top of page

Imperial Army Dog Association

The use of dogs in the Japanese Army began in earnest after WW1. There was an effort to import German shepherds into Japan for this use and a section for raising dogs was established in the Army Academy. This sections focused on shepherds but also included 
Dobermans and Airedale Terriers.

In 1928 the Japan Shepherd Society--a civilian group--was formed to supply dogs to the Army and the police forces. In order to facilitate this supply, the Imperial Army Dog Association was established in 1933.

After the Manchurian Incident (1931-4), the use of dogs in combat increased dramatically. There were dog breeding places established in Manchukuo as well, with about 3500 dogs being raised 
in the mid-1930s. At this time, the Imperial Japanese Navy also began to use dogs. However, as the war intensified and the USA entered, the use of dogs was seen as somewhat superfluous. 
That said, there were many dogs in the Battle of Okinawa and other places, with most if not allof them dying in combat along with their handlers.

Back on the main islands of Japan, from 1944, a Dog/Cat Collection Movement was instituted. Basically, dogs and cats of every breed were collected, killed, and used for food and as a source of leather. As a result, no more dogs were supplied to any of the armed forces. The 
consuming of cats and dogs continued even after the war for a few years.

After the war ended and soldiers and sailors were repatriated from China and other places, no dogs were allowed on the repatriation ships. They were left behind to whatever fate befell them.

Much later (2009?) Yasukuni Shrine erected a statue dedicated to the war dogs and every year on March 20 they hold a ceremony to honor these war dead. In 2012 they extended the 
ceremony to include war horses and war pigeons. The former have their own commemorative 
day, April 7.

The Japan Shepherd Society is currently known as the Japanese German Shepherd Dog Registration Society, Inc.

The Imperial Army Dog Association is currently known as the Japanese Police Dog Association.

Imperial Army Dog Association: Welcome
Imperial Army Dog Association: Pro Gallery
bottom of page