Vietnam War Dogs MemorialPrint Page Print this page

The silver plated dog's bowl commemorates the eleven war dogs that were left behind in Vietnam during the Vietnam conflict from 1965 to 1971. 

The dogs were the core of Combat Tracker Teams that were used from 1967 until the last combat troops left in late 1971. Trained from the age of about 10 months at the Tracking Wing of the Ingleburn Infantry Centre, NSW, two dogs were assigned to each of the Australian battalions based at the Task Force base at Nui Dat, in Phuoc Tuy Province.

The fate of Australia’s war dogs, once their service came to an end in Vietnam, caused consternation in Army circles and anguish to their handlers. The main reason for keeping the dogs ‘in country’ was the Army’s reluctance to cover the quarantine costs involved.

After much discussion about the issue, and with the matter having been raised in Parliament, the Army decided in 1968 that at the end of their working lives the dogs would be kept by the battalion as a reserve, then given as pets to European or Australian families resident in Saigon. Only as a last resort, if no home could be found, would they be destroyed. In the event, none of the 11 dogs who served in Vietnam was put down, with homes being found for the ten who survived. (One dog, Cassius, died of heat exhaustion after a training run.)

Military Working Dogs
25th April 2011 saw the Anzac Dawn Service at Salisbury RSL Memorial in Orange Avenue Salisbury, with a touch of history – the laying of a wreath by “Anakin” (a Belgian shepherd) and his handler Paul Keily. “Anakin” proudly walked up to the monument and laid his wreath by a Silver plated dogs bowl.  This bowl was dedicated to the 11 war dogs that were left behind in Vietnam during the Vietnam conflict 1965-71

The Inaugural National Military Working Dog Day was hosted by No 2 Airfield Defence Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland on 7th June 2011.  At the same time, Salisbury RSL recognised these dogs at a service at their Memorial, being the first for South Australia. The RAAF Military Personnel participated with their dogs, even with their demanding workload at the Edinburgh Base, along with representatives from SA Police, RSPCA and other animal organisations. The discipline and precision of the dogs on parade at this Service, was a credit to their handlers. The Service was a fitting recognition of them.
Salisbury RSL 2011.


Address:Orange & Memorial Avenues, Behind War Memorial, Salisbury, 5108
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.76575
Long: 138.642859
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Culture
Actual Event Start Date:1967
Actual Event End Date:1971


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Monday 25th April, 2022
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au