Police and Law Enforcement Dog Roles


Police and Law Enforcement Dog Roles; Although many people consider it to be a fairly new concept, the fact of the matter is that dogs have been used in one form of law enforcement or another for a great many years. Even as far back as the 1800’s dogs were often used for their tracking abilities to assist law enforcement in finding and apprehending outlaws and escaped prisoners.

While times have changed drastically from the 1800’s, the role of the police dog is still relatively the same in regards to tracking and apprehending fugitives. There are new duties of law enforcement or K-9 dogs today as well however. Some common duties of dogs used in police or law enforcement fields may include the following jobs:

·      Search and rescue

·      Bomb detection

·      Drug detection

·      Accelerant detection

·      Cadaver detection

While these are just some of the jobs that are entrusted to K-9 officers they are some of the most common.


The German Shepherd is the most common dog used in law enforcement because they are so readily available. There are however several other breeds that are also used as well. Other breeds that might be used for K-9 purposes include Rottweiler’s, Pit Bull’s, Doberman Pinscher’s and various breeds of Terriers.

Because every breed of dog has different abilities, different breeds are used for different jobs even within the law enforcement field. For example, a German Shepherd is more likely to be used for its tracking abilities while a Doberman Pinscher would make a more effective choice for specific attacks. Dogs used for K-9 units are started at an early age and like-wise retired at an early age with their entire working life being only between 6 and 9 years. If a law enforcement dog is killed while performing law enforcement duties it receives the same honors that would be bestowed upon any human law enforcement officer as well. All decisions concerning a police dog are made by its handler or human partner.

Dogs are used as part of the police force in a great many different countries including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia and China just to name a few. One of the reasons that this practice was begun was to rein in out of control crime in places where there simply wasn’t a large enough human police presence.

In order for a dog to be a good candidate for law enforcement employment there are some characteristics that it simply must possess. These characteristics include a highly developed sense of smell, an aggressive behavior, strength, agility and above all obedience. There have been many different police dogs over the years and some have even received national recognition for the work they have done. This just goes to show that humans are not the only ones that are working hard every day to keep our streets safe from criminal activity.

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Based in Toronto Canada, Animal Rights Advocate and Relentless Volunteer!

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