5 Common Dog Breeds Employed in K-9 Units

yellow lab police dog resting in grass

K-9 units are used all over the world. They do everything from explosive detection to search and rescue and more. While many breeds of dogs are used in K-9 units, they can be hand-picked for certain purposes. Here are a few common dog breeds employed in K-9 units:

1. Belgian Malinois

These pups are great guard dogs and are used all over the world in airports, government buildings, and on patrol. They are most commonly used to chase down perpetrators, track suspects, and identify drugs or explosives.

These dogs are bred to be extreme athletes and have replaced German Shepherds on some K-9 units because they tend to respond to positive or negative commands. They have also been known to withstand longer shifts.

While they may come across as mean or intimidating on the job, Belgian Malinois are also wonderful family dogs that will fiercely protect their pack and snuggle up with you at the end of the day.

2. Bloodhound

Bloodhounds are wonderful, calm guard dogs that also have an impeccable sense of smell. They are often used in bomb and drug detection, but are more commonly known for trailing and finding missing persons, suspects, and cadavers.

These pups are cool, calm, and collected under pressure. Their scent hound skills make them unbelievably determined and capable of finding the source of the scent. It’s often said their snout has a mind of its own!

3. Dutch Shepherd

Dutch Shepherds are another one of the common dog breeds employed in K-9 units. Similar to Belgian Malinois and German Shepherds, Dutch Shepherds are versatile, athletic, and intelligent dogs. They can be found working in detection, but are most commonly found chasing and catching suspects.

4. German Shepherd

This dog is the stereotypical “police dog” and often plays that part in film and television in addition to real life. They are most known for catching suspects and sniffing out drugs in airports. These pups are much more than what the movies portray.

German Shepherds are fiercely loyal dogs that will do anything for their coworkers and are constantly focused on the task at hand. They are serious, committed, and determined while on the job. At home, they are sweet, loving companions and are always happy to sit by your side.

5. Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Retrievers are known for being one of the friendliest dog breeds. Although they are one of the dog breeds that make the best service dogs, they are also one of the common dog breeds employed in K-9 units.

Labs are not usually used for apprehending suspects and are often used in detection. They can be found identifying explosives and narcotics, tracking down and discovering evidence while investigating a crime scene, and working in search and rescue capacities.

These are just a few of the common dog breeds employed in K-9 units. All dogs on K-9 units are working dogs that deserve our respect and our appreciation. As with service dog etiquette, be sure not to pet a police dog while they are working and try to be respectful of working handler and canine teams.