Police Dog Facts

If you’re thinking about getting a working line German Shepherd, you might have police dog facts on your mind. Questions like, “How are police dogs trained,” may come up often, leaving you wondering what’s the difference between a pet dog and a K9. To help you better understand that difference, here’s a look at the answers to your questions about police dog training and so much more. 

K9 Dog Training

What is K9 short for? 

To put it quite simply, K9 is a play on the word canine. The CA sound was shorted to K and the 9 is from the word nine at the end. The term goes back to 1942 when the US Secretary of War, Robert P. Patterson, created the K-9 Corps. 

How does a dog become a K9? 

Working line German shepherds and other suitable breeds go from ordinary dogs to extraordinary K9s through a strict training program. Their training starts with basic obedience and increases in difficulty from there. 

What do K9 Dogs do?

Law enforcement duties for K9 dogs include finding missing people, tracking down criminals, and identifying the presence of drugs in any given area. Depending on their job location, they may also help detect explosives and locate evidence at crime scenes. 

How are K9 dogs trained?

Before starting their law enforcement career, K9 dogs go through a rigorous training program that starts with basic obedience. After that, they continue through 10 weeks of training that covers everything from learning hand signals to the detection of explosives and drugs.

What age K9 start training?

K9 dogs are hand selected by the breeder for their personality and drive, and then matched to their handler. They start training on basic obedience at eight weeks and continue through the intensive training program by six months of age. 

How much does it cost to train a K9?

Law enforcement agencies pay over $22,000 for a well-trained K9 dog. The patrol and detection training alone is at least $11,000 and not all dogs make it through the program. Training continues through the years, adding onto the initial cost. 

How long does it take to train a K9 dog?

The initial patrol and detection training for K9 dogs usually takes around four months, but it can take longer. After getting certified and heading out onto the job, these dogs get about eight hours of training for every 40 hours of work. 

How long do K9 dogs work?

After certification, K9 dogs work full-time, or at least eight hours a day, alongside their law enforcement handlers. They stay on the job until reaching around eight years of age unless they suffer a career-ending illness or injury before that point. 

Are K9 dogs male or female?

Both male and female dogs can excel in their K9 duties. The difference comes down to temperament and drive, not gender. While rearing the pups, experienced breeders can usually tell which dogs will have the right characteristics for the job, though it’s no guarantee. 

What are the best K9 success stories? 

Known for being frequent overachievers, German shepherds have long excelled in law enforcement, search and rescue, and in Hollywood. 

The most famous K9s in the law enforcement field includes: 

  • Cloud II: Canadian police dog who captured 123 fugitives and found many missing kids
  • Apollo: Searched for survivors at the World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks 
  • Bruno: Bravely sacrificed his life for his handler’s safety while chasing a suspect in California

As shown by these stories, law enforcement just wouldn’t be the same without K9s serving by their handlers’ sides. 

Now that you have your fill of police dog facts, start examining your life to see if a working line German shepherd might work well by your side.

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