Why German Shepherd as police dog? GSD Colony blog post

Why Are German Shepherds Police Dogs? (Paws of Justice)

You notice that almost all police dogs are German Shepherds, and you probably ask yourself “why is it like that?”. The most popular dog breed among police officers is definitely the German Shepherd, and to discover the real answer to that question, we must travel back in time.

How did German Shepherd become police dogs?

If you didn’t know, Max Emil Friedrich has developed this wonderful dog breed in the late 1800s. The main reason for developing this dog breed was for herding sheep, protecting flocks from predators, and keeping the property and farm safe, but no one knows that German Shepherds will become soon one of the greatest dogs ever.

Their owners have been noticed that they are so dedicated to their work. Thanks to their high energy level and body structure, they can do their job almost all day, they can run faster than almost every dog at that time, and with their high intelligence, they can make the right decisions in a second, and with a little bit of hard work, they can easily communicate with their owners.

German Shepherd in World War I and World War II

Everything that has been noticed German army, and started using these dogs in World War I, and once again, German Shepherds surprises the whole world with their intelligence. 

In addition to the fact that Germany used German Shepherds as military (working) dogs, they start using German Shepherd as service dogs to protect and cure their wounded soldiers.

They were surprised how one dog can be so bonded to its owners, and basically give its life to protect humans. After World War I, they become even more popular, not only in Germany but around the world. Because of that, they are now one of the greatest dog breeds developed ever. 

Luckily, wars have been ended, but criminals weren’t. Because of their incredible ability, German Shepherds are now police dogs. 

German Shepherd as police dog

Now when we know the path of German Shepherd in which they have become trusted police dogs, we can now talk about details.

Let’s dive right in!

Reasons why German Shepherd is ideal police dogs.

As we mention in this post already, German Shepherds are smart, fast, and strong dogs that are loyal to their owners and loves to work.

Because of that, they are trained and used by police officers, the military, and other Special Forces, but that’s not everything. 

Here is a quick overview of why the German Shepherd is an ideal police dog. In this post we will talk about each reason, so continue reading this post to discover all secrets! 

  • High intelligence dog
  • Fast and athletic dog
  • Strong and powerful dog
  • Loyal dog
  • Strong nose
  • He can work for hours without getting tired
  • Easy to teach commands
  • Very obedient dog

How when we know the basic reasons why police officers use German Shepherds, let’s talk about details.

High Intelligence dog.

Did you know that the German Shepherd is the third most smart dog breed in the world? When you are a dog, and you can understand what human wants, without understanding one single word, you know that you’re special! 

Their mental capability is of a 2.5-year-old human child, and for dogs, that’s really impressive! As we better understand dog psychology, their mental capability will become better and better.

Police officers use their intelligence in many different ways. Usually, they use this dog to find hidden drugs and explosives, find missing people, find crime evidence, and in attacking people targeted by the police.

Fast and athletic dogs.

You notice that German Shepherds are big dogs, so they can’t run fast, right? Wrong. The top speed of GSD is around 30 mph (48km/h), and that’s pretty amazing for such a dog.

For example, the top speed ever reached by the man is 44.72 km/h (27.78 mph) by Usain Bolt. So if Usain Bolt can't outrun German Shepherd, trust us, you can’t also. If you are ever attacked by a German Shepherd, the worst solution is to try to escape by running, so don’t do that.

German Shepherds are also on the list of the most athletic dogs. They have strong muscles which will help them to always outperform their target or their competition.

Powerful dog breed.

Ah, those cute little teeth and their adorable smile… just kidding, you never want to feel their bite, trust us. On average, the bite of a German Shepherd can create pressure of 238 PSI (108 kg).

German Shepherd dog bite pressure

Our bite force is around 86 PSI (39 kg), which is around three times less than from German Shepherd. Also, they have different shapes and structures of teeth, and this is one of the reasons why their bites and be deadly dangerous. 

Besides their strong dog, their attack can be really painful. We had already mentioned that they can run up to almost 50 km/h. Imagine now, the police officer has been released the dog, you see an angry German Shepherd, running up to you with the speed of 45 km/h… you will be on the ground faster than you think.

Loyal dogs.

You may hear this a hundred times before, but until you don’t have a German Shepherd you can’t know how much this dog breed is loyal. They are ready to give their lives to protect others, and when we say that, we really mean that.

“Dog is the man’s best friend”. There is only one reason why this slogan is so popular, and it’s because it’s true. When you have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, you need to have a loyal friend by your side.

They always want and look on the way how to please their handlers. This sounds amazing, but in order to get such a wonderful partner, you must first earn their loyalty. They are also dogs, so you will probably see police officers how he is playing with his canine. 

They will do anything to protect their families and partners, and in this video, you can learn why police and military use this dog breed.

Strong nose.

If you didn’t see it personally, you had probably seen on some movie, video, or TV show how police officers use their canines to check packages at the airport, subways, school buses, etc.

German Shepherd is also used in the detection of bombs, drugs, guns, and when you compare this dog breed to other breeds, GSD ranks near the top in scenting ability.

We mention a couple of minutes ago that a German Shepherd can also be a service dog, and without their help, thousands of people would be remain lost, and probably dead. 

If you are lost, and the German Shepherd is looking for you, there is a chance that he will feel your smell from the distance of 2 miles (3.2 km) away, and if it’s windy, he can feel your smell from the distance of 10 miles (16km)!

And thanks to the 225 million scent receptors in the nose, the German Shepherd has one of the most “powerful” noses on the planet.

He can work for hours without getting tired.

This breed loves to work, and they are born for that. Unlike other high-energy dog breeds that enjoy most playtime, German Shepherd most enjoy it while he is working.

Maybe at first sounds weird and you think “who loves to work?”, but when you love your job, you will try to spend as much as possible time working.

K-9 unit usually spends their whole shift with their dogs. Of course, this doesn’t mean that they work every day, the whole day. When a neighborhood is calm, they usually patrol, train, helps, and teach other people.

Benign a part of the K-9 unit it’s not an easy job at all. They risk their own lives to protect ours, and we should respect that.

Easy to teach new commands.

Even they are dogs, you will be surprised how smart they are. Their intelligence surprises their handlers each day, and to achieve amazing results and teach your canine new commands, you need to be patient.

Some German Shepherds can understand a new command only after 5 repetitions, and for the dogs, that’s really impressive! Once he learns a new command, this isn’t the end. To keep your K-9 dog always ready for the actions, you need to practice commands each day.

If you’re worried that this is too much work for them, don’t worry. Their handlers are always the first ones who will stop training, because of the high energy level of German Shepherd.

Very obedient dog.

That is one of the most important reasons why German Shepherds are perfect K-9 dogs. Even if you’re didn’t train a lot in the last couple of days, he will still execute the command of the handler.

Obedience training it’s not a problem for them at all, they enjoy that! Everyone can train them with no experience, you just need to work with them.

With a professional dog trainer, a German Shepherd can become an outstanding dog that will listen and obey its commands.

Can a female German Shepherd be a police dog?

Yes, of course. Female German Shepherd can be used for police, military, and other Special Forces, but in most cases, you will see a male German Shepherd in that position, and there are a couple of reasons for that. 

Can female German Shepherd be police dog?

The first one is their mentality. Male German Shepherds can go on their own and complete tasks, but females want to say close to their handlers, and that’s because of their protective instinct.

“A male dog has no problem leaving the handler to go and apprehend someone, or to go and do a search in a large open area without feeling the need to go back to the handler.”

-Sgt. Christopher Browne

But during the last decade, the training of police dogs has been significantly improved, and now female German Shepherds can be also great police dogs, and in some cases, they can outperform male German Shepherds!

“I find that our female dogs are far more meticulous trackers—they are much better searchers and they have a far more balanced temperament.”

-Sgt. Christopher Browne


The other reason why is out there are so many male police dogs, it’s that females are more often held back from professional work for breeding purposes.

Movies with German Shepherd police dogs.

You are fascinated with these dogs are you want to see them like Hollywood stars? We had prepared for you the list of the most popular movies with the German Shepherds as police dogs.

We hope that you will enjoy these movies as we did! 

  • K-9 (1989)
  • K-911 (1999)
  • K-9: P.I. (2002)
  • Ace of Hearts (2008)
  • K-9000 (1991)
  • Megan Leavey (2017)
  • Max (2015)
  • Chips, the War Dog (1990)
  • I Am Legend (2007)

Can I adopt a German Shepherd police dog?

The short answer is yes, you can, but there are some rules. On the average German Shepherd which works as a police dog, usually works around 6-8 years, after that, they are ready for retirement. 

Once the time comes for that, their handler can decide should he want to adopt this dog or not. If he decides to not adopt his canine after that police officers will check does any of the crew wants to adopt that dog?

Adopting police German Shepherd dog - GSD Colony

If the answer is still no, then police German Shepherd dogs can be adopted out into the general public. 

You must have one thing in mind, these are very well-trained dogs, and you can’t just like that adopt a K–9 dog.

To increase your chance of adopting a retired German Shepherd police dog, you must:

  • Improve your knowledge about working dogs
  • Have enough time to work with them every day
  • Learn new and improve old your training dog skills
  • Start looking for an organization that works with police dogs
  • Be persistent.

If your first ever pet will be a police German Shepherd dog, the chance to get approved for adopting are small, and we honestly think that this isn’t the best choice for you.

You have already pets in your house, or have you had one in the past? Have in mind that police officers can call your vet to check if you are properly treating your previous or current pets.

If you want to adopt a police German Shepherd just because this dog is so much cooler than other dogs, he knows the tricks, blabla… don’t even try to adopt a police dog. First, you can get in some trouble because police officers will check everything about you before you adopt a police dog, and watch you after you adopt a police dog. 

These dogs need a job, never mind if he is retired or not. If you don’t have any skills and knowledge about the dogs, please first educate yourself, and then you can try to adopt a police dog.

How much does a police German Shepherd dog cost?

The answer to this question depends on many factors, but on average, the cost of police dogs is $8,000-$11,000. And if you think that this is too much for one a dog, just wait, there is more. This is a lower price for a police German Shepherd dog.

Harrison K-9s highly trained security working dogs can cost even six figures! A fully trained protection dog can sot you between $30,000-$80,000, with the average sale price around $50,000.

“The most expensive dog we ever sold was for $230,000, and she was named Julia,” 

-Holley tells CNBC.

If you want to learn more about the average prices of German Shepherd dogs, you can visit the previous blog posts about that topic.

German Shepherd Price - How Much Cost German Shepherd Dog?

The best names for police German Shepherd dogs.

If you’re looking for a perfect name for a police German Shepherd, then look no further, because we had prepared for you a list of the 50 most popular names for a police canine.

  1. Diesel
  2. Gunner
  3. Buddy
  4. Bullet
  5. Captain
  6. Crash
  7. Rex
  8. Maverick
  9. Fang
  10. Odin
  11. Duke
  12. Thor
  13. Tank
  14. Bane
  15. Tito
  16. Trapper
  17. Goliath
  18. Rambo
  19. Mack
  20. Hawkeye
  21. Bones
  22. Maximus
  23. Hercules
  24. Gator
  25. Harley
  26. Dagger
  27. Reina
  28. Zelda
  29. Olympia
  30. Alaska
  31. Raven
  32. Diva
  33. Queen
  34. Jinx
  35. Colt
  36. Pepper
  37. Indiana
  38. Scout
  39. Nyx
  40. Honor
  41. Clue
  42. Rogue
  43. Dane
  44. Julia
  45. Lincoln
  46. Harriet
  47. Zelda
  48. Cobra
  49. Zeus
  50. Knox

Suggestion: Police German Shepherd Names (1,000+ Names)

Final words.

Police German Shepherd dogs are some of the bravest dogs out there, and we should respect them, and their handlers and trainers. Each day they sacrifice their own lives so that we and our families can be safe.

If you want to get a police German Shepherd dog, you have to be a very responsible person. Please inform well yourself before you continue to think about adopting a retired police GSD, or buying one.

We hope that now you better understand why German Shepherds are perfect police dogs, and how much they are important to us.

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