Applied automatically at checkout

Some exclusions apply. Free shipping on orders over $49 will be automatically applied at checkout for delivery within the continental US only. International shipping rates and shipping to Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico will be calculated based on order’s size, weight, and final destination. Oversized and drop ship products such as: Refurbished products are not included.

Can You Adopt Retired Army Dogs?

Dogs became part of our lives a long time ago. Today, this bond is stronger than ever. Dogs brighten up our day, make us move, and keep us safe. If you’re considering adopting a dog, know that that’s one of the noblest things you can do. 

By providing a forever home, you’ll save that puppy’s life. Still, have you ever considered adopting a retired army dog? More than 2,700 military dogs are deployed across the globe, and after they finish service, they need a permanent home. It’s possible to adopt them, and this is what you need to know about the process. 

When Do Army Dogs Retire?

After about 10 to 12 years in military service, military working dogs (MWD) are ready for retirement. When the time comes, they usually retire due to injury or sickness. However, a young military dog may become available for adoption since sometimes they fail to meet training standards. 

The most common dog breeds are German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Labrador Retriever, and sometimes a mixed breed. The age range is from one to 13 and includes both male and female dogs that are neutered or spayed before the adoption. 

Where Do Army Dogs End up After Retirement? 

A dog handler has the biggest chance of adopting a retired military working dog. Next on the list is law enforcement, where the dog can do what the police need it to do. Finally, if both handlers and law enforcement don’t adopt the dog because of age or injury, civilians can jump in and help.  

The Adoption Process

Military dogs aren’t just cute puppies you can pick up from the shelter. The process of adopting an army dog can last for a while. If you want to apply to adopt an army dog, know that you’ll be screened, and it might take a whole year before you get to the first interview. Keep in mind that there are too many applicants, but the US army practices the first come, first served rule.  

You will not be paying for the dog. However, you’ll be responsible for covering all costs of transportation. Once you get your appointment, you’ll make two visits, probably in two consecutive days. During your first visit, the staff will review your application, and you’ll get to see the dogs. Your desired dog will be ready the following day, but sometimes it may last longer. 

The Behavior of Retired Army Dogs

Another thing to keep in mind is that retired army dogs won’t behave like other dogs. They passed special training that included locating bombs or fighting the enemy, which often results in a specific behavior. 

They will have trouble socializing with other dogs and may even have symptoms of PTSD. Years of fighting may also result in anxious behavior and distress. They may have different triggers and are not suitable for families with children or other pets. 

What About Retired Handicapped Military Dogs?  

Just like people, army dogs may sometimes become handicapped during service. Adopting those army dogs takes more patience and love. There are many things you can do to help a handicapped dog adapt to a new home. Secure the areas where your new family member will be and take a tour of the house when you get home. 

Make sure to maintain a routine. It’s essential that your new friend can predict what will happen each day. Be ready to give it its space, but still show love, give attention, and remain patient. Prepare toys for the arrival of your new dog to help it feel welcomed and loved. 


Adopting a dog is a beautiful thing to do. If you want to go a step further, you can also offer your home to a retired military working dog. Even though the process is long and these dogs are more sensitive than others, it’s worth it. Keep in mind that retired military dogs often have a disability. Still, there are steps to take to make them feel good and welcomed in your home. 

german shepherd wheelchair for DM

One comment

  1. I live in the Uk and wish to provide home for a retired military dog, not clear from site as to if the dogs are from US forces or Uk military, Quite happy to fund cost of transportation if I am deemed suitable for adopting. Please advise.
    Greg Robert

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *