Can You Adopt Retired Military Dogs?

Can you adopt retired military dogs: Check out everything you need to know about MWDs and what is the process of adopting retired army dogs.

When it comes to adopting a new four-legged friend, there are numerous options available, from puppies to adult dogs. However, have you ever considered the possibility of adopting a retired military dog? These brave canines have served our country diligently and played a crucial role in safeguarding our security.

In this article, we will explore can you adopt retired military dogs or not, the adoption process, the benefits they bring, and the responsibilities involved.

So, if you’re intrigued by the idea of providing a loving home to one of these heroic canines, keep reading to find out more.

Retired Military Dogs

Retired military dogs, also known as MWDs (Military Working Dogs), are highly trained canines that have completed their service in the military or other branches of the armed forces.

These dogs are typically German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Labrador Retrievers, or other breeds known for their intelligence, loyalty, and working capabilities.

MWDs undergo rigorous training to perform various tasks such as explosive and drug detection, search and rescue operations, and patrol duties.

What are the Reasons for Army Dog Retirement?

There are several reasons why military dogs retire from service. These include reaching a certain age, sustaining injuries, or health conditions that prevent them from continuing their duties.

Besides it, some dogs are retired if they display behavioral changes that affect their performance or the safety of their handlers.

Retirement provides an opportunity for these loyal companions to transition into civilian life and enjoy a well-deserved retirement with a loving family.

Can You Adopt Retired Military Dogs?

Can you Adopt Retired Military Dogs

Yes, you can adopt retired military dogs. These highly trained and skilled canines, also known as Military Working Dogs (MWDs), often retire from service due to age, injury, or changes in their ability to perform tasks. Once they retire, they become eligible for adoption.

In the United States, organizations like the Adopt a Military Working Dog program managed by the 341st Training Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base or Mission K9 Rescue facilitate the adoption of retired MWDs.

Keep in mind that the waiting list for adopting a retired military dog can be quite long, and there may be specific requirements you need to fulfill before being considered as a suitable adopter.

It’s essential to research the process and prepare yourself for the unique needs of these incredible animals before deciding to adopt.

How to Adopt Military Dogs: The Adoption Process

Adopting a retired military dog is a unique and fulfilling experience. However, it’s important to note that the process may vary depending on the specific organization or program responsible for the dog’s retirement.

Generally, the adoption process involves the following steps –

Research and Contact: Begin by researching organizations that facilitate retired military dog adoptions. Reach out to them to gather information about the available dogs, adoption requirements, and any associated fees.

Application and Screening: Fill out an adoption application form, providing relevant details about your living situation, experience with dogs, and your ability to provide a safe and secure environment for the dog. Expect a thorough screening process, including background checks and home visits, to ensure the dog’s well-being.

Compatibility Assessment: The organization will assess your compatibility with the retired military dog based on factors such as your lifestyle, family dynamics, and experience in handling working dogs. They aim to find the best possible match to ensure a successful adoption.

Training and Transition: If approved, you may need to undergo training to understand the specific needs of retired military dogs and how to handle them effectively. This training helps both the dog and the new owner adjust to their new life together.

Adoption Agreement: Once all requirements are met, an adoption agreement will be signed between you and the organization, outlining the responsibilities and expectations for both parties.

Benefits of Adopting a Retired Military Dog

Adopting a retired military dog comes with numerous benefits, both for the dog and the owner –

Pre-Trained and Disciplined

Retired military dogs are highly trained in specialized tasks, making them obedient and well-disciplined companions. They have received extensive training, which can be advantageous for owners looking for a dog with a solid foundation of obedience and behavior.

Loyalty and Bond

These dogs have been trained to form strong bonds with their handlers and exhibit unwavering loyalty. When you adopt a retired military dog, you can expect a dedicated and devoted companion who will stand by your side through thick and thin.

Security and Protection

Due to their training, retired military dogs possess excellent instincts and can provide a sense of security and protection for you and your family. Their presence alone can act as a deterrent to potential threats.

Fulfilling a Hero’s Retirement

By adopting a retired military dog, you play a crucial role in providing them with a loving home and a peaceful retirement. It’s a rewarding experience to give back to these brave canines who have served our country selflessly.

Responsibilities of Adopting a Retired Special Forces Dog

While adopting a retired military dog is undoubtedly a gratifying experience, it also comes with responsibilities that should not be taken lightly:

  • Healthcare and Well-being: Just like any other dog, retired military dogs require regular veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, and a nutritious diet to maintain their health. It’s essential to prioritize their well-being and provide any necessary medical care.
  • Exercise and Mental Stimulation: These dogs are used to an active lifestyle and mental stimulation through training. As an owner, it’s crucial to provide them with regular exercise, playtime, and mental enrichment activities to keep them physically and mentally fit.
  • Patience and Understanding: Retired military dogs may require time to adjust to their new surroundings and bond with their new family. Patience, understanding, and consistent training are key to helping them transition smoothly into civilian life.

In case, if you are a retired military personnel then you might also love to read below two posts –

Best Dental Insurance for Retired Military
Can I Rejoin the Military After Retiring?


In brief, adopting a retired military dog is a noble act that allows you to provide a loving home to a deserving hero. These dogs have served our country with unwavering loyalty and dedication, and they deserve a comfortable and peaceful retirement.

However, remember that adopting a retired military dog also comes with responsibilities. Prioritize their healthcare, provide ample exercise and mental stimulation, and be patient during their transition.

By opening your heart and home to a retired military dog, you can make a meaningful difference in their life and experience the joy of a lasting bond with an extraordinary canine companion.

Martin Miller


Martin Miller is a dedicated retirement expert with over 12+ years of experience in helping individuals achieve their retirement goals. Martin has extensive knowledge and expertise in retirement planning, investment management, and wealth preservation strategies. Keep reading his blog Save10 which can be considered as an encyclopedia for retirees or who are planning their retirement goals.