Service Dogs At Customs, Federal Police, And The Armed Forces

There are big differences, both in the tactical use, the dog breeds used, as well as the number or structure of the respective service dog beings. trained. Police service dogs or guard dogs are specially trained canines that are capable of performing a variety of tasks, both in and outside the line of duty. Their responsibilities vary depending on their work environment, but they generally serve to protect officers and property, alert handlers to the presence of intruders, perform searches for drugs or weapons, and help with crowd control. Service dogs are well trained and cared for by providing proper grooming, food, and shelter.

Service dogs at customs

Customs currently has two customs dog squadrons at the main customs offices in Cologne and Frankfurt am Main. Here, all customs dog teams of the respective main customs offices are organizationally combined in a control unit (airport surveillance goods control unit) in order to guarantee efficient and effective use. At the remaining 39 main customs offices, the customs dog teams are integrated into the local control units. At two customs investigation offices, the customs dog teams are assigned to the field of operational support.

Around 340 customs dog teams are currently deployed nationwide at customs, of which 160 dogs are trained as protection dogs. Mainly the breeds German shepherd, Belgian shepherd (Malinois), and Dutch shepherd (Hollands Herder) or mixed breeds are currently being trained in the protection dog area. The majority of the customs dogs used, which are used purely as sniffer dogs, are of the Labrador or Labrador hybrid breed.

Service dogs of the Federal Police

The Federal Police does not have a central canine unit. Service dogs and service dog handlers of the federal police are assigned to the respective authorities of the federal police in accordance with the organizational and service post plan. The Federal Criminal Police Office does not have service dogs.

The Federal Police currently uses 422 service dogs of different breeds, including 209 Malinois (Belgian Shepherd Dogs), 153 German Shepherd Dogs, 25 Holland Herders, 17 Mechelar, eight Giant Schnauzers, five Rottweilers, one Australian Cattle Dog, one Terrier, and three German Shorthaired Pointers.

These are used as protection dogs, explosives detection dogs, and watchdogs to secure their own facilities. In addition, the Federal Police has two pyrotechnic detection dogs, which were trained as part of a test. Permanent implementation of these capabilities is currently not planned.

Service dogs of the Armed Forces

In the Bundeswehr, 35 civilian employees and 320 soldiers are responsible for the care, training, and use of service dogs. The Bundeswehr uses 260 active service dogs of the Belgian Shepherd (Malinois), German Shepherd, and Labrador Retriever breeds in the following areas:

Feldjäger troop, pioneer troop, paratroopers, Special Forces Command, air force security forces, Social service of the Bundeswehr (still as a pilot test), as well as at the School for Service Dogs of the German Armed Forces.

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The respective dogs are also specialized in the Bundeswehr. For example, the Feldjägertruppe has explosives detection dogs and drug detection dogs, all of which are also trained in security services. The pioneer troop has mine detection dogs and explosive ordnance detection dogs. The Air Force Security Troops have the “Air Force Service Dog for Object Protection Forces”. These are trained to search for explosives and to do security work. The search for persons is also to be understood under protection work.

Two explosives detection dogs and two explosives detection dogs are currently stationed in GAO/Mali as part of the MINUSMA operation (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) and two explosives detection dogs are stationed with the German deployment contingent “Resolute Support Mission” in MASAR-e-SHARIF/Afghanistan.


Service dogs have proven themselves in all services as animal detection means – drugs, explosives, people, etc. – and represent a successful and established tool in addition to other detection means (e.g. X-ray machines, etc.). All users describe the operational value of their service dogs as extremely high. Especially in the Bundeswehr, the service dogs have abilities that cannot be represented elsewhere. This makes them indispensable for order fulfillment. In the case of the special forces and the infantry, for example, they are also carried on jump missions and serve as search and protection dogs on the ground. A very good example is the already mentioned US operation against the terror chief.