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5 Dog Breeds That Are Historical Warriors

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene A. Divina, a resident of the Philippines, is a devoted fur mom to two adorable dogs: a Shih Tzu and a Beagle. With a passion for animals and storytelling, Arlene has channeled her love for dogs into her career as a content writer at iHeartDogs. Her writing captures the essence of the bond between humans and their furry companions, offering insights, tips, and heartfelt stories to a wide audience of dog enthusiasts. Read more
| Published on April 19, 2024

Throughout history, dogs have not only been companions and helpers but also warriors and protectors. Certain breeds were specifically developed to defend, guard, and even fight alongside their human counterparts in battles. These warrior dogs are celebrated for their courage, strength, and loyalty. They have served in various roles, from guarding ancient temples and royal palaces to assisting soldiers in times of war. Today, the legacy of these breeds continues to influence their behavior and traits, making them esteemed guardians and family protectors. This article explores five dog breeds known for their historical roles as warriors, detailing their origins, the nature of their work, and how these roles have shaped their modern-day temperaments and physical characteristics.

1. Mastiff

The Mastiff is one of the oldest dog breeds with a history of serving as warriors and guardians. Historical records suggest that they were used in Britain by Celtic tribes to repel invading Romans. Mastiffs were not only formidable opponents due to their size and strength but also intelligent and loyal, making them excellent protectors. In medieval times, they guarded estates and were even used as war dogs, equipped with armor to battle alongside soldiers. Today, Mastiffs are primarily gentle giants, known for their calm demeanor and protective nature, but they still possess the bravery and physical prowess that made them effective warriors in ancient battles.

2. Akita

Originating from Japan, the Akita is a breed with a noble and warrior-like history. They were originally used for hunting bears and guarding royalty and nobility in feudal Japan. Akitas are large, powerful dogs with a strong hunting instinct and an inherent protective streak. Their loyalty and bravery were highly valued by the Japanese, who saw the Akita not just as a pet but as a protector of the family and home. The famous story of Hachiko, the loyal Akita who waited for his deceased owner for years, illustrates their devoted nature. Even today, Akitas remain reserved with strangers and protective of their families, embodying the spirit of historical warrior dogs.

3. Cane Corso

The Cane Corso is a lesser-known warrior breed but no less formidable. Originating from Italy, these dogs were bred as powerful war dogs, used in battles by the Romans. Their lineage is believed to date back to the canis pugnax, dogs used by Roman legions for war. Post-Roman Empire, Cane Corsos served as property guardians, hunting dogs, and farm workers. They are known for their intelligence, assertiveness, and massive build, which made them excellent at both protecting and combating threats. Nowadays, while they are primarily used as family protectors and companions, their warrior lineage influences their strong protective instincts.

4. Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is known for its use in hunting and war, making it one of Ireland’s most cherished breeds. These tall and sturdy dogs were used by the Gaels in war to drag men off horses and chariots. They were also used for hunting large game such as wolves and Irish elk, demonstrating their prowess in combat and hunting situations. With their impressive size and strength, Irish Wolfhounds were intimidating on the battlefield. Today, they are much more gentle and are known for their calm, friendly nature, but they still possess the courage and resilience of their warrior ancestors.

5. Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinschers were originally bred in Germany in the late 19th century by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, who sought to create a breed that would be ideal for protecting him during his tax collecting duties. Dobermans were later used as police and military dogs, particularly noted for their roles in World War II. Their speed, endurance, and intelligence made them excellent soldiers and guards. Dobermans are fearless and alert, making them outstanding protectors of their families, a trait that is deeply embedded in their history as dogs bred for protection and war.

These five breeds represent a remarkable history of canine warriors, each with unique traits developed for battle and protection. While modern times have transformed these breeds into loving companions, their historical roles as protectors and warriors still influence their characteristics today. Whether serving as family guardians, loyal companions, or protectors, these breeds continue to be admired for their courage, strength, and loyal nature, honoring their warrior heritage.