Law Enforcement

The traditional patrol dog in America is a
“find and bite” dog which finds suspects by tracking or searching and bites and holds them.
These dog teams form the bulk of law enforcement dogs today, but many have expanded their talents to include the location of evidence items as well as suspects.

Many law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, SWAT teams to local fire departments, are cross training dogs to be detector dogs, similar to the dogs used by the Homeland Security in airports which locate drugs or other contraband. Cross training is an excellent use of resources, but not all dogs are capable of being trained for patrol work or make good detector dogs. Although this type of dog may seem to be nothing but a liability to some law enforcement agencies, it is the dog that prevents injuries to officers when apprehending a dangerous subject. The best control of liability is the wise choice of the dog, training program, and, most of all, a handler who will properly train and utilize the dog so that it does not become a liability. A police dog will only reflect the personality of the handler who trains him because the handler provides leadership for the dog. An aggressive, insecure handler will end up with an aggressive and volatile dog, and the confident, considerate officer will have a friendly and controllable dog.

Most law enforcement agencies do not like to train a dog that is younger than 10 months old. Even though a dog might start to show exceptional qualities and score high on a pretest, the lack of concentration of younger dogs is hard for handlers to manage. By the same token, agencies do not like to start training a dog that is too old�older than 2 1/2 years. There are exceptions if a dog has had prior training, or is truly exceptional.

Popular Law Enforcement Breeds

  • Many departments employ dogs which specialize in scent work such as tracking, so Bloodhounds set the standard as tracking dogs.
  • There is also reduced liability with the lack of protection training, and breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, which are perceived by the public to be less threatening.
  • German and Dutch Shepherds
  • Dutch and Belgian Malinois
  • Rottweilers
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • American Pit-bulls, Golden Retrievers and Labradors are not seen often, but are excellent for narcotics, bomb, cadaver and accelerant work. They should not be overlooked for that type of specialty.

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