A man’s best friend is also a Navy SEAL’s best friend. SEAL teams have often utilized animals from Dolphins to K9’s. Most canines used by the elite special forces branch are Belgian Malinois. A slightly smaller, lighter and faster cousin of the German Shepard. Both dogs have high intelligence.
While German Shepherds are still used in military units, the Belgian Malinois is much easier to take on missions because of their size, allowing Navy SEALs to carry them everywhere.
SEAL Dogs will also skydive on a mission. Their handler will strap the SEAL dog to their chest or let them fly solo.
Like their human counterparts, the dog SEALs are highly trained, highly skilled, highly motivated special ops experts, able to perform extraordinary military missions by Sea, Air and Land (thus the acronym).
The dogs carry out a wide range of specialized duties for the military teams to which they are attached.
With a sense of smell 40 times greater than a human’s, the dogs are trained to detect and identify both explosive material and hostile or hiding humans.
SEAL Dogs can be equipped with Video Cameras and other recording devices. They small size and skill sets combined with senses allow them to reach areas SEALs can’t on missions.
Like human SEALS, the training the dogs go through is intensive and arduous; only 1% of dog candidates graduate. They must learn how to ignore their instincts and follow the orders of their handlers. There must be a complete sense of trust between the two.
Training between the handler and the dog can be upwards of 15 hours a day. Some of the abilities the dogs must have are:
- Swimming a distance that takes them to where they can no longer see the shore.
- Being comfortable around gunfire
- Showing they are mentally capable of their job (yes; just like the human SEALS, the dogs must have a high level of mental toughness and psychological stability)
- Navigating through combat environments
- Being comfortable jumping out of planes for a mission—either on their own, or strapped to the chest of their handler
Just as the Navy SEALS and other elite special forces are the sharp point of the American military machine, so too are their dogs at the top of a canine military hierarchy. In all, the U.S. military currently has about 2,800 active-duty dogs deployed around the world.
NavySEALs.com, Dogs of the Navy SEALS
Buisiness Insider, Why the Dogs Of the Navy Seals Are a Force To Be Reckoned With, Jeremy Bender
Question: What is a good book about these type of special dogs?
Answer: We like the book Navy SEAL Dogs: My Tale of Training Canines for Combat by Mike Ritland.
Question: Where can I find out more information about joining the Navy SEAL teams?
Answer: Check out the SEAL/SWCC main website.