A police dog is a dog that is specifically trained to assist law enforcement personnel.    Police dogs are commonly called police K-9s.  They are very impressive animals and come from generations of dogs bred to specially perform the task that they are required to accomplish.  They have a variety of duties which include personal protection, searching for and detection of drugs, article searches, searching for explosives, tracking, finding crime scene evidence, cadaver detection (finding human remains), and apprehension.

K-9s used in law enforcement are trained to be either single purpose, which means that they only have one job to perform or dual purpose, which means they are trained to perform a variety of jobs.   Single purpose dogs are primarily use for article searches, apprehension, tracking, drug detection or explosive detection.    Dual purpose K-9s are trained to do everything a single purpose dog can do but also detect explosives or narcotics.   So, a K-9 can be trained to just do one thing such as detect explosives, or multiple jobs such as tracking, apprehension, article search and drug detection.

Being a working police K-9 is not something every breed of dog can do but there are a few specific breeds that excel as police K-9s.    These breeds are known for their incredible working ability and their desire to cooperate with their handlers.  Some of the most common breeds used for police work and their most common purpose are:

-German Shepherd Dogs (protection, apprehension, cadaver detection, human remains, drug detection, article searches, tracking)

– Belgian Malinois (protection, apprehension, cadaver detection, drug detection, article searches and tracking)

-Groenendael  (protection, apprehension, cadaver detection, drug detection, article searches and tracking)

-Belgian Trevuren (protection, apprehension, cadaver detection, drug detection, article searches and tracking)

-Labrador Retriever (tracking, article search, drug detection and explosive detection)

-Beagle (drug detection, explosive detection)

-Bloodhound (explosive detection, drug detection, tracking)

-Rottweiler (protection, apprehension)

-Bassett Hound (explosive detection, drug detection)

Most K-9s are not trained in English, but are trained in Dutch, German or Czech.  This is not to confuse people or keep the “bad guys” from giving them commands, but it is a nod of honor to use the language of the country these dogs originated in.

Police K-9s are very special dogs and not only deserve our admiration, but also our respect for all the wonderful work they do.