Tag Archives: Bloodhound

Spotlight on Police Dogs


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You’ve seen them on TV, in the movies and even in your own neighborhood. They’re cute and cuddly, but have a bite as big as their bark. They’re police dogs, and they’re here to fight crime and save the day!

thumbnail-copsPolice use canines, called appropriately “K9s” in English-speaking countries, to provide police departments certain skills humans lack. For example, an average dog’s sense of smell is almost 50 times more sensitive than a human’s. Also, the brute appearance of police dogs is intimidating enough to prevent confrontation from a criminal (HowStuffWorks). Not to mention, police dogs are also much faster and stronger than most humans, and can provide the force necessary to take down an escaping suspect. Together, a police dog and his carefully-chosen handler make up what’s called a “K9 unit.”

The two most common breeds utilized by police are the German Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois. Most of us recognize the German for its impressive size and no-nonsense demeanor, but the Malinois might sound less familiar. The Malinois is a slimmer version of the German Shepherd and hails from the Netherlands. Much like the German, it is prized for its speed, agility and intelligence. Labrador Retrievers tend to be used for responsibilities that require a high level of attention and focus, such as sniffing out explosives that can detonate from sudden movement, while German Shepherds handle more aggressive tasks. Most police dogs are males left intact (unneutered) to preserve their natural aggressive instinct.

The first police dogs were actually Bloodhounds, not German Shepherds. With their keen sense of smell, Bloodhounds were used by police in Europe as early as the 18th Century to track criminals on the loose and missing persons. After WWI, countries like Germany and Belgium started using dogs for specific purposes, such as guard dog duty. Police dogs didn’t join American law enforcement until the 70’s, but over the past few years, the US has made notable advancements in their K9 training.

Before being trained for specific duties, all police dogs must be experts at basic obedience training. This means that the dog obeys his handler’s commands without hesitation, which is crucial in a high-risk, emergency situation. Training a police dog to do specific tasks is an intensive process, but includes continual rewarding of the dog. For example, the dogs are trained to sniff out drugs by teaching them to associate drugs with a fun game of tug-of-war. After the K9 unit plays a game of tug-of-war with a scent-free towel, they will then play using a towel encasing a drug such as marijuana so that the dog recognizes the smell of marijuana as the smell of his favorite pastime. It’s a highly effective process with results that translate into real life situations.

In our nation’s current climate of tense police-to-citizen relations, using K9 forces can help reduce police departments’ liability. K9s often prevent the injuries and struggle that arise from a suspect resisting an officer’s commands, which in turn prevents lawsuits against the department. If a K9 unit ever does encounter a lawsuit, the court will often judge in favor of the police because a dog’s training provides strong evidence that he acted appropriately in any situation.

At the end of a long and tiring work day, a police dog will go home to his owner, who is often also the handler, to enjoy the company of his family. It just goes to show how versatile dogs are to fulfill different roles in our lives; hardworking crime fighters by day, loyal family companions by night.

Dog Breeds by Fur: Low to High Maintenance Pooches


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When deciding on the best dog for your family, grooming responsibilities probably don’t top of the list of criteria during breed selection. However, depending on your financial situation and time constraints, hair may be a factor worth considering. Depending on the type of dog and their grooming needs, you could be visiting a professional groomer as much as every two-four weeks, or at a minimum, intensively brushing at home on a daily basis. Here’s a rundown of the lowest to highest maintenance pups when it comes to hair, which should help with setting expectations, planning and budgeting.

Short-haired, smaller dogs are going to require the least amount of grooming. An important caveat however is that even though these breeds are short-haired, they will still shed somewhat as all dogs shed some fur. Check out these breeds with low grooming needs if you’d rather not trade in your day job for a styling gig.

Italian Greyhound
Boston Terrier
Miniature Pinscher
• Harrier
Dalmation
• Whippet
• German Pinscher
• Basenji
• Australian Kelpie
Weimaraner
Vizsla
• English Foxhound
Boxer
Rottweiler
• Black & Tan Coonhound
Rhodesian Ridgeback
Mastiff
Great Dane
Bloodhound
• Neapolitan Mastiff

talk-ab-fur-thumbnailConversely, if you can’t resist a fluffy, long-haired pup, target this list of styling breeds, who require more hands-on attention to their coats to avoid matting, shedding and hygiene issues.

Akita
Alaskan Malamute
• Bearded Collie
Bernese Mountain Dog
Bichon Frise
• Border Terrier (or most terriers, for that matter)
Bulldog
Chow Chow
Cockapoo
Cocker Spaniel (and most other Spaniels)
Collie
• English or Irish Setter
• Giant, Standard and Miniature Schnauzers
Havanese
Lhasa Apso
Maltipoo
Old English Sheepdog (and other sheep dogs)
• Pekingese
Pomeranian
Poodle
Portuguese Water Dog
Shih Tzu
Siberian Husky