Everyone knows that German Shepherds are excellent police dogs. When someone mentions dogs and law enforcement work, although there are many other dog breeds working with police, the fact is that most of us get a picture of a GSD as a K-9 officer.
While growing up, my family loved watching a European TV series called Inspector Rex, which follows the German Shepherd police dog named Rex and his partners as they work together to solve the crime. I loved it, and to this day, Rex is the staple name for any German Shepherd I encounter.
It is estimated that roughly around 50,000 German Shepherds work in all kinds of police and military forces all over the USA. Many of them have received the greatest honors possible, and are truly seen as K-9 heroes.
Today, we’re doing our little investigation and solving the mystery of “why are German Shepherds good police dogs?” Stay tuned because you surely don’t want to miss our K-9 reasons that solved the case.
Why Are German Shepherds Used As Police Dogs?
German Shepherds have a long history of working as police dogs. Their creator and breeder, Max von Stephanitz, who was a German army veteran himself, soon realized that these dogs are perfect for this kind of job. The rest, as they say, is history.
There are many reasons why these pups are excellent police officers, but we’ve managed to highlight the most important qualities that make this breed as awesome as it is.
K-1. They Have An Extraordinary Work Ethic
German Shepherds are well-known as all-purpose working dogs due to their extraordinary work ethic. They are a large, agile, and muscular dog breed that has the ability to quickly learn commands for many tasks, and an eagerness to quickly and accurately follow orders.
Initially, they were bred to be working dogs, herding sheep and protect flocks from predators. They wanted a multi-purpose breed that could be an amazing defender and protector, and at the same time, a great companion dog that is capable of love and playing with children.
They simply love to work, and will not stop either until the job is done or their handler orders them to stop.
K-2. They Are Very Talented And Intelligent
German Shepherds are among the top three smartest dog breeds in the world. They are highly intelligent, and quick to learn new tricks due to their quick and retentive memory. This helps them easily remember new keywords and commands taught by their owner or a handler.
They are highly intelligent by nature; however, with a little bit of dog training that includes, for example, agility and nosework, they can be even smarter.
K-3. They Are Extremely Versatile
When documenting the creation of the breed, Stephanitz wrote, “utility is the true criterion of beauty”, and this is exactly what describes this breed of dog the best.
Since they are highly intelligent, they can easily be trained to perform various complex tasks such as drug or explosive sniffing, search and rescue, tracking, detecting, and many other law enforcement tasks.
K-4. They Are Very Loyal
One of the most honorable German Shepherd qualities is their immense loyalty to their owner or a handler, which makes them the perfect candidate for a canine police dog.
These dogs make a very strong bond with their owner, and would do anything for them. Usually, they can be aloof with strangers, but very gentle and loving with their family members. This kind of loyalty makes them a great team member, and a part of the law enforcement pack.
There are many heroic stories, which testify to the loyalty of these dogs. GSDs are truly incredible dogs, and if you, too, want to be in awe of them, I recommend watching the story of a hero police dog called Finn.
K-5. They Are Highly Trainable
Due to their high intelligence and obedience, German Shepherds are very easy to train. They are one of the most trainable dogs in the entire canine world because they learn easily and quickly retain lessons.
This is one of the main reasons why they excel in many jobs, from service to police work.
K-6. They Are Even Tempered And Calm
German Shepherds have a wonderful temperament, and are capable of being very calm even in very stressful situations. One of the aspects of the GSD breed standard is their quality to “keep their head” and stay calm in high-stress and chaotic scenarios.
They have exceptionally calm nerves, and will follow their handler’s commands and stay calm and collected, even through complicated, dangerous police actions, and high-profile cases.
K-7. They Are Natural Protectors
Protecting the ones they love is in the German Shepherd’s blood. Since they were bred to herd and protect the flock, they also have a natural instinct to protect their pack. This also means that they assertively stand their ground and guard their home and loved ones with their life.
If they notice that their partner is in danger, they will do everything in their power to prevent something bad from happening. This is why they are able to be devoted military and police dogs.
K-8. They Are Very Athletic And Strong
Human police officers undergo great training in order to be able to work for law enforcement. The same goes for K-9 dogs. Unlike other breeds of dogs, German Shepherds can work long, hard hours without getting tired due to their strength, athletic ability, and abundance of energy.
They are very fast, big, and powerful dogs with great stamina, and they simply excel at taking down criminals. With a bite force of 238 PSI and great agility skills, it is quite obvious why they are often used for catching bad guys.
K-9. They Are Courageous
The last, but definitely not the least German Shepherd quality that we have to mention is their courage. With their great physical strength and outstanding bravery, they don’t give up easily, and they will do anything in order to do the job correctly and to protect.
They are known for being fearless and very self-confident. This is exactly how a police dog needs to behave, especially during tough times; for example, war, earthquakes, landslides, and floods.
Read the story of how a courageous German Shepherd saved a 6-year-old boy from a potential dog attack here.
Other K-9 Dog Breeds
Although they might be the most famous police dogs in the world, German Shepherds are not the only dog breed used for law enforcement and military work. Here is the list of other amazing dogs that once served or still serve for the greater good.
- Belgian Malinois – These dogs are closely related to German Shepherds, and they have been bred to work and only work. In recent years, they have become a very popular choice for police work.
- Bloodhounds – These dogs have the best nose in canine history, and are the ultimate tracking dogs.
- Labrador Retrievers – They are highly trainable, eager to please, and efficient. They make excellent detection dogs.
- Doberman Pinschers – These dogs make excellent guard dogs, and are very responsive to commands. With intimidating looks and high intelligence, they are a very obvious choice for a police dog.
- Dutch Retrievers – They are highly athletic, intelligent, and loyal working dogs that are often used for tracking, search and rescue, and other police work.
- Giant Schnauzers – Due to their loyalty, intelligence, and robustness, they are excellent guard dogs, and are therefore perfect for police work.
- Boxers – They are obedient, eager to please, patient, and great guard dogs. They are commonly used as police dogs in Europe and in their homeland, Germany.
- Rottweilers – They are loyal, devoted, strong, and powerful dogs that are usually used as guard dogs and for search and rescue missions.
Recommended reading: Cuteness Overload: A K9 Officer Poses In His Uniform For His Official Portrait
German Shepherds are truly amazing dogs, and if we could, we would tell you all about their amazing and memorable stories, but there are so many of them that one article is simply not enough to fit them all.
Why are German Shepherds good police dogs? Well, it’s pretty simple. Their work ethic, talent, and natural abilities coupled with their intelligence, athleticism, loyalty, and courage make them the perfect match for police or military duty.
Dogs are truly amazing creatures, and a real gift from heaven. If you know how to treat them properly, they will be your loyal companion that will do anything for you and your safety. Keep that in mind.
Have you ever owned a German Shepherd? If yes, we would love to hear some of your stories about your best furry friend.