8 Hero Dogs in History

The world is full of amazing animals, but few are as loyal and brave as dogs. Throughout history, there have been countless stories of dogs who have saved lives, comforted their owners, and even fought in wars. Here are eight incredible dog heroes who have left their mark on history.


Balto- Wikipedia

In 1925, an outbreak of diphtheria hit the remote town of Nome, Alaska. The only way to get the life-saving antitoxin to the town was by sled dog, but the weather was treacherous and the journey was long. That’s when a team of sled dogs, led by the Siberian husky Balto, stepped up to the plate.

Balto and his team of dogs braved blizzards, freezing temperatures, and treacherous terrain to deliver the antitoxin to Nome. They covered over 600 miles in just five and a half days, saving countless lives in the process. Balto became a hero overnight, and his legacy lives on today through the annual Iditarod sled dog race.

Balto- Wikipedia

Sergeant Stubby – Wikipedia

Gen. John Pershing awards Sgt. Stubby with a gold medal in 1921. Stubby served in 17 battles and fought in four major allied offensives during WWI. (Smithsonian InstitutionÕs National Museum of American History)


Stubby was a mixed breed dog who served as a war dog during World War I. He was found wandering around a military training camp by a soldier named J. Robert Conroy, who took him in as a pet. When Conroy was sent to the front lines in France, he snuck Stubby along with him.

Stubby quickly proved his worth as a war dog. He could detect incoming gas attacks before humans could, and would bark to alert his fellow soldiers. He also located wounded soldiers on the battlefield and would stay with them until help arrived. He even captured a German spy, holding him by the seat of his pants until Conroy and his fellow soldiers arrived to take him prisoner.

Stubby was the first dog ever to be promoted to the rank of sergeant, and he was awarded several medals for his bravery. Today, he is remembered as one of the most decorated dogs in military history.


Gander was a Newfoundland dog who served during World War II. In 1941, he was stationed with the Royal Rifles of Canada in Hong Kong. When the Japanese invaded, Gander quickly proved his worth.

During one battle, Gander charged at a group of Japanese soldiers, saving the lives of several Canadian soldiers in the process. He was shot and killed during the attack, but his bravery did not go unnoticed. Gander was posthumously awarded the Dickin Medal, which is the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, for his bravery.

Infantrymen of “C” Company, Royal Rifles of Canada, and their mascot en route to Hong Kong. (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, October 27, 1941). [Source]

Artist: Anne Mainman
Courtesy of: Newfound Friends – Newfoundland Dogs Working For Childrens Charities


Smoky was a Yorkshire terrier who served as a war dog during World War II. She was found by an American soldier in the jungles of New Guinea, and quickly became a beloved companion to the soldiers.

Smoky’s small size made her the perfect candidate for a dangerous mission: running through pipes and wires to deliver messages. She also helped soldiers by carrying communication wires across dangerous areas, and would even warn them of incoming air raids by barking.

Smoky’s bravery and loyalty made her a beloved member of the unit, and after the war, she continued to work as a therapy dog, bringing comfort to hospitalized veterans. Today, she is remembered as one of the most famous war dogs in history.

Smoky (dog) – Wikipedia

Smoky’s monument in Lakewood, Ohio.


Twitter @PDSA_HQ

Appollo was a German shepherd who served as a search and rescue dog during the September 11 attacks. He and his handler, Peter Davis, were one of the first search and rescue teams to arrive at Ground Zero, just hours after the towers fell.

Appollo and Davis worked tirelessly, searching through the rubble for survivors. Appollo’s incredible sense of smell and his ability to navigate through dangerous areas made him an invaluable member of the team. He worked for 16 straight days, without rest, and helped find several survivors in the rubble.

Today, Appollo is remembered as a hero of 9/11, and his bravery and dedication have inspired countless people around the world.


Nemo was a German shepherd who served during the Vietnam War. He was the partner of Bob Thorne, a Marine Corps handler, and the two of them were responsible for sweeping for mines and booby traps.

One day, while on patrol, Nemo alerted Thorne to an enemy ambush. Thorne was wounded in the attack, but Nemo stood by his side, barking and snarling at the enemy until backup arrived. Nemo was also wounded in the attack, but he continued to fight, even after being shot in the face.

For his bravery, Nemo was awarded the Dickin Medal, making him the only Marine Corps dog to ever receive the award.

Nemo injured

Thronehurg seeing Nemo for the first time after the attack.

(Image courtesy of the Security Forces Museum)


Roselle was a Labrador retriever who served as a guide dog for Michael Hingson, a blind man who worked on the 78th floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower. On the morning of September 11, 2001, Roselle and Hingson were at work when the towers were struck by planes.

Despite the chaos and confusion, Roselle remained calm and focused. She guided Hingson down 78 flights of stairs, through smoke and debris, to safety. Along the way, she helped other people who were also trying to escape, and never once faltered in her duty.

Roselle’s bravery and loyalty have inspired countless people around the world. After the attacks, she became a therapy dog, helping to comfort and heal those who were affected by the tragedy.


Hachiko was an Akita who lived in Tokyo, Japan, in the 1920s. Every day, he would accompany his owner, a professor at the University of Tokyo, to the train station, and then wait for him to return in the evening. One day, the professor died suddenly at work, and never returned to the train station. But Hachiko didn’t know that.

For the next nine years, Hachiko continued to go to the train station every day, waiting for his owner to return. He became a beloved figure in the community, and his loyalty and devotion inspired a statue to be erected in his honor at the Shibuya train station in Tokyo. Today, Hachiko is remembered as a symbol of loyalty and devotion, and his story has inspired countless books, movies, and TV shows.

Chuken Hachiko with Ueno Family

Death of Hachiko _ last photo

These eight dog heroes have left their mark on history, through their bravery, loyalty, and dedication to their owners and their country.

They have inspired us with their selflessness and their willingness to put themselves in harm’s way to help others. Their stories serve as a reminder of the incredible bond between humans and dogs, and of the many ways that dogs can make the world a better place.

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