The Capabilities of Police Dogs


You need to be a special kind of person if you want to be a law enforcement officer. The same goes for police dogs where you also need a special kind of dog. Police dogs are formidable creatures that are specifically bred to carry out complicated tasks that are required from them. These tasks are not something that all dog breeds can do. It’s one of the reasons why only certain dog breeds are trained to be police dogs.

The most popular dog breeds trained as police dogs include the following:

  • German Shepherd Dogs
  • Dutch Shepherds
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Bloodhounds

These dog breeds are known to have the desire to work in cooperation with their handlers, an undeniable working ability, and in some instances, the determination to fight criminals. Some police dogs are single-purpose dogs, meaning their handlers only assign them one task to do. On the other hand, some are dual-purpose dogs, meaning their handlers train them to do a range of tasks. So, what are the capabilities of these dogs?

Police dogs can be trained to do three major tasks.

These include apprehension, detection, and search and rescue.

Apprehension
This is one of the most popular forms of discipline for police dogs. Handlers train these dogs to bite threatening suspects and keep them hostage. In most circumstances, they put their lives on the line by going against the armed suspect to protect their human handlers or partners.

Most dogs used for apprehension are herding breeds such as Dutch Shepherds, German Shepherd Dogs, and Belgian Malinois. For many years, these dogs are bred to have the intelligence and physical strength required to work with their owners to herd livestock. These are the same qualities they need to keep any person who is a threat restrained. In short, these dogs must be stable and can determine if someone is a threat as well as act solely on their handler’s command.

Detection
Dogs are creatures well-known for having an impressive sense of smell. Compared to humans who only have 5 million scent receptors in their noses, dogs have 225 million. Humans use this particular capability of dogs when it comes to fighting crimes. In terms of criminal activity, dogs are trained to detect various accelerants, drugs, explosives, and other crime scene objects of evidence.

These dogs can perform this particular task anywhere. However, you often find them searching large events for explosives, border entries and airports for illegal drugs and explosives, and civilian vehicles being pulled over. These dogs are also taught to detect landmines for the protection of personnel and their handlers from any danger.

Search and Rescue
One of the main roles of the police is to search for lost victims, whether they are missing and have gotten lost or those who have been kidnapped. When it comes to search and rescue cases, handlers can train dogs to find living victims as well as the remains of dead humans. They are capable of searching through rubble even after devastating disasters like earthquakes and explosions.

They can cover many miles of forest searching for someone buried after an avalanche or a lost hiker. They are even capable of locating drowned victims’ bodies underwater in lakes and oceans. Having the ability to cover large areas in a short time makes police dogs very helpful when searching for victims. Though human searchers have an irreplaceable role to play during these times, search and rescue dogs are capable of getting the job done with precision.