8 February 2023
The German Shepherd is the breed perhaps most used by police forces around the world. Its capacity for work is remarkable, and it has proven itself time after time in a range of operational settings as far back as the late 1800s. Be it public order, tracking, or apprehension, the German Shepherd excels in whatever it does and is perhaps the ideal police dog.
Two of the reasons for its success is its above average intelligence and high trainability. The German Shepherd was developed to protect as well as herd large flocks of sheep, often without a handler’s supervision or direction. As such, the breed evolved to be highly intelligent and adaptable. In human terms, the German Shepherd possesses uncanny problem solving abilities. When paired with an incentive such as praise, food, or a favoured toy, the German Shepherd can be trained to perform almost any task. Their intelligence means they learn quicker than most breeds, and also retain the associations they develop in training.
Along with their intelligence, German Shepherds often have seemingly endless energy until they reach their middle-age. When trained, such dogs’ energy levels manifest as a high work drive. This willingness to work means that German Shepherds can be employed for hours on end without tiring. Their energy and work drive makes German Shepherds natural and almost unparalleled candidates for the operational rigours of policing.
In addition to their intelligence and trainability, German Shepherds tend to be highly protective with a strong prey drive and ferocious bite. This makes them well suited to protection and public order work. In fact, their reputation often means that the presence of a German Shepherd is enough to allow officers to defuse a situation without releasing their dog.
German Shepherds thrive when given a job, and policing is an area they have shone in since the breed’s earliest years well over a century ago. We are confident that in a hundred years from now, they will still be setting the standard for what it means to be an effective police dog.