Friday, September 15, 2023

War Dogs

 From Ancient Origins:

Often dubbed man’s best friend, dogs have been partnered with humans and used in warfare since their domestication more than 50,000 years ago. Not just for attacking, work hounds were used for protecting livestock or property, or for simple companionship. The earliest written account of war dogs comes from a classical source regarding Alyattes, King of Lydia. The war dogs are said to have attacked and killed invaders in a battle against the Cimmerians around 600 BC.

In antiquity, troops from Anatolia used war dogs in conjunction with cavalry. Riders were said to release their hounds on the enemy to disrupt and soften lines, and then the mounted warriors would charge, to devastating effect. Xerxes I of Persia invaded Greece in 480 BC and brought large packs of Indian hounds. War dogs are said to have been present at the Battle of Marathon, dating to 490 BC, between the Greeks and Persian Empire.

Centuries later the Roman army used various breeds of work and war dog, but it is recorded the heavy and capable Canis Molossus or Molossian was specially bred just for combat. The Celtic warriors challenged Caesar’s landing in Britain in 55 BC with their intimidating English Mastiffs. Mastiffs are cited as one of the oldest recorded breeds, since Caesar described them in his accounts. (Read more.)


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