Using Police Dogs to Catch Criminals

When many people think of a police dog, they envision a hulking breed that’s ready to bite criminals on a whim. However, did you know that even a beagle can become part of a K9 unit?

The most important prerequisite for a police dog is not breed, but rather the ability to follow commands and move in sync with their handler.  In order to qualify for a K9 unit, a police dog has to undergo rigorous training, during which they must successfully demonstrate how they will react in emergency situations.

In addition to different types of breeds, canine units are also used for a variety of tasks, including but not limited to, missing person’s searches, DUI drug investigations and even routine traffic stops.

Common Breeds

The most common breed of dog that is used by police forces around the world is the German shepherd. They are known for their loyalty, ability to follow commands and alert nature.

However, other dog breeds can also be trained for K-9 units. For example, the Belgian Malinois is also a very common police dog breed; it’s very similar in appearance to the German shepherd. There are many different dog breeds that can be trained for search and rescue, including Labrador retrievers, pointers, giant schnauzers and bloodhounds.


The training that police dogs have to undergo is very intense. After all, if the dog is not able to listen to their handler 100% of the time during training, then they are not suitable for police work; an unreliable dog would be a liability to the force in terms of public safety. They have to be able to differentiate between the general public and a foe. Just like their human counterparts, not all dogs are cut out to be on a canine unit.


The duties of a police dog vary according to what their training entailed. For instance, while most people are aware of what a search and rescue dog does, the knowledge of other police dogs isn’t nearly as widespread. In addition to aiding in missing person searches, a police dog can also be used to detect the presence of drugs and explosives, aid in arson cases and in the recovery of deceased persons. Each dog is trained in a specific area, such as arson, cadaver-detection, or search and rescue; this allows them to become extremely good at what they do.


After police dogs spend three years on the force, they are then retired. Most of the time, their handler is given the option to take them home. However, some police dogs are adopted out instead. It takes a special owner to be able to handle a canine with police training. This is one of the primary reasons why their handler is given the first option to give them a forever home.