10 Heroic Facts About Police Dogs - Pet Hub USA

10 Heroic Facts About Police Dogs

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The use of dogs for helping to keep order goes back to the Middle Ages. But the true use of police dogs only began in 1899. Find out which breeds make the best police dogs and why!

10. The First Police Dogs

brown and black German shepherd
Photo by Altino Dantas on Unsplash

The first recorded use of police dogs occurred in St. Malo, France in the early 14th century. London police first used bloodhounds in 1889. Ghent, Belgium, organized the first police dog service program in 1899. In the US, New York City debuted the first American K9 dog unit called “Patrol Squad 1” in 1907.

9. Police Dog Breeds

Belgian Malinois - Adobe Stock
Adobe Stock

Law enforcement uses a wide variety of breeds. The most popular are the German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Bloodhound, Dutch Shepherd, and Labrador Retriever. The Belgian Malinois has become the leading choice in recent years. Other breeds include Airedale Terrier, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Border Collie, Boxer, Akita, Rottweiler, Golden Retriever, and many others.

8. Police Dogs Get Early Retirement

Close up of Police Golden Retriever
Photo by Emre Ezer on Pexels

Certain dog breeds active in police work have lifespans averaging 10-14 years. Police dogs work for 6-9 years. They spend the rest of their life at home with their owner. Sometimes the dog is owned by the handler who worked with them. Other times, a police dog is adopted by someone who knows how to care for these trained breeds.

7. A K-9’s Incredible Sense of Smell

a black and brown dog sniffing the grass
Photo by Gabriel Almanzar on Unsplash

A dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times stronger than humans. Dogs can smell things up to 12 miles away. Dogs can smell peanut butter 50 yards away or a treat in a five-acre field. Breeds with the best scent detection include Bloodhounds, Coonhounds, Basset Hound, German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, Belgian Malinois, and Golden Retriever.

6. Dogs of War

dog, handler, man
Photo by 12019 on Pixabay

Police dogs do more than help with law enforcement, their skills are useful for military applications. Further, police dogs have been used in modern warfare. The United States and other countries have used specially trained dogs in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and every conflict that followed and presently continues.

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5. From Shelter to Police Dog

two dogs in cage during daytime
Photo by Sasha Sashina on Unsplash

Not all police dogs are bred specifically for the role. Some dogs who become K-9 officers are recruited from animal shelters and have unknown pasts. They are chosen due to the known qualities of their breed and their temperaments. It’s heartwarming to know these dogs get a second chance and the opportunity to fill a crucial role.

4. Police Dogs Can Search Faster Than Humans

Dog in police car
Deposit Photos

A typical trained police dog can search an area significantly faster than any human could hope to achieve. This is especially true with the use of the breeds of German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois. This ability makes search and rescue efforts far more effective than humans could do on their own.

3. Police Dogs Can Search a Car in 3 Minutes

An RAF Police Dog Showing his agility during the The RAF Police Military Working Dogs (MWD) trials.
An RAF Police Dog Showing his agility during the The RAF Police Military Working Dogs (MWD) trials.” by Defence Images is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A police dog can completely sniff out a vehicle within three minutes. By “sniff out,” it means to find whatever substance they have been trained to alert their handler to, such as drugs, firearms, explosives, ammunition, etc. A detection dog can also be trained to detect specific drugs such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, and more.

Read More: 10 Dog Breeds Most Likely to Bite Humans

2. Once a Cop, Always a Cop

Police Dog
Police Dog 2” by Svadilfari is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

A police dog doesn’t understand retirement. They’ll always think like a police dog. They need something to do to stay happy. They need someone who knows how to allow them to continue to use their natural instincts. While they can be good family protection dogs, they should be adopted by someone who knows how to care for such dogs. 

Read More: The 10 Best Dog Breeds for Empty Nesters

1. K-9s Came From Germany

German Shepherd puppy being trained

In Germany, the German police selected the German Shepherd dog as the ideal breed for police work. In 1920, the first dog training school was established in Greenheide. Dogs were trained in obedience to their officers, as well as trained to track and attack criminals. Some years later, many Belgian Malinois dogs were added to the unit.

Read More: 10 Part-Time Jobs for Retired Dog Lovers

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