13 of the Bravest Dogs in History
From rescuing swimmers to flying into space to saving countless soldiers’ lives, these dogs have done some pretty incredible things.
We know that our pet dog would do anything for us—but these 13 pups go above and beyond the call of duty and bravery. Read on to find out the bravest dogs out there.
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When we think of military heroes, we often think of our men and women in uniform. But, in a recent military operation that resulted in the takedown of a dangerous ISIS leader, it was a dog who deserves much of our praise: Conan. During the operation with U.S. special forces in Syria, Conan chased ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi down a dead-end tunnel. Conan was injured in the process, but he’s making his way back to the United States soon where he’ll be treated to a visit at the White House.
The first best friend
In 1914, German workers discovered a grave, which scientists determined dates back 14,000 years, in which a man, a woman, and a dog were buried together, as a family unit, according to National Geographic. We don’t know the specific deeds this dog performed during his life, but scientists believe the evidence suggests that as early as 14,000 years ago, dogs played some important role in human life…to the extent that these humans shared their burial place with their beloved canine bestie. Find out about the shelter dogs who saved their owner’s lives.
Hero dogs of the Middle Ages
Fast-forwarding about 13 and a half millennia, there’s evidence that by the Middle Ages, dogs were not only emotionally bonded to their humans but also performed specific, crucial jobs. Specifically, accounts from that time reveal that dogs were useful for hunting, delivering letters, turning well wheels, and chasing away vermin. Don’t miss these fun facts about dogs you never knew.
The St. Bernards of Switzerland
Scientists have evidence that monks living in the snowy, dangerous St. Bernard Pass—a route through the Alps between Italy and Switzerland—kept dogs to help them rescue people after bad snowstorms. “Over a span of nearly 200 years, about 2,000 people, from lost children to Napoleon’s soldiers, were rescued because of the heroic dogs’ uncanny sense of direction and resistance to cold,” Smithsonian Magazine reports. Here’s an official guide to picking the best dog breed for you.
Barry of Switzerland
One specific St. Bernard from Switzerland has earned his place in history for his many acts of heroism. That’s Barry, who lived in the St. Bernard Pass between 1800 to 1812. During his lifetime, he saved the lives of more than 40 people. He’s memorialized at the Natural History Museum in Berne, Switzerland, where his body remains today. These are the smartest dogs, ranked by breed.
Sergeant Stubby, WWI Hero
In 1917, a stray dog wandered onto the Yale college campus where members of the military were in training to be sent abroad to fight World War I. The men named him Stubby, and he quickly became their beloved mascot. Eventually, they smuggled Stubby to the front lines in France, where he warned men of poison gas attacks and located wounded soldiers. Stubby earned the rank of sergeant for attacking a German spy, according to History.com. Check out these dog superpowers that humans don’t have.
Swansea Jack, the self-appointed Scottish lifeguard
Swansea Jack was a flat-coated retriever who was born in 1930 and lived near the docks of Swansea, Scotland. Whenever there were cries for help from the water, Jack would always respond. He made his first rescue when he was still a puppy, saving a 12-year-old boy. A few weeks later, he saved a swimmer from the docks. Jack may have saved as many as 27 people from drowning during his short life. He died in 1937 after accidentally eating rat poison. These are some of the things your dog wishes you knew.
Smoky the WWII Yorkie
In 1944, an American soldier in the New Guinea jungle discovered a stray Yorkshire terrier. “Smoky,” as she was named by the soldier, became the soldier’s loyal partner and something of a World War II mascot. HuffPost reports that she spent 18 months in combat in New Guinea and the Philippines. She saved many lives by warning soldiers of incoming fire, helped string communication wires between outposts, and is considered one of the world’s first therapy dogs. These are the 8 sure signs your dog really trusts you.
Laika, the Space Dog
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Laika was the first dog to orbit the Earth in a spaceship. Originally a stray, she was given a place on a rocketship intended to orbit the earth. Sadly, this was a suicide mission for Laika, Smithsonian Magazine reports. She was given only one meal and seven days’ worth of oxygen, and it was presumed to be a one-way trip into space. Laika gave her life for the Soviet space program and for mankind’s journey into the final frontier. Here are 8 more animals that changed history.