The real dogs of war: Intimate images show ‘soft’ soldiers caring for the animals who have helped them through the ages
Touching photographs capture the bond between soldiers and their pets over the centuriesFrom General Patton's pet bull terrier Willie, to the canine mascots of troops in Iraq, the pictures reveal the special role played by dogs in times of war
09:42 GMT, 1 January 2013
From the American Civil War to modern day Afghanistan, these heartwarming pictures reveal the enduring bond between soldiers and their dogs over the centuries.
Many of the images capture cherished pets providing fleeting moments of respite for battle-weary troops during times of war.
They show a common theme across the globe, with soldiers from the UK and U.S. to Russia and China all pictured with faithful dogs in tow.
Soldier's best friend: A member of the Irish Guards with an Irish wolfhound in 1987. The handsome breed has been the regiment's mascot since 1902
One picture shows famous Second World War officer General George Patton playing with his favourite bull terrier, while others show Allied troops accompanied by pet dogs while on patrol in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The use of dogs in warfare dates back to ancient times.
As well as providing soldiers with affection and companionship while far from home, dogs have also been trained to act as scouts, sentries and trackers to aid their masters in battle.
Faithful companion: A U.S. soldier is seen cradling his platoon's pet dog Rocky inside an armored vehicle on patrol in Mosul, Iraq, in 2005
Afghanistan: Sgt John Barton of the 4th Brigade of the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division pets the platoon's dog Ray-Ray in Bala Murghab in June 2010
Standing guard: A dog appears to keep watch as an exhausted U.S. Marine sleeps in a sandy hollow on Peleliu in the Palau Islands in October 1944
Patriotic: Two soldiers from the 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment pose with a bulldog during a march through Dudley in 2009
First World War: A captain and his pet dog lead members of the Royal Berkshire Regiment in France in 1914
Kabul: Private Stuart Briggs, a British International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) reserve soldier, pets a sleepy dog while on patrol in Afghanistan in 2002
Through the ages: U.S. Marines are seen with pet dog Fluffy on the bank of the Han River in South Korea in September 1950
Heart warming: A U.S. soldier from Alfa Company 1-18 Infantry pats a dog while on duty at a guard shack in Balad, Iraq, in July 2003
The real dogs of war: General George Patton plays with his bull terrier Willie in 1944
There in a crisis: Soldiers accompanied by a pet dog carry an injured woman following an earthquake in Beichuan County in China's Sichuan province in May 2008
Part of the picture: A black and white dog is visible in the corner of this photograph of Russian soldiers
Days gone by: Federal soldiers pose with their pet dogs outside a supply tent in the U.S. in the 1860s
Prized pets: American soldiers are seen holding their pet dogs in 1918
A SOLDIER'S BEST FRIEND: THE HISTORY OF DOGS IN WARTIME
In ancient times the Greeks and Romans regularly used dogs as sentries during times of war, and sometimes the animals were taken into battle.
Attila the Hun used powerful Molosser dogs in his campaigns, while the Spanish Conquistadors were said to have used armoured dogs that had been trained to kill. The soldiers set the dogs on natives as they travelled the globe conquering territories.
In the U.S. the American pit bull terrier was used in the Civil War both as a means of protection for soldiers and to send messages. The dogs also appeared on propaganda and recruiting posters in the U.S. during World War I.
In recent years in the U.S., some troops in Afghanistan and Iraq have been accompanied by military working dogs. The animals are paired with a handler after being trained for detection work, such as helping to search for survivors after an explosion.