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Famous Military Dogs & Why We Love These Breeds

Did you know that, according to The Zebra, 68 percent of households within the U.S. own a pet? Additionally, 37 million millennials (at least) have pets, and, every year, there are four million cats and dogs that people adopt every year from shelters. 

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If you’re a dog lover, then you understand why so many people have pets, especially dogs. After all, whether they’re emotional support animals or a furry member of the family, dogs are one of the best things about life.

As a dog lover, you might be interested in learning more about military dogs. If you don’t have this information, then you’re missing out on some important facts about man’s best friend.

Additionally, if you’re looking for an emotional support dog, you might be feeling stressed and hoping that this information might help you find the right dog breed for you.

Fortunately, in this article, we’ll review everything you need to know about famous military dogs and why their breeds make great emotional support animals.

Finally, you can get the right emotional support animal for you. Read on to learn more.

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Due to the new Department of Transportation (DOT) policy, Emotional Support Animals are NO longer allowed to fly in airplane cabins for free. However, Psychiatric Service Dogs are eligible.

Smoky the Yorkshire Terrier

1. Smoky the Yorkshire Terrier

One of the most famous military dogs is the Yorkshire Terrier, Smoky. This may surprise you since you might think that military dog breeds are a bit on the larger side, but Smoky was a big military dog hero during World War II. 

An American soldier discovered Smoky deep in the jungle of New Guinea, hidden within an abandoned foxhole.

Smoky was fully grown, but she was tiny! She weighed a mere four pounds.

During the following two years, Smokey went everywhere with Corporal William A. Wynne. He carried her around in his backpack through WWII’s next two years.

Throughout their time together, these two served as part of the 5th Airforce, traveling throughout the South Pacific. They flew twelve sea/air missions of the photo-reconnaissance and rescue types.

Smoky survived a lot during this time. She made it through 150 air raids New Guinea experienced. She also was there for a typhoon that occurred in Okinawa.

In addition to her military accomplishments, Smoky was recorded first as being an emotional therapy dog. She visited soldiers who had been injured. Their injuries had occurred during the Biak Island Invasion.

Even after she finished doing this, she was an emotional therapy dog back in Cleveland, where Wynne came from. She enjoyed her work as a therapy dog for more than a decade.


Why Yorkshire Terriers Are Great Emotional Support Animals

There are many different reasons why Yorkshire Terriers are great emotional support animals. First of all, like many small dogs, they have huge personalities that make them seem like they’re larger than life! This makes them fun to be around and great to spend time with. Additionally, they’re:

  • Happy
  • Very playful
  • Keen to please

They also enjoy engaging in activities with the humans they live with. So if you want to have a bit of fun with your emotional support animal, a Yorkshire Terrier is a great choice. They’re also well-behaved with children, so they’re a great option if you have kids.

2. Sergeant Stubby the Boston Terrier Mix

You may know of the dog tags military custom, but have you heard of a military dog who actually managed to go through the military ranks? This is something that distinguishes Sergeant Stubby, the Boston Terrier mix, from other famous military dogs.

What’s Sergeant Stubby’s story? Well, it begins when he was simply a civilian canine.

He lived close to Yale University in New Haven in 1917. As 102nd Infantry members trained on the grounds of the university, a corporal became quite fond of Stubby.

This corporal was Corporal James Robert Conroy. And when it was time to say goodbye because the unit was going to France, Conroy didn’t want to say goodbye. So he tucked little Stubby underneath his overcoat, hiding him.

Eventually, the commanding officer above Conroy discovered Stubby. However, Stubby, fortunately, saluted him. As a result, Stubby could stay, serving as the infantry’s official mascot.

Over 18 months, Stubby was there for 17 battles and four offensives, based in the Western Front. He would alert his troops about incoming artillery shells, locate missing soldiers, and even had some multiple injuries.

After the war, Stubby became quite the celebrity. He led a number of parades throught the country and even met US presidents. The Human Education Society also gave him a medal.

The football team at Georgetown Hoyas also made him their mascot.

Sergeant Stubby the Boston Terrier Mix

Why Boston Terriers Are Great Emotional Support Animals

Even without military dog training or experience, Boston terriers are great emotional support animals. Because they’re intelligent, they can be there for you in many ways. Additionally, they have a really good temperament. This means they’ll be great for:

  • When you have company over
  • When you’re traveling

Additionally, they get along well with many people and animals. So if you have a large family or many other pets, even cats, they’re a great choice. These dogs are also sturdy, small, dapper-looking, and were bred to be perfect companions.

3. Lucca the Belgian Malinois-German Shepherd Mix

Another famous military dog is Lucca. Unlike other famous military dogs who have been involved directly in combat, Lucca’s specialty was being a search dog. She was a bomb detection dog who has become famous in very recent history.

Lucca, a Belgian Malinois-German Shepherd mix, was involved in deployments in Afghanistan (one time) and Iraq (twice). 

During her tenure, she served on over 400 missions. She found insurgents, explosives, and ammunition, during her career of six years, 40 times at least.

Her work was so impressive that, on her watch, there wasn’t even one human fatality. This was despite the surrounding dangerous conditions. 

The final mission Lucca went on was in 2012. While completing this mission, she was able to uncover an explosive device that weighed 30 pounds.

However, as she continued on her search, a different device detonated beneath her. Fortunately, her handler rushed over to her to rescue her (even though, in the area, there were known active explosives).

As a result of this device denoting, Lucca ended up losing one of her legs, the left front one. However, she recovered from this injury quickly. In 10 days, she could walk again. 

After experiencing her injury, Lucca retired. She moved back to her home with Chris Willingham, the Gunnery Sargeant.

Why Belgian Malinois Dogs Are Great Emotional Support Animals

Belgian Malinois dogs are great emotional support animals for several reasons. First of all, they’re very friendly. This means that they’ll get along with many people and won’t get aggressive if you’re traveling with them, for example. Additionally, these dogs are: 

  • Intelligent
  • Loyal
  • Easy to train

Because of their intelligence and how easy they are to train, they can learn to adapt in whichever way you need them to as your emotional support animal. Additionally, these dogs have a calm disposition.

This means that it’s easier for them to calm their owners down, making them great therapy and emotional support dogs.

Why German Shepherds Are Great Emotional Support Animals

German Shepherds are also a great choice as emotional support animals. First of all, they’re incredibly intelligent. This means that they can easily learn what they need to to give you the best emotional support. These dogs are also: 

  • Protective
  • Respectful
  • Loyal

As a result of having these three traits, German Shepherds can be reliable not only for you but for your entire family. They’re also fun companions, as they get along with many people. This can be good if you’re having company over or if you have children.

Additionally, they’ll be happy to spend a lot of time socializing with you, making you feel like you have your ESA there for you.

They also require exercise, so when you take them out for their walks or runs, this will get you out of the house and enjoying the fresh air.

4. Gander the Newfoundland Dog

All the military dogs we’ve reviewed so far in this article helped military people who were fighting for the US. Gander, however, would have had the chance to choose from Canadian military dog collars. He helped out Canadians, our northern neighbors.

He was a Newfoundland dog and quite a sizeable one at that. Some reports have estimated him to have weighed about 130 pounds.

Originally, his name was Pal. However, when his family gave Pal to a Canadian Army Regiment, The Royal Rifles of Canada, he was renamed as Gander.

Quite quickly, Gander became the Royal Rifles’ 1st Battalion’s mascot. This giant, black-furred canine, along with his battalion, was sent off in 1941 to Hong Kong.

This was so they could defend it against the Japanese troops that were invading.

Gander gained the nickname the “Black Beast,” a nickname enemy troops came up with. This was because his dark fur meant that it was difficult for them to spot him during battles that took place at night.

Tragedy struck, however. Gander died at the Battle of Lye Mun. This was after the troops had been fighting off the Japanese troops repeatedly. 

Just after midnight, a grenade from the enemy landed close to a group of Canadians that were injured. Gander picked this grenade up heroically with his mouth, after which he ran off with the explosive device.

He saved the life of a total of seven Canadian soldiers, sacrificing his own life for them.

Gander’s Posthumous Recognition

Given how great his sacrifice was, Gander was recognized for his heroism after he died. His name appeared on the Hong Kong Veteran Memorials Wall (in Ottowa, a city in Ontario, Canada).

Additionally, he was given, in 2000, the Dickin Medal posthumously.

This is an award specifically for animals who showed either devotion to duty or gallantry in association with or when serving any of the Civil Defence Units’ or Armed Forces’ branches.

Why Newfoundland Dogs Are Great Emotional Support Animals

Newfoundland dogs can be great emotional support animals for several reasons. First of all, they’re very devoted, so they’ll give you the love and care you need. They’re also sweet, which means they have the right temperament for ESAs. Additional qualities they have include:

  • Strong
  • Smart
  • Gentle

With the intelligence they have, they can be easily trained to serve you in the way you need. Additionally, because these dogs are gentle, they’re safe to have around if you have children or if you’re taking your Newfoundland dog with you traveling.

However, it’s important to note that there’s quite a bit of upkeep required when it comes to Newfoundland dogs.

These dogs need outdoor activity, and they also require training and grooming. However, if you feel you can do these things for your Newfoundland dog, they can be a great choice as an ESA.

Want to Learn More About Emotional Support Animals?

Now that you’ve learned about famous military dogs and why those breeds can make great emotional support animals, you might want to learn more about emotional support animals. Maybe you want help finding the right ESA or you want help getting your ESA certification.

Whatever you need, we can help. At American Service Pets, we’re experts when it comes to ESAs and ESA certifications.

We also can help you get your emotional support animal certification. To discuss your emotional support animal certification needs, contact American Service Pets now.

ESA or PSA Certification?

The benefits of an Emotional Support Animal certification and a Psychiatric Service Dog certification are drastically different. Fortunately for you, American Service Pets’ network of active board certified doctors can help you find the right path to certification. To find out whether you need an ESA or PSD letter, take our easy, three-step Pet Owner Survey!


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