“Dog armor.” Armor for dogs of war was developed and used in Germany, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands. In some places, armored war dogs wore “Hunderpanzer” into the 17th century. It usually consisted of heavily padded linen or hardened leather plates, often with a spiked collar. Some fully articulated suits of steel dog armor were produced in Germany, but probably for court display rather than battlefield use.

This suit of dog armor — identified by antique Japanese armor dealer Toraba.Com as the only known and certified authentic example of its kind — is believed to have been created for the pet of a wealthy, high-ranking and presumably eccentric samurai or daimyo (feudal lord) in the mid to late Edo period (mid-18th to mid-19th century). Although the carved wooden helmet and coat of black-lacquered scale mail would have provided effective protection against enemy attack, evidence suggests the canine never wore the armor into battle. More likely, the suit served as a decorative costume for parades and other formal ceremonial occasions.


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