Dogs that serve man

Security Dogs

The dog as a security auxiliary

Sentry dog, tracking dog, patrol dog, liaison or health-care dog... Today, the dog is a major player in the search for hydrocarbons, explosives or drugs. There too, he puts his considerable devotion, his generosity and his skills to the service of man, society and their security.

Formerly, in the army

Soldier dogs

As early as the thirteenth century B.C., the dog took part, as a full-fledged soldier, in battles started by men. Their breed was reminiscent of the current Tibetan Mastiff breed, with an even more imposing stature. Brought from Asia, these Mastiffs, even more ferocious than the Pharaohs’ hunting hounds, found many purchasers in Egypt, and then in Greece. They reached the Roman Empire and, in the first century B.C., famous battles opposed the Roman and Gallic warrior dogs. For them, throughout the centuries, ever more sophisticated breastplate systems were made. Their disappearance in the nineteenth century goes together with the widespread development of firearms.

Sentry dogs

The dogs’ extraordinary sense of smell and their predisposition to defending and guarding their masters turned them into the sentries of many castles, citadels, strongholds and fortified cities... Nowadays, dogs stand guard in fenced enclosures.

Liaison dogs

Before the advent of telecommunications, dogs were largely used as messengers. Knowing the latest news from advance detachments or communicating with other fixed points on the frontline is indeed quite essential to carry through or change military attack and defense plans.

Pack dogs and carriage dogs

Dogs were largely used during the different conflicts to carry ammunition, food supplies or even weapons to the frontlines. Two types of pack dogs were even created during the First World War: telegrapher dogs and pigeon carrier dogs. The former were equipped with a telephone wire coil that was unrolled on a perilous route through the trenches, the shootings, the barbed wires... in order to make it possible to restore communication lines cut off by the fighting. The latter were trained to carry homing pigeons to outposts.

Others were harnessed to supply carts, to casualty stretchers...

 Patrol dogs

Their guard and self-preservation instinct being well developed, patrol dogs rapidly had their hours of glory: used to flush out enemies hidden in coppices and other thickets, they enabled patrols to foil ambushes and signaled the presence of rival troops.

Sanitary dogs

The first dogs used to discover casualties were trained by the Egyptians: once the fighting finished, these dogs were let go on the battlefield in search of the wounded soldiers whom they signaled and licked. The "next" sanitary dogs appeared in the twentieth century. Trained to find the wounded, they signaled them by bringing back an object belonging to them: a soldier’s helmet often served as a sign for first-aid workers who would then let go again their dog toward the victims. A multitude of accounts have reported the feats of these dogs.


Since conflicts have changed in terms of locations and techniques, the use of dogs has considerably evolved. Paratrooper dogs and homing pigeon carrier dogs have been developed, but also mine detection, gas leak detection, explosive detection dogs or drug search dogs.

Search specialties are based on the dog’s determination to find back his toy and to be then able to play with his master. Thus, for instance, explosive, narcotic or incendiary materials are for the dog markers which he has to discover in order to have access to his toy.

Drug search dogs

Playful and dynamic, this search dog is ideally of a medium-sized and flexible build allowing him to thread his way everywhere and, if need be, to climb up or clear an obstacle. Resistant, he may be asked to perform several searches on the same day. Interventions with the dogs are often performed in premises: the dog will be able to discover the hidden drug (heroin, cocaine, cannabis, grass...) and so to speed up searches that require thorough searching.

Explosive search dogs

The type of dogs which is chosen is the same as for drug search. However, in view of the risk incurred, he will have to be calmer and perform searches without any agitation. The favorite breeds are Belgian Shepherd Malinois and German Shepherd Dogs.

 Hydrocarbon search dogs

These dogs, trained with the different hydrocarbons, intervene after fires to detect the products used by the arsonists. They may be called in preventively, for instance in at-risk forests. Marking is done by scratching: flammable products are then removed from the site or samples are taken on the spot where the dog scratches when there is a fire. The main difficulties for the dog lie in passing after many people who have trampled the relevant areas and in operating under difficult olfactory conditions: a fire destroys certain smells, but gives off many others, which are sometimes poisonous, always a nuisance and accompanied by fumes.

 Guard and patrol dogs

The dog’s work consists in keeping at bay a person designated by his master. Vigilance and obedience on the dog’s part is chiefly what is called for here: the dog is unleashed and should display no aggressiveness unless if the individual attempts to flee. In the same discipline, the dog may be entrusted with the guard of an object, a vehicle...


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