Sergeant Stubby, the most decorated dog of World War 1

Sergeant Stubby

Public domain | via Wikimedia Commons

This week’s true Saturday Dog Story features Sergeant Stubby, a real life dog who fought in the First World War on the side of the Americans.


Stubby, who was described as either a Bull Terrier or Boston Terrier, was found hanging around the training grounds of Yale University where members of the 102nd infantry trained. One of the soldiers, Corporal Robert Conroy, became friends with Stubby, taking him under his wing and hiding him aboard the troop’s boat as they were shipped out to France. Although Conroy was able to exit the ship with Stubby by hiding him under his coat, he was discovered later on at camp. Thankfully though, Conroy had been training him and the dog saluted the commanding officer on cue and thus was granted permission to stay.

During his time in the trenches in France, Sergeant Stubby took part in 4 offensives and 17 battles. At one battle in February 1918 he was under constant fire day and night for over a month. In April 2018 he participated in a raid to gain control of an area and was sadly wounded in the leg by hand grenades being thrown by the fleeing Germans. Even though he was sent to the rear of the army to recover, he still went about improving morale as he had on the front lines. When fully recovered he immediately returned to the trenches.

Mustard Gas Injury

Later on in the war Sergeant Stubby also suffered an injury from mustard gas, causing the squad to equip him with a specially designed gas mask for protection. Stubby soon grew into his role within the unit, using his heightened senses of smell and hearing for several benefits including:

  • Warning his unit of poison gas attacks
  • Locating wounding soldiers in no man’s land (the unoccupied land between the two armies)
  • Warning his unit of incoming artillery shells and getting them to duck for cover

Captured a German Spy


By Jai Raj at English Wikipedia | Public domain | Wikimedia Commons

Sergeant Stubby is also credited for capturing a German spy all by himself. This led to the Unit’s Commander nominating him for the rank of Sergeant. A coat was made for him by the grateful villagers of one of the towns his unit liberated, upon which Stubby’s many medals were pinned.

After the war ended, Conroy had to smuggle Stubby home again, where he became a celebrity. His new role included participating (and often leading) parades, meeting presidents and bringing happiness to everyone.

Read more of our Saturday Stories HERE.

Chris Green

About the Author: Chris Green manages the office at Bowerland Cottage Holidays and Devon Dogs, using his technical expertise to assist wherever needed. In his spare time he likes playing guitar and bass, and hiking around Dartmoor.

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