Conan (dog)

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Declassified image of Conan, the dog who chased al-Baghdadi.jpg
The declassified image of Conan tweeted by President Donald Trump
BreedBelgian Malinois
Born2013 or 2014 (aged 5–6)
Notable roleSpecial Operations Military Working Dog (SOMWD) in the US Delta Force
Years active2015–present
Named afterConan O'Brien

Conan is a special operations military working dog in the United States 1st SFOD-D (Delta Force). He is a male Belgian Malinois and was named after Conan O'Brien due to his shaggy hair.[1] Conan took part in the Barisha raid in Syria, which resulted in the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the then-leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS or IS) terror organization, on October 27, 2019. He chased Baghdadi down into a tunnel where the terror leader detonated his suicide vest.[1]

General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. stated on October 30 that the dog was injured during the raid due to exposed live electric wires, but had recovered and returned to field duty.[2] There is growing support for Conan to be awarded the Purple Heart following his injury. This would require the President to reverse a policy on military canines not being awarded military honors.[3]


President Donald Trump posted the declassified picture of Conan on Twitter and called him a "wonderful dog" in the tweet.[4] His name was classified at the time, but it was revealed as Conan to Newsweek.[1] A few days later, Trump also referred to the dog as Conan.[5] Days later, Trump re-tweeted a meme of himself awarding a bronze paw print medal on a two-dimensional blue ribbon (a reference to the Medal of Honor) to Conan.[6][7][8]

After quickly garnering mainstream attention following the raid, merchandising with Conan's depiction and the slogan "Zero Bark Thirty" appeared online, a reference to Zero Dark Thirty, a film about the 2011 special operations raid targeting Osama bin Laden.[9]

Conan's sex[edit]

There were conflicting reports on Conan's sex following his reveal to the public. Newsweek initially reported that the dog is female, but the magazine later issued a correction which said Conan is male. RTL Nieuws reported that Conan was trained by a company in Best, Netherlands before being transported to the United States, and a man identified as his former owner and trainer was quoted as saying: "It is a five year old male. It is a very good dog."[10] On November 25, 2019, a White House official said the dog is female before issuing a correction, saying Conan is in fact male.[11][12] The next day, defense officials confirmed with Stars and Stripes that Conan was male.[13] At the same time, a U.S. defense official disputed this and told ABC News that Conan is female, but ABC's report was retracted a short time later with multiple officials saying they had verified that Conan is male.[14]

White House visit[edit]

Conan is introduced in the White House Rose Garden, November 25, 2019

On November 25, 2019, Conan made a surprise appearance with a handler at the White House. The handler was using dog commands in German during the meeting. President Donald Trump introduced Conan to reporters in the White House Rose Garden, saying, "So this is Conan. Right now, probably the world's most famous dog," going on to call him a "tough cookie" and "actually incredible". First Lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence attended the moment as well, with Pence petting Conan and calling him a "hero" during brief remarks.[15] Trump stated that along with honoring Conan with a medal and a plaque, he met with some of the other special operations soldiers that participated in the Baghdadi raid, who were not identified for national security reasons as they were active duty.[16][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Laporta, James (October 29, 2019). "Classified name revealed of special operations dog wounded in Syria raid that killed ISIS leader Baghdadi". Newsweek. Archived from the original on October 30, 2019. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  2. ^ Callimachi, Rukmini (October 30, 2019). "ISIS Leader Paid Rival for Protection but Was Betrayed by His Own". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Trump Has Big Plans for Dog That Helped Track ISIS Leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, Report Says". The Daily Wire. 10 November 2019.
  4. ^ Zhou, Naaman (October 29, 2019). "Trump tweets photo of 'wonderful' dog that took part in Baghdadi raid". The Guardian. Archived from the original on October 30, 2019. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  5. ^ Trump, Donald [@realDonaldTrump] (October 30, 2019). "Thank you Daily Wire. Very cute recreation, but the "live" version of Conan will be leaving the Middle East for the White House sometime next week!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  6. ^ Trump, Donald [@realDonaldTrump] (October 30, 2019). "AMERICAN HERO!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  7. ^ Knowles, Michael (November 1, 2019). "Democracy Dies In Barkness". The Daily Wire.
  8. ^ "Trump tweets fake photo of Isis raid dog, and appears to declassify its name". The Guardian. 31 October 2019.
  9. ^ McDonald, Scott (October 30, 2019). "Conan, the military hero dog who was part of the Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi raid, featured on "Zero Bark Thirty" merchandise". Newsweek.
  10. ^ Mouthaan, Erik (October 29, 2019). "Nederlandse hondentrainer: 'Hond die Al-Baghdadi opspoorde, was van mij'" (in Dutch). RTL Nieuws. Archived from the original on October 30, 2019. Retrieved October 30, 2019. Het is mannetje van vijf jaar oud. Het is een erg goede hond.
  11. ^ Watson, Kathryn [@kathrynw5] (November 25, 2019). "A White House official now tells me that Conan is actually a male dog, after we were told earlier today that Conan is a female dog" (Tweet). Retrieved November 25, 2019 – via Twitter.
  12. ^ Chao, David (November 25, 2019). "The White House said Conan, the hero dog that helped take down the leader of ISIS, was female. Now it says he's male". Business Insider. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
  13. ^ Beynon, Steven [@StevenBeynon] (November 26, 2019). "Conan is a male, according to Special Operations Command. There has been some confusion on the gender. We can hopefully put this to rest now. Conan is a good boy" (Tweet). Retrieved November 27, 2019 – via Twitter.
  14. ^ McLaughlin, Elizabeth [@Elizabeth_McLau] (26 November 2019). "Two defense officials have now contacted us to say Conan is *for sure they say* a BOY. One official said they triple checked" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  15. ^ Gregorian, Dareh (November 25, 2019). "Trump welcomes hero dog at the White House: 'Conan is a tough cookie'". NBC News. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
  16. ^ Salama, Vivian (November 25, 2019). "Trump Hails Military Dog Conan Injured in Baghdadi Raid". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
  17. ^ Oprysko, Caitlin (November 25, 2019). "'The ultimate fighter': Trump shows off Conan the military dog from Baghdadi raid". Politico. Retrieved November 25, 2019.