If you’ve been to an airport, a big train station, or at a large public event, you’ve probably seen police officers with K-9 dogs. These dogs help the police maintain safety – both for the officers and for the people around them.


What does it take to be a police dog?


We don’t see just any dog working with the police. That’s because it takes a lot of training to learn the skills needed to work as part of a K-9 unit. Most of the time, only a handful of breeds are trained to work with police officers for a variety of tasks, like apprehending suspects, detecting drugs, or helping with search and rescue.1


The most common breeds we see working with the police are:

  • German Shepherds
  • Bloodhounds
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Dutch Shepherds
  • Labrador Retrievers1


These dogs usually are on duty for up to 9 years.2 They go through rigorous trainingand are usually divided into two different groups: Patrol or Detection.


Patrol dogs help with security in a specific area, help protect the officers they’re working with, and assist in apprehending suspects.2 They will bite the suspect and make sure they can’t go anywhere, so the human officers can arrest them. Usually, the best dogs for this kind of thing are herding dogs.1


Detection dogs are the ones who are trained to identify narcotics or explosives.2 They tend to be present in airports, at important events, and even will help with detecting substances in vehicles that have been pulled over. Those who work in the military will also be able to detect landmines to keep everyone safe.1


Police dogs are divided into another two groups: Single Purpose or Dual Purpose. The main difference here is if a dog has been trained for a single skill, like patrol or detection. Dual-purpose means they can do both.2


Both male and female dogs are trained to work with police. Training for these dogs can cost easily up to $15,000. They have to go through obedience and agility training, as well as learn the skills for their specialized area: tracking, searching for evidence, finding human bodies, and scent training.3


Dogs play amazing roles in helping humans accomplish tasks! Check out more information about herding dogs in our blog post here.

All the best,
Chris & the WERC Team

Sources & Further Reading:

  1. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/what-do-police-dogs-do/

  2. https://www.nationalpolicedogfoundation.org/about-k9s

  3. https://www.nationalpolicedogfoundation.org/faq