Oftentimes, we see the same police dog breeds working alongside law enforcement. These dogs are usually brave, strong, and very intelligent. They need to have what it takes to assist police officers for important tasks, so not just any dog can do it. Therefore, there are certain breeds that are continuously trained for these roles. Even though many of these dogs look strong and intimidating, they can actually make great companion dogs too. It all depends on what they’re trained to do.
The History of Police Dog Breeds
Dogs have been working alongside police officers for over 100 years. Back in 1899, the first K-9 training facility launched in Belgium. They started off by using Sheepdog and Wolfhounds for the training. Later on, they began breeding certain types of dogs specifically for police dog roles such as Bloodhounds, German Shepherds, Belgian Malinoises, and Labrador Retrievers. Law enforcement is constantly learning more about which breeds are the best police dogs, even in the present day
Today, police dogs can be trained to complete lots of important tasks such as capturing suspects, sniffing out objects, and searching for lost victims. The dogs have to go through rigorous training sessions to perform these incredible tasks, so not every dog will make it through training. They must have the right temperament for the job.
Can Any Breed Work as a Police Dog?
Technically, there aren’t specific breed requirements for police work. Obviously, you won’t find a small, fluffy dog working a role that is usually done by a German Shepherd, but as long as the dog has the ideal personality and temperament, there’s a chance they can be trained. German Shepherds and Belgian Malinoises are the most common police dog breeds, but other breeds can have a chance too, included mixed breeds. However, the common police dog breeds are usually best because they have already been proven to be successful.
The Best Police Dog Breeds
When it comes to training a dog for law enforcement, there are multiple police dog breeds that are better for the job than others. So, the following 10 dogs are breeds that commonly work as police dogs or breeds that would do well in this type of work.
#1 – German Shepherd
When you think of a police dog, the German Shepherd is likely the first breed that comes to mind. They’re one of the most intelligent dog breeds, which makes them easy to train for important roles. They are very athletic, brave, and strong, so their exercise requirements might seem a bit intimidating to the average family, but their active nature is excellent for police work. Above all, they are an extremely friendly and loyal breed. They get along with just about everyone, and they’re always eager to learn.
#2 – Belgian Malinois
Another very common police dog breed is the Belgian Malinois. They look a lot like a smaller, less fluffy version of the German Shepherd. Since they have a slightly smaller structure, they are even more active and athletic, always ready to take on new jobs. They’re extremely fast, so they’re the perfect dogs for chasing down suspects even with little warning. Like the German Shepherd, they are also very smart and eager to learn. They are also loyal with protective instincts to keep their loved ones safe.
#3 – Bloodhound
Bloodhounds are commonly used as police dogs, but they typically serve only one specific role. They have an excellent sense of smell, so they are often used to search for missing people or to find drugs. Today, there are less Bloodhounds working as police dogs than there were in the past, but they can still be valuable members of the team. They are considered a very friendly breed, and they usually get along with just about everyone they meet, especially kids.
#4 – Doberman Pinscher
Doberman Pinschers often look intimidating just like a police dog should. They are very loyal and well-behaved around their owners, so they are great at learning new things. Like most police dogs, they are fast and athletic, ready to chase something as soon as their told. They’re extremely brave, which makes them the perfect guard dogs, especially since most people fear their strong, muscular appearance. Even though they look scary to some, they are actually very affectionate to those they trust.
#5 – Rottweiler
Rottweilers have a similar appearance to Doberman Pinschers, but they have a much more muscular build. They are often used as guard dogs since they are brave and loyal. However, they actually have a very loving nature, so they are just big sweethearts when around their family members. As a police dog, they are very focused and reliable, which allows them to do lots of different jobs beyond just guarding. As long as they trust their handlers, they’re capable of any important roles.
#6 – Beagle
Beagles are not what you’d expect from a police dog. You won’t see them chasing criminals or guarding people, but they can provide other important roles on the police force. Like Bloodhounds, they have a great sense of smell, so they’re typically used to detect things. Oftentimes, you’ll see them sniffing for drugs or bombs at airports. They’re not always intelligent when it comes to advanced training, but they definitely know how to use their noses to solve problems. Plus, they are extremely loyal and friendly. So, even though they don’t look intimidating, they’re excellent team members.
#7 – Boxer
Boxers are sometimes used as police dogs today, but they’re not as common for these roles as they were in the past. These friendly dogs are capable of working a lot of different jobs for law enforcement such as guard dogs, patrol dogs, messengers. They were often used in war to carry messages to others during intense battles. Not any dog would be brave and loyal enough to do that, but Boxers are always eager to please the people they care about.
#8 – Dutch Shepherd
The Dutch Shepherd might not be as famous as the German Shepherd, but they are still common police dogs to this day. They appear very similar to German Shepherds, but their temperament is a little different. Dutch Shepherds are often used for tracking and security on the police force, but they can also be trained for other types of jobs such as herding and agility. They are a naturally protective breed, which makes them great at patrolling with police officers. They’re a bit more easygoing and gentle than a German Shepherd, which can often make them a bit easier to train and handle.
#9 – Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are more commonly used as service dogs or therapy dogs, but they can also have roles with law enforcement. Labs are very easy to train and they’re exceptionally loyal, so they can work a variety of different jobs. Due to their friendliness, they don’t make good guard dogs, but they are great for tracking. They can easily assist with search and rescues and they can sniff out bombs and drugs.
#10 – American Pit Bull Terrier
American Pit Bull Terriers are not a common police dog breed, but they have been increasing in popularity recently. They often have a bad reputation because they are one of the main breeds labeled as a “Pit Bull”, but these dogs are extremely loyal and smart. Oftentimes, these breeds can be rescued from shelters and still be trained for police work, which can save a lot of money. They are confident and athletic, so they can work in a variety of different roles including guarding, patrolling, and detecting.
Police dogs need to be brave, loyal, athletic, and strong. That’s why only certain breeds can usually fit the role. All the breeds listed above are great choices for law enforcement dogs, but there are still other breeds that can do the job. Not every dog acts the way their breed is expected to, so training is more important than anything else for working dogs. These breeds can still make great companions too, but if you want to keep one as a pet, make sure you can provide them the exercise and mental stimulation that they need to thrive.