?

Red Cross dogs -- or sanitary dogs as the Germans called them -- were used to transport medical supplies, as well as small canteens of water, to wounded soldiers. A good sanitary dog would ignore dead soldiers and, upon finding someone in need of attention, carry that person's helmet to a nearby medic.

How did America use war dogs during World War I?

During World War I, the U.S. military didn't use dogs in any official capacity. In fact, America was the only nation lacking a formal war dog program and had to borrow dogs from France and England.

When did humans first domesticate dogs?

Humans domesticated dogs 12,000 years ago and quickly put the animals to work in a variety of ways. Ancient armies most likely took mastiffs into battle because of their size and strength.

What was the name of the Mississippi island where dogs were exposed to the same jungle conditions they might see in the Pacific?

This island was just as wild and secluded as the Pacific islands occupied by the Japanese. U.S. military officials were, apparently, able to look past the irony of the name and appreciate the junglelike environment in which to train a new breed of fighters.

What was the nickname given to dogs fighting with the Marines in World War II?

The German army used the term Devildogs in World War I to describe the tenacity of the Marines in the 2nd Division. Eventually, the name transferred to the Dobermans used by Marines in the invasion of Guam and other Pacific islands.

Where is the national war dog memorial located?

Since World War II, there have been efforts to petition the government for a national memorial dedicated to the accomplishments of the K-9 Corps. Other groups have also been working hard to establish a war dog museum. Unfortunately, neither exists at this time.

Who bred America's first unofficial war dogs?

Well before the arrival of Europeans, Native Americans used dogs for sentry and pack duty. They trained their dogs to both carry large loads and protect camps during the night. Although they never actually participated in offensive roles, the dogs served as a model for modern American war dogs.

Which of the following terms could be used to describe a dog serving the military?

The domestic dog -- "Canis lupus familiaris" -- is descended from a wolflike ancestor and still shares the same basic body form. In World War II, U.S. military officials began using domestic dogs in combat situations as part of the War Dog program. Today, the war dog term is passé. Defense officials prefer to call their canine warriors military working dogs, or MWDs.

Which country conducted the first tandem skydiving missions with its war dogs?

The Soviet forces had the earliest flying dogs, beginning the program in the 1930s. The U.S. Air Force has flying Fidos, too, and has included dogs on airborne missions for several decades. Recently, U.S. Navy SEAL Mike Forsythe and his dog, Cara, broke the world record for highest man/dog parachute deployment by jumping from 30,100 feet (9,174 meters).

What medical condition often affects military working dogs returning to civilian life?

Just like their human counterparts, war dogs sometimes need help getting back onto their feet after their tours of duty have ended. Many experience the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and are in need of therapy programs offered at facilities like the Holland Working Dog Veterinary Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. Called the "Walter Reed" for dogs, this facility uses state-of-the-art tools and rehab equipment.

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