Remembering War Wieners: Brave Dachshunds that Served in the Military

Mike Szymanski
5 min readNov 11, 2022

Believe it or not, our four-legged friends joined soldiers on the battlefield, often for comfort, but also for strategic combat assistance.

Sure, you hear about Collies, or German Shepherds, Saint Bernards or Pit Bulls doing heroic feats in times of war, but there are a number of Dachshunds who were trained for the battlefront, too.

At the end of WWII, two notable Dachshunds named Berta and Herman von Hildensheim served as mine detection dogs. The brave pair of dogs are credited with having uncovered more than 600 land mines throughout Europe, mostly in Italy, toward the end of the war.

They were registered in the Dogs for Defense program which was run out of the Office fo Strategic Services, and a predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency. Doxies were also known to serve in the K-9 Corps as well during WWII.

Known incidents of Dachshunds in combat date back to World War I, and unfortunately records show that the dogs were often on the wrong side of history, and therefore often maligned.

In WWI, Kaiser Wilhelm II was known for his love of the breed, but that led to a drop in its popularity in the United States.

In WWII, Dachshunds were used Germans for tasks like seeking bombs, and finding food under armored vehicles. Sometimes, the dogs were starved and the sent to battlefields with explosives attached to them, which is so horrible in itself, but so was how the breed was ostracized by Americans.

Because they are associated with Germany, both World Wars put serious strains on the breed in the States, and having a Doxie became taboo.

Can you imagine someone not speaking to you, or doing business with you just because you own a Weiner dog or two?

There are even reports of dogs literally stoned to death and people banished from communities for owning and breeding Dachshunds.

It got so bad that anything German was equated with disloyalty. Sauerkraut became “Liberty cabbage,” German measles became “Liberty…

Mike Szymanski

Journalist, writer, activist and bisexual, living with Multiple Sclerosis and Dachshunds in Hollywood.