Today I'd like to share with you a beautiful vintage slideshow showing some of the first military dogs at sea.While not serving in an official capacity, I found these showed the special relationship still present today between a soldier and his dog. These photo are on the U.S. Naval Institute website, along with a brief description of how the dogs earned their place in military history. Dogs shown on this slideshow accompanied Navy or Coast Guard personnel as they went about their duties.
The military dog at sea a century ago was often referred to as a "mascot" and played a different role than official military dogs in today's armed services. Dogs weren't officially recognized in the military until WWII.
Many of the first sea dogs were brought aboard ship by the ship's captain or a high ranking crewman. Some dogs were found abandoned while at port and welcomed into the lives of these lonely sailors.
The first dogs serving on board Navy and Coast Guard ships played more of a companionship role than anything else. These mascots and were known for their ability to build morale among the soldiers.
Mascot sea dogs had a duty to perform when first brought ashore in a foreign land. A patrol going ashore for the first time depended on these first military dogs to find food and to warn the soldiers if danger was nearby.
Military dogs now receive more complex training than these dogs turned mascots. Mutts and family dogs are no longer considered the norm for soldiers at sea. Still it's nice to be able to look back and see how regular dogs taken to sea were depicted during the WWII era and before.