The unit in Iraq houses 22 Military Working Dogs, which are used for vehicle, arms and explosive searches and as tracker and patrol dogs. The dogs’ sense of smell (700 to 900 times that of a human) enables them to find concealed weapons, ammunition and explosives, as well as search vulnerable points such as underpasses and bridges for concealed bombs. Captain Ric Cole is based at the unit. He told Shooting Times that gundog breeds are ideal for this type of work: “Suitable dogs tend to be gundogs, in particular Labradors and springer spaniels because of their keen sense of smell and enthusiasm.

One such dog is Bertie, a springer/collie cross, pictured here with his handler on a counter-smuggling operation along the Shatt al-Arab waterway to prevent weapons and munitions entering the country. Patrol dogs are usually German Shepherds because of their speed and latent aggression.” The dogs are known as “force multipliers” as the work of one dog is equivalent to the workload of four soldiers.

If you would like to discuss donating a dog, tel 01664 418668.

For more information visit the Defence Animal Centre

The rest of this article appears in 27 March issue of Shooting Times.

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