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Combat dog has a special job for his country

By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times Published: January 14, 2013

With permission of the relatives of the fallen heroes, some of the Belgian Malinois from the breeding program are named for a soldier, sailor or Marine killed in combat. A recent pup - sired by one of Arnold's fellow studs, Oori - was named for Michael Monsoor, a Navy SEAL killed in Iraq and posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor.

The use by the U.S. military of German shepherds, bull terriers and Doberman pinschers dates to the two world wars of the last century. The Belgian Malinois joined the working dog ranks in large numbers only in the early 1980s, officials said.

About 15 percent of the working dogs that graduate from the Lackland training program each year are from the Belgian Malinois breeding program.

Some veteran handlers insist that the Belgian Malinois is smarter, more aggressive and possesses a sharper sense of smell than other breeds. The Malinois are known as “maligators” because of their alligatorlike jaws that can immobilize a man with a single chomp.

Accounts of the raid by Navy SEALs on the compound of Osama bin Laden say the SEALs were accompanied by a Belgian Malinois named Cairo. Known as a CAD - combat assault dog - Cairo sniffed inside the walled compound for bombs and booby traps and used a teeth-baring snarl to keep curious neighbors at bay while the SEALs searched for the terrorist leader.

When President Barack Obama later met with the SEALs, he reportedly was particularly interested in meeting Cairo. To prevent the commander in chief from being bitten, Cairo was kept in a muzzle at the request of the Secret Service.

Could Cairo be one of Arnold's pups?

The answer to that question, like so many details about that mission, is classified.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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