Arkwood Products, Inc. embosses Military and ID Dog Tags personalized for your use.


Custom Printed Dog Tags can be used for:

  • - Personal Identification
  • - Retail Personalized Sales
  • - Product or Package identification
  • - Military Purposes
  • - Luggage Tags
  • - Holiday Ornaments
  • - Event Mementos
  • - Medical Alert Tags
  • - Pet Tags

Click here to download the sheet showing the number of lines and spaces available on a standard dog tag

Dog Tags History

The dog tags that most people know of today had its origins during World War I. The first dog tags were chained bracelets. The oval disc, mounted on both ends by chain links, were usually marked with the individuals' name, rank, regiment, and branch of service. There is a multitude of variants and styles, especially those for officers. The majority of the bracelets were engraved.

In 1940, the Army introduced a "notched" rounded-end rectangular tag and is hereby referred as the M1940 identification tag. The new stainless steel tags were debossed with letters and numbers from a manual or electric machine that resembled an oversized typewriter. The dog tags were marked in the following manner: 1st line - soldier's full name, 2nd line - his full seven or eight digit service number and date of any Tetanus injections and an initial to indicate blood group. The 3rd, 4th and 5th lines - address of next of kin. At the end of the 5th line an initial indicating the soldier's religion. In 1944, the next of kin details were discontinued because it was thought that they gave the enemy information. The soldier's identification number on the second line was broken down as: first two indicated his state, second two his town, and last four identify the soldier himself.

The notch on one end, according to Robert Fisch (Curator, West Point Military Museum), was used for wedging into the top front teeth to hold the mouth open when dead. This allowed any gasses to escape from the mouth and stopped the body from bloating after death. This practice was controversial in that some people said that the notch was used for aligning the tag to the machine for typing in the information.

During the later part of World War II, identification tags and chains used by the Army were issued as sets in small printed packets. Inside was one long chain, one small chain and two stainless steel tags. The most common chain was the beaded style, while there were woven nylon and wire cords and woven cloth cords as alternatives. In 1943, the chain ("chain-linked") with 1.5" extension was issued.

By 1959, all branches of the armed forces adopted the rectangular tags that are still in use to this day. This tag is virtually the same as the M1940 Identification Tag, however, without the famous "notch". The Tetanus vaccination date was discontinued and the serial numbers were changed to Social Security numbers by 1965. Though there are variations in the format, the basic information was still being embossed: Last and first names, social security number, branch of service (USA, USN, USMC, USCG, USAF, etc.), and initials for blood group and religion. Black rubber silencers were also introduced. During Desert Storm (1990-91), there were numerous photographs of servicemen from all branches wearing their dog tags with the black rubber silencers. To this day, dog tags, in one form or another, are still an important facet of a soldier's uniform.

By Brad Lendon, CNN    
December 11, 2015

For the first time in 40 years, the U.S. Army is making changes to a century-old piece of hardware, dog tags, the identification implements that hang around each soldier's neck.

For a low-tech thing like the stainless steel dog tag, the reason for the change is decidedly high-tech, the threat of identity theft. On the new dog tags, the service member's Social Security number will be replaced with a randomly-generated, 10-digit Department of Defense identification number.
"If you find a pair of lost ID tags you can pretty much do anything with that person's identity because you now have their blood type, their religion, you have their social, and you have their name. The only thing missing is their birth date and you can usually get that by Googling a person," Michael Klemowski, Soldiers Programs Branch chief, U.S. Army Human Resources Command, said in an Army press release.
The change was mandated in 2007, but it has taken the military this long to replace the Social Security number with the 10-digit idea number through a number of systems, Klemowski said.

While identity theft may be among the most impersonal of crimes, the dog tags are anything but that.  "Dog tags are highly personal items to warriors of every service and to their families as well," says a Library of Congress tribute to the dog tag produced in 2012. "The tag itself individualizes the human being who wears it, despite his or her role as a small part of a huge and faceless organization. While the armed forces demand obedience and duty to a higher cause, dog tags, hanging under service members' shirts and close to their chests, remind them of their individuality."

The tags "bring comfort and help calm the fears of soldiers facing death," the Library of Congress tribute says, allowing them to know they would not be forgotten or become an unknown casualty.

For more information about our custom printed dog tags please call us at 412-835-8730 or click here to contact us online.