There are two breeds of dogs which are most commonly utilised in police work, namely the German shepherd and the Belgian malinois. With that being said, for many years, and indeed all around the world, the German shepherd has typically always been the most popular breed of police dog. In fact, the German shepherd has been used by a number of different national militaries, and they were prominent during World War I, World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars, especially by the American army, but also by the German army. This post delves a little deeper into why these breeds, and others, have become so popular in police work.
The First Law Enforcement Dogs
German shepherds were first used for crowd control measures during the 1950s. However, they received a lot of negative press, although many people feel they were simply portrayed in a poor light. With that being said, it was decided that if German shepherds were to continue being used for police work that they would require a far more sophisticated level of training. This basically involved ensuring that there was a great deal of understanding between the handler and the dog. The training process obviously worked extremely well, as still to this day, the German shepherd is the most popular dog used as police canines, and they are well known for their intelligence, loyalty, size, strength and strong work ethic.
The Belgian Malinois has become very popular in recent years as a police dog and admittedly they look like a smaller version of the German shepherd. The Belgian malinois was originally used for herding sheep and they were most commonly found in Holland. They are very well known for their speed, agility and high levels of endurance. They also happen to be extremely hard workers. The Belgian malinois breed is around 130 years old, compared to the 200 year old breed of the German shepherd, but the fact that they are so intelligent and very intense makes them perfect for police work and k9 dog security. Their reputation improves day after day and they are now used by a number of police forces and departments around the world.
The Labrador retriever is yet another popular dog for security, and is often used for police work. Labradors are extremely obedient, intelligent and show a high level of intensity. Admittedly, Labrador retrievers are known to be far less aggressive in nature than the other two breeds, which is probably why they are becoming popular in other types of security industries, which require dog breeds to be more passive. A prime example of this would be explosive or drug detection, which requires a dog to be far less aggressive, and a lot more intelligent. There is a specific form of training known as “passive alert”, which requires the dog to detect explosives, but needs the dog to remain non-aggressive. This is obviously because of the nature of explosives, as an aggressive dog around explosives could cause them to detonate. The Labrador retriever can also be taught “aggressive alert”, which is more commonly used to detect drugs, and requires the dog to scratch or bark if they come across an item which contains a specific narcotic they have been trained to find.
Alex McGil, the author of this article, works with, Queensland Security Solutions, a leading security company in Brisbane. He is an avid golfer and enjoys spending time at the links.