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Dogs aren’t just man’s best friend... they also help fight crime. Police Dogs (K9’s) are vital and beloved members of the Law Enforcement community. They are intelligent, loyal and perform many tasks that humans cannot. There are over 340 dog breeds in the world, each with their own unique traits and personalities, and here we will explore the Top 10 breeds that ‘serve and protect’ in Law Enforcement.
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- They are the 3rd most intelligent dog breed in the world
- Athletic, with a Muscular frame
- Agile speed despite their large stature
- Very loyal. A German Shepherd would give it’s life to save yours, which is why they are one of the most popular dog breeds to be used in Law Enforcement around the world.
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- They are the smaller cousin of the German Shepherd
- They are more athletic however, due to their smaller physique
- Fun Fact: During World War I, they were primarily used as Messenger and Ambulance dogs. They have also earned the prestigious honor of guarding the White House in the USA!
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- They have the best nose in dogdom (dog kingdom), along with Beagles and Basset Hounds
- Their sense of smell is 1000 times stronger than a human’s
- Fun Fact: Bloodhounds were the very first dog breed to be commissioned by Police in 1889. They were used to search for the infamous “Jack the Ripper” in London
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- They are the 5th most intelligent dog breed in the world
- Slim, but Muscular frame, with cropped ears
- Excellent hearing ability - up to 250 yards away
- Incredibly loyal and obedient, making them great guard dogs!
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- Muscular frame
- Astounding attention spans
- Courageous, intelligent and loyal
- Fun fact: Throughout history they have been premiere Messenger dogs. For both world wars, these dogs were sent from base to base to deliver urgent messages
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- They are very obedient, and well-known for their gentle and friendly personalities
- Highly intelligent and proficient in tracking
- Due to their friendly demeanour, they aren’t often used as security dogs. However, this makes them well- suited for helping the blind, tracking down illicit substances in public areas, and participating in search & rescue missions
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- Highly intelligent
- Large stature
- Fun fact: They were considered one of the most versatile dogs of war. In both world wars, they were effective patrol dogs, guard dogs, and messengers for the military. Due to their high instinctive and adaptive intelligence, they were used for transporting communication wires between groups on the battlefield. This was done by attaching spools of wire to their collars, as they quickly maneuvered between stations
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- As the name suggests, they are very large (can be as tall as 70cm / 27in)
- Very obedient
- Their heavy, shaggy coats make them ideal for colder climates
- Fun fact: They are one of the few breeds that are allowed to serve in the Air Force
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- Cousin of the German Shepherd - originated from the Netherlands
- Highly intelligent, and athletic
- Fun fact: Due to their high intelligence and stamina, they are popular farm dogs in Netherlands - often used for protecting and herding sheep & cattle, as well as for guarding property
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- Kind and loyal dogs
- Well-known for their long and droopy ears
- Have one of the most powerful senses of smell
- Fun fact: You may have noticed, they are commonly used for sniffing/ detecting illegal substances in airports all across the world. In the US alone, they are responsible for seizing over 180,000 pounds of illegal foods being smuggled into the country every year. Great work, partner!
While the above dog breeds are some of the more well-known breeds to be used in Law Enforcement, there are many others that are also involved. It's not that one dog breed is more important than another, but rather, each species is more heavily used in areas that match their unique characteristics. A common example is BloodHounds, who have an exceptional sense of smell. They are commonly used in airports to detect illicit substances such as narcotics, explosives, and illicit food products. We will now look at some of the other popular (and just as important) dog breeds that form part of the Law Enforcement community.
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- Friendly personality, and very intelligent
- Commonly used as Police dogs in the United Kingdom, whereas in the United States they are primarily used for hunting
- Fun fact: During World War I, they were instrumental in supporting the British army. They were commonly used for scouting and carrying military supplies
BOUVIER DES FLANDRES
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- Originated in Belgium
- Powerful dogs with a large frame
- Originally bred to be farm dogs, but evolved to be so much more
- Fun fact: During World War I, they were commonly used to deliver urgent messages and to pull ambulance litters. They were so active in fact, that many Bouviers lost their lives in the line of duty, almost causing them to go extinct! Following the war, their population was revived by organizations in France, Netherlands and the United States. However, their over-use during the Second World War almost caused them to go extinct - for a second time!
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- Courageous and protective
- Their territorial and protective nature makes them excellent Guard dogs.
- Fun fact: They are the national dog of Japan. Though they are Japan's premiere Police dogs, they are not commonly used in Law Enforcement in other countries around the world
ENGLISH COCKER SPANIEL
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- Though they are surprisingly athletic, they are more commonly known for their noses
- They have one of the most powerful senses of smell in the world
- Fun fact: At the Milan Malpensa airport, this dog was able to sniff out a man carrying an unreported $40,000 USD in his suitcase. That's truly an incredible sense of smell!
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- They are “Scent hounds” - with an incredible sense of smell
- Well-known for their short legs, and droopy ears
- Fun fact: They specialize in tracking “ground-scents.” It probably has a little to do with their short stature
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- Originally bred to be an all-purpose hunting companion
- They are capable of using their nose to pick up slight nuances of wind, and their pattern changes, to find the target. It’s really incredible!
- Fun fact: Their sensitive noses and powerful senses of small made them ideal hunting companions, but this skill is now being used to catch criminals and save lives
Dogs have always been well-known for being 'man's best friend', but they are so much more than this... They form an integral part of our society, not just living with us in our homes as (part of the) family, but even serving in Law Enforcement where they are instrumental in saving and protecting lives. They are in many ways, the unsung Heroes in Law Enforcement. If you ask any K-9 Handler or Officer that has had a chance to serve with them - they will tell you that they are invaluable friends and truly remarkable members of our society.
This article was made in honor of all our incredible K-9 companions, as a gesture of appreciation and recognition for their devotion, service, and sacrifice. We are proud to serve with you, and we are proud to call you our 'Friend'!
Let us know more about any of your thoughts and experiences with Police dogs. We would love to hear from you in the comments section below!