World War One (animals)

Where can I find information about the animals used in World War One?

Senior Primary

(Years 5-8)

Black and white photo from WW1 of a man removing a bandage from a dog's saddlebag. The saddlebag has a cross on the side.

Image: Bandages from kit of British Dog by Library of Congress on Flickr.

Entry last updated: 26/05/22


Millions of animals such as horses, dogs, donkeys, pigeons, cats, elephants, and even slugs served alongside the soldiers during World War One. They were used to carry the wounded, as a means of transports, as guards or just as company for soldiers.

General websites

These websites are good places to begin your search for animals that helped soldiers at the battlefront during World War 1.


The Smithsonian is the world's largest museum and education complex. Located in America, it is home to 19 museums, galleries and the National Zoo. It has lots of reliable information on its website.

Tips: A website’s address (URL) can give you a hint about how reliable it is. Look for addresses in the results that include .gov or .edu in the URL. These are quality sites from overseas government or educational organisations.

Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, e.g [topic word]. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

British Library

The British Library is the national library for the United Kingdom, so we can trust their information to be reliable.

  • Type keywords 'animals and war' into the search box called Search our website.

  • Select the first result Animals and war, then go to the option called View online.

  • This article is about how animals were used as beasts of burden, for cavalry, communications and as mascots.

Tips: You may see a message about cookies on this website. Cookies are a kind of data collector that is used by some websites to collect information about their users.

Animals In War

This is the official website of the Animals In War Memorial in London, UK.

  • Click on the History section to learn about why the memorial was created.

  • Go to The Monument section to see photos of the memorial.

Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

Imperial War Museums

Imperial War Museums collects objects that tell the stories of people involved in war from World War One to the present day.

  • Search using keywords 'animals and war'.

  • Scroll down to the section called Stories and select the one called 15 Animals That Went To War. This brief article has some amazing photographs.

  • We recommend you explore the other articles to know more about this topic.

Tips: Many web pages have links to further information or to other recommended sites. Following these links is a great way to find out more. This searching method is called “pearl growing” because you are picking up pieces of sand to make a beautiful pearl!


These videos have some interesting information on the many roles of dogs, horses and donkeys etc. in World War 1 including some that have received medals.


YouTube is an American sharing website where people can watch, share and upload videos.

Tips: You need to be aware that the information on YouTube is contributed by lots of different people. It can be a good way to learn more about a topic, but you need to be careful that the information is accurate. If you are using this site, it always pays to check the information against that on other sites or in books from the library.

Britannica School Primary

Britannica School is one of the EPIC resources which is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6 pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.


The following books have good information about animals in World War One. Check with your school or public library for more.

SCIS no: 1915713

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