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 Rottweilers, 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.

Do you neuter and or spay police dogs?
Females are normally always spayed because of their heat cycles and for medical benefits. Males may also often be neutered for medical or behavioral reasons.

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 general budget.

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 stabproof (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 testing criteria.

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.

**Facts/question information taken from nationalpolicedogfoundation.org.


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