Skip To Content
BuzzFeed News Home Reporting To You

The Military "Hero Dog" From The Raid That Killed ISIS Leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Was Honored At The White House

Conan is a very good doggo.

Posted on November 25, 2019, at 5:30 p.m. ET

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President Donald Trump at the White House Monday honored the military dog who was injured during the raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in October.

The hero dog's name is Conan and he is a Belgian Malinois. His age is not known, but, per the Pentagon, he is a four-year veteran of the United States Special Operations Command K-9 unit. (Despite conflicting reports, a White House spokesperson confirmed to BuzzFeed News that Conan is, in fact, a male dog.)

In a press conference, Trump praised the "special" and "brilliant" animal for his role in the "flawless attack" that took out the ISIS leader, and said that he had awarded Conan a medal and a plaque.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Per the president and Pentagon officials, Conan was a key member of the US military special operations team that raided Baghdadi's northern Syria compound on Oct. 26.

During the raid, Conan found al-Baghdadi and chased him into a dead-end tunnel, where the ISIS leader then detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and three of his young children.

Conan was injured by live electrical cables in the explosion, but he healed quickly and returned to duty. Trump said that he has gone on several "important raids" since his recovery.

Jim Watson / Getty Images

Trump had originally praised Conan β€” whose name was not officially revealed until today β€” in his press conference announcing al-Baghdadi's death on Oct. 27.

"Our K-9, as they call β€” I call it a dog, a beautiful dog, a talented dog β€” was injured and brought back," he said in response to a reporter's question about US casualties during the raid. "We had nobody even hurt. And that’s why the dog was so great."

He later tweeted a photo of the very good boy.

We have declassified a picture of the wonderful dog (name not declassified) that did such a GREAT JOB in capturing and killing the Leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi!

Trump said that Conan and his fellow members of the special forces team had just arrived at the White House from the Middle East, but "for obvious reasons" the humans couldn't appear in front of the media.

Due to those security reasons, Conan faced the cameras accompanied by a substitute handler instead of his partner, but he didn't seem to mind.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Trump said that an unarmed terrorist "would have no chance” against the military dog. "So that's amazing."

"And yet you see how beautiful and calm they are in situations like this," he said, as Conan happily received pets from Vice President Mike Pence.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

"The dog is incredible. Actually incredible," Trump said. "We spent some good time with it. So brilliant and so smart."

β€œI actually think Conan knew exactly what was going on [when he was given his awards]. But a dog that is very, very special.”

When a reporter asked if the president wanted to adopt the dog, Trump said that Conan wasn't ready for retirement yet.

First Lady Melania Trump also said no when asked if she wanted the dog for their son, Barron.

Abaca Press / Sipa USA via AP

Trump described Conan as β€œprime time” and praised the abilities of him and all the other K-9s working in the military and federal government.

"They are very special dogs,” he said. "They are very hard to get, this particular dog is. This is the ultimate fighter, the ultimate everything."

Unless you're a dog person, you might not have heard of this breed, but Malinois dogs are highly sought-after for K-9 units and make up a large percentage of all military working dogs.

The breed is prized by the military because they are "very aggressive, very smart, very loyal and very athletic," Army Col. David Rolfe, director of the Defense Department's Military Working Dog Program, said in an interview in September.

U.S. Air Force photo by Justin Connaher / Via dvidshub.net

A US Air Force military working dog handler and his partner.

Dogs like Conan, he said, are an "an invaluable asset to our fighting forces."

"A machine doesn't care if it finds something," Rolfe said. "But a dog wants to please its handler. A dog will go looking for something on its own where a machine won't."

"Dogs have a heart."

Thank you for your service, Conan!

Evan Vucci / AP

ADVERTISEMENT