Military Dogs: Dogs can be many things, including man’s best friend, guide dog, companion dog, therapy dog, and numerous others. Like humans, some can be a part of a higher purpose, but certain breeds of dogs are not suited to work in law enforcement.
Certain breeds of dogs provide assistance and support to local police departments or national military organizations that enforce the law (bomb teams, police search, and rescue, etc.). Let’s look at the amazing breeds of dogs that help and defend more than their owners!
- History of Dogs in Law Enforcement
- Military & Police Dogs
- Other Law Enforcement Breeds
- Police Dogs Around the World
History of Dogs in Law Enforcement
Did you know that dog breeds have been employed by the police force of the government and military forces for over 100 years? Our beloved pets have protected society for decades now. In fact, the initial K9-related unit was established in London in 1889.
The first breed of dog to be employed in the K9 police department is The Bloodhound. With their amazing noses and the capability to detect distances of miles, they are truly amazing, right? In 1888 one of the most famous serial killers ever recorded was at large: Jack the Ripper.
Sir Charles Warren, the director of the London police department at the time, was criticized for not using Bloodhounds to assist in tracking the murderer. He caved in and hired two bloodhounds ( Burgho and Barnaby) to conduct simple tracking of the perpetrator at every murder scene.
However, prior to the 18th century, dog owners worked for the law even as early as the Medieval period.
Although the initial application of K9s wasn’t a success, it led some government agencies to take a more detailed examination of K9s as law enforcement officers. It was unfortunate that this did not bring about the capture of Jack the Ripper. At the point that the hounds were at full force and the notorious killer was dead, he was stopped in his rut.
Soon, countries like France, Germany, Belgium, and Austria began to train dogs for the K9 police force. Nowadays, tens of thousands of dogs around the globe assist in tackling criminality. Without the assistance of dogs, carrying out specific missions would be more difficult.
Military & Police Dogs
These are the most well-known police dog breeds that serve people from across the globe. Other breeds are used for police work in their native nations.
They are highly trained police dogs commonly referred to as K-9 as a homophone for “canine.” This term came from K-9, which was the name of the Department of Defense’s War Dog Program during World War II. At the time, they were known as the ” K-9 Corps.”
1. German Shepherd
Services: Military, Police K-9 Unit, Search & Rescue, Bomb Squad
German Shepherds are among the third-highest intelligent dog breed. With the sporty body and massive stature, muscular frame, and agility, they’ve been able to become the top choice for police dogs.
They not only possess amazing physical abilities to be excellent officers, but they’re also extremely adept at training and extremely loyal. Additionally, they are violent when they are needed.
They are Herding dog breeds typically employed in the police’s “K9 Unit,” as is known in English-speaking countries. The job they perform is comprised of many tasks.
German Shepherds are experts at searching as well as rescuing (missing or lost persons). They are also adept at detecting drugs or explosives, crime scene investigation, or even tracking down criminals in high-stress criminal pursuits.
These smart dogs, with confidence, master a variety of verbal signals along with movements that are specific to a task. They’re so revered that the mere act of trying to harm or cause death to them is an unjust crime in the majority of states.
2. Belgian Malinois
Services: Police K-9 Unit, Military, Navy Seal, Search & Rescue
The Belgian Malinois is the smaller version of the German Shepherd. It’s true that they’re far better at running in comparison to German Shepherd due to their smaller size.
But, they have several of the same physical and psychological characteristics as their bigger counterparts. Therefore, it’s not surprising that Malinois has become the most popular K-9 dog too.
In addition to the K-9 Unit, this fearless breed is now increasingly utilized by the military in operations of all types. For instance, in Cairo, the Belgian Malinois dubbed Cairo is an official military Working Dog (MWD) employed for the Seal Team Six of the Navy.
Cairo’s role was crucial in the destruction of the terrorist group Osama Bin Laden. It was so crucial that President Obama asked, ” I want to meet that dog.”
In the days of World War I, the Malinois was primarily employed for messengers as well as emergency dogs. Apart from military and police work and military operations, the Malinois can also be utilized for search and rescue as well as rehabilitation.
Services: Police K-9 Unit, Narcotics Detection, Search & Rescue
The Bloodhound isn’t a dog breed that you could easily imagine running alongside the German Shepherds or Belgian Malinois.
However, they play a specific function for law enforcement officers – following individuals as well as drugs (drugs). Their capability to identify a scent and track it for a long distance is what makes them so important dogs.
In reality, Bloodhounds have the most excellent smell in the dog world (along with Beagles and Basset Hounds). The nose can be 1000 times more effective than that of a human.
This type was the first one to be authorized by a police force to provide its services. The breed has worked in police custody since the year 1889. They were used to find Jack the Ripper in London.
Today, there are fewer bloodhounds in K9s; nevertheless, we are grateful to them for the current usage of police dogs.
Services: Military, K-9 Police, Guard Dogs, Search & Rescue
Rottweilers are very adaptable dogs in the service of their owners. The breed is known to be the perfect guard dog, and the Rottie is known to be awed by familiar faces; however, they are cautious and vigilant in the presence of strangers.
They are assured and trustworthy dogs. They are able to do everything. Due to this, Rottweilers are used today as police dogs, guard dogs, search and rescue, and military dogs.
Alongside their role in the U.S. military, Rottweilers have been known for being the top dog messengers. In the two World Wars, these dogs were deployed between bases to transmit crucial messages.
It’s not surprising that generals in the military decided to deploy Rottweilers instead of any other available dog breeds. They’re brave, loyal, and trustworthy!
Rottweilers are also among the 2nd most dangerous breed of dogs in the USA. If you’re curious about the breeds ranked higher than the others, check this out.
5. Doberman Pinscher
Services: K-9 Police, Protection, Security, Guide & Therapy
Doberman Pinschers are large muscular dogs with small frames and ears that are cropped. They are known for being tenaciously committed and respectful toward their masters, making them excellent guard dogs.
They’re also exceptionally intelligent dogs which makes them the fifth-highest-performing canine breed. With their brains and muscle, it’s a “no brainer” why these dogs were used in the past by police forces.
While it’s true that the Doberman used to be a well-known K-9 breed, they’re decreasing in popularity in K-9 police departments across the globe. They’re more than an everyday family dog in the present.
This is because they’re expensive to purchase compared to other police dogs with similar strength and intelligence as the German Shepherd.
6. Airedale Terrier
Services: K-9 Police, Protection Unit, Guard Dogs, Military
Airedale Terriers can be the biggest of all Terrier breeds, with a weight of up 70 pounds. While they’re loving and affectionate dogs, they’re also brave and intelligent.
They have a police-friendly disposition. Airedales have been employed as dogs for the police during their time in British forces of police. They’re actually hunter dogs here in America.
Due to their excellent intelligence, outstanding sense of smell, and strong wool coats, they made excellent K-9 dogs. Additionally, they were easy to keep.
These dogs were specially designed to target people who were not wearing police uniforms. The problem grew in the absence of police handlers’ duty.
Additionally, Airedale Terriers were amazing warfare canines to Great Britain during World War II. They performed various tasks such as Scouting and carrying military equipment.
Services: Military, Guard Dogs, Patrol Dogs, K-9 Police
The Boxer is among the most adaptable combat dog breeds Germany has ever encountered. During the two World Wars, they were used as efficient patrol dogs, guard dogs, and messengers for the military.
Boxers were developed from the working group for their role as all-purpose dogs. They were near perfect dogs for the military! They’re a diligent breed with excellent instinctive and adaptable dog intelligence.
A major part of what they did was the transportation of wires for communication between different groups during battle. They had wires connected to their collars, swiftly moving between other posts.
Boxers were heroes of the past in the war dog era. They’re now primarily family dogs as well as household dogs nowadays. However, there are some instances where police forces in Germany still use them. German Police force employs their dogs in certain cases.
They’re not as well-known in the law enforcement field, primarily due to health problems; however, they’re well-equipped dogs for extreme circumstances.
8. Rajapalayam Dog
Services: Police K-9, Guard Dogs, Border Security
It is believed that the Rajapalayam is an Indian sighthound that’s probably the most famous and well-known breed of dog in India. You might have noticed that they’re very popular with those in the Indian Police force.
They are massive and strong. Particularly they’re employed by the Border Security Force and the Central Reserve Police Force to protect and guard the boundaries of Kashmir. In addition, they dislike being touched by strangers, which makes them excellent for guarding.
Rajapalayams are great law enforcement dogs that have offered much more than hunting companionship. While Rajapalayams are excellent police dogs for local use but they’re not often employed as they are today. Indian police forces mostly use the German Shepherd and Doberman Pinschers at the state level today.
9. Bouvier des Flandres
Services: K-9 Police, Search & Rescue, War Dogs
Originating from Belgium and the Bouvier of Flandres was a mighty and massive dog that has served throughout Wars and the Police forces for many years. While they were designed as the all-purpose breed of a farm dog, they have evolved into various other breeds. Bouviers initially began their military careers in World War I.
They were involved in all kinds of things, from sending crucial warnings to taking ambulance litters. They were so involved in the war that many Bouviers died in the line of duty. In reality, they were close to extinction.
Following the First World War, organizations and groups started the effort to revitalize the species throughout France, Netherlands, and United States. After returning to their duty, Bouviers participated in the Second World War. After that, they nearly became extinct again!
10. Akita Inu
Services: K-9 Police Unit, Guard Dogs
The Akita Inu, also known as the nation’s dog in Japan, is the brave and guardian breed of dog currently employed by Japan’s Japanese security forces. The most well-known attribute of the breed is their loyalty to their handlers, which is unwavering. They’re sure to be loyal to their boss until the end.
They’re known as small, protective, territorial, and secure, making them great security dogs for families and police. Akitas are also extremely skilled at detecting danger or any other suspicious activity.
If they are properly trained with the right training, they become the top police dogs in Japan. They’re also known for their loyalty and trustworthiness, and they do extremely effectively together with handlers. Aside from Japan, Akitas aren’t as loved by law enforcement agencies. Perhaps, because of Japan as the leading example, we’ll begin to be seeing them more frequently across the globe.
11. Giant Schnauzer
Services: K-9 Police, Air Force, Search & Rescue
Giant Schnauzers-the largest of the three sizes are unique police and military working dogs. They’re also one of the breeds to be part of in the Air Force.
These massive dogs were utilized as working dogs by their owners in the Air Force back in the second World War. It was not until the late 1980s that they were reintroduced to the military.
According to Air Force Sgt. Kelly Webster, dogs are taught like recruits who are new to members of the Air Force. They are taught special skills such as smell detection as well as enclosure search as well as obedience training.
Even though they were of the Air Force, they weren’t thought to be appropriate for this type of job. They decided to attempt again following the end of the war. In the present, Brock is the only and the first giant Schnauzer to be a part of the Air Force in the next couple of years.
Other Law Enforcement Breeds
There are many dog breeds that are used in law enforcement and make up members of the military or police force. Different breeds of dogs might not be physically suited for field operations. However, they possess other capabilities.
These are other breeds of dogs that assist with law enforcement but not in the form of militaries or police K-9 teams. They deserve the same appreciation!
12. Labrador Retriever
Services: TSA, Bomb Squad, Search & Rescue
If there were an all-purpose dog, then the Labrador Retriever (commonly known as the “lab”) would be it. Labs are among the most sought-after breeds due to their easygoing and sociable nature.
They’re great for law enforcement because they are dog-like and obedient (ranked 7th for obedience and work intelligence). They’re mostly trained to track.
Although Labradors are very welcoming and wonderful for therapy and family members. However, they aren’t ideal guard dogs. There’s a reason they aren’t used as guard dogs! But, Labradors more than making the up-side by aiding blind people, tracking down bombs, and taking part in searches and rescues.
Based on the Summerville Police Department, Labs are generally employed to identify explosives or drugs through sniffing. They’ll physically rub or bark at the area where the bomb is.
Services: TSA, Bomb Squad, Sniffer Dog
When you think of military or police dogs, the Beagle isn’t the only breed of dog that comes to thoughts. They’re friendly and faithful breeds and are known for their long, droopy ears.
The Beagle is known to be one of the “dumbest” dog breeds. However, do you realize that they possess one of the most powerful senses to scent? They’re just smart in many other ways.
Due to their noses, Beagles have been used in numerous situations that need sniffing out illegal drugs in airports around the globe.
Within the United States alone, Beagles are responsible for confiscating more than 80,000 pounds of food items prohibited from being transported into the nation. Incredible work, dog!
Don’t let the absence of intimidation or the tiny size of Beagles cause you to believe that they’re not vital to various agencies throughout the world. They’re amazing dogs with huge hearts, and they also have an even larger nose, so to speak.
14. Dutch Shepherd
Services: Search & Rescue, Tracking, Security
It is said that the Dutch Shepherd is the German Shepherd, which is the counterpart of the Netherlands. They’re identical in dimensions and color, but they’re also different in distinct temperaments, which result in distinct roles in the Police force.
Dutch Shepherds were initially bred in rural regions as the ” all-purpose farm dog.” However, due to the size of their breed, intelligence, and athletic capabilities, they’re currently used as a suitable breed to be a better fit.
As per the American Dutch Shepherd Association, they are utilized for tracking, dog sports security, herding, and even within the police force. They aren’t the most popular breeds within Police forces, for instance, in K-9 Unit, but that does not mean that these dogs aren’t doing amazing work in other roles.
15. German Shorthaired Pointer
Services: DEA, Narcotics Tracking, TSA
The German Shorthaired Pointer (or GSP) was originally developed as an expert hunting dog with strong legs. They’re agile, quick, and adaptable on both water and land.
Affectionate by nature but extremely productive, the German Shorthaired is a great police dog but perhaps a little too friendly for the police force.
Presently, German Shorthaired Pointers are employed by specific law enforcement agencies across the globe. The world finally recognizes the greatness in them!
They are specialized in the detection of illicit substances and are frequently employed in the field of air transportation security (TSA). There are also GSP dogs working alongside detectives and tracking evidence at crime scenes.
16. Basset Hound
Services: Bomb Squad, Narcotics Tracking
It is believed that the Basset Hound is one of six basset-type breeds of dogs from France. Similar to the other breeds, the Basset Hound is a ” scent hound” and an extremely great one!
With their short legs and droopy ear, these hounds resemble the cross between the Beagle and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. But don’t let their snarky look fool you. They’re very skilled breeds.
At first sight, you recognize that this breed of dog isn’t athletic enough to compete with the German Shepherd. It likely has something in common with their small height. They’re more famous for their keen ability to smell. They specialize in monitoring “ground scents.”
Although they’re not as well-known as the Beagle (used worldwide), Basset Hounds are currently employed as explosives-tracking dogs in several nations. They’re also utilized to aid in drug tracking throughout France.
17. English Cocker Spaniel
Services: Firearms Tracking, Bomb Squad, TSA
The English Cocker Spaniel is one of the most adaptable dog breeds employed by law enforcement (outside military and police). They’re extremely athletic and are recognized because of the nose they sport. In several European countries, they can track criminal weapons and explosives to ensure the security of transportation.
One of the most exciting things that the English Cocker Spaniel can do is search for dirty cash during airport checkpoints. Also, they’re preventing money laundering. For instance, in the Milan Malpensa airport, the dog was able to identify the person who was carrying an unreported $40,000 suitcase.
If this isn’t enough for you, English Cocker Spaniels are learning to conduct CPR on human beings in Madrid. Due to their size and their eagerness for learning, it’s no surprise that they’ve performed well as multi-purpose dog breeds in police work. These are amazing dogs!
18. Springer Spaniel
Service: Bomb squad, Narcotics tracking Search & Rescue
The Springer Spaniel is an excellent professional breed and was created to serve as an all-purpose hunting pet. One of the best characteristics that can be found in Springers is their willingness to obey. Springer can be seen in their desire to please and obey their owners. They are an ideal dog for law police.
These dogs are small and compact compared to other dogs who work with law enforcement. They do have an extremely robust dry nose capable of monitoring various things.
Springer Spaniels are capable of using their noses to detect subtle changes in the wind and how their patterns shift to locate the desired target. It’s amazing stuff! This ability was particularly essential to hunt game. However, it’s now being utilized to stop criminals and save lives.
Police Dogs Around the World
It’s safe for us to say that nations across the globe trust in the K-9 system and that dogs can aid police tremendously. Here are some illustrations of how nations use their dogs.
- Australia Dogs aid in security at airports and are aiding the police.
- Belgium The Belgium dogs aid in detecting drugs, human remains, explosives, fire accelerants, and even people. After earthquakes, the dogs have proved particularly helpful when law enforcement agencies need to search through the rubble.
- Canada aid in evidence-gathering and locating suspects and/or people in a criminal investigation.
- Denmark The dogs are involved in criminal investigations by looking for biological evidence. They’re part of search and rescue teams and assist in patrolling for police. There are, however, only male German Shepherds in Denmark’s K-9 police department.
- Hong Kong – Police dogs assist by controlling crowds and search and rescue, detecting explosives and poisons.
- Netherlands -K-9 team in the Netherlands is focused on the detection of scents and the monitoring of explosives, firearms and human corpses, fire accelerants, and drugs.
- India-A special breed of trained dogs from India assists with border security in certain regions around India.
- Italy Italian dogs form an integral element of the department of explosives and anti-drug. They are also involved in search and rescue groups and are often seen patrolling the streets of certain Italian cities.
- Russia Dogs do more than aid officers in Russia. However, they also assist with specific tasks within the army. They’re frequently scouring for dangerous criminals when they are requested.
Here is one of many examples of how dogs help across the globe. In reality, there are numerous more countries that employ various breeds of dogs for various duties in police work.