K-9 Facts and Questions
What breeds do they use for police dogs?
The most popular breeds are German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Dutch
Shepherds, and occasionally mixes of these breeds. Less popular, but still
used at times, are Rottweiler's, Doberman Pinchers, and Bouvier de Flandres.
Other breeds are used for detection work, if this is their sole purpose.
What other breeds do police agencies use?
Labrador Retrievers are often used for narcotics and explosives detection,
and evidence discovery, as well as for Search and Rescue functions.
Bloodhounds are used for trailing, and many mixed breeds can be used for
detection and scent work as well.
Are any of the dogs for police work ever adopted from a shelter?
Yes. It is common practice to find a good dog for scent work wherever a
good dog can be found. Shelters, private homes, and adoption agencies
can supply excellent dogs that love to work.
Do they use only males, or do they also use females for police service dogs?
Males and females both make excellent police service dogs.
What age does a dog begin working as a police dog?
The youngest age when they become mature enough to concentrate on
training well is between 12 and 15 months.
What age does the dog retire?
Depending on its health status it is normally around 10 years of age.
Where does the dog go after he finishes a police career?
It lives at home with its handler to live out its life as a family pet.
How much is the training?
For full training in Patrol Work, Detection, and Hard Surface (Urban) Tracking,
you can figure the cost to range from £12,000.00 to £15,000.00 total, per
dog, depending on the length of each class.
What type of training do they receive?
Patrol training (which includes obedience, agility, tracking, evidence
searches, open area and building searches), and narcotics or explosives
detection are the most common areas of training, although service dogs
can also be trained to help find dead bodies, lost children, and the sick or
elderly. In addition, scent discrimination training is being used to help match
a potential suspect to an object such as a weapon used in a crime.
Why are K-9s not part of a department’s regular budget items?
K-9s are considered a specialty unit, which means technically they could
run a department without them, unlike police cars, police officers, and
their training. 80-plus percent of a police department’s budget goes
toward salary, and the remaining 20 percent is needed to acquire
equipment and training for the officers. There are simply not enough funds
for most agencies to include the cost of K-9s and their up-keep in the
Why vest a dog?
A K9 officer faces the same, if not greater, risk than human officers as they
are often sent in ahead of their human counterparts to apprehend
suspects or investigate dangerous situations.
What do K9 vests protect against?
Vests are bulletproof and/or stab proof (e.g. knives, ice picks). In addition,
they minimize blunt trauma injuries. In the past 10 years, bullet, stab or
blunt trauma injuries caused 60% of police dog deaths.
How do the K9 vests compare to human officers’ vests?
The K-9 One™ vest is made with Dupont Kevlar, which is the same
material that human officers wear. This vest also undergoes the same
How long do K9 vests last?
Manufacturer’s warranty for the K9-One™ vest is 5 years for the ballistic
material and 3 years for the cover.
Police Dog Drug Training
To begin the training, the handler simply plays with the
dog and the towel, which has been carefully washed
so that it has no scent of its own. Later, a bag of
marijuana is rolled up inside the towel. After playing for
a while, the dog starts to recognize the smell of
marijuana as the smell of his favourite toy. The handler
then hides the towel, with the drugs, in various places.
Whenever the dog sniffs out the drugs, he digs and
scratches, trying to get at his toy. He soon comes to
learn that if he sniffs out the smell of drugs, as soon as
he finds them he'll be rewarded with a game of tugof-war.
As training progresses, different drugs are placed in
the towel, until the dog is able to sniff out a host of
illegal substances. The same method is used for bombdetection dogs, except various chemicals used to
manufacture explosives are placed in the towel
instead of drugs.
History of Police Dogs
European police forces were using bloodhounds
as early as the 18th century. It wasn't until World
War I that countries like Belgium and Germany
formalized the training process and started using
dogs for specific tasks, such as guard duty. The
practice continued through World War II. Soldiers
returning home brought news of the well-trained
dogs being used by both sides of the conflict.
Soon, K-9 programs were begun in London and
other cities across Europe. The use of police dogs
didn't gain a foothold in the United States until
the 1970s. Today, police dogs are recognized as
a vital part of law enforcement, and the use of
police dogs has grown rapidly in the last five
Police Dog Basic Training
All police dogs must first become experts at basic
obedience training. They must obey the
commands of their handler without hesitation. This
is what keeps the inherent aggression of the dog in
check, and allows the officer to control how much
force the dog is using against a suspect.
A police dog must also make it through
endurance and agility training. The dog
must be able to jump over walls and climb
stairs. Each dog is acclimated to city life,
because a dog that's nervous around
people won't make a good police dog.
Many dogs are trained to search for
drugs, though some are bomb or gun
sniffers. Police dogs can also track
missing persons or suspects.
The History of Guide Dogs
The Guide Dogs story started in 1931 with two amazing
British pioneers, Muriel Crooke and Rosamund Bond. These
remarkable women organised the training of the first four
British guide dogs from a humble lock up garage in
We’ve come a very long way since those early days.
Today Guide Dogs is the world's largest breeder and trainer
of working dogs. And thanks to our dedicated staff and
volunteers – and your vital donations – we’ve helped over
29,000 people to achieve life-changing independence
The average working life of a guide dog is five to six years.
There are over 4,700 guide dog owners in the UK.
We are currently responsible for around 7,800 dogs.
We plan to produce 840 new guide dog partnerships in 2013.
We breed more than 1,300 guide dog pups each year.
The guide dog service receives no government funding and
depends entirely upon public support.
It costs £5 per day to support each working guide dog
The lifetime cost of a guide dog is around £50,000
So, how do you make a guide dog?
It doesn’t happen overnight. And it takes patience, time… and money. Did you know, for instance, that each guide
dog partnership involves 20 months of training, seven years of support – and costs around £50,000? You’ll find out
more about how it all works if you sponsor your own guide dog puppy, but for now, here are two interesting features
of guide dog puppy training:
We introduce the dogs to obstacles gradually, and teach them to navigate their way round. It can take a while to
master, but when the dogs get it right the trainer gives them lots of encouragement and maybe even a little treat!
They can't check the traffic lights!
It’s a popular misconception that a guide dog will know when to cross the road by waiting for the green light. In reality,
it’s a team effort – and not an easy task. On a standard kerb-to-kerb crossing known to the owner, the guide dog is
trained to stop at the edge, to indicate it has reached a crossing. The owner will listen for traffic, then, when he or she
decides it’s safe, give the command ‘Forward!’ However, the guide dog’s training teaches them NOT to obey the
command if a car’s coming.
0 to 6 weeks
Your tiny puppy is living with its mum and siblings in a Guide Dogs volunteer’s home. As well
as playing, exploring and napping, the puppy will go to our state of the art breeding centre
at six weeks for health checks and immunisations.
6 weeks to 4 months
Your puppy has now moved to its Puppy Walker’s home. During these crucial months, the
dog will start learning good manners and basic commands, such as ‘sit’ and ‘down’ – as well
as how to walk on the lead.
4 to 14 months
Your puppy is starting to get used to the area it lives in. It will learn how to negotiate flights
of stairs, busy shopping areas and various means of transport. It will also get used to being
around people and other dogs.
14 to 17 months
It’s time for guide dog training school. A professional guide dog trainer will introduce your
puppy to a special brown training harness. It’s also time to start learning guiding skills such
as dealing with kerbs and avoiding obstacles.
17 to 20 months
At this stage, a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor will start to pull all your puppy’s training
together, so that it learns to use guiding skills in everyday situations. They will also start the
matching process, finding a blind or partially sighted person who’s just right for your puppy.
20 to 22 months
Congratulations – you are the sponsor of a fully trained guide dog! He or she will now be
matched with a person with sight loss so they can get to know each other and start their
22 to 24 months
Your guide dog has changed a blind or partially sighted person’s life forever! It has now
settled into its new home and is practicing its regular routes. A Guide Dog Mobility
Instructor will keep visiting to check how it’s all going.
Two stray dogs in Afghanistan saved 50 American soldiers.
A Face book group raised $21,000 to bring the dogs back to
the US and reunite them with the soldiers.
Service dogs are trained to know when they are on duty.
When their harness is on, they know it’s business time.
When you take it off, the pups immediately become playful
Tiger Woods stuttered as a child and used to talk to his dog
until he fell asleep in an effort to get rid of it.
There is a dog-shaped building in New Zealand.