Retired/ Excess Dogs

Most military working dogs serve long, useful careers.  Those that are unable to perform full military duties are returned to Lackland Air Force Base and used in training or as demonstration dogs. In this way, most dogs serve the Department of Defense for at least 10 to 12 years

To be eligible for adoption or transfer a dog must first be declared excess to the needs of the Department of Defense. The adoption screening process consists of a thorough medical examination and an assessment of the dog’s temperament. In some dogs a rapid decline in health precludes adoption (such as an MWD with cancer). Others retain the aggressive nature that made them such effective patrol dogs, but unfortunately renders them ineligible for a safe return to civilian life.

Potential owners are also screened by the MWD unit commander for their capability to handle and care for a former MWD. In particular, new owners must be aware of the circumstances and commands that might call to action a lifetime of military training in a former MWD. 

Local police forces have an opportunity to augment their capabilities and they are the first option for placing dogs declared excess to DoD needs. Former MWD handlers are the second choice as a new owner. The third option includes others who are capable of humanely and safely caring for these unique dogs

See here for steps for adoption.