Popular Police Dog Breeds And Why: German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois

Simon Alvarez - Author

Sep. 8 2018, Updated 10:51 a.m. ET

When it comes to police dogs, the law seems to have its favorites. The American Kennel Club specifies three major skills dogs should excel in to become a police dog: apprehension, detection, and rescue. When it comes to those skills, law officers’ breeds of choice are the German Shepherds and the Belgian Malinois.

The German Shepherd is the breed that most identifies as a working canine. It has come to the point where the German Shepherd is almost synonymous with the word “police dog.” This breed is popular with law enforcement for a reason. German Shepherds were specially bred to be the perfect police or military dog in the 19th century by Captain Max von Stephanitz, as per Vet Street. The Captain seems to have succeeded in his quest when he bred the German Shepherd.

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This breed is intelligent, athletic, and versatile. German Shepherds can perform many different and challenging tasks for their handlers as well as stay focused for as long as it is necessary. They have good stamina and can perform their duties for long periods of time. Regarding temperament, these dogs are bred with nerves of steel and with the ability to stay calm in tense situations, reported The Daily Shep. German Shepherds also have protective instincts and are loyal. As such, handlers bond with them quickly and can trust their furry companions fully.

Then there is the Belgian Malinois. This breed of police dog is not as well-known as the German Shepherd. However, the Belgian Malinois seems to be the favorite breed for the Transportation Security Administration or TSA. This breed can usually be found at train and subway stations.

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The Belgian Malinois was first seen in the late 1800s and is a type of Belgian Sheepdog, stated DogTime. Initially, Belgian Sheepdogs were farm dogs. However, as the population of sheep decreased in the country, people started entering their Belgian Sheepdogs in field trials which tested their dogs’ intelligence, obedience, and loyalty. Around the same time, Belgian Shepherds were also trained to be guard dogs for the Belgian police. By the 1920s and ’30s, Belgian Malinois and Groenendaels were being exported to other countries like the United States and Canada.

The Belgian Malinois has the same qualities as the German Shepherd. Much like their German counterpart, Malinois are intelligent, athletic, and also have protective instincts. They perform the same tasks as German shepherds and form the same kind of bonds with their handlers. Malinois also have a keen sense of smell which is why the TSA often uses them to sniff out drugs or bombs at airports.

When it comes to the perfect police dog, the German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois top the list for a reason. It’s undeniable that these breeds are bred for the task.


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