Which breed makes the best working dog for detection and protection work? - Page 1

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by astrovan2487 on 26 April 2021 - 18:04

I know a handful of regulars on here have working experience with multiple breeds, in your experience, which breed is the best when it comes to not washing out of a training program for either health or temperament issues? I'm well aware that alot of this depends on the individual dog, but I'm noticing most police departments and private business I see in training are using primarily Malinois, Dutch Shepherds, or GSD Malinois crosses, very few purebred GSDs.

by GSCat on 26 April 2021 - 23:04

Depends on what the dog will be used for. Depends on the climate. Depends on handler and department preferences.
No hard and fast rule, but the same breeds and types within breeds (working lines vs show lines, etc.) show up over and over for the same types of work because temperament and physical characteristics make dogs of those breeds well suited for those types of work.

Regardless of what breed, buyer needs to do homework and ensure parents were good breeding stock (healthy, conformation, temperament, and responsibly bred to reduce/prevent genetic issues to the extent possible). Proper temperament testing of the specific puppy. Health warranty, references, etc., etc., etc. Regardless of breed, buying from a reputable, experience breeder goes a long way toward ensuring the puppy/dog is right for the intended purpose(s) and healthy/no genetic issues. Buying a puppy/dog of a specific breed without temperament testing and matching to intended purpose(s) is a disaster waiting to happen because not all puppies/dogs of a specific breed are suitable for everything the breed, in general, is good for. Not even all the puppies in the same litter will have the same temperaments.

Good GSD have gotten very, very expensive in some places, and depending on what wants/needs, hard to find the right puppy/dog. Sometimes this simply depends on where a department is located relative to breeding kennels. Some departments have migrated to Malinois, etc. to save some money. Some departments are blessed to have a breeder(s) donate dogs/puppies or are able to obtain sufficient grant money for K9 program. This past year or so, COVID19 has had a big impact on availability of puppies/dogs and prices, especially if shipping is involved.

Some handlers/departments prefer a GSD just because larger than a Malinois, and some prefer Malinois because smaller.

Straight detection work, some departments have gone to Labs, especially if the dog will be used for public relations and/or schools and senior citizen facilities.

Some places in the far north use Siberian Huskies and Malamutes.

Some places are using Rottweilers or Dobermans.

At least one place is using a gorgeous red nosed pit bull for detection work. She's a sweetie and is totally unsuitable for anything other than detection and public relations.

Some countries use other breeds due to availability and/or suitability for climate/specific purposes.


by Hundmutter on 27 April 2021 - 01:04

To what GSCat says I would add: yes one of the factors the choice depends on is where in the world you are. Despite some pressure over Policing with dogs to join the trend to use / switch to Malis, the UK Police have continued to prefer using mostly GSDs.  That may be partly the size / weight thing, in some handlers' minds at least, and our various area Forces have experimented with not just Malinois but several other breeds, and continue to do so; but the vast majority of operational dogs are GSDs. Police in-house breeding programmes are almost exclusively of GSDs.  OTOH the Police here have more & more separated off the Search function, now using other breeds (mainly different Spaniels) to locate drugs, weapons, money ... it is now common practice for Police Handlers to permanently run not one dog but two : e.g. a GSD and a Springer.

by duke1965 on 27 April 2021 - 02:04

its all about individuals, but generally speaking the best detectors are GSD, in my personal experience the most washouts on medicals are pedigree malinois, and for protection it is very different if you talk protection for sport, LE or PP as that all requires a different type of dog ideally, must say many people today look for a high drive dog for PP, where I think you dont want a high drive dog as a family dog

Hired Dog

by Hired Dog on 27 April 2021 - 03:04

Personally, for detection, I will take anything that has stable environmental nerve and very high hunt drive, I dont care what the breed or mixed breed is.
The best detection dog I have ever seen was a 30 pound female of who knows what mix that was simply amazing at work, speed, focus, fast final response indications, that dog was simply incredible and sadly not mine.

As far as general patrol dogs, all I have seen here are malinois and Malinois X's. I am sure some agencies have GSDs, I have not seen any in a long time, 20 plus years and the ones I have seen, I would not want to depend my life on.
Generally, I believe that agencies should look at single purpose dogs who do one job and one job only, much like LAPD has and specialize in that one job.

As far as PPD go, even though I love a good Malinois and it has been my favorite breed for ever, I cannot see how anyone can live with one, so, a well bred GSD that is lower drive, low threshold and high suspicion is what I would want.
This can get long if one wants to get into specifics, but, that is my general experience of what I see around here.

by astrovan2487 on 27 April 2021 - 12:04

Getting more into specifics I’m starting the process of looking for another dog, my current dog is starting to slow down and two dogs would be ideal for my current work load anyways. Primary use would be private narcotics detection with a secondary focus on IPO. Looking for a dog that can do sport protection, but does not need to be a dog that would bite for real. Bonus of it does. Don’t want a huge 90lb dog either.

Extreme hunt drive and rock solid environmentally about sums it up. I work in large facilities with close proximity to people.
This would be a young puppy, I know this is riskier but my mind is set on that 100%.
To make it even more difficult this won’t be a kennel dog really, it’ll spend time in a kennel but I want a dog I can actually live with.


by Rik on 27 April 2021 - 12:04

just to add, there is a member here whose specialty is providing dogs to LE/Mil around the world. He also has his own breeding program for GSD. might be worth checking out.

Hired Dog

by Hired Dog on 27 April 2021 - 13:04

What is available to you, what do you feel comfy living and working with? For detection work, you cant beat a smaller Malinois, easier to handle and live with. For sport, I am sure that same dog will do well too, if properly selected.


by Rik on 27 April 2021 - 17:04

HD, my Mal, anecdotal story, for anyone interested and have to get in the caveats.

a few years ago, my club was getting folks ready for an upcoming trial/survey. they had invited one of the top trainers in the USA to help evaluate and offer suggestions. He has a club in Georgia, not only represented the USA in international competitions many times but also trained others that reached that level. I'm sure plenty of folks know who I'm referring to.

anyway, a guy shows up with a blue mal, not that that matters. the dog is so impressive, everyone stops milling around an starts watching the dog, including the invited trainer, who I'm sure had seen countless "good" dogs.

anyway, the guy comes off the field and is of course mobbed with questions. the bottom line is the dog lived in the house from a puppy, he did have small children the dog loved, and was completely under control at all times.

I know they may be rare but maybe can be found.

edit to correct a couple spelling mistakes. hopefull I got them all.

Hired Dog

by Hired Dog on 27 April 2021 - 18:04

Rik, great story and I have seen many that live just like that. You need to get lucky, wait until you find the right dog that has all the qualities you want, etc.
I have owned and worked malinois for ever, I love the breed, but, when my dog, after working 12 hours, slept 30 minutes on the way home and was then bouncing off the walls for the next 12 hours, it just got too much....
I love a dog that is up and ready to go while at work, but, living with one that is on 24/7...NO.

On the other hand, I know people who own Malinois that can turn it off and chill once in the house, relatively speaking, get along great with kids, but, at this point in life, my 1 year old GSD is a walking nose and plenty of what I need at this stage of life.


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