RUSSIA In his book Dogs at War, published in 1945, Lowell Thomas writes that "nowhere have war dogs been employed more spectacularly than in Russia." The Red Army "trained as many as 50,000 dogs" toward the outset of World War II, most of which were used for border patrol.
In war-dog history, Russia is notorious for having employed army-tank dogs --basically canine suicide bombers. These dogs were kept hungry and then trained to find food under tanks. They were strapped with explosives or grenades and sent underneath enemy tanks -- with no expectation of survival. "As soon as the Germans heard the barking ... they frantically ... headed back to their own lines," Thomas writes.
Russia has been more humane and technologically advanced with its modern military canines. After Moscow's Domodedovo airport was bombed in January 2011, President Dmitry Medvedev made a push to outfit the army with more remote-controlled sniffer dogs to help stave off terrorist attacks.
In this photo, a Russian soldier stands with a dog at the Pianche border post on Dec. 28, 1992, in Tajikistan.
Photo by Malcolm Linton/Liaison