March 13, 2008

Today in History: Uncle Sam Wants Canines


Today is memorable, according to This Day in History, for Uncle Sam calling up more troops in 1942 - dogs, that is.


On March 13, 1942, the U.S. Army launched its K-9 Corps As part of its new War Dog Program, the Army began training dogs, with over a million dogs serving on both sides during the war.


In World War I, dogs became valuable message carriers and companions. Famous war dog Rin Tin Tin, an abandoned puppy discovered in France in 1918 and brought to the US, made his film debut in "The Man from Hell's River," a silent film released in 1922.


During World War II, the American Kennel Association and a group called "Dogs for Defense," urged dog owners to donate healthy dogs to the US Army. The initial list of 30 accepted breeds of dogs was narrowed to seven: German Shepherds, Belgian sheep dogs, Doberman Pinschers, Collies, Siberian Huskies, Malumutes and Eskimo dogs. Dogs were trained as sentries, patrol dogs, messengers, mine-detection dogs and scouts.


Read the full Today in History newsletter on the U.S. Army K9 Corps here.

* Read more:

* US War Dogs Association

* History of war dogs

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