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During the preparation of this website, it was learned that numerous sheep
dogs and collies were enlisted by the British Military during World Wars
I and II.
The below image was cropped from an official British photograph showing
how the messenger dogs were billeted behind the front-line trenches. It
seems that those dogs were Beardie-like canines. One of the dogs seemed
to be wearing a bandage on the face.
In the next photograph,we see many dogs were called upon to serve their
This image is under copyright. Do NOT reproduce.
Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, London (Q-029549)
In a magnification of a portion of the Imperial War Museum photograph, two
Beardie-like dogs appear to have been recruited.
In another magnified portion of the Imperial War Museum photograph, two
arrows are drawn pointing towards two other Beardie-like dogs.
Lt. Col. E. H. Richardson, was the Commander of the British War Dog School
during WWI. His book, British War Dogs: Their Training and Psychology,
tells the reader a great deal about the dogs.
Richardson wrote on page 67-68:
"The sheep dogs, and by this I mean the shaggy or Highland
variety, frequently make good dogs. They are sometimes rather highly
strung, and for that reason their training takes longer and requires
great patience, but if one can overcome their tendency to
nervousness, they are naturally extremely intelligent and
Richardson wrote on page 97 about a dog named "Tweed" who was sent
forth by Handler Reid to deliver a message during battle. The message
stated "Send up reinforcements and small round ammunition." Richardson
related how Tweed made three runs at night, and one of those runs he was
"out on patrol." He was sent back from the front to deliver a message
that indicated "The Germans are preparing for a raid."
Richardson further stated:
"The dog "Tweed" mentioned in the above statement performed some
wonder services. He was a Highland sheep dog, and took rather longer
to train than usual, owing to his highly sensitive nature, in fact
he was nearly rejected altogether, and it was only through the
urgent representations of Mrs. Richardson, who discerned "Tweed's"
fine character through his shyness, that he was retained and his
training persevered with. Patience and great gentleness in handling
eventually overcame his reluctance and timidity, and the clever
management of "Tweed" in the field by his keeper brought this dog up
to a very high standard.
We are so fortunate to be able to see Handler Reid with Tweed (left
side of photograph). He certainly fits the description of a shaggy
Highland sheep dog.
It is not known if the shaggy sheepdog to the left of Mrs.
Richardson (right side of the photograph) was Tweed or another
Beardie-like canine. If you look closely, another Beardie-like dog can
also be seen coming out of his kennel. A white arrow pointing to this
dog was placed on the image to assist the viewer.
The below image may be of another
Beardie-like dog in action while guarding an area where magazines
(assault rifles) had been placed.
In the below image, the lead dog appears to
be another Beardie-like dog. These dogs were being trained on how to work
on the ground in trenches. The last dog in the line (upper left hand
corner of the image) can barely be seen, but this dog also appears to be
another Beardie-like dog.