Huskies definitely look the part of an intimidating, working breed, but can a husky be a police dog, or is this wishful thinking?
Despite their appearance, huskies are not suited for police work at all, and for this reason, you will never see a husky being used for police work. They are too difficult to train and can’t be relied upon to repeat commands; they’re also extremely friendly with everyone, including strangers.
In this article, we’ll break down the traits that are needed for a dog to work as a police dog, how huskies compare, and a few examples of dogs that are used in police work for comparison.
Let’s get straight into it.
- What Traits Are Need For A Police Dog?
- Why Huskies Don’t Make Great Police Dogs
- What Dogs Are Used As Police Dogs?
- In Summary
What Traits Are Need For A Police Dog?
Before we look at the husky specifically, let’s take a look at what specific traits are needed for any dog to excel in police work.
Trainability & Repeatability
Police dogs must be easily trained, learn new commands and jobs quickly, and repeat these without failure.
The repeatability is absolutely crucial – if a police dog can’t fulfill its role 100% of the time, it puts everyone involved at risk.
Imagine if a police dog failed to go after a suspect and take them down; this could have massive implications for the officers involved and potentially put their lives at risk.
When it comes to this, there is no room for failure.
Police dogs need to be intelligent to get through the required basic training.
Police dogs need to learn many different commands and tasks and how to perform them under pressure and correctly, all of which require a certain level of intelligence.
Okay, not all police dogs need to be athletic, but the vast majority are.
Athleticism is beneficial in most scenarios, especially those where the dog needs to chase after a criminal and lock them down. Police dogs can also cover a lot of distance while on patrol, which requires a high baseline fitness level.
The only exception here are sniffer dogs that are used to search people or items, but even then, it can be beneficial for them to be athletic if they are needed to be used for search and rescue.
Why Huskies Don’t Make Great Police Dogs
Now that we know what specific traits are needed to make an ideal police dog, let’s see why huskies are not a good choice for these roles.
Huskies are stubborn; there are no two ways about it.
This comes from their heritage as Spitz-type dogs; huskies survived when the Chukchi people domesticated them by pulling their sleds and living alongside humans without quarrel, but that was about it.
This personality trait is still alive and strong in the husky today. Huskies often refuse to do things that you ask them just because they feel like it, and they also might throw tantrums if you ask them to do something they don’t want to do.
This is obviously not ideal for police dog work, where commands must be repeated 100% of the time without hesitation.
Not Eager To Please
As well as being highly stubborn, huskies are not particularly interested in pleasing their owners.
This makes training exceptionally difficult, as an eagerness to please is the main reason why certain dogs excel in obedience training.
The last main reason why huskies don’t thrive as police dogs is because they are incredibly friendly, even to strangers.
Huskies are this friendly because they have little to no guarding instinct or inherent suspicion of strangers. For police work, it’s important that the dogs are naturally cautious of other people rather than overly friendly.
But Aren’t Huskies Intelligent And Athletic?
Anybody who has owned a husky knows just how intelligent they are, but they are intelligent in a very unique type of way.
Huskies don’t score highly on regular dog intelligence tests, as these rely on the ability of dogs to learn new tricks and repeat them. For example, huskies ranked 77 out of 138 dog breeds in the classic Stanley Coren’s Intelligence of Dogs study.
Huskies are more emotionally intelligent; they’ll know exactly what you’re asking but often refuse to do it, which is not ideal for police work.
The one trait that does lend huskies to police work, in theory, is their athleticism. Huskies can exercise all day long thanks to their background as sled dogs, but this trait needs to be alongside trainability for police work.
What Dogs Are Used As Police Dogs?
Looking at the types of dogs regularly used in police work will quickly make you realize why huskies are not the ideal candidates.
Here are some of the most commonly used police dogs and their traits that help them fulfill their roles.
German Shepherds are the quintessential police dogs and the most popular police dogs in the world.
German Shepherds are very easy to train and highly intelligent, which means they can be used for a variety of work. They are also highly athletic and fearless, making them perfect for highly stressful environments like those found in police work.
Belgian Malinois are very similar to German Shepherds at first glance, but these pups are quite different.
Belgian Malinoiss need to work, and they shouldn’t be owned by people looking for an easygoing pet. They are slightly smaller and more slender than a German Shepherd, but don’t let that fool you; these pups pack an immense bite and are known as ‘Maligators’ because of this tendency.
They are incredibly intelligent and trainable, just like the German Shepherd, and even more so in many cases due to their high drive to please their owners.
They are used for several roles in police work, including protection, chasing after criminals, and much more. Recently, their popularity has exploded, and they are being used for more and more different applications.
Labradors are super popular police dogs and excel in many areas, making them great all-round dogs.
They are highly capable of learning new commands and are very eager to please. Working labrador lines also have an exceptional capacity for work and live to please their owners and follow orders.
Due to their friendly demeanor, they are most often found in places like airports or train stations, where they can be used for drug or bomb detection.
Bloodhounds are also popular police dogs that are used for searching and tracking only.
Bloodhounds have an incredible sense of smell and are capable of tracking scents for hundreds of miles over several days or even weeks. They might not be particularly threatening, but they are exceptional at their role.
The list really does go on, but you get the point by now.
Police dogs are highly trainable and exceptional at repeating their training under stress. Some police dogs also excel at very specific work, such as the bloodhound and its ability to track scents, which has helped it to be used in searches for missing people, sniffing for illegal substances, and more.
To someone unfamiliar with the breed, huskies might look the part of a police dog; they have endless energy and can look quite intimidating with their wolf-like appearance, but this assumption couldn’t be further from the truth.
Huskies are not used as police dogs anywhere in the world, and for a good reason: they are incredibly hard to train and don’t repeat commands well, either. They’re also too friendly for this type of work, with no inherent suspicion of other people.
These are all why we love this breed so much, however, and it’s why huskies make excellent and loyal family companions.