There are some situations where an officer has to go to search for a criminal or drugs but those spaces are so narrow that a man cannot enter or human senses cannot sense those things. German Shepherd works as a strong barrier between the police officer and a criminal. It is strong enough to defend his handler and stop the bad guy.

For such purposes, a German Shepherd dog is trained as a police dog to assist a police officer and make his life easier. Police Officer’s life is not easy at all. A police officer has to face the dangers of life and death daily. This makes the life of a police officer so unpredictable and risky. Although a police officer is also equipped with defense tools like a gun, pistol, taser, or baton, sometimes these are not enough.

German Shepherd as a Police Dog

German Shepherd As Police Dog

German Shepherds have different natures like humans which makes it easy for a police officer to choose a German Shepherd that matches his personality well. It is not an easy task and the process takes several weeks to match a police officer with his required German Shepherd.

A German Shepherd has been seen in several movies working as a police dog, chasing the criminals, detecting the crime spots, sniffing the drugs, and guarding the police officers. It’s been 100 years that a German Shepherd has been used as a Police dog.

Why a German Shepherd?

People do often wonder why a German Shepherd is used as a police dog? What are the characteristics that make a German Shepherd eligible, appropriate, and most suitable to be trained as a police dog?

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First and the foremost thing is the large and giant size of a German Shepherd that is enough to horrify a criminal. The strong and muscular body of a German Shepherd is an indicator of its internal strength and power.

Secondly, German Shepherds are famous for their excellent work and stay calm under pressure. They are the most intelligent, sharp, and trainable dogs. They love to work and can do extremely good work in high-stress situations.


History of German Shepherds as Police Dogs

German Shepherds has its deep roots as a police dog, right from its beginning in the 19th century when a Germany Army Veteran, Max Von Stephanitz decided to train a wolf-like dog as a working dog for military and police.

In the year 1910, Stephanitz started visiting the German Police departments to find out if they were interested in using these dogs for work as police dogs. Many of these departments tested the dogs for detection, protection, and tracking and the results were massively successful.

German Shepherd appeared as a military dog for the first time in World War 1. It worked there as a supply carrier, Red Cross dog, messenger, and guard, and the WW1 became the reason for the popularity of German Shepherd as a military and police dog in the world.

After that, many soldiers took German Shepherd along with them to their native lands and started training German Shepherds on their own. Rin Tin Tin was a famous dog that was taken home after the war, got trained, and was used in the silent movies. Later on, it became a famous police dog for movies and TV.

After WW1, in the 1920s and 1930s, the GSDs emerged on the face of the earth with stronger characteristics of a police dog.

Traits of a Police Dog

The police department itself is very sensitive as it deals with the sensitive issues of society. The dogs used to assist the Police officers as police dogs also need to have some specific traits and features that make them strong enough to fight against a strong enemy and a ruthless criminal. Some of the major traits of a Police dog are;

  • They are obedient and loyal. They follow every instruction and commandment of their handler and never say “NO”.
  • They need to be strong and bold enough to stop a criminal but not too big to control.
  • They must be persistent and not getting bored with the given task.
  • They should be smart and intelligent to learn things quickly.
  • They must have an even temperament. Not too shy and not too aggressive.
  • They must not be bitting common people and spreading fear.
  • They must have an athletic and muscular body.

GSD Traits as a Police Dog

A German Shepherd possesses all those traits that are required for a police dog to have. These traits are like;

  • German Shepherds have a natural tendency of being loyal and obedient to their handlers. They get attached to the handlers and are ready to do anything to please them. German Shepherds are ready to follow the instructions of their handlers in any situation.
  • German Shepherds are the most consistent dogs who love their work. They keep on doing the work assigned to them and do not leave it until they get a signal from their handler that their job is completed.
  • German Shepherds are the most intelligent, smart, sharp, and obedient dogs. They can be trained for the most complex tasks related to tracking and detection of criminals and crime spots, and sniffing of drugs or explosives, etc.
  • German Shepherds are also very brave. They can work in high-stress and chaotic situations. They do not panic even in the worst situation, do not run away from the danger spot, and wait for their handler to give commands.
  • German Shepherds are strong, tall, energetic, and athletic. They can run fast, chase the criminals, and take them down easily.
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How Police Dogs are chosen?

Being consistent and persistent towards the given task is one of the major traits of a police dog that can be easily checked. In addition to intellect, strength, obedience, and loyalty, consistency is something that makes a dog eligible for becoming a police dog.

The breeders and the trainers start selecting a dog for training when a puppy gets 6 weeks old. It is the best time when a dog can be trained.

All of the German Shepherds are not suitable to be trained as a police dog. There is a technique that the trainers use to select the puppies to train as a police dog.

Roll a ball under the couch and let the puppy search for it naturally. Different puppies will respond differently to this situation.

Some puppies will lose interest in this activity and will give up to get a new activity.

The puppies with high prey drive will remain persistent and will not give up easily. They will be focused on their target and will try hard to achieve it. These are the puppies that are most suitable to be trained as a police dog.

How long does it take to train a Police Dog?

Training a German Shepherd as a Police dog is a complex task and takes time. The time of training varies for different dogs. Some dogs that reach the police departments are already trained as a guard and protector. These dogs take less time for training as compared to dogs without any training.

The basic foundational training takes several weeks. The police departments training a dog for tracking and detection of explosive materials and drugs can take up to 3 to 4 weeks. During this period, a dog is trained to search, rescue, attack, track, detect, and follow the commands.

After the initial training, a schedule is set for regular ongoing training to enhance and sharpen the skills of a police dog.

How much does a police dog cost?

A German Shepherd that is most suitable to get trained as a police dog can cost around $8000 to $11000. This price is exclusive of the training cost. Training a German Shepherd as a police dog can cost up to $12000 to $15000. This makes a total of $20000 to $25000 for getting the most suitable German Shepherd trained as a police dog.

Dr. Annie Spencer

Annie Spencer is a certified Dog Health Expert Veterinarian and holds a masters degree in Dog Emotion & Cognition from the Duke University, USA. She owns a private clinic and shares knowledge of her 30+ year experience at - helping worldwide people with their queries and recommending them with best dog health care products to purchase.