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Armed Forces: Dogs

Volume 485: debated on Monday 15 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many dog handlers are employed as (a) civilians and (b) servicemen in each of the three armed services. (243457)

The Royal Navy has no military working dog handlers, the Army has 178, and the Royal Air Force has 252. Army data are at 1 August 2008 (which was the last time this information was captured) and RAF data are at 12 December 2008.

All Army and Royal Air Force military working dog handlers are service personnel.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many dogs are kept by each of the armed services; and for what purposes. (243458)

The Royal Navy has no dogs, the Army has 166 dogs and the Royal Air Force has 292 dogs. Army data are at 1 August 2008 (the latest date this information was captured) and RAF data are at 12 December 2008. Dogs are kept for the following purposes:

Type of dog

Army

RAF

Military working dogs

Patrol dogs

82

180

Army/RAF Police

18

Arms and explosive search

50

36

Vehicle search

20

40

Drug detection

1

18

Tracker

10

Infantry patrol

2

Other

Regimental mascot

1

Figures for military working dogs are a snapshot in time, and include those dogs being trained, those in service in the UK and those deployed on operations. It should be noted that the number of holdings may vary weekly according to training input and outflow, together with operational demand.