German Shepherds may be best known as Military Working Dogs, MWDs, but the fact that there are many other breeds that exist should be the clue that other breeds of dogs have the makings to be great soldiers, too. In fact, in the latest version of American Hunter (August 2014), Kyle Wintersteen introduced English Springer Spaniels as being the newest top choice for bomb sniffing, narcotics detection and search-and-rescue operations. This breed just extended their resume three-fold!
While the Unites States uses mainly Germans and Labradors to be MWDs, the British troops have long been using English Springer Spaniels to do the dirty work. These dogs are quite competent with their scent capabilities, thus they make for excellent bomb detection dogs.
The hunting breed sets a course which they meticulously follow in upland breed fashion. The dogs tend to work their way through fields in a back-and-forth, quartering manner until the entire landscape has been covered. When the dog detects something, they throw their head upwind to ensure it is the scent they have been searching for and then they make a small circle to zero in on their prey. Once the exact location has been detected, the dog will sit down on the target and bark to alert their handler.
The dogs are great for bomb detection even if they lack the size required for actual combat. Their job is mainly to sniff for explosives and to recover wounded or missing troops. Their small size allows them to fit inside transport war vehicles and to fit into little areas in rubble that bigger dogs just can’t get to. The dogs are sweet on the soldiers they work with and eager to please.
One of the best features that the Spaniels have is their ability to endure the extreme heat. Where Shepherds have double coats, these dogs do not. They keep going and never quit until their handler does. Their loyalty serves them well.
Health issues also do not run as rampant with this breed of dog. Labradors are seeing some serious health issues due to ineffective breeding processes. When they are not bred to work, they are not being bred correctly and it is seriously affecting their health!
Since the U.S. has discovered the long-serving abilities of Spaniels, they are tending to switch to the smaller dogs for some military efforts. Although this breed of dog cannot do the heavy lifting, so to say, they are able to complete the smaller jobs with utmost efficiency! Lookout Military, here come the hunters of the canine world!