Labrador Retrievers are large, strong, fast, tireless, and obedient dogs. This makes them popular with active families. While some would assume that Retrievers are too gentle for police work, this is not true.
Can Labradors Be Police Dogs?
Labrador Retrievers are commonly used by police departments in the United States and many other countries. They can do everything from detecting drugs and explosives to rescuing victims of natural disasters. The dogs are intelligent and obedient, so you can seemingly train them to do anything.
The high energy of Labrador Retrievers is one of the best things about them. Some breeds of dogs are not useful for police work because they tire too easily.
I used to train police dogs, and Labrador Retrievers are one of the best breeds. You can train them to do a wide variety of tasks useful to police forces.
What Do Police Dogs Do?
Police dogs are best known for tracking people down, using their sense of smell to detect illegal items, and attacking dangerous suspects. They can also search through miles of wilderness to find a missing person or look for the bodies of people that are already dead. When a natural disaster occurs, police dogs can search through rubble and save lives.
Why Are Labradors Good Police Dogs?
They are large and obedient dogs that can be trained to be aggressive when necessary. For example, in India, it is normal to use Labradors as police dogs. They can be very gentle, but they don’t have to be taught to be.
Labradors and their Capabilities
A Labrador retriever was originally a hunting dog that would help hunters find birds they shot plus find game. They have an exceptional sense of smell for this purpose. Their sense of smell is useful to the police because they can be used to find weapons, bombs, narcotics, or people.
Labrador Retrievers Are Athletic Dogs
Labrador Retrievers are strong, tireless, and athletic, which makes them great working dogs, including working for the police. They are very agile despite their large size, so they can get through small spaces that a human could not.
Labrador retrievers are great swimmers and can use their tails to help them steer when they swim. Their fur is also very water-resistant, so they don’t mind the water. They are large but not exceptionally large dogs (55 to 80 pounds).
All of these things make Labrador retrievers popular with police departments. They were bred to be hunting dogs, and hunting dogs make good police dogs.
Labrador Retrievers Are Fast and Tireless
More than anything else, Labrador Retrievers are fast. Their shoulders and legs are strong, so they can move quickly like a good police dog should. They are also energetic and can work for a long time without becoming exhausted.
As well as police work, labs are found in airports and used as search and rescue dogs. Sometimes, when an earthquake happens, people are trapped in collapsed buildings but still alive. Labradors can be trained to find these people before it’s too late.
Labrador retrievers are also good police dogs and rescue dogs because they love working. If you have a Labrador retriever, you need to make sure it gets enough physical and mental stimulation – otherwise, it becomes restless. They love working, so they are very satisfied as police dogs and other working dogs.
How Long Do Police Labrador Retrievers Work For?
Labrador retrievers that work for the police may work for as much as six or nine years, often much more than half of their 10-12 year lifespan. The officer who works with a police dog is responsible for caring for it and makes decisions about its health.
Do a Lot of Police Departments Use Labrador Retrievers?
Yes, they are commonly and not just occasionally used by police departments. The Labrador Retriever is one of the most common breeds of police dogs. They are not as popular as German Shepherds, but they are still popular.
What Breeds Make the Best Police Dogs?
There are more than ten breeds that police forces commonly use. Some other common breeds other than Labradors are:
- Bloodhounds are the original police dogs, the first to be regularly trained and used by police forces. They are known for their sense of smell and exceptional tracking abilities. Bloodhounds can either find lost children or catch suspects and are still commonly used by police forces in the United States.
- Fully trained American Pit Bull Terriers are much cheaper than fully trained German Shepherds. Pit bulls have a bad reputation, but they are still useful to police forces. They can make excellent narcotics/explosives detector dogs.
- Beagles are small dogs that search for drugs and other illegal items in airports. Their small size is an advantage. They can easily move around on conveyor belts or inside baggage holds.
- German Short Haired Pointers have excellent tracking abilities, similar to Bloodhounds. They are obedient, likable, unaggressive, and want to do a good job and be rewarded.
- Doberman Pinschers are much less common as police dogs than they were fifty years ago, but some police forces still have them. They are almost too intelligent for the job because they think before they act. Sometimes, they hesitate before carrying out a dangerous order, such as attacking a suspect.
- German Shepherds are more popular with police departments than any other breed of dog. They are very brave and won’t hesitate to attack an armed suspect if they are ordered to do this. They are also good at tracking, detecting drugs, and rescuing victims in emergencies.
- Boxers are rarely used by American police departments but are common in Germany and many other European countries. They are intelligent and were used in both world wars.
- Dutch Shepherds are also popular in Europe but not in the United States. They learn fast and help patrol narrow streets and detect illegal items.
- The Bouvier des Flandres was originally a Belgian farm dog. After it was found useful in WWI, it became a popular police dog in many European countries.
- The Belgian Malinois is similar to a German Sheperd and just as useful for police work. They react instantly, can detect narcotics and bombs, and can track down people fleeing on foot.
Other Jobs Labrador Retrievers Do
Because of their intelligence, trainability, obedience, empathy, and trustworthiness, Labrador retrievers also make great service dogs. Service dogs help people with disabilities and problems. Labrador retrievers can help people in the following ways:
- They are guide dogs for the blind. Since they are trainable, alert, and loyal, they can help blind people move around and do things outside and inside safely.
- Labrador retrievers are good therapy dogs. When someone is suffering from depression, anxiety, loneliness, or trauma, a dog, including a Labrador Retriever, can help them.
- They make good medical alert dogs. If someone has seizures, the dog can detect the seizure and call for help. The dog can also notice, with its sense of smell, that a person’s blood sugar is too high or too low.
Not every dog can be a service dog. A dog may not be able to do the job well enough to pass its tests. In that case, they are put up for adoption and become ordinary pets.