Military Dog Tags: The Ultimate Guide

Table of Contents

In the military, dog tags are essential for every soldier, representing their identity. These small tags are irreplaceable. This article will discuss the materials, history, and all the information about dog tags.

What Is A Military Dog Tag?

A military dog tag is a metal identification tag, about 2 inches and oval-shaped, with a hole for threading a chain and encased in a silicone cover. It contains the wearer’s basic information, similar to a simple military ID. Its function is akin to that of a pet’s ID tag. The primary purpose of military dog tags is to match a soldier’s details during missions or rescues based on the information on the tag. It is worn around the neck with a beaded metal chain.

Dog Tag Template

What Is On Military Dog Tags?

Dog tags are small, so they carry limited but important information. Let’s talk about the basic information on a dog tag regarding content, size, and font.


Dog tags commonly use the Arial or Sans-Serif fonts.


As an identity card for the military, the basic information on it includes: name, blood type, service branch, religion, and identification number. Typically, these details are displayed in a format with each item on a separate line.

For example:

Last name
First name, middle initial
Service Branch ID number
Blood type


The standard size for a dog tag is 50mm by 28mm, with a thickness of 1.8mm to 2mm. If you want to customize other sizes, you can contact a professional dog tag supplier to customize your own tag size.


The main materials for dog tags are stainless steel, bronze, and zinc alloy. stainless steel is the most common use. as stainless steel is hard and not easily bent, making it durable even in harsh environments.

About Military Dog Tags Chain

The chain that comes with the dog tags is a durable beaded chain, usually made of stainless steel. The main chain is about 24 inches long, with a secondary shorter chain of around 4.5 inches.

What Are Military Dog Tags For?

The primary purpose of military dog tags is identification. They are used when soldiers engage in military activities and in case of severe injuries or death, to facilitate identification. In modern times, dog tags have become more versatile, not only for identification but also as fashion accessories.

History of Military Dog Tags

The History of Military Dog Tags

When we dig into the dog tags history, we see that it played a vital role in safeguarding the armed forces.

Military dog tags first appeared during the American Civil War. Many soldiers were injured or killed without recognition. Soldiers began to fear dying anonymously on the battlefield and being buried in unmarked graves. They started making their own ID tags. They carved personal information on simple wooden pieces, paper, or coins they carried. Over time, dog tags became a unique form of military ID. They showed the soldier’s name, religion, and preferences.

In World War I, the United States officially issued dog tags. These were made of aluminum with soldiers’ actions and military branch engraved on them. Soldiers received two tags: one to carry and one for records.

In World War II, the design of dog tags became uniform. It’s the style we see now: name, serial number, blood type, and religion.

Today, dog tags are a symbol for soldiers. Some veterans keep them as mementos. Dog tags have also become a fashion trend. You can print pictures, names, and statements on them.

The Rules of Military Dog Tags

The rules for military dog tags are service-specific. They determine what information is included and how the tags are worn.

  1. Mandatory Wear: Soldiers are required to wear them during missions.
  2. Information Included: Dog tags contain basic identification information about the soldier. This usually includes the soldier’s last name, first name, middle initial, Social Security number, blood type, and religion.
  3. Number of Tags: Soldiers are typically issued two dog tags. This practice is common in the U.S. military and other armed forces.
  4. Method of Wear: One tag is usually worn around the neck on a chain, and the second is often attached to the soldier’s boots or kept inside the shoes. This ensures identification is possible even if the body is dismembered.

How to Wear Military Dog Tags?

Like wearing military badges, the soldiers wear military tags. Military dog tags are generally worn close to the body and not exposed outside the uniform. Soldiers typically wear them tucked under their clothing.

How To Customize Military Dog Tags?

Customizing military dog tags is straightforward. Just follow the 2 steps:

Step 1: Choose the material. Common materials are zinc alloy and stainless steel. Stainless steel is the most popular.
Step 2: Provide your information: your name, ID number, blood type, and religious belief.

Then, we can make your custom dog tags.


1. Why do military have dog tags?

Military dog tags are used to ensure identification in any condition.

2. What does POS mean on a military dog tag?

POS on a military dog tag indicates the blood type, as in positive.

3. What do different colors dog tag mean in the military?

Black: Typically indicates special operations.
Red: Often denotes medical alerts.
Yellow: Sometimes used for exercises and training scenarios.

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