11 Police Dog Breeds (with Photos) – Most Effective

Woof woof! Calling all dog lovers and crime enthusiasts! 

Did you know that some of the most effective police officers are actually dogs? That’s right! These four-legged crime fighters are more than just cute companions. 

police dog breeds
11 Police Dog Breeds – Most Effective

Police dogs, also known as K9 units, are special dog breeds that form a crucial part of law enforcement agencies all over the world. With their keen sense of smell, excellent stamina, and sharp instincts, police dogs contribute to law enforcement in various ways. 

But not all dog breeds are created equal when it comes to police work. 

In this post, we’re going to take a look at the top 11 police dog breeds that are the most effective at catching criminals and keeping our communities safe. 

1. German Shepherd 

Starting off this list with an obvious choice, German Shepherds are one of the most recognizable and popular police dog breeds as well as great family pets. Not only are they known for their loyalty, intelligence, and versatility, but these dogs can also be trained for a variety of tasks, from tracking down suspects to sniffing out drugs or explosives

German Shepherd approaches owner
German Shepherd approaches owner to express his apology.

German Shepherds stand between 22 and 26 inches tall and weigh approximately 50-90 pounds. They are a very athletic species renowned for their speed and agility, making them excellent for law enforcement. They are also confident, loyal, and fearless, which are great attributes for carrying out high-pressure tasks.

Their strong work ethic and protective nature also make German Shepherds a top choice for law enforcement agencies around the world. 

2. Belgian Malinois

If you thought German Shepherds were tough cookies, wait till you meet the Belgian Malinois! These four-legged daredevils are the perfect crime-fighting partners. Their boundless energy and sharp instincts make them ideal for sniffing out explosives and chasing down baddies.

Belgian Malinois stands
Belgia Malinois stands on a field.

Not only are they handsome dogs, but their muscular build also makes them quite the intimidating presence on the streets. 

While Belgian Malinois look much like German Shepherds, they are smaller in height, standing 22-26 inches tall and weighing 40-80 pounds. But don’t let their short stature deceive you — these canines are incredibly nimble and can sustain speeds of up to 30 miles per hour! Belgian Malinois are extremely bright dogs that thrive with a lot of mental and physical stimulus, which makes them excellent for police work.

3. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are famous for their love of water and tennis balls, but don’t be fooled by their playful nature! These pups are among the most successful police dogs in the world. Labradors have an excellent sense of smell and are naturally agile, which makes them excel in searching for contraband and tracking down criminals.

Labrador Retriever sits on the road
Labrador Retriever sits on the road with dried leaves.

They are also recognized for their amiable and docile nature, which makes them perfect for community outreach.

The majority of Labs are medium to big (24.5 inches and 55-80 pounds) in size, and they come in a range of colors and sizes. They love to play and learn, which makes them easy to train, and they’ll do practically anything for a treat. Because of their endearing nature and loyalty, they also make wonderful companions for law enforcement officers and their families.

4. Bloodhound

Bloodhounds have a long history of being hunting dogs. And today, they are branded as the detectives of the dog world. Bloodhounds are efficient trackers and have a determined personality that won’t let them give up on a scent.

Bloodhound in a quiet surroundings
Bloodhound is in a quiet surroundings with green scenery background.

Their unmatched sense of smell comes in handy when trying to track down a criminal or a missing person. They’re also known for their distinctive howl, which can be heard from miles away. 

Bloodhounds are large dogs that typically weigh between 80 and 110 pounds and stand at around 23 to 27 inches at the shoulder. They generally have a friendly and loyal temperament, but these dogs can be stubborn at times. And while they may not be as fast as some other police dog breeds, their ability to stay focused and follow a scent, even when distracted, makes them excellent search and rescue dogs.

So, if you need someone to follow their nose to solve a crime, a Bloodhound should always top your list.

5. Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinschers are an impressive breed, well known for their appealing looks and pointed ears. They are also incredibly intelligent and loving and have a natural urge to protect their humans. They are useful for law enforcement tasks such as tracking down criminals and identifying drugs because of their large size and quick reactions.

Black Doberman Pinscher
Black Doberman Pinscher on leash.

They are also known for their persistence and endurance, both of which are desirable traits when following fleeing offenders. 

Dobermans are tall and lean dogs that weigh between 60 and 100 pounds and measure between 24 and 28 inches in height. They are also incredibly fast and agile, reaching peak speeds of 30 mph, which makes them perfect for pursuing fleeing criminals. Despite their menacing appearance, Dobermans have a sensitive side and tend to make devoted family companions with proper socialization.

6. Rottweiler

Rottweilers are renowned for their strength, sturdy build, and solemn look as well as for being ferocious protectors. When properly trained and socialized, they are affectionate and loyal companions for their human families. As a police dog breed, they have an amazing degree of power and intelligence, making them useful in locating and apprehending offenders. 

Rottweiler stands on the rock
Rottweiler stands on the rock by the river.

Rottweilers stand 22-27 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 80-135 pounds on average. They are incredibly fast for their size, reaching speeds of up to 25 mph. Their strong body and powerful jaws make them ideal for search and rescue efforts, while their intelligence and agility make them superb criminal apprehenders.

Rottweilers are also known for their protective instincts, which makes them excellent guard dogs. 

7. Dutch Shepherd

Dutch Shepherds may not be as famous as some other breeds, but they’re no less impressive. Not only are they clever and nimble but they are also very strong, making them an excellent choice for police work. Dutch Shepherds can outrun average criminals and are exceptional at search and rescue missions.

Dutch Shepherd wet outdoors
The Dutch Shepherd is wet after jumping into the waters.

Their charming looks and affectionate nature also make them very appealing. But don’t let their good looks fool you — these canines mean business. They’ll go to any length to protect their handler, thanks to their unfailing loyalty and formidable strength. 

In terms of physical attributes, Dutch Shepherds are medium-sized dogs with muscular physiques. They also come with different coats that range from short and thick to long and wiry. On average, Dutch Shepherds weigh 50 to 75 pounds and are 22 to 25 inches tall.

With their muscular legs, they can run at a fast pace of 30 miles per hour. As for their temperament, these dogs are noted for their intellect and independence, which may make them a handful for novice owners. But with proper training, they make exceptional police dogs as well as companion dogs.

So, if you’re looking for a dog that can do it all, the Dutch Shepherd is the dog for you.

8. Boxer

Boxers may look like they’re ready to start a boxing match, but they’re actually one of the friendliest dog breeds out there! They’re a lively breed with obedient personalities and friendly smiles. Don’t let their goofy grin fool you though — they’re also pretty good at their job as police dogs.

Boxer dog with stick running on grass
A happy Boxer adult runs in the grass with a stick

With their sharp senses and athleticism, Boxers make great partners for fighting crime. 

Boxers are robust and powerful dogs that generally stand up to 22-25 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 70 pounds. They can sprint at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, making them ideal for pursuing suspects. Their loyal and obedient temperaments make them wonderful partners for K9 officers who want to have some fun while keeping the neighborhood safe.

9. Giant Schnauzer

Like Dutch Shepherds, the Giant Schnauzer may not be as well-known as some other police dog breeds, but they are one of the most sought-after breeds in law enforcement. These canines are all business when it comes to tracking down criminals. With their impressive size and fearless demeanor, Giant Schnauzers are not afraid to take on even the toughest of foes. 

Giant Schnauzer standing
A Giant Schnauzer standing in a city park.

While Giant Schnauzers are not the largest dog breed, they are nonetheless rather massive. These pups may weigh up to 100 pounds and tower over two feet tall, which is 25.5 to 27.5 inches in height. And with their muscular bodies and impressive speed, they’re not a breed to be trifled with.

Despite their size, they are noted for their devotion to their humans. When they’re not on duty, they make great family pets! Just don’t forget to give them plenty of exercises and mental stimulation, or they might start using their tracking skills to find your hidden stash of treats.

10. Weimaraner

Nicknamed “Silver Ghost” or “Gray Ghost, the Weimaraner is a police dog that’s sleek and stylish. These dogs were originally bred for hunting big game in Germany, but they’ve also found success in law enforcement thanks to their intelligence and athleticism. Weimaraners demand a lot of attention and care and are thus not suitable for new pet parents.

Weimaraner looking up the tree
A Weimaraner looking up the tree in the backyard.

However, they are extremely friendly and sociable dogs, which makes them a wonderful choice for therapy dogs. 

Standing at around 25-27 inches tall and weighing between 55 and 90 pounds, their shiny gray coat and piercing blue eyes make them stand out in a crowd. But don’t get caught up in their good looks. Weimaraners are no strangers to hard work and can handle anything thrown their way.

Their strong and agile bodies allow them to move quickly, which makes them ideal for chasing down suspects or even tackling agility courses. Plus, their loyal and affectionate nature means they’ll always have your back!

11. Border Collie

If you thought Border Collies were just farm dogs, think again! They are highly intelligent canines that are also on the front lines of law enforcement. Border Collies are a medium-sized breed that weighs approximately 30 to 45 pounds and stands 22 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder.

Border Collie follows owner
Border Collie follows owner in the field.

So, while they may not have the physical stature to be formidable police dogs, they are incredibly smart dogs, which gives them the edge over other breeds. 

Known for their incredible agility and work ethic, Border Collies make excellent police dogs. Their ability to learn commands quickly and their unwavering loyalty to their handler make them a popular choice for K9 units. Plus, their intense focus and attention to detail mean that no criminal will go unnoticed. 

FAQs About Police Dog Breeds

What is the training process for police dogs?

Police dogs undergo rigorous training in areas such as obedience, agility, tracking, and apprehension. In addition, they receive specialized training in areas such as bomb detection, narcotics detection, and search and rescue.

Have any police dogs received recognition for their bravery?

Many police dogs have been honored for their courage. Recently, in 2020, K9 Kuno, a Belgian Malinois, was given the Dickin Medal — the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross — for his valor during an Afghanistan operation. Kuno saved the lives of his handler and several other soldiers by attacking an insurgent who was about to detonate a suicide bomb. 

K9 Jethro, a German Shepherd slain in the line of duty in Ohio, and K9 Credo, a German Shepherd killed in the course of duty in California, are two more police dogs that have garnered accolades for their courage.

What happens to police dogs when they retire?

Police dogs that retire from service are often adopted by their handlers or other law enforcement personnel. In some cases, they may also be adopted by civilians who are willing and able to provide them with a loving home.


These 11 police dog breeds are among the very best when it comes to fighting crime and keeping us safe. And while they may have different physical characteristics and personalities, they all share one common trait — an unwavering commitment to serving and protecting their communities. So, let’s give a round of ap-paws to these incredible police dogs, who truly are man’s best friend in blue!