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German Shepherd attack dogs in Outer Heaven.

An attack dog, also known as a guard dog, is any dog bred, trained, or used for the purpose of attacking a target either on command or on sight. Attack dogs generally receive extensive military training in tracking and combat techniques, making them formidable close-range fighters, and difficult to elude. They have been used since the time of the Greeks and the Romans, where they wore spiked collars and charged against enemy lines, and also saw frequent use during both World Wars.


World War II

The Soviets once attempted to train so-called anti-tank dogs, nicknamed "bomb dogs," to deliver explosives to enemy tanks by diving beneath them and detonating them as they retreated, and later to have them go on a suicide run to detonate the bombs directly, often killing themselves in the process. Although they were successful in operating in this manner, the plan ultimately backfired when the dogs attacked Soviet tanks rather than German tanks. Since the Soviets had used their own diesel-fueled vehicles to train them, the dogs' acute sense of smell was unaccustomed to the gasoline utilized by German tanks.[1]

Operation Snake Eater

See also: Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater

Great Dane attack dog preparing to attack in Groznyj Grad.

During Operation Snake Eater, Naked Snake encountered Great Danes that were being used as attack dogs by GRU. Their barking would alert enemy patrols to an intruder's presence and they would also try to pounce on and bite them. Snake initially encountered them at Bolshaya Past South, which EVA had forgotten to warn him about. Attack dogs were also deployed outside Graniny Gorki's exterior wall and within Groznyj Grad. When Snake attempted to escape from Groznyj Grad via the sewers, several attack dogs pursued Snake towards the waterfall at the end of the sewers, eventually being called off by Ocelot himself.

There was no easy way to shake them off as they would pick up an intruder's scent, but smoke grenades helped in fending them off due to the Soviet-made smoke grenades when being set off having a tear gas-like effect that was amplified by the dogs' acute sense of smell.[2] Sigint, who had earlier informed Snake of the Soviets' use of bomb dogs during World War II,[1] also informed him that the attack dogs in Tselinoyarsk weren't likely to be trained for such a purpose.[2] They could be distracted by meat, although they wouldn't go for Russian rations. The attack dogs also feared crocodiles intensely, and would flee on sight if anything resembling a crocodile (such as someone wearing the Crocodile Cap) was in their vicinity.[3] Despite their large size, they could fit through narrow ducts, as demonstrated in the sewers beneath Groznyj Grad.

San Hieronymo Incident

Main article: San Hieronymo Incident
Warning: The following information is from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." Its canonicity within the continuity is disputed, therefore reader discretion is advised.[?]

Great Danes were also utilized during the takeover of the San Hieronymo Peninsula, this time by FOX and Red Army soldiers. They were sometimes seen guarding areas in the town and were also used during the Claymore incident at the hospital, after the soldiers had departed.

Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.

Ground Zeroes Incident

Main article: Ground Zeroes Incident

Rhodesian Ridgebacks were kept as guard dogs at Camp Omega. When Skull Face arrived at Camp Omega to meet with Chico one last time before conducting his Trojan horse operation, the dogs proceeded to bark viciously at him, as they sensed him as an enemy.[4]

Phantom Pain Incident

See also: Hospital Escape and Phantom Pain Incident

The Diamond Dogs had a mascot, DD, who was an orphaned wolf pup they rescued and trained to be an attack dog that accompanied them (particularly their commander, Venom Snake) on missions.

Outer Heaven Uprising

Main article: Outer Heaven Uprising

During the Outer Heaven Uprising, German Shepherds were used to guard areas of Outer Heaven in which no human soldiers were stationed, such as the inner courtyard and basement of Building 1. They were often relied upon to take care of any intruders.

Shadow Moses Incident

Main article: Shadow Moses Incident

Although not specifically used as attack dogs, the wolf dogs in Shadow Moses Island tried to attack Solid Snake during his mission there. The Sons of Big Boss had originally considered killing the wolf dogs, until Sniper Wolf stopped them.[5] Despite their feral nature, they seem to take kindly to Meryl Silverburgh.[6] They were also suspected to have descended from wolf dog pups who were abandoned to the wild by various people.[7]

World Marshal Incidents

See also: Raid at World Marshal, Ambush in Africa, Abkhazian Coup, Investigation in Guadalajara, Raid in Denver, and Operation Tecumseh
Main article: Fenrir
Warning: The following information is from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." Its canonicity within the continuity is disputed, therefore reader discretion is advised.[?]

Although not attack dogs in the normal sense, the Fenrir Unmanned Gear, mass-produced versions of the LQ-84is, served the same overall purpose, guarded the World Marshal HQ building's proximity, and during the Abkhazian Coup prevented the then-AWOL LQ-84i from escaping.

Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.

Behind the scenes

An attack dog, as depicted in the NES manual for Metal Gear.

In the Nintendo Entertainment System version of Metal Gear, attack dogs are encountered far earlier in the game than the original MSX2 version, immediately after Solid Snake lands in the jungle. Series creator Hideo Kojima cited this as one of the reasons why he dislikes the NES version. Unlike the original version, the alert mode will be triggered if the player is detected by the dogs. In the manual, they are referred to as "Dogs of War," which is another word for a mercenary, and was itself derived from a term used in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

Doberman Pinschers are employed within Galuade by the Gindra Liberation Front in the non-canon game Metal Gear: Ghost Babel.

In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Sigint's account about the Soviets using bomb dogs during World War II indeed happened in real life.

In Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, attack dogs can only be found while playing the Extreme mode. Like in Snake Eater, they are depicted as Great Danes.

Although attack dogs do not appear in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, concept art from the Peace Walker Official Art Works book revealed that they were considered for implementation in the game, accompanying the orange-shirted CIA mercenaries. Their breed, judging by the art, was intended to be that of German Shepherds, similar to that of the original Metal Gear.

In Video Data Access File #01000100, also known as the "Sword trailer," there was barking heard in the Army of the Devil's base of operations, implying that they utilized attack dogs while they were in Liberia.

In artwork released on a Kojima Productions website recruiting engineers for creating a new Metal Gear game, a dog is seen accompanying Big Boss, who is also shown to be a member of the Diamond Dogs.

In the opening scene of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Doberman Pinschers are seen at Camp Omega. However, they don't appear again during gameplay after that, although their presence was implied with one of the soldiers in enemy chatter yelling "shut up, you damn mutt" if the player makes enough noise to have the other POWs hear them. Dummied interrogation responses also included the interrogated soldier telling the player where the dogs are. In addition, dogs can be heard barking in Chico's first cassette tape. According to Kojima, he had the dogs bark at Skull Face viciously in the opening scene in order to emphasize that Skull Face was different from the other personnel.[4]

Enemy attack dogs are absent in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, although a similar threat to the player is represented by wild canids such as Gray Wolves. Their absence was stated to be because "they were not as fun to sneak past."[8] Despite their absence, enemy attack dogs were originally to have been featured in the game, as implied by dummied audio files containing dialogue spoken by Miller. [9] During an FOB infiltration and when under an alerted area in either Afghanistan or Africa, soldiers conducting a search may sometimes make statements that imply that a guard dog was to have been present among the party.[10] In addition, several signs in both Afghanistan and Africa warned about the presence of attack dogs.

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2004).
    Sigint: They sicced attack dogs on you? People have been using dogs in war since before recorded history. The Greek and Roman armies used to send out packs of dogs with spiked collars to charge at enemy ranks. Attack dogs were regularly employed in the First and Second World Wars as well. Traditionally, dogs have been used to keep watch, send messages, and assist in search operations. Then the Soviets came up with a new idea: using them to carry bombs. // Naked Snake: Bomb dogs? // Sigint: Yeah, they were trained to dive beneath tanks, carrying a payload of bombs. Apparently it worked pretty well, but the Russians messed up, man - they used their own tanks for the training. Turns out the dogs kept going after Russian tanks and blowing them up. So, the plan was scrapped before it got off the ground.
  2. ^ a b Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2004).
    Sigint: Well, I don't think you need to worry about those dogs exploding on you. They don't seem to be the bomb-carrying type. But they are highly trained in tracking and detection. Don't underestimate them - they're excellent trackers and ferocious fighters. Attack dogs move fast and are deadly in proximity encounters. They'll pick up your scent and use it to track you, so it'll be hard to shake them off. In a way, they're more dangerous than any human opponent. Be prepared. The Soviet-made smoke grenades you might find around there also seem to act as a mild tear gas. It might not have that much of an effect on human targets wearing balaclavas, but it ought to wreak havoc on a dog's nose. If you're being chased by attack dogs, give 'em a taste of the smoke grenade.
  3. ^ Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2004).
    Dogs flee from Naked Snake when the Crocodile Cap is equipped. Their fear is confirmed by interrogating one of the soldiers ("Dogs.. can't stand crocodiles...").
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ Metal Gear Solid, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (1998).
    Solid Snake: What's that. // Otacon: It's a handkerchief. I got it from Sniper Wolf. // Snake: Why? // Otacon: I don't know why, but she's nice to me. // Snake: Sounds like Stockholm Syndrome to me. // Otacon: I was taking care of the dogs here. After the terrorists take over, they were planning to shoot all the dogs. But Sniper Wolf stopped them... she even let me feed them when I asked. She likes dogs. She must be a good person. Please don't hurt her. // Snake: Wake up you idiot! She's the one who shot Meryl!
  6. ^ Metal Gear Solid, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (1998).
    Meryl Silverburgh: What's wrong, [Solid] Snake? I thought you were good with dogs?
  7. ^ Metal Gear Solid, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (1998).
    Master Miller (Liquid Snake): Those are wolf dogs in there. Just like their name, they're a cross between huskies and Alaskan wolves. They were bred to be used as sled dogs. // Solid Snake: They were trying to create an animal that would combine the gentleness of a dog with the endurance and ferocity of a wolf. But they didn't get the stamina and power they were hoping for. On top of that, their personalities wound up closer to wolves. Most of them won't even let you get close. That's why they never caught on. // Miller: Oh that's right. You're a musher. // Snake: Yeah. And after they outlawed the use of hybrids in dogsled races in 2002, no one even wanted to breed them anymore. I heard that most of them were put to sleep after that... // Miller: Yes, but some of the wolf dog pups that were thrown away went wild. I've heard that wild wolf dogs hunt in packs just like wolves. Better be careful.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Kojima Productions (2015).
    Dummied audio file on YouTube.
    Kazuhira Miller: It's a guard dog. Don't get too close, you wouldn't want it to start barking. A dog's sense of smell is better than ours, and so is their night vision. Don't take any chances. Man's best friend since ancient times, and truly loyal. They're a natural choice to use in combat.
  10. ^ Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Kojima Productions (2015).
    FOB guard: You find something, boy? What's up?

See also